A fire pit is the ultimate showpiece for your outdoor space. But what happens when it becomes old, rusty, and worn out? The great news is that you do not have to throw it away. It can still be an excellent addition to your home through recycling.
You can repurpose your old fire pit if you think outside the box and show a little bit of creativity. The end product could turn out into a storage container, cooking equipment, planter, or even a place to put your garbage in. Everything depends on your approach when you decide to recycle your fire pit.
Here are ten ideas you can use to repurpose a firepit:
- Recycle individual parts
- Revamp your old fire pit
- Turn your old fire pit into a planter
- Convert it into a raised bed garden
- Store small garden supplies inside the pit
- Create outdoor furniture
- Use it for storing wood
- Cook or bake with the old fire pit
- Make the fire pit into a garbage can
- Convert it into a water feature
This article provides you with the tips you can implement to determine the best way to repurpose a fire pit. It also offers several ideas you can use to upcycle your fire pit into something different but just as attractive.
4 Factors to Consider Before Repurposing Your Old Fire Pit
It would be best to develop an effective upcycling strategy before tackling your fire pit. But doing so requires you to consider a few critical factors first. Below are some of them:
1. The Type of Fire Pit You Have
The type of fire pit you have will determine how you can repurpose it. And these kinds of outdoor features usually vary in several ways.
First, fire pits differ in their construction. Built-in fire pits are immovable and dug into the ground. In such cases, they have brick or stone walls and even concrete to provide support, table space, and seating.
On the other hand, some can be placed on tabletops or be moved around within portable free-standing heating-containment containers, such as a chimney or traditional Kadai fire pit. The last holes usually consist of metal materials, such as aluminum, steel, cast iron, or bronze.
In addition, fire pits also vary in terms of the fuel they use for heating and lighting purposes. Some firepits burn wood for heat, while others use natural or propane gas. Gel-fueled fire pits also exist. These outdoor features tend to use fuel in methanol or isopropyl alcohol gels.
Therefore, when repurposing an old fire pit, you need to consider the materials you will be handling, the fuel they use, and whether you can move the fire pit or not.
2. Your Outdoor Space
The kind of outdoor space you have will also determine how you repurpose an old fire pit. That’s because you will need space to do your upcycling and somewhere to place the finished project.
A typical front yard in the U.S. is about a quarter of an acre, which is considerable. But what if you are not lucky enough to have that kind of space?
For example, if you have a large yard or a courtyard, you have more flexibility regarding what you can do with an old fire pit and where the finished item can go within your yard.
You cannot say the same thing if the only outdoor space is a balcony or small porch. So, you may need to compromise on something to ensure you use your available space correctly.
3. The Level of Wear & Tear
How worn out is your old fire pit? The answer to that question will let you know how much work you will need to put in to repurpose an old fire pit.
Generally, how long your fire pit exposes itself to the elements will largely influence its level of wear and tear. In addition, the materials used in the construction of the outdoor feature will also affect its level of degradation.
For example, a built-in fire pit surrounded by concrete or brick is likely to be stronger and more resistant to wear and tear than one made of cast iron which easily rusts when exposed to the environment.
4. Your Project Budget
Bear in mind that upcycling is sometimes free or costs very little, especially if you already have all the supplies lying around and know how to improvise.
But there may be times when you need to spend some money to revamp your old fire pit or turn it into something different but still attractive.
So, it would be best to have a budget in mind. And when setting that budget, you need to consider the cost of the average fire pit or the end project item the fire pit into and compare it to what it will cost to repurpose it into what you desire.
For example, a standard raised garden kit will cost you an average of about $145. If your upcycling costs exceed that range, repurposing your old fire pit may not be financially viable. So, you can opt for a different project or get rid of the fire pit in some other way.
Ways to Repurpose an Old Fire Pit
Once you consider all the essential factors, you can begin repurposing your old fire pit. Below are several ideas you can implement.
1. Recycle Individual Parts
If you think that your old fire pit will take up too much time and effort to upcycle, you may want to get rid of it and recycle its components. That would not be you doing the repurposing, but someone else will be doing it for you.
If you can, disassemble, clean, and sell or submit the recyclable parts to your local scrap metal dealer. You can get rid of fire pits consisting of brass, bronze, copper, aluminum, steel, and cast iron that way because they are recyclable.
If you have no idea where to start, you can reach out to Earth911 via their website. Earth911 will help you find the closest recycling solutions provider in your locale suitable for the kind of waste you want to get rid of.
2. Revamp Your Old Fire Pit
The second option is to give your old fire pit a facelift by revamping it and then reusing it. Considering that such an outdoor feature can cost anywhere from $300 to $1,400 on average, it makes sense to save your old fire pit if you can, especially if it is still redeemable.
Restoring your old fire pit may take different forms. If you have a built-in fire pit, you may need to shore up the surrounding structure.
On the other hand, if you have a free-standing fire pit, you may have to do repairs such as cleaning, sanding, removing rust, painting, or fixing the fuel source if it leaks.
Example 1: Old & Rusty Fire Pit
For example, if you have an old and rusty metal fire pit, you could start by cleaning the debris, brushing off the rust flakes, and then sanding off the old paint.
At that point, the metal surface should be smooth so you can apply a high-temperature sealant and two coats of the correct metal paint.
Once the paint coatings are dry, you could put on the second coat of metal sealant to protect the fire pit’s painted surface from the elements.
Example 2: Gas Fire Pit
In case your old fire pit uses gas, and it leaks or does not work any longer, you may want to repair that too. Fixing that will require you to shut off the gas supply after determining where the leaks are, disconnecting the fittings or piping, replacing worn-out parts with new ones, cleaning burners, and then re-installing everything again.
Once you have repaired the old fire pit, you can test it to check whether it is working as it should.
Example 3: Concrete Surface Fire Pit
In the case of fire pits with concrete surfaces, a concrete overlay may be what you need. These products can be mixed and applied on old worn-out surfaces to improve their appearance.
However, it is crucial to determine the overall costs of repairing an old fire pit. It only makes sense to embark on repair if you spend less than what it would cost you to buy a new fire pit.
3. Turn Your Old Fire Pit into a Planter
Planters refer to any decorative containers in which plants grow. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with converting an old fire pit into a flower pot that acts as a centerpiece for your outdoor space.
Portable fire pits are best suited for such a project because you can move them around in balconies, patios, as well as both big and small yards.
However, if your old fire pit has worn out, you may first want to restore it to its former glory. Then you can drill a drainage hole on the side or bottom of the ash pan so that water can go through when you water the plants. After that, you can put in a layer of pea gravel followed by a layer of potting soil before planting.
Your choice of plants will depend on the depth of your fire pit. If small enough, you can opt for shallow plants, such as succulents.
Mulching is the last step. You can put a layer of mulch after planting to preserve the moisture in the soil, so you end up watering your plants fewer times.
4. Convert Your Old Fire Pit into a Raised Bed Garden
It is impossible to convert a built-in fire pit into a planter. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use it for a similar purpose. You need to repurpose it into a raised bed garden to do so.
Raised garden beds offer many benefits. For starters, they have fewer weeds, improve drainage in clay soils, and retain water better in sandy soils. Also, so long as the bed has a framing structure, your garden will experience less soil erosion.
In addition, your plants will have more space in which to grow. For these reasons, raised garden beds enable plants and flowers to grow better in the long term.
You can easily repurpose old fire pits into raised bed gardens because the supporting structure exists. Start by removing all the ash to the bottom of the pit, breaking up the soil underneath, doing a soil test, and filling up the hole to the surface level.
Then depending on the type of soil you have, you can plant the appropriate flowers or plants. And it would be best if you opted for mature potted plants because they have a much better chance of survival.
It is worth noting that you do not have to throw your fire pit ash away. If your soil is excessively acidic, you can use the ash to increase its pH and make it more alkaline. Also, the fire pit ash would come in handy for fertilizing the soil and keeping pests away from your garden.
5. Store Small Garden Supplies in Your Old Fire Pit
Most fire pits have covers to keep debris, critters, and the elements away from the fire pit. And these covers will come in handy if you want to hide your garden supplies.
In particular, your garden hose would benefit from having a designated storage space where it wouldn’t get tangled up. And an old fire pit offers you that.
To repurpose an old fire pit into a garden hose storage container, you need a sturdy item at the center that will enable you to wind the hose around it.
That item could be a stone, wooden, or metal pole dug into the ground or drilled onto the fire pit pan. But you can also fold it up somewhere else, put it right into the fire pit, and cover it.
Do remember to drill holes at the bottom of the old fire pit pan so that any water leftover from the hose could drain away. Of course, that step is unnecessary if you choose to store the hose in a built-in fire pit.
6. Create Outdoor Furniture Using Your Old Fire Pit
Fire pits are excellent options for creating outdoor or indoor furniture such as a gaming table. Such furniture pieces can help extend your usable outdoor area and improve your curb appeal. So, you may want to repurpose your old fire pit rather than spend a lot of money on buying it.
One way to repurpose an old fire pit into furniture is to cover the top with a solid material so you can end up with a table.
You can use wood, metal, or even glass to create a tabletop supported by the fire pit frame. And depending on the design, you could remove the fire pit pan and reuse it elsewhere.
You may also want to repurpose your old fire pit and make it more functional by creating seating around it. In that case, you could use stone, brick, concrete, wood, or concrete blocks to build up the seating area all around the fire pit. And you can also cover the ground around the hole to create a patio.
The option of covering up the fire pit area also exists. You can do so by installing a pergola or metal framework for swings. In addition, you can build a gazebo around it.
7. Use Your Old Fire Pit to Store Wood
Do you use wood to heat your stove or fireplace? Where do you store wood stacks closer to home?
It would be an excellent idea to store your dried wood in your fire pit bowl and any available shelving space within the framing.
Doing so elevates the wood stack and reduces the chances of attracting worms and slugs into the area underneath the wood. And you can do the same for an in-built old fire pit.
Since most fire pits have covers, you do not have to worry about your wood getting wet.
8. Use Your Old Fire Pit for Cooking or Baking
You could always repurpose your old fire pit as cooking equipment to get further use out of it. The option is best if your fire pit is still in good condition or redeemed. And wood fuel offers the best results.
The easiest way to convert your fire pit into cooking equipment is to buy or build a cooking grate and install it over your old fire pit. You could then light the pit and barbecue your meats and vegetables over it.
You can also turn your old fire pit into an improvised pizza oven. Doing so will require you to buy a pizza stone and a terracotta pot. Once you heat the rock, you can make pizza and cover it as it bakes over an old fire pit.
Alternatively, you can bake by leaving the burning wood embers at the bottom of the fire pit bowl, placing a baking dish on top of stones, and covering the fire pit using its cover to let your food bake.
The built-in fire pit with brock surroundings lends itself well to baking since it retains heat. You can also use a Dutch oven for baking and cooking because it has heat.
9. Use Your Old Fire Pit for Garbage
There is no point in buying a trash can if you have an old fire pit in your yard. You can use what you have and save money.
An old fire pit would work well for garbage such as yard debris. And if you try to repair it before using it as a garbage can, it would be a welcome addition to your porch or patio because it will look beautiful yet serve a functional purpose.
You may also want to think about using an outdoor old fire pit for composting, especially if it has a retaining wall to keep everything in one spot.
The yard debris and food scraps from your kitchen could go into the pit. And the ash from the fire pit could help improve the soil pH.
10. Convert Your Fire Pit into a Water Feature
An outdoor water feature is beneficial in several ways. Not only does it improve curb appeal, but it also attracts birds and bees to your yard.
These animals will improve pollination and make your yard bloom. In addition, water features provide a focal point within the outdoors, thus helping to ground the space.
If you decide to make a water feature, you could use the fire pit to create a birdbath or water fountain. However, you would need to engage in some plumbing work to fit in the piping and install a pump if the need arises. But the result would be an attractive water feature that does wonders for your outdoor space.
Think of your old fire pit as an asset. No matter how old or worn out the feature is, it may still be helpful to you or someone.
You can repurpose it and create something beautiful out of something most people would consider waste. Not only would that save you money, but it would also help save the environment.