Custom Fire Pit Pans: Where To Buy, Cost, Cons

fire pit bowl in backyard surrounded by patio chairs

When building a natural gas or propane fire pit, one of the major components is the pan and burner. These are set in place prior to the rocks or fire glass going in.  The shape of the fire pit pans are usually a circle, a rectangle, or a square, with predefined dimensions.  Most of the time this works perfectly, even for the most customized fire pits. However, what if you need something truly custom?  The way you create one of a kind fire pits is by using custom fire pit pans.

Adding a fire pit to your backyard is one of the best choices you can make. It will immediately improve your outdoor living lifestyle.  Fire pits add warmth to the winter and flicker of fire to the night landscape. Using custom fire pit pans doesn’t have to add stress. In this article, we’ll explain how fire pit pans work, how much custom fire pit pans cost and where to buy them.

How To Start Building A Custom Fire Pit

The first thing to do whenever you consider building a fire pit is to research the local, county, and state building codes which might exist in your area.  In some places there are fire pit specific guidelines which must be followed when building a fire pit. These guidelines accompany the requisite inspections throughout the construction process.  Always leave gas work to the professionals.

How Do Fire Pit Pans Work?

What is a fire pit pan anyhow? A fire pit pan is usually constructed of plate steel. It’s what the burner sits on top of.  The burner is the series of pipes and nozzles which distributes the gas to different points around the fire pit so you have a more even flame.  A round fire pit pan for example will sit within a round fire pit, and have a circular burner. The media will be placed on top.  The media would typically be lava rock or fire glass.

How Much Do Custom Fire Pit Pans Cost?

I know it may sound farfetched, custom fire pit pans doesn’t always cost much more than their off-the-shelf cousins.  Homeowners are often surprised by this because of how much more expensive other custom pieces of a backyard can become. Companies like Woodland Direct have numerous off-the-shelf options that will work in most cases.  Although, when you need a custom fire pit pan, contact their design team. You can get custom fire pit pans along with a custom burner for your unique design.  

How To Get Custom Fire Pit Pans Made

What you’ll need is a dimensional drawing showing the size of the pan you need. That way they can produce the pan to fit your fire pit.  Custom fire pit pans usually want to have about a 1” tolerance all the way around. This is so you can easily set them into place without worrying about squeezing past all the masonry.

close up of custom fire pit with rounded marble and custom fire pit pans in small backyard

Problems With Custom Fire Pits Pans

So what else should you worry about with a custom fire pit?  Well beyond the custom fire pit pans, you should consider the ignition system.  The least expensive way to build a fire pit is to simply have a key valve and a manual ignition. This will rely on using a match or lighter.  As you can imagine, this is a dangerous way to light a fire pit.  There are also push button ignitions, but just like your backyard grill. Over time these systems break and you end up needing to use your lighter just the same.  The safest way to light a fire pit is to use an automatic ignition system.  

Recommended Upgrade: Automatic Ignition Systems

Automatic ignition systems operate on the flip of a switch to ignite the gas.  They also are automatic re-ignition systems.  If the flame were to blow out, it will reignite the flames for you without any prompting.  These systems cost around $1500-$2000 to add to your fire pit, but are well worth the safety and ease of use they add to the fire pit experience.

Now you’ve figured out your media type and the ignition system you want to use. So once you have your custom fire pit pan selected, it’s time to order the custom fire pit components.  Now is a good time to have a colleague review the order and see if you are missing anything obvious you might want to add.  For example, do you want to add a glass wind screen around the fire pit? 

Custom Fire Pit Pans Summary

In our experience it’s always easiest for you to order all the components at once. You should also get everything from the same source if you can.  This way you won’t have anything missing when it comes to building the fire pit and installing the components.  Always ask your supplier, we recommend Woodland Direct, for their suggestions for any other components you may be forgetting. They will also tell you if there is anything else they would recommend you consider for your custom fire pit beyond the custom fire pit pans.