Can You Use Play Sand In A Fire Pit?

If you plan to use a fire pit in the backyard, it’s important to know which type of sand is suitable and safe to use. This article will discuss whether or not you can use play sand in a fire pit.

outdoor firepit burning with wine bottle on a table

Fire pits are becoming increasingly popular, and people use them for warmth and entertainment. Gathering around a fire pit with a group of friends and roasting marshmallows leads to fond memories.

People often have a lot of questions about their fire pits. They want to know what they can use and how they need to care for fire pits. Often, people ask if they can use play sand in a fire pit. We will discuss the answer to this question and more.

Why Do You Need Sand at the Bottom of a Fire Pit?

Before putting sand in a fire pit, you should always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for use. Some metal fire pit manufacturers recommend a thick layer of sand at the bottom. For most fire pits, an inch or two of sand is ideal.

But, why is sand important? One of the most significant benefits of using sand in a fire pit is that it absorbs the heat from the fire and distributes it evenly throughout the fire pit.

Sand also offers protection to the metal bowl of your fire pit. Because the sand absorbs much of the heat, it prevents heat damage from occurring to your fire pit components. Although these parts are meant to stand up to heat, the intense heat of a fire can sometimes cause deterioration over time.

For most fire pits, it is perfectly safe to use sand, but it can be annoying in the cleanup process. If you need to remove the ash from previous fires, you can inadvertently end up removing too much sand and need to replace what was lost.

Some fire pit owners prefer not to use sand. They empty the ashes into their garden soil because it can be used as a fertilizer. The addition of sand may make the ash unsuitable for gardens.

outdoor fire pit burning wood

Can You Use Play Sand in a Fire Pit?

Play sand is safe for most fire pits. You can add a one to two-inch layer of play sand to the bottom of your fire pit as long as it is enclosed.

If you have an open burn fire pit, you will need to substitute the sand with lava rocks or river rocks. These can both help distribute heat evenly and may make your fire even hotter.

What Is Play Sand?

Because play sand is meant for children, it goes through an extensive cleansing and preparation process. First, the sand is made finer, and any debris is removed.

Next, the sand is treated to remove any bacteria that could harm children. Finally, the sand particles are pressure washed with blasts of water to round the edges of any sharp pieces and make them softer and safer for children.

play sand

What Are the Benefits of Using Sand in the Bottom of a Fire Pit?

The benefits of using sand in the bottom of a fire pit are numerous. If you are on the fence about adding sand to your fire pit, consider the following advantages.

  • Sand helps distribute the heat from the fire evenly, so there is more warmth for those sitting around the pit.
  • Sand also protects the metal components of the fire pit from becoming overly hot and damaged.
  • Sand is one of the most affordable materials to place at the bottom of a fire pit.
  • Sand is also widely available.

What About Silica Sand?

Some people mistakenly believe silica sand is the same as play sand because they both have a fine and smooth texture. Silica sand is used in the making of pottery, and because it absorbs moisture, this type of sand is used to keep products dry, such as vitamins.

It is necessary to note that silica can be toxic. Heating silica sand releases its toxins. People can develop a serious condition called silicosis within a few months of exposure.

Never add silica sand to the bottom of your fire pit. While it is not combustible, the toxic chemicals released during the heating process can be dangerous.

Can You Use Beach Sand at the Bottom of a Fire Pit?

While you should never use silica sand, beach sand is a perfect alternative if you do not have play sand available. If you live near the beach, you may be able to acquire beach sand for free.

It is vital to note that while beach sand can be used, it should be dried thoroughly before you place it in the fire pit. Leaving moist sand in the bottom of the pit could lead to rusting. Beach sand also does not hold up as well as other types when used in fire pits.

sand on a beach

Can You Use Paver Sand in a Fire Pit?

If you do not have play sand available, you can choose paver sand. Paver sand is often referred to as polymeric sand. This fine sand is often mixed with other particles to fill paver joints.

If you choose paver sand, be sure to read the ingredient list. Some additives could be toxic when heated with fire. Avoid paver sand that has unnatural chemical ingredients.

Sand Keeps Your Fire Safe and Hot

Sand is an excellent addition to any fire pit. With sand in the bottom of your fire pit, the heat will be more evenly distributed, and you will find your fire pit lasts longer without becoming damaged.