Fire Pit Repair

When I went to clean out our fire pit I noticed there were several holes in the bottom of it in what is called the ash pan. What the heck is an ash pan?  I know – I didn’t know the technical term until I started looking for one to replace the rust bucket we currently had.  It is the metal bottom of a fire pit that holds the logs.  Unfortunately, they are made out of inexpensive sheet metal and tend to corrode quickly.  Since we had a square fire pit (purchased at Lowes about three years ago) and purchasing a $20 piece of stainless steel was in the budget we decided to try to prolong the life of our ash pan by just replacing some of the metal.  It is a heck of a better deal than spending the $150 to replace the fire pit.  Here is what we learned along the way…you can’t find replacement ash pans.  I think the fire pit manufacturers are in cahoots making the ash pans wear out quickly so that you have to get a new fire pit every few years.

How to repair a fire pit

Well my husband decided to “stick it to the man” and find a way to keep our current fire pit and just replace some of the metal.  This part is really funny because he is always on my case about “letting it go” and just buying a new one.  After all, he is the one who convinced me to spend over $300 for new cushions for our outdoor furniture. This time it was me that was trying to talk him into just buying a new fire pit.  I was convinced this was going to be an epic fail.  But my husband proved me wrong!  Since I was so convinced of this failure and the fact that we did this at night I don’t have a lot of the pictures to show the process.  I will do my best to explain it though.

Supplies:

24” x 24” 26 gauge sheet metal (purchased at Lowes’)

tin snips

bolts and washers

electric drill with drill bits

Rust-Oleum High Heat Spray Paint

Rust-Oleum Hammered Copper Metal Spray Paint

3M Scotch Blue Tape

1.  Taking a piece of 24” x 24” sheet metal we drew this diagram onto the metal with a Sharpie and then with tin snips we cut along the red lines.

fire pit ash pan replacement

2.  Next we formed the metal to fit into the existing pan overlapping the corner edges and then marked them and folded one corner edge back and one forward.  Note: we snipped the forward edge so it wasn’t so sharp.

new fire pit bowl

3.  Using a made for metal drill bit we drilled holes through the sheet metal and our rust bucket and then attached a bolt and washer through it to hold it in place. We ended up adding a dozen screws to keep it secure.

new ash pan for fire pit

replacement fire pit pan

By the time it was all screwed in much of the bottom of the pan had given way with a bunch of the rust just flaking off.

rusted fire pit

At this point I am in awe of my husband’s brilliance and a little shocked it worked!

4.  After it was secure I cleaned it with some Mr. Clean Outdoor Pro and then let that dry. Next I coated it with some high heat spray paint on both the front and the back of the ash pan.  I used Rustoleum’s High Heat Spray Paint in black.  I also blasted the metal cover with it too.

high heat spray paint

fire bit bowl repair

5.  Next I taped off the stonework on the top of the fire pit and gave the legs a fresh coat of Rustoleum’s Hammered spray paint in Brown. square fire pit

outdoor furniture area

square fire pit

After I restored the firepit I built a table that fits just over the firepit.  This way the wood will protect the new metal pan and will also allow us to get more use out of this area in the hot summer when we don’t make fires.

fire pit table





  • Dee Gaudet

    I know a hot metal man that would have loved to do that for you! …..In our neck of the woods, anyways! :0) Fabulous job.

    • http://infarrantlycreative.net Beckie

      Would have been nice!

  • http://www.serenitynowblog.com Amanda @ Serenity Now

    Holy moley, it looks new!! Great job.

  • http://Inspiredbyothers.blogspot.com Gina

    Fire ban…bet you filled it with ice and cooled down some drinks!

    Great job repairing the fire pit!!

  • http://www.thegirlcreative.com Diana@The Girl Creative

    So glad you posted this! We just got a fire pit this year but know eventually it will need a little makeover. Great job! Thanks for sharing. :)

  • http://www.thatsabeautifulthing.com/ Teryl@That’s a beautiful thing

    OMG – we have the same fire pit with the same issues. I need to show this post to my hubbs and see if he will do the same magic! Thanks for sharing!

  • http://ourpinterestingfamily.blogspot.com Megan

    What a fantastic idea! It certainly looks brand new. I love what a little sprucing up can do. Enjoy. Megan

  • http://sewmanydreams.blogspot.com Tanya H.

    I’m very impressed!

  • Jessica Y

    I wonder if spraying the bottom of a new fire pit ash pan with the hight heat spray paint would extend the life of the pan? I haven’t gotten one yet, but I am glad to know about the issues they could have.

  • Char

    If you drill a few holes in the bottom it will drain the rain water out so it doesn’t rust as fast, also gives more air for better fire!

    • http://infarrantlycreative.net Beckie

      Yes I failed to mention that. We did drill a hole in the bottom too.

  • cheryl

    Have been searching for a new bowl. Since nobody actually sells replacement bowls I’m so glad to come across this. Mine is round but I’m sure if I trim several spots close to the middle it will form to the bowl. I will purchase lots of nuts and bolts thinking it will take more with the round shape. thank you so much for taking your time to post all of this with pictures. Very helpful.

    • http://infarrantlycreative.net Beckie

      Cheryl! I love it when my projects/posts can help out others!

  • Missy

    Have you used it with fire? We made a similar repair but didn’t withstand the heat of fire. Would love to know if you have successfully used with a fire in a pit! Thanks for posting….we have the exact fire pit and problem.

    • http://infarrantlycreative.net Beckie

      Yes ours has worked great.

  • Ron

    Great plan! However, did you find that “sheet” metal continued to corrode? I was planning to use aluminum because of its resistance to rusting. Any suggestions/ideas?

    • http://infarrantlycreative.net Beckie

      I am sure the metal will continue to corrode. This is definitely just a temporary fix – hopefully two years. I try to keep it dry by keeping a towel in it when not in use.

      • Ron

        Thanks for the reply. I have just finished my insert (the exact fire pit that you own) and used aluminum instead of sheet metal. Other than changing steel to aluminum, I followed you plan and it came out very well…! Thank you for sharing…! Ron

        • http://infarrantlycreative.net Beckie

          Awesome! I might have to do aluminum next time. I really love the fire pit and hate to get rid of it. Did you see the top I made for the top of mine? http://www.infarrantlycreative.net/2012/07/outdoor-coffee-table.html I think that will help preserve the sheet metal too.

          • Phil Foster

            I wouldn’t recommend aluminum for the ash pit. It has a much lower melting point than metal. Just saw this post as I have a similar issue. Hopefully it’s not too late. Thanks for the initial posting. Great idea for replacement!

          • http://infarrantlycreative.net Beckie

            Thank you for the info, Phil. I will have to do some research before I do it again. I appreciate your input and taking the time to read and comment!

  • Ron

    Like you, my wife and I really enjoy our fire pit, and use it during all times of the year. Your idea of the cover as a table top is very innovative…! Thanks for the idea (again).

    Happy New Year! Ron

  • http://www.OdorDestroyer.com Philip

    Great tutorial! Obviously, I am facing the same issue and have arrived at your page. As an avid handy man, your husband’s solution is exactly the one I would have taken. Perhaps the only change I would make is to weld instead of screw, but I have a welder at the house. Unfortunately, I have a round bowl and that requires different tools than I have. My dilemma aside, if I may take the liberty of offering a few comments:

    - The temps in your bowl will far exceed high-heat paint. The edges will look great, but you will be facing rust in the bottom again. That’s just life with fire and ferrous metals.

    - Aluminum is more corrosion resistant, but NOT suitable for the temps present in the bottom of a fire pit. Possibly with the first burn, it will melt/burn through and dump a nice pile of red hot coals on your deck. If you choose to go this route, layer aluminum over steel. The aluminum will help protect the steel from heat/water corrosion, while the steel will provide strength in high temp service.

    - If you really like the pit, this is not a huge job for a metal shop. Buy the steel and mark it up. Have them cut and weld. If you use 1/8″ cold steel it will last many, many years.

    Hope that helps, thanks for sharing your experience!
    Philip

    • http://www.OdorDestroyer.com Philip

      Oh, and I’ve found that open-air metal rust more slowly. i.e. dry it off and remove the towel. It holds moisture and promoted rust. Also, if you’re up for it apply a light rub of oil (veg oil is fine). Personally, I dump my ashes, rinse, let dry, and spray with a mist of WD-40 before covering until next time.

      • http://infarrantlycreative.net Beckie

        Thank you so much for the tips that is very helpful.

    • http://infarrantlycreative.net Beckie

      Thank you Phillip. I will have to see how it fares after the year. It sucks that they don’t make them more sturdy. I think all the firepit companies are in cahoots too. It is near impossible to find a replacement pit.

    • Aaron S

      Hey I found some 22 gauge sheet metal at Lowes, was wondering if I “doubled” up with two sheets, would that help much in extending the life of the fix?

      Thanks!

      • http://infarrantlycreative.net Beckie

        Possibly. If you could make it work and still fit an extra layer, that would be awesome.

  • Stephanie

    When you citrus sheet metal, for this exact pit, how large was the cut from each corner! Exact measurement?

  • Stephanie

    Cut, not citrus…

    I have bought the exact supplies an am ready to cut the corners, but unsure of the exact cut to create the perfect square in the middle.

    • http://infarrantlycreative.net Beckie

      We used the old one as reference. I am guessing it was about an 8″ cut.

  • Tom

    This is great. My situation is identical to yours on the ash pan rusting out ( as well as the mesh screen cover…don’t have a plan for that do ya? ). You are right, you just cannot find replacement ones. Even my elemental handyman skills can handle this job. Thank you !

    • http://infarrantlycreative.net Beckie

      No we had the mesh screen cover hidden most of the time. It was rusty but not corroded so I just gave it a coat of spray paint.

  • Kim

    Thank you so much!! You are a super genius!!

    • http://infarrantlycreative.net Beckie

      You are welcome Kim!

  • Mike

    wow too funny, i have the EXACT same problem you did, with the EXACT same firepit that was also purchased from Lowes 3 years ago. I have been searching for a replacement pan for it and come to the same conclusion you did – they dont make them! while i was starting to think about purchasing the new model for about $100, i think your solution is a much better option! Thanks so much for posting this, it was funny to read your introduction to my wife as it was the same scenario that we are in now!

    • http://infarrantlycreative.net Beckie

      Ha! So glad this helps you out. Hope you can restore your fire pit and enjoy it like we’ve been able to. :)

  • Jen

    Thank you so much for this. I have been driving myself crazy trying to find them for sale online. Our’s looks exactly the same as yours did. :)

    • http://infarrantlycreative.net Beckie

      You are welcome! I am glad it helps and hope you can restore yours to working order like we did.

  • don

    what was the size of the square at the bottom .. I’m going to fix one today

    • http://infarrantlycreative.net Beckie

      I am not exactly sure but would guess about 18″.

  • Adam

    Thanks for the great idea! I did mine this afternoon and after visiting a local metal working shop and having a piece of sheet metal given to me, finished the project for just under $6! Much better than spending over a $100 for a new one! Thanks for sharing!!!!

    • http://infarrantlycreative.net Beckie

      Soooooo much better than buying a new one. Glad I could help!

  • mark

    This is fng amazing…did it this afternoon….I have a party here tomorrow and really wanted to use the fire pit….I bought it all at Lowe’s as your husband described…thank you both….Mark in New York

    • http://infarrantlycreative.net Beckie

      Awesome! A party is definitely better with a fire pit. ;) Have fun!

  • mark

    Thanks…just curious.. Your first post was July of last year…wondering how your repair is holding up?.!any issues?

  • mark

    Last thing I will say is, reading the other posts…for a 24 x 24 repair…measure 10 inches from each corner.. The best way is to put a straight edge across from corner to corner…..mark 10 inches in on both sides….draw line…do the same for opposite corners..connect the dots and you have your center square…cut to the end of each line and mold it to your existing pan…follow the rest of the instructions….done

  • deb

    Wracked my brain to come up with a fireproof replacement. Finally thought of a charcoal grill the same size as opening I needed. For $37.00, it was a tad too small so attached steel bars along sides of opening of fire pit. It works beautiful and now has grill rack and lid to fit!!! And I can replace it every year if I have to.

  • Andrew and Alice Bishop

    Our firepit bowl did rot out! My wife found your fix and I got to work. At Home Depot I bought a sheet of metal 24 X 36. I trimmed it to 24 X 24 and then I followed your instructions. The only thing I changed was I used a few 1/8 inch rivets in place of additional screws. Thanks for your fix, it saved us from buying a new bowl or a new firepit!

    • http://infarrantlycreative.net Beckie

      Awesome! I know I was definitely glad to prolong the life of ours as opposed to purchasing a new one.

  • John

    Great solution. Did just as you described. Looks great

    • http://infarrantlycreative.net Beckie

      Awesome, thanks so much for letting me know. I’m really glad it worked for you.

  • Paula

    I have this exact same fire pit and, like you, found that NO replacement parts are available. I’m so excited to try your method of fixing it… I just knew there had to be a way to fix it , NOT replace it.
    Thanks a million! I’m hoping mine turns out as well as yours looks!

    • http://infarrantlycreative.net Beckie

      Mine is still going strong. Best of luck!

  • Gayle Bourne

    Wow – we spent hours this morning driving all over town trying to find a replacement pan for this exact same model fire pit. I guess we should have googled it first. We will try this instead of buying a new one. I know those things are mass produced, though. It is just one of those idiotic consumer society WTF moments. Most people won’t even consider repairing things.

    • http://infarrantlycreative.net Beckie

      Mine is still doing great. I hope you have success too!

  • Marie

    Did you create a vent hole at the bottom of the newly restored fire pit?! Seems like you would need one for air flow. I did exactly what you did, but as I turned the pan over, this small round metal thing was still attached to the ash pan. I realized it was to catch any ash that would fall thru and that’s why I realized there must have been a vent hole at some point. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • http://infarrantlycreative.net Beckie

      We ended up drilling a small hole for ventilation, but it isn’t huge. We clean out the ashes after a couple of uses so it doesn’t pile up.

  • dooziejane

    This was such a wonderful idea. We copied you except we used sheet aluminum from Lowes, we did not bother painting it, and we did drill tiny some holes in the bottom for ventilation and also to let water out (after this photo was taken). Ours is on an uncovered deck.

    • http://infarrantlycreative.net Beckie

      I am so glad it helped prolong the life of your fire pit!

  • Jennifer Patrick

    You guys are evil Geniuses!! I had the same problem…. searched on Google… couldn’t find one and then found this! I will do this tomorrow. You should patent this…. oh wait!! I will :)

    • http://infarrantlycreative.net Beckie

      Ha! Hope you enjoy some cozy nights by your fire pit. ;-)

  • Jon

    Awesome tip. I have the same exact firepit from Lowes and after two seasons the pan is rusting out. I was looking for a new pan online, and like you said, couldn’t find it for sale anywhere so this will be my next weekend project. Thanks!

    • http://infarrantlycreative.net Beckie

      Awesome! Please let me know how it comes out.

  • http://batman-news.com K.S.

    That’s awesome! I have a similar fire pit, and am definitely going to try your suggested fix. The instruction manual for this fire pit has a page titled “Replacement Parts List”. The replacement part no. for the “Fire Bowl” is 11043B-D. It costs $30 for the part, plus $19.99 for shipping and handling, plus the appropriate sales tax. Definitely going to try and fix it myself. Thank you, Beckie, for your wonderful idea!

    • http://infarrantlycreative.net Beckie

      No problem. I am glad you can use the tutorial and would love to know how it works for you.

  • cindy

    That is such a great idea! How could I do this with a round, bowl-shaped ash pan??? After spending hours online I can’t find a replacement for our rusted out original.

    • http://infarrantlycreative.net Beckie

      It might be a little bit more tricky bending it into a round shape, but the same process could be used. You might have to make different cuts and maybe not as deep in order to put the metal together to form a circle.

  • Caitlin

    In case anyone else still stops by here, a warning: I followed these instructions and used sheet aluminum from Home Depot (36″x36″x.019″). I did not paint it because I liked how it looked (and also because the high heat spray paint says its best not to use it on areas in direct contact with flames). Used it for one bon fire and it was great. Before the second one I noticed a small hole had formed in the bottom of the pan. Tried to use it anyway and within a couple hours the whole bottom had literally melted out and the coals fell on the patio below. Obviously this could be dangerous so DO NOT USE ALUMINUM SHEET METAL! I looked into trying again with galvanized steel, but apparently there is something called galvanization poisoning from breathing in fumes. Bummer. We’re just gonna have to buy a replacement!

    • http://infarrantlycreative.net Beckie

      I am so sorry to hear that Caitlin.We have had ours for two years and haven’t had an issue. I am wondering if the high hear spray paint has protected it. Good luck finding a replacement.

    • Caitlin

      I’m not sure why I can’t see it but I did receive a reply on this comment from Beckie (the post’s author) and wanted to share in case anyone sees this — she DID use aluminum sheet metal and as you can see she spray painted hers and has had it for two years with no problem! So spray paint might save the day, just FYI! :)

  • Wal

    You are awesome. Thank you.

    • http://infarrantlycreative.net Beckie

      So glad you could use the tutorial, Wal! This worked like a charm for our fire pit.

  • Art Department

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS! A 30.00 repair job sure beats a 129.00 new fire pit!!!!

    • http://infarrantlycreative.net Beckie

      Indeed! I am so glad you could use the tutorial. Our fire pit is still going strong since this repair!