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





Comments

  1. Dee Gaudet says:

    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.

  2. Holy moley, it looks new!! Great job.

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

    Great job repairing the fire pit!!

  4. 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. :)

  5. 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!

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

  7. I’m very impressed!

  8. Jessica Y says:

    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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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?

    • 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.

      • 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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!

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

  16. 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.

  17. 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 !

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

  19. 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!

  20. 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. :)

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

  22. 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!!!!

  23. 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

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

  25. 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

  26. 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.

  27. Andrew and Alice Bishop says:

    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!

  28. Great solution. Did just as you described. Looks great

  29. 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!

  30. Gayle Bourne says:

    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.

  31. 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.

    • 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.

  32. dooziejane says:

    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.

  33. Jennifer Patrick says:

    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 :)

  34. 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!

  35. 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!

  36. 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.

    • 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.

  37. Caitlin says:

    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!

    • 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.

    • 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! :)

  38. You are awesome. Thank you.

  39. Art Department says:

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

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