repair a fire pit thumb

When I went to clean out our fire pit ash 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. 

Why to restore a Fire Pit Ash Pan

We had a square fire pit purchased at Lowes about three years ago.

Only $20 piece of stainless steel was in the budget when 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.


Well, my husband decided to 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! 

How to restore a Fire Pit Ash Pan

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.



1.  Prepare the Sheet Metal

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.  Make it fit

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. Drill the holes

Using a made for metal drill bit we drilled holes through the sheet metal and our rust bucket.

Next, we 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.  Clean it up

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. Finishing touches

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

** This post contains affiliate links where if you purchase through the link, I will make a small commission at no extra charge to you**  

This is a repost from 2012, but ya still need to repair your firepit right?  So I am here to help save you from buying a brand new fire pit just because the ash pan needs replacing! πŸ™‚  

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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?

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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 !

  17. 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.

  18. 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!

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

  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. πŸ™‚

  21. 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!!!!

  22. 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

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

  24. 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

  25. 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!

  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. 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!

  28. 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!

  29. 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?


  30. 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!

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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 πŸ™‚

  36. 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!

  37. 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!

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

  40. 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!

  41. 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.

  42. 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! πŸ™‚

  43. Love this post – I have the same firepit from Lowes and I’ve been contemplating what to do. My plan is to make a steel liner like you show, but in addition to that I’m going to add two fire bricks in the bottom of the pan. Two fire bricks 9″ x 4.5″ (purchased from Home Depot online because they don’t stock them in stores where I live) will fit perfectly in the bottom of my pan. That way it will avoid any direct contact of coals with the bottom of the steel pan. Hopefully this will give me a few more years with this firepit. I also love the cover and plan on building that as well. Keeping the steel from getting rained on during the summer months should prevent additional rust caused just from exposure to the elements.

  44. Beckie
    Thanks for this post…I have the EXACT same pit and problem. Was trying to fix it on my own with metal scraps leftover from other projects, but the holes kept getting bigger. On my way to Lowe’s now! THX for all the info and pics Nice job

  45. Just curious… I’ve looking for a round replacement bow, wish now that i’d bought a square one a few years back, but anyway, did you have any luck with trying to make a replacement with your round one. If so, i’d love to see photos.

  46. I am a little upset right now, last fall (when the bottom fell out of my exact same fire pit), I threw the ash pan away, thinking I would be able to buy a replacement. I will have to make some modifications since I don’t have the pan anymore, but love what you did.

  47. Yeah that’s too bad you no longer have the original ash pan. I am not sure how you would do this repair without it, but I do hope you find a solution.

  48. You and your handy hubby rock! We’ve got the same item, the same problem, the same family dynamics. She bought it, she proposed throwing it out when the liner failed, I refused. I checked out sheet metal types at Lowe’s and have pondered solutions but have little experience working with sheet metal. But I do own tin snips, so I’ve got all the tools I need to fix this thing! Thanks for showing me the way. I know what I’ll be doing next weekend. Thanks for taking the time to document this project and share it.

  49. Ok, I’ve done the repair now. One more question: my original firepan had a 3″diameter round disk bolted to the center covering a hole that made something of a vent. It would let in some air from below that presumably improved combustion. Did yours have that too? If so, it looks like you simply discarded it. Fires burn OK without it?

  50. Great idea and cool fix! Thanks for posting this so others could benefit. This is the exact fire pit and problem we have right now. I plan to do what you did soon! With the winter nights here, it it time to fire up the pit. Thanks again! How about posting the information about how you built your table top to go over the fire pit. That looks pretty cool too!! πŸ™‚

  51. Think about how sad the fact is that round or square or whatever shape replacement pans cannot be found in America. This is the country that invented the stamp and die proceedure. Now the men who had the machining knowledge and abilities needed to form the dies are slowly passing away. Too bad it really looks as though there’s a need for a pan stamper in the States again.

  52. Looking for a 30 inch round fire bowl found a good replacement by using a round disk blade found at agricultural Supply store it will be heavier and last longer than the original. I farm and I like the challenge of making something better than new

  53. Thanks for posting this. I followed your instructions and it worked fantastic. I used self drilling screws instead of pre-drilling holes and they work out very well, just wanted to let you know.

  54. Do you not worry about small bits/sparks falling through the holes? We have a rusting metal fire pit and my husband wants to drill drain holes. On the rare occasions we use the fire pit, it is on pine straw (dead pine needles) or grass. Would love to hear everyone’s thoughts!?

  55. Thanks so much for the DIY tutorial! My firepit pan just collapsed a couple days ago. Now, there is no need to search for a replacement pan (which you said can’t be found anyway. Nor do I need to consider buying a new one. Cheers!

  56. I used self drilling sheet metal screws in place of the bolts and washers to save a few steps and opted not to paint mine but it otherwise turned out similar. This was a brilliant idea and I thank you for sharing it.

  57. Thanks for posting this. I had the exact same problem. Followed your instructions and for $11 I have a “new” fire pit!!!

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