Fire pits add warmth, décor and a good reason to use that patio during the cooler months

They may look like the braziers of ancient times, huge, modish pots or more akin to traditional grills or fireplaces. They may burn wood or use propane or natural gas. They may be constructed of bronze, aluminum, cast iron, steel, ceramic or fire brick. They may be called chimineas, outdoor fireplaces, fire bowls or fire pits.

Regardless of how they look, what they’re made of or what you call them, they are increasingly popular with Space Coast residents who don’t see cooler weather as a reason to stop socializing on their patios and decks

“They are very popular. We’ve done many fire pits for our customers,” says Mark Walker, owner of Flame Tech Fireplace & Grill Co. in Indian Harbour Beach. “The ambiance and warmth of a wood fire is really nice on a cool evening.”

Three types of custom-designed outdoor systems are increasingly popular with Flame Tech customers: gas fireplaces, which require no chimneys; and wood-burning fireplaces, which do require flues; and built-in fire pits, which the company custom designs out of fire brick. Frames may come in a number of shapes and sizes from companies like FireScapes, and designers add their own exteriors.

“Generally, the facades are either of brick or stone, and sometimes people now use pavers to match their decks,” Walker says.

“We’ve probably done five of them (in recent months) and they’re constructed of stone and masonry so there’s no chance of rust or rot,” adds Mike Sickle, owner of M&M Design Studio at the Home Center Viera. “We can do them in any shape, with four or five different stone (facades). The frames are made of concrete block and clad in an inch and a quarter of stone, and we can use propane or natural gas.”

Most fire pits are not custom-designed, however. Home Depot, Lowe’s, Target and Walmart each carry an assortment of models in different sizes and styles from various manufacturers, including some with mantels and cooking grates. Coleman, the 109-year-old manufacturer of outdoor products, makes a portable fire pit with cooking grate intended to give camping trips those feelings of home, not to mention safety. It also sells full-sized models.

Manufactured fire pits range from about $50 to about $1,500. Built-in models range into the thousands of dollars, depending on requirements.

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