Sheet metals are wonderfully adaptable and versatile materials and can be turned to a wide variety of practical and often surprising applications. One very popular use for sheet metal is for making fire pits -- with a minimal amount of fabrication and moulding required, a simple sheet of metal can be turned into an attractive, effective and extremely durable fire pit for you and your family to cool on cold autumnal evenings.
However, if you intend to either have a fire pit made from sheet metal professional or try your hand at making one yourself, the choice of sheet metal you make can be very important. A number of varieties of sheet metal can be used to make fire pits, but each comes with its own individual advantages and disadvantages that you should be aware of:
Inexpensive, strong and incredibly versatile, sheet steel is a very popular choice for fire pit creation. When well-designed, a sheet steel fire pit can be enormously durable even when asked to contend with the largest fires, and its excellent heat conducting properties ensure that the precious heat is radiated out towards fireside sitters. Steel can also accommodate a variety of protective coatings, ranging from inexpensive galvanised coatings to colourful and immensely durable powder coatings.
Unfortunately, these protective coatings are more of a necessity than a luxury, as an unprotected steel fire pit will quickly fall victim to damaging rust and corrosion. Steel is also a relatively heavy metal, and you may have difficulty hoisting particularly large steel fire pits into place.
Stainless steel comes with all the strength, adaptability and heat conductivity of regular steel, and marries it with an excellent resistance to rust and moisture-caused corrosion. This is achieved with the addition of small amounts of chromium to the raw steel, which also makes for an attractive sheen if you choose to keep your fire pit clean and polished between uses.
Sadly, nothing good comes without a price attached, and stainless steel is significantly more expensive than its regular counterparts. It can also be very difficult to weld without specialised knowledge and equipment, so you may wish to choose alternative metals for more complex fire pit designs.
Aluminium may look similar to regular steel at first glance, but this remarkable metal is much lighter while still providing adequate strength for most fire pit applications. Like stainless steel, aluminium is completely immune to rust, but sheet aluminium can generally be found for significantly lower prices. As such, aluminium fire pits can be made swiftly, fitted almost anywhere and expected to endure the elements for many years to come.
However, sheet aluminium can buckle if excessively thin sheets are used for your fire pits, or if your fires are especially large and hot. The layer of oxide the aluminium creates to protect itself against rust can also begin to look dull and unsightly after a time, although it can be cleaned away relatively easily.
Considered by many to be the finest metal for fire pit creation, copper sheeting has superlative heat conduction properties and is totally immune to rust. In fact, when exposed to moisture copper tends to take on a distinctive blue-green patina, which is considered to be even more attractive than the deep bronze hues of the raw metal by many fire pit users. As such, copper fire pits are the best option when you want to marry functionality with aesthetic value.
Copper's desirability can, however, also be its main drawback. Copper sheeting tends to be more expensive than most other kinds of sheet metal, and an exposed copper fire pit will present a tempting target for any scrap metal thieves prowling your area.