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Everything You Need to Know About Our Concrete Bowls

Everything You Need to Know About Our Concrete Bowls

Our concrete bowls will perform at their best with proper care and safety precautions. We've put together this FAQ page to address any questions you may have about your new concrete bowl and help you make an informed purchase. Please click on any of the questions below and we'll direct you to the answer! Thank you for choosing Fireplace Doors Online for your fire feature needs!

 

Can I receive a concrete color sample?

Unfortunately, no. Since we custom make each bowl, final colors will vary and a concrete sample may not be a true representation of the shade you will ultimately receive. While our artisans follow a standard guideline for color-mixing, the concrete-pouring process is what actually determines the specific hue of the finished product. The color swatches we feature online are a close approximation to color that you will receive. However, rest assured that the color will match if you order multiple bowls in the same shade. In these cases we mix your desired color all at once for your set of fire bowls so each is poured from the same batch of concrete. Please note that while the color will match, there will still be unique variations in texture and blending, giving each concrete bowl its own character. This is our assurance that your concrete fire bowl is 100% hand-crafted. 

Can my concrete bowl be left outside year round?

Keep a 3 foot clearance from all sides and above your fire bowl. Do not put fire bowl beneath a roof or tree.

Yes! Our concrete bowls are made from extremely durable precast material that is built to withstand all seasons--even in the inclement weather conditions so you can enjoy your product for years to come. To further extend the life of your bowl and keep it clean and ready for use, we recommend purchasing a vinyl cover for the entire body or stainless steel snuffer plate to cover the burner application on fire products.

Can my fire bowl be used indoors?

NO. Fire bowls are only meant to be used outdoors. To ensure your safety, we advise keeping a minimum of a 36 inch (3 foot) clearance away from any combustible materials or structures on all sides of your fire bowl. In addition, nothing should be above your fire bowl, so do not place it below a tree or enclosed shelter. Instead, opt for an open outdoor setting to allow proper ventilation and allow plenty of room away from any hazards. 

Can wood be burned in my concrete fire bowl?

No. Wood should never be burned in a fire bowl designed for use with gas only. This is because wood burns at a higher temperature than natural gas or liquid propane, increasing the risk of the concrete cracking or breaking and causing harm to others.

What size burner insert do I need for my concrete fire bowl?

Our concrete fire bowls come with everything you need to get started, including a burner and gas installation kit. However, you may follow these instructions if you decide to use a different burner:

  1. Subtract 14 inches from the diameter of the bowl to figure out the largest sized burner you can use.
    • Example: If your bowl is 36 inches in diameter, subtract 14 inches from 36 to get 22 inches.
  2. Chose the burner closest to the number you got in Step 1 without going over. Fire pit inserts are available in many different shapes and sizes to correspond with your fire feature.
    • Example: You got 22 inches, so you may need to select an 18-inch insert if a 22 inch is not available.
  3. Be sure to place your insert on top of your fire media, near the lip of the bowl. For your safety, do not place the burner at the bottom of the bowl and cover it with your lava rock or fire glass, as it causes risk of explosion!

Does the height of my concrete bowl matter when choosing a burner insert?

Yes. Bowls with shallower heights or depths of 10 inches or less are not able to accommodate large, pan-style electronic ignition (EI), systems and a fire pit insert within them. In this case you will need to utilize a match-lit ignition system or a flat burner without a pan.

Can propane be used in my fire bowl?

Yes. We offer a wide selection of concrete fire bowls that are fit for use with propane. Since propane is heavier than air, it has a tendency to sink to the bottom of your fire bowl. To alleviate this, we include an air mixer with every propane concrete fire bowl to circulate the gas. We recommend using lava rock as your fire media as it creates more air pockets that allow the propane to seep through and dissipate. To exercise extra caution, you may drill an extra hole in the bottom of your fire bowl to help with a more efficient gas dissipation. If you choose to use to use fire glass, you will need to use lava rock as a base and drill four holes near the bottom of the concrete fire bowl to disperse the propane gas and prevent explosion. Click here for a diagram containing more information.  As always, if you can smell gas do NOT light your fire feature!

Is it safe to use fire glass with a propane fueled fire bowl?

Yes. However, for your safety, four holes will need to be drilled into the base of your fire bowl to allow more air to enter and disperse the propane gas.This is because propane is heavier than natural gas and the surrounding air, causing it to sink to the bottom of your fire bowl. Propane requires fire features that promotes proper circulation, so we recommend using lava rock to fill the bottom of the fire feature, then placing a steel mesh lath (CLICK HERE for example) over the lava rock and burner element to hold the fire glass in glass, and finally topping off your feature with a 2" layer of glass. Fire glass alone does not provide enough room for propane gas to safely dissipate, increasing the risk of explosion! We are adamant about your safety, so we highly recommend taking the extra effort to ensure your safety. Please click here for a diagram containing more information and instructions. If you are planning on placing your fire bowl on a pedestal, please click here to check that it will provide enough air flow.

Can natural gas be used with my fire bowl?

Yes. We offer a wide range of concrete fire bowls specially designed for natural gas. In order to install your natural gas fire bowl, a gas line will need to be run from your house or gas source to the outdoor location of your fire bowl. We recommend that a certified gas contractor connects the gas line to ensure it is installed correctly.

Manual ignition lights with the turn of a valve key and a match without the need for electricity.How can I light the fire in my fire bowl?

There are a few different ways to light your gas fire bowl and not all may apply to your specific fire feature. Here are the typical ignition options:

  • Manual Spark: Your fire lights with the simple push of a button that creates a spark that lights the pilot. This system is the simplest to install with very little time and effort involved. We make our manual spark ignition from durable stainless steel so you can enjoy a reliable and maintenance-free fire feature.
  • Match Lit: This ignition system is ideal for someone looking for a fast and simple way to light their fire while requiring no electricity! Simply use a long-stem match to light the burner, insert the flange key included in all our fire bowl packages into the value on the flex line, and slowly turn the gas on. Please remember to exercise caution when lighting your fire bowl and face yourself away from any wind.
  • AWEIS: Our All Weather Electronic Ignition System (CLICK HERE to view) is the fastest, easiest, and most reliable ignition system to light your gas fire bowl. These systems will keep your fire burning even in wind and rain! Some systems feature Thermocouple Flame Sensors that will detect if your fire has been accidentally extinguished by the elements and will relight the flame after running a system check to determine if it is safe to do so. Each AWEIS system comes ready to be equipped with a remote, wall switch, or timer (sold separately).

How much fire glass will I need, and do I need it for a scupper bowl?

We include the exact amount of fire glass you will need with your concrete fire bowl package. However if you choose to purchase new fire glass at a later time, we provide our special fire glass calculator to help you determine how much you will need. Simply type in the dimensions of your fire bowl and let our calculator do the work! We recommend using lava rock or pea gravel in the bottom of your bowl below a 2" top layer of fire glass to help to better disperse the gas in your fire bowl.
Use a pan to save on cost of fire glass in your fire bowl.

Scupper bowls do not need fire glass or lava rock. Light weight lava rock will float on water and can block water from cascading over the copper spillways, while smaller media (such as fire glass pieces) can get carried off by flowing water and clog the spillway.

Does the fire glass need to be cleaned?

No. Fire glass does not require any maintenance as it will not produce any soot or odors or leave a residue at the bottom of your natural gas fire feature!

Are there any sharp pieces of fire glass that might cut me?

We make sure all the edges of your fire glass are rounded off for your safety. However like with any glass product, there is always a small risk of being cut. We recommend using work gloves when handling fire glass and to never touch fire glass when it is still hot.

How is my fire bowl installed?

Some areas may have laws regulating outdoor fire features. Please check with your local law enforcement before installation.Here we have outlined steps and considerations to make during you concrete fire bowl installation:

  1. Check local, state, or municipality laws for regulations against outdoor fire features and make necessary accommodations to ensure your fire feature is legal. We are not obligated to accept returns based on the laws in your area.
  2. Be sure to measure doorways and other spaces to ensure that your fire bowl will fit through these openings. We have provided the dimensions and weight of each fire bowl in the specifications on its product page.
  3. Prepare for installation by gathering all the necessary tools to maneuver the fire bowl. You may need a partner and/or a pallet jack to lift accommodate the size and weight of your fire bowl.
  4. You may carefully begin moving your fire bowl to your desired location. A paved walkway provides the easiest surface for pulling a pallet jack or lifting the fire bowl without risking tripping or sinking into soft, uneven ground. However if you do not have a smooth walkway, you may lay down plywood to act as a secure platform for transportation.
  5. For your safety, we recommend hiring a certified gas contractor the install the gas lines and ensure proper hook-up to your fire feature. Please note that certain area may even require a contractor, so please check your local ordinances.

How do I clean and care for my concrete product?

Proper care and maintenance is the best way to get the most from your concrete bowl! Follow these simple tips to extend your fire feature:

  • Avoid having the surface of your bowl coming in contact with any heavy, rough, or sharp objects to minimize scratches. Keep in mind that hairline cracks or spotting are not flaws, but occur naturally and are considered part of your product's character.
  • Clean up any spills immediately to prevent damaging the finish. Concrete is porous, making it susceptible to discoloration and stains from oils, acidic substances, and caustic liquids.
  • You may wash your concrete bowl with and mild soap and water solution of 1 part soap, 4 parts water and a soft cloth. To remove stubborn stains, combine 1 part white vinegar to 4 parts water and gently scrub with a soft-bristled, vinyl brush. Allow your product to dry.
  • Apply a masonry or concrete sealer once a year to preserve the surface of your concrete bowl. Be sure to thoroughly clean your bowl and wait 24 hours to let it dry before applying this protective coating.

How can I protect my concrete bowl from the elements?

We recommend applying a concrete sealant to the surface of your bowl once a year to protect the concrete from damage and aging. Remember to thoroughly clean your bowl before applying the sealer. You may also purchase a vinyl cover to protect it when not in use (as well as a metal snuffer plate to shield the burner application of fire products). Please keep in mind that just like natural stone, concrete will develop a patina due to oxidation and exposure to natural elements.

Is sealing my bowl an absolute must?

No. However we highly recommend applying a concrete sealant to your bowl to ensure that it maintains its beauty over time and provides you with years of enjoyment to come.

What are the indentations on the surface of my concrete bowl?Air pockets are a normal occurrence in poured concrete. The size and shape cannot be controlled in any way.

Any holes or indentations in the surface of your concrete bowl are air pockets (shown to the right) that occur naturally during the cement molding process. Any poured concrete product will display these surface voids--the frequency and size cannot be controlled in any way. Each concrete bowl is individually handcrafted and represents its unique character with variations in surface texture and blending. 

For more detailed information on air pockets, click here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last updated on July 8th 2019.

Click on the Add New button below to submit a question about this product. Please ONLY submit product questions. For all other inquiries, please contact us at 1-877-373-6677.