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Outdoor Fireplaces or Fire-pits: Which is Right for Your San Antonio Home?

Posted on May 24, 2018

Outdoor Fireplace San Antonio

So you've decided to have some sort of outdoor fireplace installed on your San Antonio deck. It's a great idea! Outdoor fireplaces can add class and comfort to your outdoor space. You can expand the entertainment space of your home, gather around for a weekly night of roasting s'mores, or simply add value to your home and deck.

When people think of installing outdoor fireplaces on their deck, they may be thinking of one of two things: the first is a traditional fireplace. This fireplace is often a square or rectangular vertical structure. However, they may also be thinking of a fire-pit. Both of these options have advantages for your home. So which is the right answer for you? Let's go over the differences.

Outdoor Fireplaces

An outdoor fireplace is a more elaborate structure, and if you're going for classic style, a traditional outdoor fireplace is probably the way to go. Again, outdoor fireplaces are vertical and include a chimney for ventilation and a firebox to hold the fire. They vary in size, shape, and style and can be built with brick, concrete, or limestone - among other materials. 

Outdoor fireplaces tend to have mantels, which can be an excellent decorating resource for your outdoor space. Some homeowners choose to bring some of their art outside, and an outdoor fireplace facilitates the space. Others might even install a TV over their fireplace. In addition, the structure of a fireplace keeps the wind from blowing embers around and the chimney funnels smoke away from the area.

Outdoor fireplaces must adhere to building codes with respect to chimney height and flue size. However, you may opt for a gas fireplace, which doesn't require a chimney, but will require a gas hookup. If you have a great backyard view, an outdoor fireplace might also partially block it. Seating is limited, because the fire only burns in front. This is typically the more expensive option, as well.


A fire-pit is built by digging a hole in the ground and creating a wall of brick, stone, or concrete around it to contain the fire. It has a more simplistic structure, so if you want a fireplace without taking up much space or you want a more minimalist design, a fire-pit could be the right option for you. It's also easier to sit all around a fire-pit, and much more conducive to roasting s'mores or hot dogs over the flame. 

Not only are fire-pits more simplistic in style, but having a fire-pit installed requires much less paperwork. It doesn't need a chimney or gas line (unless you choose to have a gas fire-pit), and it doesn't require permits or adherence to building codes. You can also enjoy unobstructed views with a fire-pit compared to what you might experience with outdoor fireplaces.

On the other hand, however, fire-pits don't offer the protection from wind or the privacy that outdoor fireplaces offer. Also, because there's no chimney, smoke isn't funnelled away from the area as it would be with a fireplace. Fire-pits are better for big groups of people, so if you like to entertain, that's great. If you're just looking for a quiet night on the deck, you may prefer a traditional outdoor fireplace. 

Both outdoor fireplaces and fire-pits allow for more light and warmth to the deck, and a terrific opportunity to gather around with the people you care about. As to the differences, it really just depends on what you want for your space. At Paradise Decks & Spas, we offer both outdoor fireplaces and firepits, and we're happy to customize to fit your needs and preferences. Contact us today for more information.

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