Why Are My Lava Rocks Popping?

Fire pits are an ideal addition to any backyard. You get an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and a cozy retreat to escape to. But if you have a fire pit and lava rocks, there are popping lava rocks! We've researched this issue and found out how to prevent this from happening.

Your lava rocks are popping because they have absorbed moisture, causing them to expand when heated. This is common for lava rocks. 

A fire pit should be an enjoyable place to sit back and relax, but if there are lava rocks popping, it's time to look at what's causing this problem. In this article, we'll discuss factors that can contribute to a lava rock popping in a fire pit. Continue reading to learn more.

A tall fireplace with firewood's on the side, Why Are My Lava Rocks Popping?

Why Does a Lava Rock Pop When Heated?

Lava rocks form because of the interaction of hot magma with water and other minerals. This process creates the unique appearance of lava rocks.

Lava rocks are a great way to add some ambiance and a little flare to your fire pit. They come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Aside from their usefulness, they also add a unique texture and visual appeal to your fire pit.

An outdoor fireplace with brown chairs

However, they are not immune to popping up in the fire pit. When the lava rocks pop, it creates a mess in the fire pit. And this is not something that you want to happen.

The reason lava rocks pop is that they have a small amount of moisture trapped inside of them. When you place them in a fire pit, the heat causes the moisture inside of them to evaporate and turn into steam.

The evaporation causes the lava rocks to expand and pop. 

Man holding a handful of black lava rocks

Most lava rocks are porous, so there is a lot of space between the individual pieces of rock. This is great because it allows for air to circulate, keeping the fire lit and burning steadily.

However, it can also mean that the rock can be susceptible to absorbing moisture.

This phenomenon occurs when the lava rocks become wet from rain or snow. When this happens, the moisture seeps into the cracks, causing the rocks to pop when they come in contact with heat.

What To Do?

You can stop this from happening by lowering the heat and waiting until the popping has subsided before reigniting it.

The easiest way to prevent popping rocks is to allow your lava rocks to dry completely before placing them into the fire pit. If you have a fire pit that is outdoors, you can also use a grill cover to help prevent the lava rocks from getting wet.

Water could also enter the fire pit through cracks and crevices. The best way to fix this is to make sure to cover up the vents, and to seal them properly when not in use.

If you're not careful, you can damage your lava rocks when you place them into a fire pit. If you allow your lava rocks to be exposed to moisture every time, this can cause the rock to lose its structural integrity over time and break.

A round area with fire blazing on the middle

Rubbing and banging can shorten the lifespan of your lava rocks. Also, the frequency of this happening increases whenever they pop every time they come in contact with heat.

How Often Should You Replace Lava Rocks?

To determine when it's time to replace your lava rocks, you need to consider how often you use your fire pit. If you use them for cooking and grilling, you should replace them every 2 years.

If you use them to light your fire pit for occasional gatherings, you can get away with replacing them for longer intervals.

How Do You Arrange Lava Rocks On a Gas Fire Pit?

The first thing to consider is the size of the lava rocks. If you're using small rocks, you can stack them together, but if you're using larger rocks, you'll want to place smaller ones on top of the larger ones so as not to block the jet.

The second thing to consider is the distance between the larger rocks. Ideally, you want a small gap that is just enough not to obstruct the flames coming out from the jet. 

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How Deep Should a Lava Rock Fire Pit Be?

Round rock pavers with an outdoor fireplace

Some people are afraid that the fire pit will get too hot, which can damage the surrounding landscaping or property. Others are concerned about the heat from the fire pit spreading into the surrounding area. So, how deep do you need to dig your fire pit?

According to Potted Store, you need at least 4-5 inches layer of lava rock if you're planning to fuel your fire pit with wood or similar material. This protective layer of lava rock helps keep the fire pit from getting too hot. You can even go a little deeper for added protection. 

This estimation, however, depends on the size of your lava rock fire pit. In general, fire pits are most effective when they are set to about 4-5 inches deep.

Top 5 Lava Rocks

Up close photo of lava rocks

Have you been looking for the best lava rocks for fire pits? Well, look no further. We have done the research for you. We have compiled a list of the top 5 lava rocks for fire pits, based on popularity, efficiency, and features.

1. Venetian Princess Lava Rocks

Venetian Princess lava rocks replace faux logs and are perfect for outdoor fire pits, fire bowls, or fire tables. They are made of natural lava rock and are available in several sizes. Each rock measures approximately 0.5 inches to 1.5 inches 

They come in 10-lb. and 40-lb. packs.

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2. Midwest Hearth Lava Rocks

Fire pits are a great way to keep the whole family warm during cold nights. This natural lava rock will provide a warm glow and a great look to your fire pit. 

Midwest Hearth lava rocks are unique, natural lava rocks that you can build your fire pit with. The lava rocks come in a variety of sizes. These natural stones have great heat retention and natural color that is almost fade-resistant and will last for years.

Midwest Hearth lava rocks are perfect for fire pits, basements, patios, pools, backyards, and anywhere else you'd like a warm glow.

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3. Gaspro Black Lava Rocks

Lava rocks are the best fire pit alternative to logs. They heat up quickly and radiate heat for a long time without having to deal with ashes and soot.

The Gaspro black lava rocks are made of high-quality volcanic rock, which makes them strong and durable. These heat-resistant lava rocks won't emit soot or smoke. And the natural color of the lava rocks makes them look great in any home.

Also, the black lava rocks are highly durable. You can use them in fireplaces, fire pits, and backyard fires. 

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4. American Fireglass Lava Rocks

These American Fireglass lava rocks are the perfect way to add a touch of warmth to your outdoor living space. These lava rocks are a great alternative to logs. They provide a warm glow without the mess or the hassle of cleaning the fire pit up after every use.

Not only do these lava rocks look great, but they also provide an even distribution of heat. So, they'll keep your fire pit and its surrounding area at its warmest for hours at a time.

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5. Stanbroil Lava Rock Granules

The Stanbroil lava rock granules are durable and long-lasting. Just pour them into your fire pit and let nature do the rest. They will ignite with a brilliant red glow as they burn, creating a mesmerizing and mysterious effect.

With the right amount of heat, the granules will burn into the stunning lava rock you see when a volcano erupts. The Stanbroil lava rock granules are easy to use. And with a little bit of practice, you can produce a stunning display of fire that warms up your cold nights.

Click here to see this Stanbroil lava rock granules on Amazon

In Closing

A tall fireplace with firewood's on the side

Lava rocks popping in the fire pit is a common problem that happens with many fire pits. Now that you know the reason lava rocks pop in the fire pit, this should not be a cause of concern anymore. And lastly, you can work on preventing the issue from occurring again.

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