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What Is The Difference Between An Outdoor Fireplace And An Outdoor Fire Pit?


Outdoor Fireplaces and Outdoor Fire pits are attractive features that are popular in the backyards of Kitchener – Waterloo homes. In this post, we will look at the difference between and outdoor fireplace and an outdoor fire pit. If you are exploring these two options and would like some assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us at Royal Masonry.


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How are Fireplaces and Fire Pits Different?

While both have their advantages and disadvantages, it is helpful to understand how they may play into your choice. Both can add a focal point to your backyard while also adding warmth and extending the length of time you can use your outdoor space throughout the year. This is particularly important for Canadians looking to prolong the outdoor season.

 Outdoor fireplace vs. Outdoor fire pit

Size Differences

Fire pits will usually be smaller than fireplaces. This is because, by their very nature, fire pits sit close to the ground. They are generally favoured by men who picture themselves around the fire with some of the gang, shooting the breeze on a cool evening. Fire pits are better suited to large groups of people sitting in a circle around them. If you have a romantic vision of sing-alongs around the “campfire,” the fire pit wins out.

Fireplaces can be designed and built in a much wider variety of shapes, sizes and styles. For this reason, women generally prefer a fireplace that can be attractive and eye-catching, as well as functional. The fireplace then becomes an extension of the indoor space during the warmer months. However, it is more difficult to seat a large group of people around a fireplace and expect them to be warm as the effective heating area is smaller than a fire pit.

 Fire pits make great circular spaces Fire pits make great circular spaces


While fire pits are usually seen as primarily a source of warmth where you might toast marshmallows, fireplaces can be much more complex. Many fireplaces are part of an extended outdoor cooking and dining area that may also include patio space, sheltering walls and more. If your goal is to create a fully functional outdoor living space, then a fireplace becomes a key component.


While there is something to be said about the simplicity of the square or circular fire pit, especially one that has been designed and built by professional stonemasons, the fireplace usually wins out in attractiveness.

Fireplaces are really only limited by your imagination. They can be compact, but truly come into their own when they are large, flowing structures connected to patio walls or even the home itself. This may come at the cost of your property views, so make sure that your fireplace enhances, rather than blocks, your view.

 The right fireplace makes amazing outdoor living centrepiece. The right fireplace makes amazing outdoor living centrepiece.

Types of Fuel and Cost of Construction

Fireplaces can be designed to burn gas, wood or propane.  Most fire pits will burn wood or gas. Fireplaces are often designed as part of a larger outdoor living area so tend to be more expensive than fire pits. As fire pits are stand alone constructions (although they too can be part of a planned outdoor living space), they tend to be less expensive to build and maintain.


As every area is different, you will need to check with your local government as to what regulations and restrictions there may be in your area. Fireplaces usually requiring building permits and must meet code, while fire pits often are less regulated.

Royal Masonry

Why choose a professional stonemason to carry out your latest brick or stone project for your property? Like all experts in their field, it takes stonemasons years of on the job training, apprenticeship, and good old fashioned hard work to acquire their specific skill set.  Our team are experts at designing and creating all kinds of outdoor living spaces. Don’t try to cut corners –  if you are looking for the best workmanship possible in the Kitchener -Waterloo area, then look no further than Royal Masonry. Most brick and stone wall projects can be completed in a few days or even a few hours or less depending on the size, location and complexity of the work.


Outdoor Fireplace vs Fire Pit

Fire Pit vs Fireplace

Hot Debate: Outdoor Fireplace or Fire Pit?