And remember, when using the online calculators, put in the depth that you want your fire glass to cover (again probably anywhere between 1-4 inches). Not the full depth of your unit or you'll get a whopping amount of fire glass recommended to you. Some fire glass calculators take substrate (lava rock) depth into effect. American Fyre Designs notes that on its webpage, for example.
If there was an easy-to-use formula to determine the correct amount of fire glass you need, we would share it. But, there isn't. There are too many manufacturers, with too many accessories, that make a large variety of shapes and sizes of fire glass to create an accurate formula. And while it's frustrating to move from site to site, it's the best way to determine how much fire glass you need without breaking the bank.
What are some alternative fire media options you can add?
Along with fire glass, you can use alternative media and substrates. One we mentioned earlier was lava rock. Lava rock is great to sit under your fire glass. But, some media can add to the ambiance of your fire glass like decorative stones, ceramic spheres, cones, and even cannonballs. There's no shortage of media out there to supplement your fire glass.
These decorative sets work best when set around the burner. Some items like the cannonball can be quite heavy. Placing a heavy object on the burner is not ideal because that could block the flow of gas or damage the burner.
The choices in substrates are numerous as well. The most common are lava rock and silica sand. Both work the same. Lay enough sand or lava rock to cover the entire burner if allowed by the manufacturer (check the manual). Hide the burner from view without overfilling. Then place the fire glass on top.
How should you clean your fire glass?
Taking care of your fire glass may be time-consuming depending on how much fire glass you have, but at least it's super simple. There are no special tools to buy or a task that you have to put on the calendar. When your fire glass starts to lose its luster, take these steps when you see fit.
Dust the fire glass. If you use your fireplace only during the winter, your glass may gather dust during those spring and summer months.
Clear away debris. Your outdoor gas fire pit may catch some sticks or leaves after a bout of harsh weather. Get rid of that debris before turning on your fire pit again.
Wash it. The natural process of time may leave your glass looking a little less shiny than before. If that's the case, create a 50/50 mix of water and vinegar. Remove the fire glass from your appliance and dip into the mix for a short while. Remove it and let it dry. Your fire glass should look like new.
What are some other uses for fire glass?
After you have the perfect fire glass set up, you may have some extra leftover. If you are the quintessential DIY-er, you shouldn't let that extra fire glass sit there. Here are some ideas for those leftovers.
Landscaping - Fire glass comes in all kinds of colors, so you know it's better looking than mulch. The right color will give your yard or garden a great accent.
Aquariums - You've got a lovely home, why can't your fish have the same. Add some fire glass to your little buddy's tank. The glass will not harm him and is a great alternative or addition to the ordinary aquarium gravel.
Potted Plants - Like your garden, you can dress up your potted plants as well. Fire glass will make your plants pop, and there's an added benefit too. The glass will reflect light so the heat will not evaporate all the water sitting on the topsoil.
Stepping stones, flooring, and countertops - If you're a craftsman not afraid of getting dirty with some concrete, fire glass opens up a lot of opportunities. Putting some fire glass into your countertops, flooring, or even your outside stepping stones is a fantastic way to bring some sparkle to the home.
Who are some top manufacturers of fire glass?
American Fire Glass - AFG supplies high-quality fire glass in a large variety. With AFG, you'll find the most unique forms of fire glass on the market. American Fire Glass products have been featured on HGTV, Bravo, A&E, and more.
Firegear Outdoors - With Firegear, you'll find fire glass, mixed media, along with affordable substrates. While the variety of their fire glass isn't as wide as American Fire Glass, Fire Gear does offer inexpensive lava rock and other media.
Kingsman - If you have a Kingsman unit, you won't find anything better for you than their fire glass accessories. With Kingsman, you will find their beautiful Zircon collection of glass media. They also make the cannonballs mentioned earlier.
Real Fyre - If you're looking for affordability and variety, Real Fyre is for you. They offer a large selection of colors, but their size selection is limited. You'll find that Real Fyre offers "nuggets" and "gems" as the staple of their lineup. These are more substantial bits of glass tumbled and polished until smooth.
Empire - This company offers some of the most affordable fire glass on the market. The glass does not provide size information on its crushed glass, but it does on its other media. When you need a lot of glass check with Empire.
How will your fire glass ship?
Fire glass will usually ship via parcel. Those who buy single bags of the glass don't need to worry about a freight shipment. The bags don't weigh hundreds of pounds, so a parcel shipment is ordinary.
Fire glass can come via freight if bought as a package with a burner or fireplace — also, volume. If you intend to buy huge amounts of fire glass, maybe for multiple linear units outside a hotel or restaurant, expect a freight shipment.
How do you use fire glass safely?
Previously in this article, we touched on some safety tips here and there. Now we are going to take a real look at what you need to watch for when using fire glass.
Never use common glass in place of fire glass. Fire glass is treated and tempered to withstand the heat of your fire appliance.
Common glass will pop or explode, which could harm you or others. It will melt and stink. This melted glob of glass can ruin your fire pit or fireplace.
Do not stick fire glass in a wood-burning fireplace, stove, or fire pit. Yes, fire glass can stand the heat of gas and electric fire units but not wood. The heat released by burning wood is too high for fire glass, and it could melt the glass.
Handle with care. Fire glass is tumbled to get rid of sharp edges, but there are so many bits, one or two could still cut you. Use gloves when you need to handle large amounts of fire glass.
Don't use when wet. Turning the burner on when your fire glass is still wet will cause the fire glass to pop. Let the glass dry before turning on your burner. It's recommended to cover your fire unit to prevent it from getting damp.
Helpful Links and Professional Support
Fire glass is a stand out media for your fireplace or outdoor fire appliance. It's sure to draw eyes, attention, and questions. This article gives you the foundation to answer those questions and a starting point at choosing the fire glass set up right for your home.
If you want to know more or look at the fire glass selection we have available, check out the links below. You can also speak to a certified specialist who can answer all your fire glass questions at 1-800-203-1642.