DIY Built In Fire Pit Benches

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

These simple DIY built-in fire pit benches are a simple and attractive design. The lumber costs are low and the skills required are minimal — a winning combination in my book! Just think, you could have these permanent benches built around your fire pit by the end of the weekend.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Years ago, I created a very simple (and inexpensive) fire pit using some stumps from a tree we had to have taken down. I simply asked the tree guys to cut the tree into 18″ stumps.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Having fire pit get togethers with friends and family is one of our favorite activities. During these gatherings, our meal planning is usually nothing fancy. Most of the time it consists of hot dogs, salad, s’mores, and good conversation over a warm fire. Unfortunately, after a few years, our stump seats rotted out. For the past year or more we haven’t had any friends over for a fire pit outing because I was afraid the stumps might disintegrate the minute someone sat down. That would be awkward, right?

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

I toyed with the idea of buying more permanent seating, but all the options were expensive (especially when trying to provide seating for 12-15 people.) As luck would have it, after finishing all the construction on the Saving Etta project, I had some leftover lumber (a few pressure treated 2x10s, 2x6s, and 4×6 posts. On the day before the open house, I threw the lumber into my truck and hauled it home thinking I might be able to build benches for around our fire pit. (Note to self, 2x10s placed on top of rotting stumps is no more attractive than rotting stumps.)

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

After a few days (and several cold days where you couldn’t drag me outside), I finished building five built-in fire pit benches and couldn’t be more thrilled with the results. Why don’t you join me and see how this rotten fire pit got it’s groove back with new seating and a new low maintenance stone surround.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Trust me, it is the same fire pit area you see above. Amazing transformation, right?!

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Tools:

Safety Equipment:

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Lumber & Fasteners:

The All Battery Challenge:

The folks at Craftsman sent me all the battery-powered tools used in this project. This is a sponsored post for Craftsman, so I decided to really challenge myself by only using the Craftsman V20 battery-powered tools and forgo dragging an extension cord out to the job site. (I also vowed not to cheat and use any of my corded power tools in my workshop.) Want to see if these tools lived up to the challenge?

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

I can’t forget this Craftsman Cordless V20 blue tooth speaker that doubles as a USB charger when my phone battery get low while jamming out. Hard work is always easier with some rockin’ tunes.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches  Video Tutorial:

Some people learn best by watching others, I get that. Which is why I made this tutorial video for you! Feel free to watch the video below to learn how to make the built-in fire pit benches. I will include the step-by-step tutorial below with a little more detailed instruction. Let’s get building!

Site Preparation:

Before building your fire pit benches, clear your build area. It took me a bit of physics ingenuity to clear out the old rotting stump seats from our fire pit area. (Definitely watch the video to see my magnificent solution for lifting the stumps into the wheelbarrow. They may have been rotting, but they were still very heavy.)

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

After the area is cleared, drive a stake into the center of your fire pit area.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Measure out 5’ from your fire pit center (or the distance you want your benches to sit.)

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Attach the string to the stake. Make a loop big enough to fit your hand through at the 5 foot mark. Insert your hand into the loop and use a can of spray paint to trace a circle around the fire ring.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Cut your 2×10 pressure treated lumber to the size you want your bench tops. (Personally, I chose alternating 4’ and 5’ benches for our fire pit. The 5′ benches can accommodate three adults each or more little ones. These five benches will accommodate 13 adults comfortably and probably more people if we squeeze kids on some of the benches.)

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Lay out where your benches will sit and mark the locations for the support posts. I suggest centering the support posts 18” narrower than the bench seats. (Nine inches in from each side.)

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Dig a hole three times the widths of your posts. The depth will be determined by your frost line for footings as referred to on this map or in your local building codes.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Set a 1-2″ layer of drainage rock into the base of your hole. Drainage rock provides a sturdy base for your post, but it also allows water to seep away from the post.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Use your post to tamp the gravel down and create a firm base.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Measure the depth of your hole. Add 16 ½” to your hole depth and cut your posts to this length. (Hole Depth + 16.5″ = support post length.) This should give you an 18″ bench height, which is standard chair height.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

I had my doubts that this battery-powered saw could cut through all the pressure treated 4×6’s. But, with a fully charged battery and a steady feed, they cut through each post! (Tip: If your saw isn’t cutting through the lumber, swap out your battery for one with a full charge.)

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Place your first post in the hole. Then set your bench seat on top of the post. Level the bench seat and measure the distance between the bottom of the bench seat and the bottom of your hole to determine the length of your other support post.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Set the second support post into the hole and check to make sure it is level with the first support post. Add or remove drainage gravel until the bench seat is leveled. Line up the two support posts so they are even and plumb in both directions. Secure a scrap 2×4 between the posts to hold them in place while adding the concrete mix.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Follow the directions on your concrete mix. Fill the holes with the mix and add the water. Allow the posts to set overnight.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

To cut the bench support pieces, trace a trapezoid shape onto a 2×6. The narrowest part of your trapezoid should be the width of your posts and the widest part of your trapezoid should be 1” narrower than your bench depth.

Cut trapezoid support piece

Each support post gets two trapezoid support pieces sandwiched onto either side. Use a clamp to hold the supports while you level them side to side and front to back.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Then drill three pilot holes into each support piece.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Drive ⅜” lag screws or structural wood screws into the pilot holes.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Clamp the other support trapezoid pieces to the second post. Check to make sure the top of the supports are level with the first supports. Make any adjustment, then drill pilot holes and drive structural wood screws through the trapezoids (like you did on the first post.)

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Center your bench top side to side and front to back on top of the support posts.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Drive 2 ½” wood screws through the bench top and into the support pieces. Two screws on each side of the seat should be sufficient.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Using a circular object (like a glass or water bottle) trace a curve onto each corner of your bench seat. Use a jigsaw to cut along the lines and round off the sharp corners.

Trace circle around water bottle on bench corners

Sand all surfaces and edges smooth on your bench. Wipe off with a damp rag and finish your benches with paint, stain, or a sealant.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

These benches are sure to last much longer than my rotting stumps. It’s time to call the family out and enjoy some s’mores by the fire!

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Want a peek into my real life struggles? This was my goal: Take a nice family photo of my boys happily enjoying roasting marshmallows.

Result 1:  One boy who can not sit still.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Result 2: If you put sticks in boys’ hands you can expect a wild rumpus.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Result 3: Bribe boys with one more marshmallow if they sit still for 2 seconds. Success!

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

We are loving the new built-in fire pit benches. I can’t wait to invite the first group of friends over.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

I bought a new bag of marshmallows and chocolate just for the occasion!

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Of course, the fire pit area is also nice for just two people. Pretty Handsome Guy and I had a little wine and marshmallows after the boys went to bed. You can’t get a more frugal date night.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

I hope you liked this tutorial. I’d love to hear from you in the comments below, especially if you have questions or build these benches for yourself!

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Craftsman. I was not told what to write. All words and ideas are my own. I am very particular about the brands I work with, and only partner with companies that provide quality materials and/or services.

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