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Do Cast Iron Fire Pits Rust?

do cast iron fire pits rust

Fire pits are a great addition to any backyard and make for a fun summer experience. If the fire pit is going to live outside when it is not being used, however, it is going to start rusting. This is true even for cast iron fire pits, which are made from a material, iron, that is prone to rusting.

Anything metal that is exposed to water and oxygen has the ability to rust. Luckily, there are ways to prevent rust on your fire pit, and there is even a way to get rid of the rust in the case that the fire pit does get left outside in the rain.

We are going to go over a few reasons why your cast iron fire pit might rust, what you can do to prevent it, how you can fix it if it does rust, and which type of metal is better for a fire pit. Keep reading for all the information you might need to know about your cast iron fire pit and rust!

How to Keep Cast Iron Fire Pit from Rusting


Rain and water are the biggest cause of rust. If at all possible, store your fire pit inside your garage or under a patio when it is not being used. If the fire pit is really heavy, you can purchase a cover for it that is weatherproof. A cover will have an undercoating that is water-resistant to protect the fire pit.

Keep Off the Ground

You should also try to keep any fire pit off the ground with the use of stones or bricks. It doesn’t matter whether the fire pit is on a patio or in the grass, water has the ability to pool up underneath the fire pit if you are not careful. You do not want your fire pit to be around stagnant water for long periods of time. 

Check the Weather

If you are planning on using your fire pit, you should always check the forecast before starting the fire. It takes a while for the fire to completely cool down, which can cause issues if you need to cover the fire pit before it rains. You can’t put the cover on if there is still any kind of heat coming from the fire.

Clean After Each Use

It is also important to make sure you keep your fire pit clean. It is not a hard process, but it can be hard to remember to do it. Any ash that is left after a fire can easily absorb moisture from the air and will hold that moisture on the surface of the fire pit. 

Extended Storing

If your fire pit is going to be unused for a long period of time, such as during the winter, there are a few extra steps you will want to take to ensure there will be no rusting. After you clean your fire pit for the last time, you will want to rub it down with some vegetable oil.

This is a very easy process and won’t take much time. You will want to take a paper towel and apply the vegetable oil to every piece of metal. There should not be so much oil that it is dripping, it only needs a light covering. One wipe should be plenty to do the job.

It is important to make sure that there is no rust on the fire pit already before you do this. The point of the vegetable oil is to cover any pores that are in the metal and prevent water from getting to the surface. If there is already rust, the process won’t work. However, there are ways to get rid of the rust. 

Cast iron fire pits don’t just keep you warm. Cast iron fire pits like this one can also be very stylish, giving your patio or yard that extra piece of decor that it’s missing.

How to Remove Rust from Cast Iron Fire Pit

To remove rust from a cast iron fire pit, there are a few things that you will need. These things are a few clean rags, some white vinegar, medium grit sandpaper, a steel wool brush, a rust-proof, high-temp paint, and gloves. If there is just a small spot that needs to go, soak a clean rag in the white vinegar and run the spot until you see the bare iron.

If the spot is larger and needs more attention, you will first need to sand it down with the medium grit sandpaper in circular motions. Wear the gloves while you sand so you don’t get any of the dust on your hands. After the spot has cleared up some, wipe it down with a vinegar-soaked rag.

In both cases, you will need to wipe down the cast iron with a damp rag to make sure the vinegar doesn’t corrode the surface any further. After you are finished, dry the cast iron until it is completely dry to avoid any moisture getting stuck on the surface.

Once you have all of the rust removed from the surface and you are sure the material is dry, you can then paint over with the rust-proof, high-temp paint to protect your cast iron fire pit from rusting again in the future.

Steel vs. Cast Iron: Which is Better?

Fire pits come in different materials, so how can you be sure which one is best? There are a few things to take into consideration when determine whether steel or cast iron is the better choice. For example, steel is harder than cast iron, so it is less likely to break in an accident. However, both of these materials are substantially harder than aluminum or copper. 

Steel also has a higher melting point than cast iron. Steel can withstand 2500-degrees Fahrenheit before it melts, while cast iron can withstand 2100-degrees Fahrenheit. Both of these are incredibly high considering fire usually burns between 1112 and 1800-degrees Fahrenheit.

When it comes down to which material is better for a fire pit, the answer is cast iron. It has the ability to heat up more quickly and retain heat better than a steel fire pit. It is also worth noting that even though cast iron is prone to rust, steel is even more prone to rust. 

Final Thoughts

Fire pits are the perfect addition to any backyard and can bring you years of fun as long as you treat it right and protect it. While cast iron fire pits are capable and prone to rusting, there are precautions you can take to protect them.

If you can, it is best to store your fire pit in your garage or underneath a patio away from any rain. The fire pit needs to be kept from water as much as possible to avoid rust. It is also important to make sure that you keep your fire pit off the ground with bricks or stones to prevent water from pooling up beneath it.

If you are not able to store your fire pit in a location that is away from rain, you will want to buy a weather-proof cover for it. This will protect the cast iron fire pit and make sure that no water gets in the pores of the material. Luckily, even if there is some rust on the fire pit, it can be removed and protected in the future.

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