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Do Lava Rocks Hold Heat? 9 Helpful Facts About Lava Rocks

Updated January 10th, 2024

I love sitting by a good fire at night. Gas fire pits are a great solution if you are somewhere that doesn’t allow wood burning. If this is your first fire pit you might have a lot of questions about how to set it up. Setting up your fire pit correctly can make it much more enjoyable. One consideration is what to put in your fire pit. Lava rocks are one popular option for gas and propane fire pits.

Do lava rocks hold heat? How long do lava rocks stay hot in your fire pit? How long do lava rocks last? Let’s look at these lava rock questions and several others to help you get the most out of your fire pit lava rock.

1 – Do lava rocks hold heat?

Lava rocks are good at retaining heat. They do not hold heat as long as lava glass and lava rocks due to their lower density and porosity. They still retain heat for a long time after heating them up. It will take 20 minutes to an hour for lava rock to cool off after turning off the flames. If your fire pit, or grill, was on high you should let your lava rocks cool for at least an hour before covering it or putting it away.

If you are cooking over lava rocks you should get 15 to 20 minutes of cooking time before they cool off too much. Be sure to heat them up to the high heat before you start to cook on them.

Do Lava Rocks Hold Heat

2 – How long do lava rocks hold heat?

Lava rocks will hold heat for 20 minutes to an hour depending on how hot they were. Lava rocks do not hold heat as long as lava glass or lava stone which can stay hot much longer. They still hold heat pretty well. Let your lava rocks cool for 20 minutes to an hour after turning off the flame before touching them or moving the fire pit.

3 – How long do lava rocks last?

Lava rocks will last 1 to 2 years or longer depending on how often you use your fire pit. Over time lava rocks will deteriorate and start breaking apart. When the lava rocks start crumbling and falling apart it is time to get new lava rocks.

4 – How many times can you use lava rocks?

You can use lava rocks, in a fire pit, over and over and over again until the rocks start breaking up and crumbling. Lava rocks should last at least 1 to 2 years of regular use. The more you move the lava rocks around, the more they rub and bang against each other, which will shorten their life. Getting lava rocks wet without letting them dry may cause them to crack or burst. This also reduces their lifespan. Learn more about exploding wet lava rocks here.

5 – Should I put lava rocks in my firepit?

Lava rocks are a great thing to put in your gas or propane fire pit.

  • Lava rocks look good and they can match landscaping lava rock.
  • Lava rocks protect the burner from the flame. The lava rocks absorb heat from the burner and dissipate the flame as it leaves the burner. This can prevent heat damage to the burner over time.
  • Lava rocks absorb heat and radiate it making the temperature more consistent. If you use your fire pit for cooking this means a more consistent cooking temperature. The lava rocks spread out under the cooking surface will be hot and radiate heat all across it.
  • Lava rocks disperse the flame in different directions. They heat up and start radiating heat. A gas fire pit using lava rocks will radiate heat more like a wood fire than a gas burner without lava rocks.

Look here for some more information on using lava rocks for your fire pit.

6 – Is it safe to cook over lava rocks?

It is safe to cook over lava rocks. Lava rocks can improve the performance of your gas fire pit. Lava rocks heat up and radiate heat in a more even manner than a bare flame straight from the burner. Lava rocks will protect the gas burner from oil, grease, and other dirt from the food. Look here for some more information on cooking over lava rocks.

The below video shows how to setup a gas grill to use lava rocks and how to cook with it.

7 – What’s better lava rock or ceramic briquettes?

Lava rocks and ceramic briquettes are 2 popular choices for gas grills. Lava rocks are cheaper and can lead to flare ups from grease and oils finding their way into the rock pores. Ceramic Briquettes are an artificial material created as an improvement to lava rocks. Ceramic Briquettes are not as porous so they don’t absorb oils and grease. They last longer than lava rocks because they don’t crumble over time. They are much more expensive than lava rock.

8 – Can lava rocks be cleaned?

Lava rocks are easy to clean and should be cleaned regularly if you cook over them. To clean lava rocks, turn them upside down so the dirty side is facing the flame. Cover the lava rocks with a layer of foil so they will get hotter. Turn on your gas grill or fire pit and set it to high. Let it burn for 20 minutes on high. This should burn off all the grease, oil, and dirt in the lava rocks. Do not do this for more than 20 minutes. Letting it burn longer can damage your grill and lava rocks.

9 – Do lava rocks prevent flare ups?

Lava rocks that are clean can prevent flare ups in your gas grill. The lava rocks absorb grease and oil drippings from the food preventing build up on the bottom of the grill. If lava rocks are not cleaned the grease and oil drippings will build up in the lava rocks. Because the lava rocks are porous they can become saturated with grease and oil. When this happens the saturated lava rocks can ignite causing a grill flare up. Grill flare ups can be avoided by keeping your grill and whatever you are using in it clean.

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About the author

My name is Doug Ryan. I am a homeowner and love having get togethers and finding the best things to make spending time at home easier and more fun. We spend a lot of time at home so why shouldn’t we have a great time there?  I decided to start Great Home Gear as a way to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for all things home living with everyone.