Sep 8, 2011

Are popular Paver Block Firepits and Grills the thing of the past?

Once the toast of the Paver Patio, Firepits & Paver Block Grills lose their taste!

The past 15 years I have not had a customer who had us install, repair, or restore a brick paver patio who did not inquire about adding a firepit or paver block grill.  As most brick paver manufacturers searched for new uses of their products versatility, outdoor living spaces became the marketing focus.  Most Americans consider paver patios, decks, or four seasons rooms the "5th room" of the house. This is often referred to as the "outdoor living space" of the home.

Entertainment, family enjoyment, and functionality began to change in the back yard after the turn of the century. The past few years I have noticed a change in the choices for paver patio "add-ons" and "accents".  I am giving some recommendations below to consider as an option before having your brick pavers contractor install a firepit or paver block grill in and around your brick pavers patio.

The single most enjoyment for most families in the back yard is a good ole fire.  As it mesmerizes the kids, warms the skin, lights the night, keeps the bugs at bay, and creates a camping trip smell, the paver block firepit was once the "golden nugget" of brick paver patio installation.  Whether roasting marsh mellows, skewing hot dogs, or setting the scene for long scary tales, firepits have brought bounds of enjoyment for family & friends.

I have recently began to advise my customers who request paver block firepits to consider the option of using the new portable firepit structures offered by outdoor living centers or home improvement centers like Lowes & Home Depot. The variety, costs, and flexibility of these portable firepits can not be matched by a permanent paver block firepit.

Flexibility of placement and cleaning are just a start. Accessory items, such as fitted covers, are a huge benefit.  The greatest advantage is cost! The minimum 5ft diameter paver block firepit installed is $700 ( alittle cheaper if combined with a new paver patio installed).  Portable firepits range from $75- $400 depending on the structure's material & size. There are even patio tables with a firepit in the middle that are a dazzling idea.

I, Mr. Brick Paver Contractor, personally uses a wrought iron & tile firepit and a chiminea on my pavers patio.  Cost was obviously not a factor in my decision but the flexibility of changing the location of the firepit seasonally or during events was the biggest draw. Having had a paver block firepit in the past, I was fully aware of the aggravating cleaning process too.

Much like the firepits above, paver block grills have become out of favor due to the high cost of pre-fab and custom construction units.  Pre-fab or custom construction grills, fireplaces, & kitchenette paver block units with all the appliances pre-installed can range from $10,000-$12,000 each unit when purchased and installed. Though beautiful, these paver patios features are affordable to few.

Focusing just on the paver block grills, I have come up with a less and feasible cost application that we have implemented the last several years.  I refer to it as the "custom grill enclosure".  Basically, the homeowner purchases a new stainless steel grill with the features they desire, and we "enclose" the unit using paver blocks and/ or caps. We custom design & cut to fit the grill unit while creating added surface space. It is worth mentioning that the more round or curved your grill is, the more cost to custom enclose will be.

The custom grill enclosure runs about $2,500-$3,500 depending on the size & cost of the new grill.  We also are able to construct the custom grill enclosure so the unit can be easily removed if needed.  This application for a paver block grill has been a happy median of cost & appearance that our homeowners could afford and enjoy. This installation process really gives your pavers patio and outdoor living space the "wow" factor!

I know, I know, why would a respectable brick pavers contractor cut out profitable patio "add-ons" that customer's want & request. Well its simple, I always approach each and every paver bid, whether a new installation, repair, or cleaning & sealing project, with the mind set of "what I would want an honest and informative contractor to tell me". 
I like to analyze each paver project with a "cost / benefit" approach, offering the most economical products, design, & solutions that best meet the customers needs. Sometimes simple solutions to wants & needs can satisfy both customer and contractor. Most time customers just need to know what options or solutions can solve their needs at the best price.