sitting by the fire pit

How Do You Keep Lava Rocks From Exploding? (7 Effective Ways!)

Have you ever seen a rock explode? Exploding rocks are dangerous and very harmful. One rock that commonly explodes is lava rock.

What if you want to use lava rocks for activities with high temperatures?

Can you keep lava rocks from exploding? How? Here are seven solutions for you:

1. Cure the Lava Rocks

A very common way and perhaps the most effective way to keep lava rocks from exploding is to cure them. Cure lava rocks with these steps:

  1. Put the Lava Rocks in a Fire Pit: The first step of curing lava rocks is to place them in a fire pit. If you don’t have one already, consider making a campfire-like pit.
  2. Ignite the Fire Pit: The flames in the pit should be built up to the highest level to quickly heat up the rocks.
  3. Cover the Pit: Cover the pit with any net or mesh-like material to prevent the rocks from hurting you when they explode, but also allow oxygen to go into the pit. You can use a metal grate.
  4. Stand Far from the Pit: Stand at least 15 feet away from the pit so that if any rock particles escape from the metal grate pit covering, it still won’t hurt you.
  5. Wait until the Rocks Start Exploding: The lava rocks should start exploding in about 10 minutes.
  6. Wait until the Rocks Stop Exploding: If they are curing for the first time, the lava rocks should take 45 minutes to cure completely.
  7. You Are Ready to Use the Rocks: After your rocks stop exploding, you can go close to the pit and douse it. If used and stored properly, your lava rocks will no longer explode.

The purpose of curing lava rocks is to make them usable in activities that they could explode in. This does not mean that they will no longer explode if you do not store them properly.

2. Keep the Lava Rocks Dry

volcanic lava rocks

The idea behind preventing your lava rocks from exploding in the future is to keep them dry. Lava rocks that are dry and moisture-free will not explode.

Exploding rocks are a sign that the lava rocks are wet. More about this will be discussed later in this article.

3. Cover Your Fire Pit When Not in Use

If not covered properly, water can go into the pit and get your lava rocks wet. Wet lava rocks can explode, so you need your lava rocks to be dry always.

When your fire pit is not being used, try to store your lava rocks to make sure that they stay completely dry.

4. Do Not Boil Lava Rocks Like Other Rocks

When sterilizing rocks, especially those to be put in fish tanks, boiling is usually recommended.

You should not boil lava rocks like other rocks because they might explode in the boiling water and cause you harm.

5. Cure Your Lava Rocks Again If They Are Wet

volcanic lava rocks on fire pit

If your lava rocks get wet, you should cure them again. Lava rocks can explode when they are wet. To cure your rocks for the second time, you should place them in low heat (in the fire pit) for about 15 minutes before turning up the heat.

This low heat can help dry the rocks to prevent the rocks from exploding.

6. Do Not Use Lava Rocks Outside in the Fall

You should not use exploding rocks like lava rocks outside in autumn. They can get wet easily in this season and when they do, you need to cure them over and over again before each use.

Curing lava rocks can reduce the size of your rocks and will soon make them unusable.

7. Do Not Keep Lava Rocks Close to a Source of Heat

To avoid the risk of explosion or save yourself the time, resources, and energy of curing lava rocks constantly, you should not use the lava rocks in fire pits or other places with high heat.

Consider exploring other uses of lava rocks. You can utilize lava rocks in a lot of different ways. For example:

  • The base of planters: Lava rocks are recommended rocks to place in pots or planters before filling them with soil or potting mix because lava rocks can help water to drain quickly from the pots or planters without adding as much weight as other rocks.
  • Landscaping: If you love the red, brown, and other colors of lava rocks, you should place them in your yard to beautify your home.
  • Mulch: Unlike organic mulch, lava rocks do not decompose, so you can use them for a very long time as mulch. They also help oxygen to reach the roots of your plants while preventing weeds from growing,

Now that you know many ways to prevent your lava rocks from exploding, you may be wondering why lava rocks explode.

fire pit

Why Do Lava Rocks Explode?

The major reason lava rocks explode is the presence of water or moisture in the pores of the rock.

As you already know, lava rocks are very porous. When placed at high temperature, the rock starts to heat up and any water in the pores will become steam.

As the rock increases in temperature, the steam looks for routes to evaporate from. In the absence of routes in the rock, pressure starts building up in the rock pores. Your lava rocks will explode when the pressure becomes too much.

This simply means that exploding rocks split into multiple pieces for steam to escape. This is why you should always keep your rocks dry.

Other Rocks That Can Explode

Some other rocks that can explode in high heat are:

  • Sandstone
  • Pumice
  • Limestone

You do not have to use these rocks in fire pits. There are a lot of other safer alternatives.

Related Questions and Answers

1. What Type of Rock Is Suitable for Fire Pits and High Temperature?

fire glass

The best and recommended rock people use in fire pits is fire glass. This type of rock is not porous and can withstand the effects of being placed in fire pits and other hot places.

Fire glass also makes your fire pit very beautiful.

2. How Can You Sterilize Lava Rocks?

If you want to sterilize your lava rocks, you can use a bleach solution. Mix nine-parts water with one-part bleach and put the rocks (fully submerged) into the solution. Leave the rocks in the solution for more than 30 minutes. This solution can help kill almost every microbe from the rocks.

Another (not so recommended) way to sterilize lava rocks is to place them in boiling water for five minutes then remove them immediately.

Be very careful so that they do not explode in the boiling water.

3. Why Do People Use Lava Rocks in Fire Pits?

If lava rocks can explode in fire pits, why do people still use them? Here are some reasons:

  • Aesthetics: Lava rocks are very beautiful in fire pits because they give the pit a natural appearance. They brighten when they are hot as well.
  • Randomizes Flames: Since lava rocks have a lot of pores, they help to distribute the flame and make it look natural and random.
  • Dries Quickly: Lava rocks when air-dried can dry quickly as they have a lot of pores.
  • Cheap and Available: You can find lava rocks in many stores around you. They are not hard to find.
  • Their Catchy Name: “Lava” in their name attracts people to use lava rocks. Placing “lava rocks” in a fire pit makes everything look cool and natural.

4. Can You Put Lava Rocks in Fish Tanks?

fish tank

One compulsory method of sterilizing rocks to be used in fish tanks is to boil the rocks. Remember that you should not boil lava rocks so that they do not explode.

Aside from the issue of sterilization, lava rocks have a lot of sulfur and other elements that when dissolved in water, can harm your aquarium fish.

You should not use lava rocks in fish tanks.

5. How Do You Use Lava Rocks in Landscaping?

Here are some tips to use lava rocks in landscaping:

  • Use Leaf Blowers to Remove Dead Leaves from Your Lava Rocks: If leaves fall on the lava rocks, remove them to always show the beauty of your rocks.
  • Remove Organic Matter from the Ground: Organic matter can attract bugs and little critters to your yard. You should not leave organic matter on the ground.
  • Pull Weeds Immediately When You See Them: While lava rocks can prevent the growth of weeds, some stubborn weed species can grow on lava rocks acting as mulch. To prevent weeds from covering your rocks, you should remove them as soon as you see them.

Lava rocks have a lot of uses. Fire pits are just one of many.

Final Thoughts

There are many ways to prevent lava rocks from exploding. For example, you can cure the rocks, prevent them from getting wet, or cure them again when they do get wet.

The best way to prevent explosion, however, is to keep your lava rocks away from fire pits and other hot places.


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