FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
Fire Tables 101 - Includes everything that you need to know about Fire Tables
and maybe a few things that you never wanted to know!
When planning for your new fire table, consider the following:
- The tables location and the access to that location
- The available area and the size of your table
- The energy source, natural gas or liquid propane
- The type of burner: jetted brass lasts virtually forever
- What style or shape will fit best in your area
- Why BTU’s and jetted brass burners really matter
- How to prepare for your new fire table, and what to expect
Why do we offer MORE BTU’s than other companies, and why should you care?
The short answer is because we can, and you'll love it. We believe that a Fire Table that a fire pit setting needs to deliver both heat and warmth, if it doesn't you won't use it as much as you planned. Or, you’ll need additional tower heaters, so what's the point?
We focus on both beauty and burner functionality because we believe added capacity is needed.
A tall and efficient flame is what we demand from Gathering Stone Fire Tables. If you are a professional working on a commercial project, call us or email us to get the correct specifications. And now to the long answer... We started making Fire Tables totally by chance. Our first Fire Table was built for our home… during the summer of COVID in 2020. Friends began to suggest that we build Fire Tables for others and we said yes. We soon realized that there may be a market, so we launched Gathering Stone Fire Tables online, and the rest is history.
Of course, we did our due diligence and learned everything that we could in order to give our friends and customers not just the best looking Fire Tables, but also Fire Tables that would give off real heat, and be safe to use. In the early days, we didn't want to sell the burners and fire media, so we would send our customers to other sources to buy what they needed. It wasn't too long before a nice lady from Maryland insisted that we sell her the entire thing: the Fire Table, the burner... and all. That's when we realized the importance of offering a one stop shop so our customers didn't have to run all over town to buy all the pieces, and began to sell everything needed.
While you're looking for the right Fire Table, ALWAYS check out the BTU rating. Most companies offer 55K - 75K, a few companies offer a bit more. This results in a much smaller, not so attractive and sometimes bluer flame.
Our Gathering Stone Fire Tables are built with a minimum 85K BTU/hr for smaller external propane tank Fire Tables, and 110K BTU/hr or more for our larger Natural Gas Fire Tables. The reason for using higher BTU is simple - we know what customers want in a Fire Table AND we know what our Fire Tables can handle.
The commercial grade Warming-Trends CROSSFIRE Burners we use are made specifically for the size of tables - the flame can always be lowered with a key valve if you want less heat, but you can never have more heat once you have committed to a smaller burner. If you plan to sit around the Fire Table it is important to have enough pressure to run 85K or higher BTU/hr. If running a new gas line, always be sure that your licensed plumber is aware of how many BTU's are needed for optimal performance of the burner.
We’ll cover more about burners later; however, this is an important issue as we had a customer who realized only after installing his Fire Table, that he did not have enough pressure to effectively operate the burner. In the case of too much pressure, a regulator will need to be added to reduce the pressure.
What's the difference between Natural Gas (NG) and Liquid Propane (LP)?
Natural gas (NG) is the cleanest and most traditional energy source. While it does require professional preparation, you will likely enjoy this clean burning fuel without the smoke and sparks released by burning wood.
Liquid propane or propane (LP) is recommended only when you do not have natural gas available and you use LP for your needs around the house. The propane tank cannot be placed under or next to your Fire Table because LP is heavier than air and tends to sink, so the Fire Table will require ventilation. Fire Tables used with LP have weeping holes created for air flow, and the LP is routed to them from an external tank.
A 25 gallon tank is recommended and should run for approximately 4 hours on a typical 110K BTU burner. Most of our Fire Tables offer between 110k-180K BTU, so storing an extra tank and/or running to a retail outlet to exchange or fill up your tanks in the middle of a party is not an acceptable solution. If required by local code, an LP line may need to be run underground so be sure to check your local regulations.
The bottom line is that while some people love the idea of a wood burning fire, the relaxing part is coming home from work and unwinding in front of your Fire Table for 20 or 30 minutes. And it’s not likely that you’ll build a wood fire for 30 minutes of peace...right? In short, you'll use a natural gas Fire Table far more often, because it does not demand the effort or time that a wood burning Fire Table requires. A natural gas Fire Table provides all of the benefit without all of the fire tending work.
How do I prepare for a natural gas Fire Table?
1. Always ensure that plans have been made to provide a level space at a uniform height for the Fire Table to rest on prior to ordering.
2. Mark the center where the Fire Table will sit and run your gas line 3-5 inches off of the longest center line and no more than 4” above the floors surface (an above grade elbow is recommended to minimize the height of the line and reduce the space needed. Share this information with your plumber.
*The gas pipe should extend below or grade or no more than 2-4” above grade, and be capped prior to installing your fire table.
WHY off center? Most of our Fire Tables have an opening at the bottom to accommodate both drainage and to allow the maximum flexibility for the gas pipe. The gas pipe should be set about 3-5 inches off center of fire table, as most burners have a hookup in the very center, so an off center gas pipe allows the flex line to the burner to enjoy less sharp turns and an easy flow of gas, and therefore less whistling.
This Gas and LP chart will help determine what size gas pipe you should run.
IMPORTANT: You always use a licensed plumber to run gas lines per local building codes, and always want to tell the plumber how much BTU your table will use. Each of our tables lists the estimate BTU of its burner.
How do I choose the right size Fire Table for my situation?
The real question is: how do you want to use your Fire Table?
Do you want to sit around the fire pit/Fire Table? If so, go LARGE, as large as you can fit in the space. Why? Because with Gathering Stone Fire Tables a high capacity burner provides more heat. Remember, our Fire Tables are designed to provide you with real heat.
However, if you want your Fire Table for ambiance or next to the pool, then you can really select any size that is aesthetically appealing. For a natural-looking Fire Table that does not resemble a burning candle, we recommend at least an 85K BTU burner.
If you have a professional outdoor space designer or landscape architect, then you are halfway there. Nonetheless, visualization is helpful - so always create a mock-up Fire Table in relationship to your planned seating arrangement.
By cutting a piece of cardboard to the largest diameter size Fire Table that you’re considering. You can place the cut-out on top of a bucket or maybe a box, to help simulate the size and height. Place some chairs around the cut-out approximately 2 feet away from the Fire Table, as that is as close as you will want to sit next to the Fire Table. Now you will be able to easily see if there is enough space; if it’s too big, cut the cardboard smaller, until it is the right size for you.
Do I need a shut-off valve? Where should I place it?
YES. A shut-off valve is necessary to turn the gas on and off and to adjust the flame height. In most of our Fire Tables, the valve will be placed on the side of the table. A key is used to turn the shut-off valve on and off, and to adjust the gas volume and resulting flame height.
You should also install a secondary, hand-operated emergency shut off valve outside and readily accessible in case of an emergency to shut off the gas before it reaches the fire table - especially if your main line shutoff requires a secondary tool to shut it off, is inside a building, or if it’s a long distance from your Fire Table.
Important: Never leave the key attached or inserted to key valve, especially if you have children!
Does the table require a pad?
First of all, we recommend that the Fire Table sits on a level and uniform surface. It does require a surface that will not settle. Concrete, paver blocks or compacted stone are recommended. Wood or composite decking are also acceptable but we would recommend that you install a fire proof mat (purchased separately) inside the table base to protect the decking from the remote chance of heat or small debris damage. In earthquake or other natural disaster-prone areas, it is best to anchor the Fire Table and a concrete pad is recommended.
Why do we use a pan?
Gathering Stone Fire Tables fabricates most of our Fire Tables with a small shelf on the inside wall of the Fire Table to hold a pan from all sides and at the right height. We may cut the pan to fit the Fire Table. The pan is made from aluminum, with a brass Warming-Trends Crossfire Burner attached to it. The pan enables a cleaner installation as well as easy maintenance. Media, such as lava, glass, or fire stones should be installed on the top of the pan, allowing the rest of the Fire Table to remain empty. Remember that the burner should NOT be covered with anything other than the media (Lava, glass, etc). Media inside the Fire Table must be fire rated.
Are your tables Fire Rated? Do they have a UL number?
Gathering Stone Fire Tables are custom made and are not mass produced. Therefore, they do not require an UL number. As long as local zoning and safety guidelines on the burner size and location are followed, we would not expect issues.
Do I need to cover the Fire Table when not in use?
The short answer is yes - you should!
Fire Tables that are covered will accumulate less dirt, leaves & debris. When it rains, the cover will keep water out of the Fire Table burner and gas line; and during snow it is part of the winterizing process to cover the Fire Table. Water-resistant fabric covers that have ties around the Fire Table near the base of the Fire Table are readily available. Covers are made in standard or custom sizes. We also offer Warming-Trends stainless steel or our own custom matching concrete covers.
Am I required to have an electronic ignition system?
Some areas DO have local codes that require an Electronic Ignition system, so you need to know. In addition, it is best to use the Electronic Ignition system in commercial applications, as in a commercial application unlike in your home, the Fire Table might be on a timer, and not always closely watched.
It also makes sense to consider an Electronic Ignition System for your home or business if you have multiple Fire Tables, as it will enable you to light them and turn them all off with just one switch.
For a single home use Fire Table, which will be sat around and watched, it may not make as much sense to spend the money since electronic systems are relatively expensive. On the other hand, the peace of mind knowing that if the fire is blown out for any reason, then the gas or LP supply will be shut down after 3 attempts, might make it worthwhile for you. This is an important decision that only you can make.
In windy conditions, or during rain, the Fire Table should NOT be operated; and we recommend that you cover the Fire Table.
Important: Never leave any Fire Table unattended. A Fire Table is a feature designed to enjoy WHILE sitting around it and should never be left burning without an adult present.
How do I choose the right burner?
We exclusively offer Warming-Trends CROSSFIRE Burners from Colorado. They offer the best performance and last longer than any other brand we can find. Each burner type offers multiple BTU strengths and different sizes. We provide the burner pricing and BTU options with your Fire Table quote or with all online purchases. The Warming-Trends Crossfire burner is not made out of stainless steel, but rather brass, and mixes air with the gas, therefore you get twice the flame with half the gas of a more common stainless steel pipe ring.
We find that most of our clients LOVE the way Warming-Trends CROSSFIRE flames look and feel.
Where can I see the advantages of a Warming-Trends CROSSFIRE Burner and what do the flames look like?
Please watch this Warming-Trends CROSSFIRE Burner video to comparing a stainless steel ring burner to the superior CROSSFIRE Burner.
Do I want to choose Lava for my Fire Table?
Lava rock is a low expense option and easier to replace if needed; however, Lava emits less heat than glass.
WARNING! Lava can absorb moisture and can pop when the fire is lit and as it gets hot. If it was raining, even if Fire Table was covered, Lava still might have moisture in it. Let Lava dry as much as possible and let the Fire Table work for 30-40 minutes while standing away from it. Pieces of Lava have been known to sometimes shatter and could become dangerous.
If you have young children nearby when the Fire Table is off, lava might be less "appetizing" for kids than glass, especially the glass beans that can look like candy. Always have an adult watching children any time they are around any Fire Table - even if it is not ignited.
What else should I consider when before ordering?
Gathering Stone Fire Tables are made out of a very unique concrete mix, so they can weigh a few hundred pounds. If you are considering a large Fire Table, measure the access to the area where you plan to place the Fire Table. It would be helpful but not required to have a pallet jack available to wheel the Fire Table to its placement location.
So talk to us... Gathering Stone Fire Tables is happy to help you with the assessment of your unique circumstances. We can be reached at 248-744-4141.
Why should I purchase a Fire Table from Gathering Stone Fire Tables when there are many other options?
Gathering Stone Fire Tables are beautifully designed to do what any quality Fire Table should do... they keep you warm when sitting around the Fire Table with friends and family. We want you to enjoy the features that we wanted in our own family Fire Table - a great design, a beautiful yet natural look, and real substantial heat. If you're not warm when sitting around your Fire Table, you won't use it as often as you might think; and you'll miss out on the hours of chatting with friends and family, or just sitting quietly absorbing the ambiance.
Most of our Fire Tables are intended for sitting around - like you would sit around a wood fire pit, and have a least 110K - 180K BTU/hr, most other companies who offer 55K -75K BTU/hr, and this results in a relatively small, less inactive blue flame. Our larger Fire Tables have up to 250K BTU/hr. The burners we provide with our Fire Tables are made specifically for the size of our tables. Make sure that you take a minute or two to read more about why BTU matters in Fire Tables 101.
What should I expect over time?
Over time, the concrete will patina and age with natural character. Sometimes the concrete might develop small hairline cracks, or surface cracks. This is normal for concrete, however, in our products these changes over time will not break the Fire Table. We use different additives to reduce cracking and shrinkage, and are constantly working with new materials that are being developed.
Concrete can be scratched or chipped; if rubbed or hit against hard surfaces or other concrete it can be damaged. Fire Tables will last the longest and avoid stains when sealed every 1-2 years depending on exposure. We recommend using sealer from Concrete Floor Supply using their Concrete DNA – Polish Guard Gloss but any reputable sealer will do the job. Just follow the directions. An additional coat of bees wax can then be applied to enhance the shine and add a second level of stain protection.
Shipping, Warranty & Placement
What is your manufacturing process?
Our trained artisans mold, hand set and hand cast each custom table with your selection of custom aggregate. Choose stones, shells, marble, fossils, gemstones or glass to express your own personality. Our product line is constantly growing and changing as new pieces are designed. Every piece is engineered to endure and is manufactured in the suburbs of Detroit, MI. We use your aggregate with cement, polymers and glass fibers for strength. This increases durability of your Fire Table tremendously. All Gathering Stone Fire Tables' products are enhanced with a clear interior and exterior sealer protection for all weather use, as well as for protection against the freeze and thaw process.
Our products are not made by machine, nor are they thrown like pottery. They are handmade – and the stone or aggregate are hand inlaid with a process developed here at Gathering Stone Fire Tables. The finish and coloring is not always uniform because it is hand laid and pressed. You can expect slight variations in the finish or color; this is normal for our handmade products and enhances the beauty of each piece.
What is your Warranty?
We warranty our products to the original owner to be free from Gathering Stone Fire Tables warranties its products, when purchased new, to be free from defects in Materials and workmanship under normal use and service for one year from the original provable date of purchase. Replacement or repair at the option of Gathering Stone Fire Tables of the defective part shall be the sole remedy of this warranty.
How does Shipping & Delivery work?
FREE Shipping or Delivery
FREE Shipping by Lift Gate Truck service or FREE Personalized Local Delivery is provided with all of our fire tables. Because of this, we will determine which method and carrier is best when the order is shipped. Should you want a different delivery method, then we ask you to make sure we are aware of your request 5 working days in advance of shipping. An additional charge for shipping may be necessary to accommodate your request and these charges will be communicated with you in advance.
FREE Personalized Local Delivery and Setup (within 100 miles of Troy MI)
We provide FREE personalized local delivery for your new fire table. You are asked to provide 2 strong people to help with lifting, as well as easy access. If using natural gas, we will HELP place the Fire Table base and top over the natural gas line, complete assembly and make the final gas line connection subcontracted to us by a licensed mechanical contractor. If you are unable to provide 2 strong people to help with lifting, let us know in advance and we will arrange for this additional labor and an additional labor charge of $175 will be added to your final payment in advance.
Please make sure that the access and clearance is wider than the width of the Fire Table, and let us know of any obstacles such as steps, etc. There is always a solution to every obstacle, but we need to know about it ahead of time so we can prepare.
Always communicate your needs with us prior to delivery. Many customers send us photos or videos of the path to place the fire table so we can advise them on the best approach.
FREE Lift Gate Truck Service – Curbside Delivery (more than 100 miles from Troy MI)
We provide FREE Lift Gate Truck Service for your new fire table if you are located more than 100 miles from Troy MI. Your Fire Table order cannot be sent by common carriers due to carrier weight limits. When products are shipped by Lift Gate Truck, they generally come on a pallet. Depending on the fragility of the order, the pallet may be either strapped or crated. We take your business very seriously and we do our very best to ship orders in a way that ensures undamaged arrival.
It’s important to note that since Lift Gate Truck orders ships on a pallet, the truck used to transport your order is a large truck, hauling up to a 54' trailer box. As you can imagine, these trucks have a hard time navigating through narrow, tight roads. That is why our FREE shipping includes “CURBSIDE” delivery only (drivers may but are not required to move the shipment beyond curbside).
What is Curbside Delivery?
The driver must have what he deems reasonable access to the end of your driveway. On rare occasions, the driver may determine that they cannot access your property line or driveway for curbside delivery (examples might include dirt roads, narrow cul-de-sacs, busy highways, etc.). If this happens, you will be required to make arrangements to get your order from the freight company, which at times could mean meeting the driver at a more convenient location.
This means the driver will take your order off the truck for you, but you are responsible for moving the order to its final location on your property, assemble it and make the necessary gas connection. The driver will not offer assistance in this regard.
The Lift Gate Truck Service freight company will call you prior to your delivery to schedule the delivery. An adult must be present to INSPECT AND SIGN for the shipment. If you miss your appointment or need to reschedule your delivery, you may be responsible for additional fees incurred. You are responsible for inspecting the freight shipment at the time of delivery. If you notice any damage to the packaging, you need to note the “Proof Of Delivery” (POD) that the driver gives you to sign and contact Gathering Stone Fire Tables right away at 248-744-4114. If you sign for the freight delivery without noting the damage, the freight company is released from liability and the responsibility now falls on you, the owner. To avoid this, please thoroughly inspect the freight prior to signing for it.
IMPORTANT - Packing and Unpacking
Our Fire Tables are generally packed and crated on our custom-built wooden crates. We make every effort to pack and protect all shipped products, including the purchase of shipping insurance. Nonetheless, damage does rarely occur during shipment. In the effort to avoid unnecessary problems, please follow to these simple guidelines:
A designated person should remain present at the project site to receive your Fire Table, even if the shipping company suggests that it is not necessary.
Have a person with an electric drill to make the opening of the crate easier.
The shipment should always be inspected carefully for exterior damage to the box at the time of delivery.
Please call Gathering Stone Fire Tables if there is any damage right away at 248-744-4114
Whether there is damage to the exterior box or not, please open the boxes carefully while the driver is still present. The walls of the crate are nailed together and the top is screwed down onto the walls
You must take photographs and write all damage onto the bill of lading and have the driver sign the bill of lading to acknowledge the damage that you have documented.
Installation, Safety & Maintenance
How to make sure everything goes smoothly during and after installation?
Make sure that your walk-way and/or gate is wide enough, and that the way is paved. If the path is not paved, let us know and we may bring pieces of 3/4" plywood to support the wheels of lifting equipment.
Measure all access and all gates where the Fire Table will pass through. DO NOT guesstimate. MEASURE the narrowest point.
The easiest way to move the Fire Table into place is to rent a pallet jack and wheel the Fire Table next to its designated gas line. If you do not have a pallet jack, an option is to request to use the driver's and tip him.
Do not strap the Fire Table or pot directly; if you need to lift the bow with a crane of some type make sure to strap the crate, NOT the FIRE TABLE. Talk to us ahead of time if you plan to crane the Fire Table or pot into place, as it will require that we build special crating.
The Fire Table gas line and connection by local code should be installed by a licensed plumber codes.
Support for the burner is available from the burner Warming-Trends the manufacturer.
Many possible issues can be avoided by talking with us, and preparing accordingly. We are happy do help with whatever you need.
VERY important DO NOT PLACE PAN on edge without something soft in between the burner and the concrete. Concrete can scratch or chip if not protected.
If you have additional or specific questions about the Warming-Trends CrossFire Burners, feel free to call Warming-Trends at: 877-556-5255
Gas and LP chart will help determine if your gas line pressure is sufficient for your BTU selection.
How do I turn on a match lit Fire Table?
NEVER place your face or any body part over the Fire Table when turning it on. Make sure all other adults, children, or animals are a safe distance away when igniting the Fire Table burner.
ALWAYS LIGHT a long Match lighter FIRST and hold it above the Fire Table very close to the fire glass or lava - Make sure it is still lit BEFORE you turn the gas key to light your Fire Table.
Remember: SAFETY FIRST, if the fire on the match lighter did not stay lit on the first try, close the valve wait a few minutes prior to trying again.
Do NOT light your Fire Table when it's windy outside as the flames travel from side to side.
Can I leave my Fire Table unattended if I have an electronic ignition?
NO! You must ALWAYS be present when you Fire Table is working, whether your system is automatic or manually controlled.
Does the Fire Table itself get too hot to touch?
Our Fire Tables will not get too hot to touch on the outside. However the portion of the fire opening lip close to the fire may become too hot to touch. If your Fire Table stands outside in the sun on a hot summer day, it will get hot... just like a concrete floor. Always Use Common Sense: do NOT allow children touch the media (such as lava, glass, fire stones, etc.), or the lip close to the fire, and never leave your Fire Table unattended by an adult while it is turned on.
How do I clean my Fire Table?
Regular cleaning of dust can be completed with a clean damp sponge and a mild detergent.
All of our Gathering Stone Fire Tables, including our Fire Tables will age, and can get water marks. Most people view the water marks as part of the natural look of aging concrete; however, if it bothers you there is a way to clean the water marks.
1) Prepare and Mix: 5 parts water to 1 part white distilled vinegar. (Adjust the strength as needed).
2) Wet the outside surface of the Fire Table thoroughly with clean water.
3) Use a plastic brush with soft bristles to brush affected areas with the cleaning solution, to remove whitening or staining.
4) Hose the affected areas off with clean water immediately once the whitening or staining has cleared, or when a change in appearance is observed.
5) Repeat the process at least two times to ensure efficiency of the acid solution. If only slightly improving, reduce the ratio of water to acid and repeat the same process.
6) Once the surface is clean, let it dry for 24-hours, and then reseal immediately for protection.
How long should I wait before covering the Fire Table?
This depends on how long the fire was on for, and many times the media in the Fire Table fire pit will get cooler before the actual burner is cool enough to cover. It's recommended to wait for at least 15-20 minutes if the fire was on for more than an hour.