Which is Better - Lava Rocks or Fire Glass? - Blog (2024)

Which is Better - Lava Rocks or Fire Glass?


Fireplace media is designed for use in gas fireplaces and firepits. It evenly distributes gas and creates a barrier between the flames and burner. Additionally, media provides a decorative function. When you choose media for a gas fireplace, there are several things to consider. Lava rocks and fire glass offer very different aesthetics and features. Let's explore key differences between both options.


Lava rocks are naturally occurring igneous rocks. These rocks are found near volcanoes. They are formed when hot magma releases gas and cools down. This chemical reaction causes the formation of rock shapes, known as basalt, or lava rock. Lava rocks are naturally porous. As a result, they are great heat conductors and disperse heat fairly well.


While lava rock is naturally occurring, fire glass is man-made. Created from tempered glass, it can withstand extreme heat. Consequently, the glass will not melt, burn or become discolored. This media is completely safe and does not emit toxic chemicals. It also has the ability to radiate up to 4 times more heat than just wood alone.

Which is Better - Lava Rocks or Fire Glass? - Blog (1)


Next, let's examine the look of lava rock vs fire glass. The polished finish of the fire glass provides a modern feel. The endless color combinations and brilliant shine are sure to enhance the ambiance. If you prefer a traditional or natural look, opt for lava rock. The subtle hues blend well and allow for the fire or gas logs to be the star of the show.

Which is Better - Lava Rocks or Fire Glass? - Blog (2)

Lava rock offers a traditional, rustic look. The igneous rock has a matte finish and will not reflect the appearance of the flames. Because it is naturally occurring and unaltered, there are few color options. It is typically found is basic colors such as red, brown or black. Lava rock has been the go-to choice for fireplaces and fire pits for several years.

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In comparison, fire glass is available in many options due to its manufactured nature. These various styles allow for a customized look. You can easily mix and match the colors and cuts. Whether you opt for jagged, square pieces or smooth, round glass, you'll appreciate the dazzling look. The glass is available in both reflective and non-reflective finishes.


Generally speaking, both media options are durable. However, over time, the rocks will break down and deteriorate. Depending on how often your fireplace is enjoyed, the lava rocks will need to be replaced every 1-2 years. Alternatively, fire glass will last for a much longer time than lave rock. Because it is specifically designed to withstand high temperatures, fire glass will not damage over time.

Whether you choose the tried and true lava rock or modern and trendy fire glass, we have many options available.

Which is Better - Lava Rocks or Fire Glass? - Blog (2024)


Which is Better - Lava Rocks or Fire Glass? - Blog? ›

Depending on how often your fireplace is enjoyed, the lava rocks will need to be replaced every 1-2 years. Alternatively, fire glass will last for a much longer time than lave rock. Because it is specifically designed to withstand high temperatures, fire glass will not damage over time.

Which is better, fire glass or lava rock? ›

Fire glass is a better choice than lava rock if you want to add color, sparkle, and sophistication to your gas fire feature. Lava rock is a better choice than fire glass if you're on a tight budget or are looking to create a rustic feel.

Does lava rock hold heat better than glass? ›

The glass pieces are non-toxic and will not leave behind any ash or soot, which is great for keeping the outdoor area clean. Lava rocks, on the other hand, are known for being very porous and light. Due to the porous texture, they contain no moisture – and do not hold any heat in.

Can I replace lava rocks with fire glass? ›

You use fire glass as a filler to replace your outdated lava rocks or fake ceramic logs. Fire glass is a great way to spruce up your fireplace or fire pit with so color and creativity to match the rest of your current decor.

Is fire glass worth it? ›

Fire glass is an excellent choice if one is looking for a more durable fire pit fuel option. This type of glass design can withstand high temperatures, so it will not crack or break as easily as other types of glass.

What color fire glass looks best? ›

The best color for fire pit glass depends on personal preference and the overall aesthetic of the outdoor space. Some popular colors include clear, black, blue, amber, and red. Clear or reflective glass can create a modern and sleek look, while darker colors like black or blue can add a dramatic effect.

How long do glass fire rocks last? ›

It won't melt, burn or discolor. It will last forever within your fire pit or fireplace. Like all glass it can be broken so be careful when you're putting it in your fire feature and if you move it from one place to another.

What are the cons of fire glass? ›

Cost: Fire glass is generally more expensive than other fire media options, which may be a concern for those on a tight budget. Heat retention: Fire glass does not retain heat as well as lava rocks, which could be a consideration for those seeking maximum warmth from their fire table.

Can I cover the burner with fire glass? ›

We recommend that you use 1–2 inches of fire glass to cover the burner, but be sure to not overfill your fireplace or fire pit.

How long do lava rocks last? ›

Lava rocks are low maintenance and last for 3+ years depending on how often you use your fire pit. However, regularly moving lava rock around can shorten its life span as it may cause it break into smaller pieces.

Do you need sand under fire glass? ›

Using sand or Exotic Glass Base Filler. These options are both safe to use with the fire glass. There are fillers that are not safe to use under fire glass. Fillers like lava pebbles, lava rocks, general landscaping rocks, and porous materials should not be used under fire glass.

Can you roast marshmallows over fire glass? ›

The use of fire glass for roasting hot dogs and marshmallows is not recommended. Fire glass is often used as a decorative element for fire pits and fireplaces. Using fire glass as a cooking surface may result in the fire glass losing its lustre and making it difficult to clean.

Does fire glass give off heat? ›

Fire glass gives off more heat than wood, or fake logs combined. Not only is gas cheaper than burning wood, but adding the extra heat given off by the glass ensures you get more bang for your buck!

What are the disadvantages of fire resistant glass? ›

Creating Clarity: Are There Disadvantages to Fire-Rated Glass?
  • Myth #1: Fire-rated glass does not have the color and transparency of typical float glass. ...
  • Myth #2: Frames need to be bulky to support the added weight of fire-rated glass. ...
  • Myth #3: Using fire-rated glass makes enhancing security more difficult.

What to put under fire glass? ›

We recommend using sand or pea gravel (fine) to achieve this result. DO NOT use lava rock, lava pebbles, rocks/pebbles or any other porous material UNDER the fire glass as natural gas or propane (LPG) may sink between the gaps, becoming trapped and potentially causing hot glass to pop or jump from your fire pit.

Should I rinse fire glass? ›

Give the glass a final rinse using clean water (a garden hose makes it easy). Particularly if you're using the tempered variety, it's a good idea to dry your glass completely prior to using it again.

Does fire glass radiate heat? ›

Even though fire glass doesn't burn, it does retain heat and refract light from the flame. Because fire glass crystals do radiate heat, they serve a dual purpose: keeping things warm and looking great while doing it.

Are lava rocks worth it? ›

Lava rocks are a great resource for landscaping use – they have a long life, don't blow away, keep weeds and bugs away, retain moisture, and look great.

Should I put lava rocks in my fire pit? ›

Fire Pit Safety

If burning wood, place a layer of lava rock at least 4-5 inches deep. Then place your firewood on the lava rock. For gas fires, fill the fire pit with enough lava rock to at least cover the fire ring. Do not use rock or gravel of any kind in place of lava rock; it can potentially explode when heated.


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