Firebrick or Fireproof Mat?

by Justin

I am building a wooden outdoor dining table with a homemade recessed charcoal grill that will sit down in the center of the table and will be flush with the tabletop—using a 12"x5" metal trough for the grill.

The height of the trough is approx. 7 inches.

I plan to build a wooden box under the table to surround the grill but am trying to ensure it is insulated enough not to burn the table or wooden box. I prefer not to line it with fire bricks due to the weight and cost, but I don't know if I can use a fireproof mat (like rolled insulation) or cement board instead.

Any help is appreciated.

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Aug 03, 2021
Not Enough Heat Resistance
by: Joseph

Hello Justin,
Thanks for your question.

I thought about this for a while, searched the Internet for fire brick alternatives, lightweight firebrick alternatives, how to build a table with a built-in grill, etc.

Then it occurred to me; fire mats do not provide enough heat resistance to protect you, your dining guests, or your table. Whether used on or under the grill, the max temperature for most grilling mats is 500°F. Some can take temperatures up to 600°F, but that's still not high enough.

Charcoal can burn at temperatures nearing 1000°F, much too hot for grill mats.

You can use cement board; builders use it around fireplaces. However, you do need a way to cut it.

My choice would be ceramic fiber insulation; it's ultra-lightweight, can withstand temperatures up to 2400°F, and isn't too expensive.

You can also use red clay bricks or any bricks you like, but only use bricks made from clay, not concrete - This is because concrete will not provide the heat resistance you need.

Another option would be some pumice firebrick; it's lighter and insulates better than regular firebrick but is less durable, which means you'll have to replace it sooner.

For your situation, I think ceramic fiber insulation would be your best bet.

Whatever you decide, let us know and tell us how your project turned out. Send pics too!

Thanks again, Justin.

Happy Cooking!

P.S. Another thing to consider is an effortless way to drain the grease and remove ashes. I don't know if your plans include that, so I thought I'd mention it.

P.P.S. If you must cut your firebrick, you'll need special tools.

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