Category: Outdoors | Published: 1 Sep, 2017

3 Handy tips for choosing a chimenea

Summer may be drawing to a close, but we still have a good few weeks left before it gets too cold to enjoy evenings in the garden (we’re optimists here, can’t you tell?). To help keep you warm outside when the nights are getting cooler, you might want to consider investing in a good quality chimenea.

Here at ELB Fireplaces, we know chimeneas. You might have seen cheap chimeneas in supermarkets, and while these are a great short term option, we strongly recommend buying something that might cost a bit more. While these may tug a little more on the old purse strings, they will last a lot longer than cheaper alternatives.

Here are three common questions that we’ve been asked about chimeneas over the years.

Which is best – cast iron, steel or clay?

Chimenea type Pros Cons
Cast iron
  • Sturdy / durable
  • Stores heat for a long time
  • Can be used for the occasional BBQ
  • Heavy – can’t be used if you plan on moving your chiminea around a lot
  • Needs to be protected against rust
  • Lighter than cast iron
  • Good at radiating heat
  • Can be used for cooking
  • Tend to be more modern in design than cast iron
  • Prone to rusting
  • Need to be protected in bad weather
  • Radiate heat very well
  • Can be used for cooking
  • Need to be cured prior to each use
  • You’ll need to purchase a grill before using it for cooking
  • Heavy


How do I cure my chimenea?

Your new chimenea will need to be cured prior to each use – especially if it’s made of clay. Failure to do this could result in the chimenea cracking, rendering it useless.

To cure your chimenea, put a layer of pumice stone at the bottom. Once you’re happy with that, build a small, paper-only fire, letting it burn out. Once it’s burned out, allow time for the ashes to cool completely. Next, build a small fire using only wood, letting the sides of your chiminea heat up gradually. Once you’ve repeated this a couple of times, your chimenea is cured and ready to use!

What materials can I burn in my chimenea?

The great thing about chimeneas is that they’re a wonderful way of putting general household waste to good use. However, you have to be careful what you actually put in your chimenea – burn the wrong thing and it could be dangerous.

As a rule, don’t burn plastics. Not only will this create a horrible smelly smoke, it’s also toxic and dangerous to breath in and not something you want to be spreading around your house and garden!

Feel free to burn old newspapers and junk mail, as well as any wood that hasn’t been treated. If you’re looking for some wood inspiration, some of our favourite woods to burn on our chimeneas include pine and apple – but feel free to experiment.

If your chimenea is cast iron or steel, charcoal is a great choice. You can’t burn charcoal in a clay chimenea as it gives off too much heat.


If you have a question about your chimenea, or are interested in purchasing one, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of our friendly team.


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