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Fire Glass: Style With a Purpose

Putting an Eco-Friendly Glow Into Backyard Austin Nights

Is that mesmerizing glow the result of advanced chemistry? Why do the flames dance such a brilliant ballet? How many colors can radiate from one beautiful backyard fire pit? Austin homeowners are curious, and we're happy to report that the answers to these questions about fire glass have an eco-friendly twist suited to Hill Country lifestyles.

It Starts With Recycling

While the product's name conjures up something from a fantasy tale, fire glass gets its start from very humble beginnings. The material is a type of recycled tempered glass that's made even stronger with firings of more than 1200 degrees Fahrenheit. The final product resembles small pebbles that are tumbled to a high polish giving each piece smooth edges and refracting angles. This isn't ordinary glass. Shower doors, car windshields and skylights are just a few sources for heat-treated tempered glass destined to light up backyard fire pits.

Magic Is Not Required

If you can open a sack, you can install fire glass in an outdoor pit or table. It's that simple to turn a propane or gas fire table into a beautiful backyard centerpiece. While fire glass doesn't have sharp edges, it's still a good idea to wear gloves while you work. Spread it evenly at a depth of 2 to 4 inches making sure to cover gas nozzles. When you light the fire table, the glass becomes a natural diffuser and safely scatters the gas as it flames. This is the secret to that magically dancing fire that skips across the table's bowl.

Fire Glass Is Fresh-Air Friendly

It doesn't smoke, pop or throw burning ash at the stars. Fire glass efficiently increases a pit's warmth without compromising air quality. These factors alone are enough to keep the material's outstanding reputation intact, but fire glass does it all with remarkable style. It never melts, there's no cleanup, and your exterior decorating options are endless. Fire glass comes in a wonderful variety of shapes, sizes and colors as well as mirrored finishes. If it were cake, its frosting would be the cost. Fire glass is a beautifully inexpensive fire table accessory.

Folks here in the Hill Country really appreciate their personal great outdoors, so it's no surprise that custom fire tables and fire pits grace landscapes all across this part of the state. You don't need science or magic to enjoy the brilliant warmth of fire glass. Come visit our Sundance Southwest showroom in Austin or browse our online inventory. We're always happy to help put a glow in your backyard that rivals a starlit Texas sky.

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Welcome 2016 With a Brand New Fire Pit
Light up your patio with an inviting glow

The New Year is the perfect time to invest in a fire pit for your patio or yard. These unique fixtures come in many different designs that create new ways for you to enjoy your outdoor seating area.

Plan Better Parties

A fire pit is the perfect gathering spot for party guests. With dancing flames providing extra light and warmth, your garden party, graduation celebration or wedding reception can continue long into the night. The ability to cook over a fire pit provides the opportunity for unique cookouts with fare like kebobs, grilled sandwiches and freshly popped popcorn.

Have More Family Fun

Making time for family bonding is important in a world where hectic schedules send most people running around nonstop. Slow down with an evening around the fire pit, making s’mores and letting everyone share the happenings of the week.

Enjoy Restful, Romantic Evenings

Married couples need time to spend alone together in the midst of their crazy schedules. Rediscover “date night” by spending a relaxing evening by the fire pit with your spouse. Share a favorite meal, pour a glass of wine and enjoy the touch of romance that the dancing flames add to the atmosphere.

Discover Unique Designs

Above-ground models elevate the flames for a modern look. Some fire pits can be used as tables when the flames aren’t burning to provide extra room for dining or playing games. A choice of gas, propane or wood lets you pick the most practical and economical fuel option.

Boost Value

Should you decide to put your house on the market, a fire pit makes a great selling point. It’s a luxurious asset that many homes don’t have, and buyers will appreciate its functionality as well as the beauty it adds to the landscape.

No matter how you plan to enjoy your fire pit, Sundance Southwest has a model that’s perfect for you. Check out our inventory online and visit our Austin showroom. If you’re ready to install one of these unique outdoor design elements, Sundance Southwest can provide a beautiful fixture that will last for years.

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Keeping It Clean: Maintaining Your Fire Pit

Tips and tricks for a fabulous fire pit experience

A fire pit brings the warm glow of flickering flames to your patio or yard. Without proper maintenance, however, these attractive accessories can turn into hazards. Follow these steps to ensure safe operation and maintain the longevity of your fire pit.

Trash the Ash

Wood-burning fire pits will quickly fill up with ashes if not cleaned out within 24 hours of having a fire. Leaving the ashes for too much longer can lead to soot buildup or result in discoloration as debris becomes ingrained in the surface of the pit. Each time you use your fire pit, extinguish the flames completely when you’re finished and transfer the ashes to a flame-resistant container. Wipe down the inner surface with a damp paper towel or cloth to remove any remaining soot.

Get Serious with Cleaning

Your fire pit will also need occasional deep cleaning to continue functioning efficiently. Wood-burning pits should be swept out and hosed down on a regular basis. Gas and propane pits have burners and valves that may get plugged by buildup. Clean these using a toothbrush and a mixture of household detergent and water. Making sure that all outlets and surfaces are clean helps prevent dangerous malfunctions.

Create a Seal

After cleaning the inside of your fire pit, clean the decorative stone surface with a specially formulated stone cleaner to remove dirt, smudges and stains. Follow this with a heat-resistant stone sealer to protect the surface from fire and soot damage.

Cover it Up

Changing seasons and severe weather can damage your fire pit, especially if it features delicate stonework. When the table isn’t in use, cover it up with a waterproof tarp or vinyl cover of an appropriate size. This provides an extra defense against the elements and helps to maintain the fire pit’s appearance.

Keep it Clear

Falling leaves, lawn clippings, pine needles and dry twigs should be cleared away from your fire pit as soon as you spot them. These potential hazards can catch fire and cause flames to spread beyond the pit, a situation that can quickly get out of control if yard debris is abundant.

At Sundance Southwest, you’ll find all you need to care for your fire pit and ensure that it lasts for a long time. Check out our selection of stone cleaner, stone sealer and vinyl fire pit covers, or shop around for a new fire pit to brighten up your patio. Contact us or visit our Austin showroom, and one of our knowledgeable salespeople can answer all of your questions about fire pit selection, cleaning and maintenance.



 How to Convert a Fire Pit to a Dining Table in One Easy Step

It's a beautiful day in Austin. You're dreaming of showing off your awesome cooking skills with a new recipe you just saw on the Food Network, but there's a problem. An indoor setting just doesn't have the right ambiance for southern-style barbecue and sweet tea served in a mason jar. You have a gorgeous fire pit on your patio, but you don’t have room for patio table. Fortunately, you're not the first person to face this dilemma. The creators of the fire pit have got your back. They've invented the fire pit center that converts from a fire pit to an ice bucket and with the optional center plug, you can convert to a full patio table.

Plug Up and Chow Down

The fire pit center plug is a convenient accessory that transforms your fire pit into an attractive and fully functional eating surface. It fits seamlessly into the burning area to provide a flat surface for your delicious food, your guests' plates and your favorite centerpiece. Some fire pit table plugs even have a hole in the center for your umbrella. Because they're custom-made for your fire pit, they'll match the color, style and pattern perfectly. When dinner is over and the temperatures drop, simply remove the center plug. You can then use your fire pit to provide glowing warmth again.

Beyond the Barbecue: Other Uses for Your Center Plug Insert

A flat table surface is handy even when you're not eating. Here are a few other ways you can use your fire pit center plug.
•    Create a surface for playing cards or board games. Everything is more fun outdoors.
•    Leave the plug in place to keep small children, pets and debris away from the burning area.
•    Use it to protect the contents of the burning area from severe weather.
•    Cover the flat surface with a durable tablecloth, and use the area for arts and crafts projects.
•    Insert the center plug before cleaning the fire pit's flat surfaces to prevent dirt and water from entering the burning area.

Sundance Southwest Makes Functionality Easy

At Sundance Southwest, we carry exquisitely handcrafted fire pits and fire tables along with the quality accessories to help you enjoy their full potential. Visit us online to find the perfect centerpiece for your personal patio oasis.



The Truth About Burn Bans in Texas

Droughts Don't Require Abandoning Your Dream of a Fire Pit

Texans are certainly not unfamiliar with droughts. Vast areas of the state seem to experience periodic, extended dry spells with disconcerting regularity. When drought conditions exist, most counties ban outdoor burning to reduce the risks of wildfires. As of September 2015, almost half of the counties in Texas have enacted burn bans, including Travis County.

What many people in the affected counties may not realize is that a burn ban does not necessarily mean that it is illegal to use a fire pit. Although wood-burning fire pits are often forbidden, most local governments allow the use of those that are fueled by natural gas or propane. A gas-operated pit doesn't produce embers that could be spread by the wind and ignite dry vegetation. Such pits are also not known to produce extreme temperatures that could potentially cause nearby vegetation to ignite from the heat.

If you're considering a gas-fueled fire pit, you need to decide which fuel you want to use. Natural gas or propane lines can be installed for your pit in a similar manner to the lines that fuel your home's appliances. You can also purchase containers of compressed natural gas or liquefied natural gas as well as propane containers. Each type of fuel can require a different type of line, so you should always consult the dealer to make sure that your pit is "plumbed" to the correct specifications.

If you're renting your home or live in a community that prohibits permanent fire pits, you can still enjoy your own outdoor retreat. Fire pit tables are portable units that are typically powered by a propane tank. You can take them with you when you move, but you can also relocate them to a different part of your yard if you ever want to change your landscaping or outdoor recreational area.

Whether you're entertaining guests or just relaxing with your family, a fire pit can provide the peaceful ambience that you desire. Fire pits are aesthetically pleasing on their own, but they can also be incorporated as part of an overall design for an extraordinary outdoor experience that stands apart from your home and the rest of your landscaping. For example, a stone path leading to the area and lined with solar torches may help you transition from the hectic pace of everyday life to a calming experience under the night sky.

No one can predict how much longer the drought in Texas will last. The relief that was expected in late 2014 failed to materialize, and 2015 rainfall levels have not been sufficient to end the drought in most counties. One thing is certain, however; until the drought subsides, burn bans are going to continue to be a way of life for most Texans.

If you are interested in learning more about a safe, beautiful fire pit or fire table, contact the experts at Sundance Southwest. We have been continuously redesigning and redeveloping our product line since 1996. We offer a diverse selection of exceptional pieces from our central location in Austin, Texas. You can visit our showroom, use our online contact form.



Why Do I Need a Fire Pit Ring?

Using a Fire Ring for Backyard Safety

Backyard fire pits are a great way to bring the fun of camping to the convenience of your own yard. You get the beauty and relaxation of a fire, and you can warm your hands or toast marshmallows. A fire pit helps extend your backyard enjoyment as the evenings start to get a little chilly.

But the last thing you want to do is catch your yard on fire! How do you build a fire pit that will keep your lawn safe? A fire pit ring will help separate the fire from the surrounding grass, leaves, lawn furniture, and guests. The ring keeps the fire safely contained so you can relax and enjoy your fire pit. Some areas have zoning restrictions on the size and materials necessary for a fire pit ring, so check your local ordinances before building.

There are many different ways to approach a fire pit ring. You can buy a metal ring, which is convenient and ideally suited to help ensure safety. Some people also build fire pits with rocks, but it's challenging to achieve stability with oddly shaped rocks. You may opt to use stone pavers, which are advantageously uniform. You can also buy a metal fire ring and then build around it with rocks for looks and added safety.

The easiest and most luxurious option is to install a propane fire pit or fire table. You'll have all the looks and enjoyment of a fire, but with none of the hassle. Instead of having to buy or cut firewood, you'll simply flip a switch and have a fire instantly. At the end of the evening, rather than having to douse the fire, just turn off the fire table and call it a night. With a propane fire, safety is relatively easy to ensure, because the table keeps the fire contained and safely off the ground. Your local ordinances may restrict wood fires, so fire tables provides a great alternative.

If you're ready to get a fire pit ring or a fire table in Austin, or if you’d like to learn more, contact Sundance Southwest or visit our home page today.



Top Five Outdoor Propane Fire Pit Accessories

Make the Most of Your Outdoor Space

According to professional builders across the country, fire pits are among the best-selling features in today's home-buyer's market, and there is good reason for that. The addition of a great propane fire pit to your Austin, Texas, home will provide a wonderful new component to your outdoor living experience, and you can expect to enjoy your backyard even more with your friends and family.

Great Accessories for Your Fire Pit

Fire Glass

Choose from a wonderful selection of styles and colors of fire glass to enhance the beauty of your evening fire. This product is used to refract light from the fire, and it can develop a lovely soft glow or produce a cool glittering effect depending on which design you choose. You can get some amazing lighting effects by mixing up the colors as well. Fire glass also makes the fire more efficient while hiding all of the gas equipment from view.

Burner Pan Set

Every propane gas fire pit must have a burner pan to successfully conduct the fuel for a fabulous fire, and you'll have everything you need with a stainless-steel burner pan set that is resistant to both heat and rust. Some sets also includes fire logs, lava rocks and all the necessary fittings.

Ice Bucket

Nothing says relaxation like drinks around the fire pit, and this stainless steel ice bucket is the perfect addition. Fill it up with ice, add all of your favorite canned or bottled beverages and enjoy your get-together.

Center Plug

When you aren't using your fire pit for a fire, you can utilize this beautiful mosaic center plug to turn your fire pit into the perfect flat coffee table. Set your drinks on it, play a board game or just prop your feet up.

Fire Ring

A fire ring made of sturdy stainless steel adds safety and beauty to your fire pit experience, especially when you pair it with some beautiful fire glass. You can relax with the peace of mind knowing your fire is safely contained. Meanwhile, the combination of the fire ring and the fire glass serves to create a truly brilliant flame.

Get Started Today

Don't just dream about creating a wonderful outdoor living space. You turn your dreams into reality in no time. Contact Sundance Southwest today and we’ll help you add a fire pit to your Austin home, complete with the latest and greatest accessories.


Outdoor Gas Fire Pit Safety: What Not to Do

Fire pits are beautiful, practical and generally safe. However, anything involving fire carries inherent risk. If a fire pit is misused or poorly supervised, its flames can cause property damage and even serious burns. You probably already know that children should never be left unattended around a fire pit, and it should never be located too close to your house, but there might be a few safety issues that aren't familiar to you. Here are a few more things you should not do when operating your fire pit.

Don't Leave Flammable Materials Nearby

Clean your fire pit regularly, and be sure to remove leaves, twigs, paper and any other combustible debris from the area.

Don't Place Unapproved Materials in Your Fire Pit

Before adding glass, stones or anything else, be sure the materials are safe and approved for use in a fire pit.

Don't Forget About Your Pets' Safety

Curious cats and dogs may venture too close to your fire pit or try to jump onto the edge; this can result in burnt paws, singed fur or worse. Supervise pets closely or isolate them while flames are lit.

Don't Rely Solely on Automatic Controls

Automated settings are convenient, but using a key valve to control gas flow allows a higher level of safety, especially when the fire table is used around children or where people are in proximity to the flames.

Don't Light Your Fire in High Winds

A strong wind can cause huge flames that may be hard to control. Wait until winds have calmed before ignition. You can also lessen the threat of wind by installing a mesh metal screen over the pit.

Don't Leave Before It's Over

Never leave the area until you're certain your fire is completely out and all people, animals and objects are safe.

Don't Forget to Have a Backup Plan

No matter how careful you are, accidents could happen. Have clean sand, water or a fire extinguisher within reach whenever you're using your fire pit.

Find Your New Flame at Sundance Southwest of Austin

If a gorgeous new fire pit is in your future, Sundance Southwest is ready to make your dreams come true. We carry a complete line of unique fire pits, fire pit tables and accessories to enhance your landscape or patio. You can even customize each product with your choice of color, pattern and fuel type. Visit us online to find the perfect addition to bring warmth and style to your home.



 Instant Inferno: How Does a Fire Table or Fire Pit Work?

Transform your Austin indoor or outdoor entertainment space with an elegant yet functional fire table. Creating a cozy ambiance during backyard gatherings and intimate dinners, this modern twist on the popular fire table embeds flickering flames into the center of the table. The traditional, transitional or contemporary style bases are built at dining or counter heights. The fire pits are built at chat (25”) or coffee table (19”) heights, and comes in a wide array of shapes, sizes and finishes to reflect your personal style.

Basic Configuration of Fire Tables and Fire Pits

A fuel-fed burner that produces natural looking flames sits in the center of a hand crafted mosaic table top. The burner is nestled inside an opening within the center of the table, which can be round (for round mosaic tops) or a rectangular trough that stretches the length of a rectangle shaped mosaic top.

The bottom of the burner is hidden within the table and attached to either a propane tank or a hose that connects to the home's natural gas line. Inside the bowl sits a burner ring. This heat-resistant metal tube, which is constructed from stainless steel, has ports that emit the flames. The ring is also available in a variety of shapes, including oval, rectangular or a star pattern. Additional burner rings create more flames.

Our Fire Tables and Fire Pits are either propane or natural gas fired. Our burners are universal and can be used for either type of gas.

Operating a Fire Table or Fire Pit

The fire table or fire pit functions like a barbeque grill. To turn on the burner, you need to open a key valve, which releases the fuel into the burner ring. Depending on the design, you ignite the burner ring using a long-stem match or gun lighter, electric push button, or electronically via a wall switch or a remote control. An electronic ignition does require a power source. The size and intensity of the inferno is adjusted using the key valve. Turning off the valve extinguishes the flame.

Decorative Fire Table or Fire Pit Media Options

The stainless steel heat-resistant bowl is filled with decorative media that hides the burner ring and gives the fire table or fire pit a natural or contemporary appearance. You will never need to replace these materials unless you are ready for an aesthetic change! Natural lava rock along with re-factory concrete logs burn brightly while tempered glass beads, in a variety of colors, reflect the dazzling dancing light.

Sundance Southwest can help you build the perfect fire table or fire pit for your home. Contact our expert fire table/pit builders to discuss your many options. Sundance ships nation wide.



 Heat Up the Night With a Fire Table

Bring a sleek, modern look and cozy atmosphere to your home

Campfires and fireplaces have been communal gathering areas for thousands of years. There’s something about the coziness of a fire that makes people want to come together to eat, talk and relax. Fire tables upgrade this age-old concept with modern design aesthetics that can be incorporated right into your patio or deck area for year-round enjoyment.

Classic Concept, Modern Style

Fire tables give you all the perks of a campfire without the need to build a fireplace in your backyard. They’re available in a variety of styles and hand laid mosaic patterns. You can find round, square and octagonal tables that sit at a standard height or a bar height. Whether you prefer simplicity or elegance, there’s a fire table that matches your personal tastes.

Creating a Communal Atmosphere

People are drawn to fires and the promise of safety, community, and good food that they offer. Making a fire table part of your outdoor setup brings this comfortable atmosphere close to home and creates a central area for friends and family to gather and relax.

Most fire tables run on propane, but can also hook directly to your natural gas supply. All of them produce real flames that can be used to cook, to stay warm on chilly nights or simply as an enjoyable aesthetic accent to your patio area. Fire tables create a central location that’s both attractive and comfortable, which makes outdoor entertaining even more fun.

Choosing a Fire Table for Your Backyard

To pick out just the right fire table, consider the features that you want. What will you use the table for? What shape, color and design best matches the style of your patio area? Decide on the most convenient fuel source and pick a table that falls within your budget. Since installing a fire table can increase the desirability of your property and therefore the value of your home, don’t be afraid to splurge a little and get a style that you really like.

When you’re ready to set up a stunning communal location in your backyard, get in touch with Sundance Southwest. Our modern, attractive fire tables provide warmth, comfort and beauty for your outdoor area. See our offerings online, or visit with a sales specialist in our Austin showroom. We can help you choose the style that best fits your patio or deck and explain the proper way to maintain your table so that it lasts for years.



 Wood or Gas? Which is Better?

Finessing the Facts About Fire Tables

You're ready to warm up the backyard with a relaxing glow that's welcome every season. Summer nights in Austin stay cool when you're entertaining around a fire table, and those beautifully contained flames keep Hill Country winters at bay. This is a year-round addition to your great outdoors, so how do you decide which type of fire table is best for lighting up your outside world?

Wood - Traditional Affordability

It was good enough for cavemen, so why not gather up natural fuel for your fire-building needs? If you live in a rural area, the price is right, and you don't have to work with a tank or install a fuel line. Wood fire produces plenty of heat, but it also releases embers, sparks and particulates that endanger property and can cause health problems. Smoke and flames dictate where you can safely set up a wood-burning fire table, and the pit requires regular cleaning to keep ash buildup from snuffing out efficient performance.

Propane - Surprising Versatility

If the idea of propane fuel conjures up pictures of bulky tanks, you haven't seen the latest fire table models. Lighting the pit isn't like heating a home, so the fuel source is compact and disguised in the table's base. You can connect a propane-fueled unit to existing lines, but most models offer convenient, portable operation. The fire doesn't produce enough heat for cooking, so grilling steaks isn't an option. You do enjoy minimum cleanup and maintenance because a propane fire table keeps your backyard getaway cozy without generating piles of ash.

Natural Gas - Permanent Reliability

Often considered the Cadillac choice for fire tables, natural gas requires running a line, and this can limit placement options. However, the installation pays back by eliminating the cost and muscle involved in tank replacement. A natural gas model also allows for more design possibilities from base to table top. It can't replace the barbecue grill, but it fires up instantly, turns off just as quickly and only needs occasional cleanup. Add the glowing beauty of fire glass to your natural gas fire table, and you have a mesmerizing outside addition to Lone Star nights.

Furnishing the outdoors makes your home complete, and adding a beautiful fire table elevates exterior decor to new heights. If you'd like more information about these versatile backyard beauties, just give us a call here at Sundance Southwest. Homeowners across the country have counted on us for that special glow out back for more than 15 years, and we're always here to light up your imagination.

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