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Choosing Between a Clay and Cast Iron Chiminea

Updated on October 21, 2010

The chiminea is quickly becoming a popular outdoor accessory. A chiminea is basically an outdoor fireplace that can by used to stay warm and is often a focal point for some activities. Because this is a Mexican fireplace, your overall d├ęcor should be complemented by this item. Before you run out and buy one, however, there are a few things you should understand about the differences between a clay and a cast iron chiminea.

Starting to choose

To gain a better understanding of the differences between clay and cast iron chiminea, you should determine how the chiminea will be used and in what setting. If there will be animals or children around this item, a clay chiminea will break easily if its knocked over. On the other hand, a cast iron chiminea is heavier and has a reduced chance of breaking.

Regardless of the style you choose, make sure you have a large area to use it in. Select a location that is a good distance away from furniture, plants, and your house to reduce the risk of catching something on fire. The bowl's interior should be solid and well constructed. If you choose a clay chiminea, check for holes or cracks in the bowl area. If you choose a cast iron model, the bowl should have a solid seam. The next thing to look at is the size of the bowl. You want to make sure it will hold several large pieces of firewood. Additionally, there should be a spark arrestor on the front of the unit.

Prices are different between the two types of chimineas. A cast iron chiminea will be more expensive that a clay one, especially if there is a great deal of heavy metal work involved with its creation. It's best to determine what your budget will be before you begin shopping for one of these items.
Another factor to consider when buying a chiminea for your yard is the amount of time you are planning to use it. If you think you'll be burning a fire in it for more than 30 minutes at a time, a clay chiminea isn't the best option. Burning a fire for an extended length of time increases the chance of breakage or cracking. A cast iron model won't have this problem.

You should also think about whether or not it will be used around water. A cast iron chiminea will start to show rust over time, but this can easily be taken care of by applying some rust remover. On the other hand, a clay chiminea contains sand and if it constantly exposed to moisture it can begin to break down and fall apart.

Unlike a clay chiminea, a cast iron model requires no additional treatment or paint. If you are looking for something that can be used in your yard right away, with little effort, a cast iron chiminea might be the best option for you. With that being said, remember that in some instances, the work you put into a clay chiminea is a direct reflection of your abilities.

These are just a few of the essential points to consider when you're trying to decide between a clay or cast iron chiminea. Take some time and shop around until you find something that really gets your attention and move forward with it. This could be an outdoor accessory that is cherished for many years.

Painting a clay chiminea


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      Luido 7 years ago

      Another good one - thanks for the chiminea tips!