Skip to Content

Why Do You Put Sand in a Gas Fireplace? (Quick Answers)

Fire is a primitive form of beacon that indicates the safety and warmth of home. The process of lighting a fire in a fireplace was believed to keep the demons and evil spirits far from our family and friends.

Fire is seen as the protective force for the home. Therefore, let’s look at ways on how to make our homes filled with beautiful warmth from fireplaces.

Why do you put sand in a gas fireplace?

When using a gas fireplace, the flame of it is not natural looking. In order to make the fireplace’s fire have a little dance to it, we tend to use sand. The sand gives the fireplace a livelier appearance. This is also a low-maintenance job, so once done we can enjoy a more natural fire for years. 

Nowadays fireplaces are more of a decorative thing. As a result, to make the modern fireplaces look more realistic we use sand and other products too.

Here are a few tips that will help anyone decide what and how to put sand in their gas fireplace. In the end, it is not the best product that matters, it is the personal preference that matters the most.


First of all, we always need to make sure to know what type of fireplace we are going to be using. This is important because not all sands are usable in all fireplace systems. For example, we can’t use sand in the LP fireplace.


Second of all, we need to first decide on the preference of the fireplace itself too. If we would like something more natural or cheap then we need to buy play sand.

On the other hand, if we would like to have a fireplace that has brighter and dancing flames, then going for the more expensive silica sand is the better option.

Precautionary steps:

Always follow the precautionary steps and follow the instructions of the manual you receive from the fireplace manufacturer after buying. This is important since not all fireplaces work the same.

They are also very specifically designed to function and be compatible with other products in a distinct way.

Do I need sand in my gas fireplace?

This question is valid and also not valid at the same time. To elaborate on this further, we need to understand why the kind of gas matters more here. If we are to use a propane gas system for the fireplace, then sand is not recommended.

This is because sand is too heavy for the propane gas, thus it’s not recommended. However, if we are using a natural gas fireplace then that is when we need the sand for our fireplace.

This is because we need the sand to make the gas distribute evenly throughout the burner pan. The sand will help the burner look more natural. Therefore, after knowing about our fireplace’s particular system, we can decide on using sand or not.

How to install sand in a gas fireplace?

When installing sand in a gas fireplace, we ought to make sure that we are using a natural gas (NG) fireplace.

Otherwise, the sand would be counterproductive to the fireplace and it will ruin it. Let us look through the steps on how to install sand in a fireplace below.

Things we need:

Things we need are silica sand/play sand for the natural gas fireplace then we need Vermiculite (optional), Rock Wool (optional), and Lava Rock.

Place the burner pan:

We place the burner pan in the fireplace and connect the gas but make sure to keep it off.

Pour the sand:

Pour the sand into the burner pan and spread evenly.

Add the logs:

After pouring the sand we are mostly done, then all we need to do is to just add the logs and the rest are decorative things that are optional.

How to replace sand in the gas fireplace?

There are some precautionary steps we need to follow before replacing the sand in the gas fireplace. Below we discuss how it should be done step by step.

Proper ventilation:

Before, handling any kind of sand for the fireplace, we need to first make sure there is proper ventilation. This is because silica sand can be harmful when inhaled.

Turned off:

To start with the replacing process make sure that the gas is turned off for the fireplace.

Cool down:

After turning off the gas to the fireplace, we have to let the sand pan cool down before handling.

Remove the logs:

Before removing the logs make sure to notice where the logs were for future ease of setup. After that, we remove the logs and any sort of soot from the sand pan.

Loosen the sand:

Loosen the sand and remove we remove as much as you can of the old sand from the pan. Later we use the vacuum to remove the remnants or other debris.

Use sandpaper:

Use fine-grit sandpaper to remove any rust from the bottom side of the burner.

Fill the sand pan:

Fill the sand pan to the level with the new sand. Then replace the logs to finish up the process.

Can you use play sand or silica sand in the gas fireplace? What kind of sand is used in a gas fireplace?

First, we need to make sure what kind of gas system the fireplace uses. So, in the case of propane gas system fireplaces, we should not use sand regardless of its kind.

This is because the sand will clog the holes of the fire ring when wet. Not just that it will also cause the fire ring to rust and corrode them sooner.

Silica sand is white, at first, this type of sand is easier to work with. It is also known that silica sand is not dusty like the others.

There are downsides to the silica sand which are that the sand sometimes can be almost thrice the price of the usual play sand. The second downside is that the silica sand will make the fire look less natural as it is white so the flame is brighter than the usual fire.

Play sand is a type of sand that is cheaper than the white expensive silica sand. Which makes it more of a bang for the buck when looking for alternative sand.

Furthermore, play sand has a bit of tan to it. The fire that comes due to this sand looks more natural because of the hue. Thus, making the fireplace more natural-looking.

So, you can use both the play sand and silica in your gas fireplace according to your preference.

How much sand to put in the gas fireplace?

By going on the more technical path, we will effectively and reliably find out how much sand we need with the help of the equation. It will also help reduce the chances of any malfunctions from happening whatsoever.

Therefore, for us to find the amount of sand that is needed to be put in the gas fireplace, we need to do the following equation: Diameter X Diameter X Depth, divided by 24 = pounds of sand needed.

While going through the installations make sure to have at least2” of material depth. In this way, the fireplace will look gorgeous and function properly without having any errors.

How to tell if the fireplace is propane or natural gas?

The importance bears to the fact that we can not use sand in one and we can in another. Furthermore, we can’t use natural gas on a liquid propane fireplace and the same goes for liquid propane when trying to use it on a natural gas fireplace.

Therefore, we must know which fireplace is which before deciding to finalize the order. To know which fireplace is what, we need to carefully check the serial tag and the rating plate. These two will contain the information of gas type.

Natural gas would be (NG) and liquid propane would be (LP). Sometimes there are rare cases of a gas fireplace that is converted to other gas types. To indicate this there will be a sticker placed somewhere close to the original rating plate and original serial tag.

Sand or vermiculite, what to use for a gas fireplace?

If we were to use a natural gas fireplace sand is recommended to give the fireplace some charm. Vermiculite is optional for NG fireplaces.

However, if it’s a liquid propane fireplace then it’s recommended to use vermiculite. While sand is not recommended for LP fireplaces. We can pour vermiculite into the burner pan to help the heavy LP gas spread more efficiently.

As a bonus, it will also provide a good base under the gas logs as well as allow the gas to perfuse more effectively.

Final thoughts

As convenient as they are, gas fireplaces can be sometimes dull and mundane. Sand as well other products help liven up the fireplace. The sand in the right gas fireplace will make the fire burn bright or look more realistic depending on the product. It also helps the gas disperse more effectively.