Can you repair a broken chiminea?

How to repair a clay chiminea fire pit ?

Learn how to repair a clay chiminea fireplace easily

So you bought a nice clay chiminea fire pit and now the clay just collapsed or cracked? This is the blog post that you were waiting for.

The recent surge in popularity of outdoor dining has left many of us searching for fresh and exciting ways to entertain "al fresco".

The chiminea—a terracotta heater originating in Mexico—has now superseded the barbecue: not only does it offer a greater range of cooking methods, but it also serves as a decorative object for the modern garden and as a heater during the winter months.

But clay is fragile when moving and shipping those 50 lbs pieces of pottery might be a challenge for UPS, FedEx and the others. So sometimes, they come broken or they break once installed at the garden for many reasons, the lawn mover passed through, the kids playing ball or even the dogs were playing in the wrong place.

If ever this happened to you, don't worry, you are not alone and for that reason I'm writing this article.
Also if you want to cook on the clay chiminea, please visit this blog specially written for easy recipes for chiminea fire pit.
First of all,

what is a chiminea?

They are also known as chimenea, chimney, brasero, garden clay brazier, Mexican garden oven.

Made from clay, chimineas consist of a bulb-shaped base that narrows upward into a tubular chimney. Despite being designed to withstand the heat from fires, many still crack over time. They can also crack easily if dropped or bumped. Depending on the severity of the crack, it is possible to repair the crack instead of replacing the entire unit.

Garden chimneys are a great decor accent but some of them are a fully capable pizza oven, bbq and a great minimalist decor ideas.

Pinterest is more and more interested on them, since they create a whole garden pop up and during fall, they are the best place to be, near a nice bonfire...with a glass of wine and a wool blanket.
Discover this selection of Best Chimineas on Amazon here.
Cooking on a chiminea
Chimineas can be bought while visiting Mexico, or on any garden center, but they are found on Amazon, Etsy, Wayfair and on on-line retailers as well.
Prices might vary from $290 up to $600 and the differences are small. Some come even with accessories for pizza cooking and bbq as these ones on Etsy store

Where to shop durable chimineas?

Find out these on Etsy 

Garden Chimney Etsy store

You can compare prices on Wayfair as well

Chiminea on Wayfair

How to repair  a broken chiminea?

Step 1


Sand the outside of the broken or cracked area of the chiminea with a medium grit sandpaper. Use light pressure to sand the clay surface until it is smooth. Keep sanding painted surfaces until all of the paint has been removed from around the crack or break.

Step 2


Apply the automotive repair putty or high temperature epoxy adhesive to the cracked or broken part of the chiminea. Apply enough putty or adhesive that it mounds up slightly on the surface of the clay. Use a clamp to clamp any broken pieces onto a firm section of the clay before applying the putty or epoxy adhesive.

Step 3


Allow the putty or epoxy to dry until it changes to a lighter color and is completely dry to the touch.

Step 4


Sand the surface of the putty or epoxy with medium grit sandpaper until the surface of the repair material is level with the surface of the chiminea.

Step 5


Paint the exterior of the chiminea, if desired, using any standard paint followed by a clear top coat of lacquer.

Chimineas might have different forms and materials, as cast iron chiminea . They can be small chiminea or big chiminea fireplace. The real chiminea cook aficionado would chose clay, since clay is healthier and adds a unique farmhouse minimalist decor to any backyard.

Chiminea cooking is healthy and easy, it only requires an small adaptation to timing. Food is always more flavory when cooked on earthenware vessel. I wrote a whole blog post about it last week, you can find it here 

How to prepare a chiminea for firing

Before starting a big fire, you want to prepare your chiminea for the heat.

To do so, I put together these downloadable instructions


How to Fix the Cracks in a Clay Fire Pit

Step 1

Carefully use a putty knife or pocket knife to remove any loose chunks of clay from the crack. If you are using a pocket knife, use one that you don't intend to keep sharp. I found this book interesting on how to repair pottery. As the chiminea garden fireplace is a big piece of pottery. Here is the link for you . Order now by following this link and get it at your house by tomorrow.

Step 2

Sand the crack with coarse grain sandpaper to remove any remaining loose chunks of clay. Use a coarse grain sandpaper so that the edges of the crack are slightly scuffed, allowing the patch to adhere more effectively.

Step 3

Purchase automotive bondo from an automotive supply store or castable refractory cement from a well-stocked hardware store. Whichever filler you choose to use, read the label to ensure that it will withstand high temperatures.

Step 4

Mix the filler according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Step 5

Apply the filler to the crack using a putty knife. Use the point of the knife to ensure that the filler fills the crack completely.

Step 6

Use the flat edge of the putty knife to scrape away excess filler.

Step 7

Allow the filler to dry completely. Drying can take anywhere from two days to two weeks depending on the depth of the crack and the weather. Cool, damp weather will require longer drying times than warm, sunny weather.

Step 8

Sand the filler with coarse grain sandpaper until it is flush with the wall of the fire pit.

Step 9

Paint the crack, or the entire fire pit, if desired. Use a primer and paint resistant to high temperatures. High temperature paint can be purchased at most well-stocked hardware stores.

Step 10

Seal the fire pit with a high temperature sealant. You can purchase high temperature sealants at most well-stocked hardware stores. If you are unsure of which sealant to use, talk to a hardware store staff member and describe your project. The staff member will be able to direct you to the correct product.

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What do you need from your chiminea?

Clay Chimineas are great for outdoor entertaining and parties, but there are so many to choose from. This guide explains how to find the right one for you at a reasonable price.

Spending garden time is great for family and friends living. Organizing gatherings and cooking for them all is one of the best ways to keep the community around you united and entertained.

Clay chimineas are one of the most used types of bbq grills in modern garden cooking. Clay chimineas utilize charcoal or firewood to heat up and cook your food. Charcoal makes grills so tasty and firewood adds this extra flavor to your vegetables or meats.

bbq on the chiminea

Chimineas come in all shapes and sizes, and vary in cost.

If a clay chiminea is your first wood fire pit, your choice is for a decor and cooking garden appliance. Not only your bbq will taste as heaven but your garden decor will be upgraded as well.

Charcoal-fired chimineas come in small sizes, which are ideal for apartment dwellers or people with small homes. Once you have used your charcoal chiminea grill, you can clean it, and store it away.

One of the most noticeable features when using charcoal is the flavor of the food you cook. To cook with a chiminea, you must buy charcoal briquettes and lighter fluid or just use paper or carton to fire it.

Charcoal is a one use item, and will need to be discarded after each use. Charcoal can be picked up at your local superstore, gas station, or grocery store, and is typically pretty inexpensive. Charcoal must be light and allowed to burn until the charcoal is no longer on fire, but is red embers. The best way to get the pile to burn is by stacking it in a pyramid.

Firewood can also be found on a hardware store and there are several types. Each type has its own flavor and requirements. Usually for cooking, you can use natural firewood that had been dried for a year, meaning it was chopped the previous year, no more, no less or this can be smoking too much and not firing easily.

Now you are thinking about purchasing your first chiminea.

Your gardening time will be so much upgraded with a clay chiminea!

Wood-burning stoves can be so useful when it comes to prepare an outdoor meal for family and friends, but why not to add the decor element to your outdoor coking area?

I put together this article about choosing your chiminea to help you do your choice. As there are many types of clay chiminea and even you want it only for garden decor or maybe you want to cook on it.

So read the following article about How to pick your first chiminea


What is a chiminea?

Chimineas are Mexican-inspired garden ovens used to decorate and to cook.

Clay chimeneas also spelled chiminea (from Spanishchimenea which derive from French cheminée, "chimney"), is a freestanding front-loading fireplace or oven with a bulbous body and usually a vertical smoke vent or chimney.

Chimineas serve as wood stove for patio warmer or just cuddling near a bonfire during fall season evenings.

How do you pick a good chiminea?

If you are buying a chiminea for the first time, you are probably wondering exactly what kind of chiminea you should buy. This chiminea buying guide has the answers you need. These lovely outdoor fireplaces are a lasting delight that many people have added to their homes already. Whether you have chosen to purchase one as an accent to your living space or decide you want a fully functional outdoor fireplace, you will certainly not regret doing so.

When considering what type of chiminea you will need, there are several questions that may run through your mind such as:


• What do I want to do with my chiminea?
• What type of chiminea would suit my needs?
• What kind of design do I want for my chiminea?
• Can my chiminea be used for something other than burning?
• Will my chiminea be inside or outside?
• What will the maintenance be like?
• Would I rather use a wood burner or gas burner?
• Can I keep my chiminea outside all year?
• Will I need a special platform for my chiminea?

These questions may seem complicated, but they all grill down to one decision that you need to make. What material do you want your chiminea to be made of?

Below we have outlined several types of chimineas and their features in order to make your decision as simple as possible.

Because one thing is a bqq, other is about owning and using clay chiminea fireplace

clay chiminea



Chiminea fireplaces are made of several different materials and vary in design from smaller and more basic, to larger, one-time placement styles. The usefulness and life of each chiminea depend heavily on what material it is created from. For example, a clay chiminea would be a great choice for a year-round outdoor decor that matches your existing pottery items. A cast aluminum chiminea fireplace would hold up to both without much effort but it will show signs of rust rapidly.

Cooking on chiminea


Clay chimineas are the oldest construction type. They are made from raw natural clay and crafted from two pieces which are kiln-dried.

These chimineas are heavy, susceptible to wet and cold conditions, and have existed since the mid 17th century according to the Natural Handyman.

firing a chiminea


How much should I spend on a clay chiminea?

An outdoor wooden-fired fireplace will cost anywhere between $1,500 to $20,000. On average, it will run you about $3,000 to have a fireplace built. Pre-made kits and unfinished contractor models usually only run from $1,500 to $9,000. Custom projects typically cost between $8,000 to $20,000 - some even hitting $50,000.

These clay fireplaces are also known as great bbq and pizza oven appliances and cost no more than $400

Clay chimineas fireplaces can have different prices. Depending on what kind of clay or even if clay had been mixed with mortar so it could be harmful to cook on.

A reputable clay chiminea fireplace that is as good on decor than on cooking can be costing beyond 500.

Find some inspiration here on Pinterest

You can find good clay chimineas starting at $400. You will find links below to purchase a clay chiminea on Amazon and on Etsy as well.

chimineas on amazon


What is the safest type of chiminea?

Clay chimineas come with a variety of forms and shapes. As any sort of fireplace, there are important safety measures to consider. More even when this is for fun as kids would eventually be around.

Chimineas are typically safer than fire pits. Thanks to the stack or chimney on the top of a chiminea, flames are directed up and out. Also clay chimineas are more suitable for families with children, being much safer than fire pits. Clay gets warm but not to an extreme as metal fire pits. Metal fire pits can cause more damage to kids since the metal gets too hot, while the clay chimineas will get warm but still not in the same level.

pizza on chiminea

Where to buy a good clay chiminea in the US?

Chimineas are present in American landscape for decades. As they are popular, big garden centers retails have them on their garden decor store sections. Also in big hardware stores. But if you are into an exclusive model that comes with all necessary accessories for cooking, here are these beautiful clay chimineas on Amazon

Also you can find fine clay chimineas on Etsy here

Where to buy a good clay chiminea in Canada?

In Canada is hard to find clay chimineas on the hardware store. Some independent garden centers would have, but not all. Since the mainstream thinking is terracotta collapse during deep temperatures. This applies to clay flower pots for sure, but chimineas had an extra treatment during manufacturing process, so they had a kiln step to harden the clay even more.

One of the most used resources to purchase a chiminea in Canada is on internet. You can find this clay chiminea on Amazon Canada here

Also you can find fine clay chimineas on Etsy here . 

Etsy is an online marketplace that connects sellers with buyers. It is primarily used for selling vintage items, handmade goods, art, and crafts

How to use a chiminea?

To light a chiminea you can use these four materials: coal, firewood, pellets or even charcoal.

Personally, when cooking bbq style food, prefer to use only charcoal. When cooking pizza, I light a layer of charcoal first and add firewood gradually. The flames reach the pizza stone and the clay reaches hight temps. Charcoal is easy to find at your local hardware store and there are brands selling it smokeless or smoke-flavored, which is great when using your chimenea on your gazebo or patio.

Smores on chiminea

Clay chiminea maintenance

Maintenance starts right after opening the box. Let's dive into it.

As any other piece of pottery, garden chimneys need to be prepared to prevent clay to crack. Extreme temperatures are not a good idea on new ceramic pieces, but after following these steps, you will be enjoying your new chiminea for long time. Don't forget, a chiminea can reach temperatures as high as 900F and this creates expansion to clay. Once the chiminea is cold, the pores close again but can keep moisture inside. This moisture can create cracks if not properly taking care of these following steps:

Instructions for lighting your new chiminea

outdoor party

What to use a chiminea for?

Clay chimineas have a variety of uses both indoors and as outdoor fireplaces, including:

  • Baking bread in the traditional manner used centuries ago
  • Baking delicious homemade pizza
  • Use as a social gathering spot for warmth and conversation
  • Focal points for flower beds and rock gardens
  • Corner décors such as shoe holders, magazine holders, and more
  • Pet beds in which you place a simple pet bed in what was meant to be the fire bowl
  • Burning candles as an interesting alternative to wood burning that is safe for inside use
  • Use as the focal point for a concrete or terracotta tiled patio

Barbecuing: An American Tradition

No matter if it is the 4th of July, or just another day in the summer, chances are someone in your area is barbequing. Barbequing on the clay chiminea fire pit has become a standard American tradition for families. The reason as clear as to why, not only does the food that comes from barbequing have a taste that is unmatched by other cooking methods, but barbequing presents a reason for families to gather together. Some on my most memorial experiences happened outdoors at one of my families many get-togethers.

Planning A Barbecue

First, no barbecue would be complete without guests and proper outdoors weather. Plan ahead of time, checking with your potential guests for scheduling conflicts and issues. Finding a date and time that is suitable for everyone should not be to hard as long as you everyone enough advanced notice. Alternatively, be sure to check the weather for that type of year. If you live in a climate that cannot be predicted, then you may want to have a backup plan just incase unusual weather comes. Let'S say an indoors pinata party to keep the kids entertained. You cannot predict things like rain and thunderstorms ahead of time, but you can make sure that you hold you barbecue during the time of year that will be pleasant to your guests. A barbecue in cold weather may hold more negative memories of trying to keep warm rather then good memories of family and friends.

Barbequing has been around since early cavemen figured out that food tasted great after being cooked on an open fire. Perhaps one of the main memories attached to a family chimineas backyard parties is what was on the menu that day. Barbequing opens a whole array of types of foods available. The type of foods you serve should largely depend on your crowd and the event in which you are celebrating. With the wide range of possibilities, you are sure to find at least a few items that will please your crowd.

Make sure that you prepare ahead for your barbeque. 12 to 24 hours before you plan on beginning the party, make sure to thaw, prepare, and marinate the meat you will be cooking. Once you have the meat stored away, soaking up the marinate, then you must start thinking about what types of side dishes you will be having. If you want a completely tradition barbeque, you may want to stick with traditional sizes. Traditional barbeque sides include potatoes and potato salad, baked beans, and coleslaw. Your traditional condiment bar should include pickles, relish, and onions. These foods are typically severed at barbeques because they are easy to prepare and store until the event happens. You may want to cook other items, but any barbecue is complete with just the items listed above.

A themed barbeque may present more opportunities to hold a festive event. With a themed event, you can splurge on the atmosphere and decorations. Matching tablecloths, napkins, and plates can be found at any local store. You can also match your décor to the party. For example, a luau could simply be creative colored utensils, leis, and Tiki torches, all of which are extremely cheap. You can even reuse the Tiki torches later! or why not a Mexican themed party! since chimineas have this Latin American roots, Viva la fiesta!

Your party area should be set up before guest arrive. It only takes a few minutes to get everything ready, but the reaction you get from your arriving guests may make you feel like you were preparing and decorating all day. Depending on the situation, you may or may not want to have the food already cooking on the grill. The smell will surely be inviting if you start cooking ahead!

Can you use a clay chiminea on winter?

Getting your chiminea ready for winter typically doesn’t require that many steps, but if you ignore the preparation, your chiminea will suffer!

Avoiding Moisture

A crucial part of maintaining any chiminea is ensuring that it avoids the moisture and temperature changes that come with snow and winter cold.

For clay chimineas, temperature drops are especially damaging. The sudden switch from warm to freezing cold can cause cracking and breaking, and then the owner (that would be you!) will be out of an outdoor fireplace.

Chiminea Covers

If you have a chiminea, you really should have a cover for it, and use it regularly (once the chiminea is cold enough!)

Since these fireplaces are exclusively used outdoors, it’s important to make sure your chiminea doesn’t get exposed to rain and water. Even a little bit of moisture can weaken the fireplace’s overall structure, giving it a much shorter lifespan than it could have if taken care of.

Here is where the chiminea cover comes in.

Ultimately, owning a chiminea requires some forethought and work. Winterization of a chiminea is not difficult but does require a few steps, and some planning.

We recommend that owners read up on their type of chiminea before winter comes to ensure all of the proper steps are taken.

Remember to invest in quality materials and equipment like a cover, and try to bring the fireplace inside during the winter to avoid moisture and ice.


Last word

chiminea for cooking


The last thing to remember is to enjoy your chiminea. These lovely outdoor fireplaces are an investment of more than just money and offer to provide many great memories for you and your family. Take advantage of these moments every chance you get and make the most out of your time and your investment.

Thank you for reading our chiminea buying guide. At Sol y Tierra, We wish you the best as you choose a chiminea!

Next: what to know about chimineas