How to Build a Fire Proof Screen Top for a Burn Barrel

Shae Hazelton

A burn barrel can be a useful but dangerous tool. A sturdy grate can limit the danger a barrel presents. The grate can catch flying debris that pose a fire hazard. Without the proper fireproofing, though, your grate can become a fire hazard itself. Don’t cut corners when you make your grate.

The extra time you spend fireproofing the grate can protect your property from fire damage and prevent bodily injuries.


The lip of the burn barrel will wear down the paint, so repaint the grate as necessary.


Only use rust-free rebar when you weld. The rust will prevent the molten metal from bonding the rebar together.

  1. Lift the burn barrel onto a piece of plywood. Draw a circle around the bottom of the barrel onto the plywood. Lift the barrel and remove the plywood.

  2. Lay the piece of plywood on a worktable with the traced circle facing up. Lay a piece of rebar vertically across the center of the traced circle. The rebar must reach from one side of the circle to the other.

  3. Lay more pieces of rebar to the left and right of the first. Space the pieces of rebar 2 inches apart from each other. Keep placing the rebar pieces until you reach the right and left sides of the circle.

  4. Place one piece of rebar horizontally across the very top of the vertical pieces of rebar. Weld the horizontal piece of rebar to the vertical pieces with a gas-welding torch. Place another piece of rebar 2 inches from the first horizontal piece and weld it into place as well.

  5. Weld horizontal pieces of rebar at 2-inch intervals until they span from the top of the vertical rebar lines to the bottom, creating a grate. Allow the metal time to cool before you do anything else with the grate.

  6. Spray the cooled grate with intumescent paint (fire retardant paint). Allow the paint to dry for the manufacturer’s recommended time before you flip over the grate and paint the other side. Apply two coats of paint, allowing the paint to dry between coats.