As a proud homeowner, I understand the allure of those delightful summer evenings spent outdoors with friends and family. Whether it’s on a patio or deck, covered or not, a fireplace or fire pit can enhance your outdoor experience with comfort and warmth.
However, the question often arises: Can you safely place a fire pit on a deck?
Worry not, as in this guide we address this very question. We also go over the crucial aspects of adding a fire pit to a deck.
Table of Contents
Adding a Fire Pit to Your Deck
Adding a fire pit to your deck is indeed possible. However, before you eagerly place that fire pit on your wood, vinyl, or composite deck, there are a few important factors to consider.
When it comes to deck flooring, there is a wide range of options available, such as hardwood, composite material, vinyl, PVC, and even aluminum. Each of these options has its advantages, disadvantages, and level of durability.
If you’re looking for the most heat-resistant material to set your fire pit on, aluminum flooring is likely your best choice. It can withstand intense heat and provides a sturdy surface for your fire pit.
High-quality PVC, composite, and certain hardwood materials are also viable options, but it’s important to take the necessary precautions
Ensure that the fire pit is level even if the deck has a slight slope to shed water off. While the patio surface doesn’t need to be perfectly level, the fire pit itself should be.
Maintain Safe Distance & Clearance
As you go around installing a fire pit on your deck, you will need to maintain a safe distance from your house and other flammable structures. Be sure to have sufficient overhead clearance and that no branches are dangling over the fire pit.
Don’t place that fire pit too close to fences, gates, siding, garage, or even your house. The heat from the fire feature can be sufficient enough to cause serious damage followed by costly repairs. Keep a good distance between them.
Fire pit design & materials
Rectangular fire pits, tend to take up more space and work best in larger areas. But there are options fit for smaller spaces. Circular and square fire pits can be custom-built to fit snugly in between your outdoor furniture.
The size of your fire pit needs to match the available space while still leaving enough room for proper seating and easy access to the deck and seating area.
Let’s talk materials. Metal fire pits with stands are lightweight and portable. But you have to make sure to insulate the floor from damage using a heat pad and heat deflector.
On the other hand, brick or stone fire pits made with fireproof bricks can provide better insulation, but are a bit on the heavier side. Be sure your deck is sturdy enough to support the weight.
Now, onto the fuel type. Propane or natural gas fire pits are the way to go for any type of decking. They give you better control over the flames and can warm up that space just right.
Gas fire pits generate fewer embers and the intensity of their flames can be regulated by adjusting gas pressure and flow or modifying burners and gas jets.
But the initial cost of material and installation can be a tad higher compared to wood-burning fire pits.
No matter what type of fire pit you choose, one thing’s for sure: you have to protect that deck flooring from heat damage. We don’t want any scorch marks or singed surfaces.
Precautions for Wood Fire Pits
When it comes to wood-burning fire pits on decks, we have to be cautious. They are not the best choice, as they come with some risks and can cause damage to that beautiful flooring of yours.
Wood-burning fire pits tend to run hotter than their gas-fired counterparts. And the flames can get a bit unruly and pose a higher risk of heat damage to your deck.
Plus, they produce a lot of ash, smoke, and soot, especially if they’re poorly designed or installed.
And don’t even get me started on the sparks and embers. These are serious fire hazards.
The heat from that fire can cause all sorts of trouble, from fire damage to melting, warping, weakening of the decking, and even discoloration.
If you have to use a wood fire pit on your deck, there are some precautions to take. Insulate the surface with a heat pad to provide some protection. And make sure to use a heat deflector to redirect that heat away from the floor and into the surrounding area.
Safety Measures & Codes
Check your local fire codes and HOA regulations to ensure the use of outdoor fire pits on decks is permitted. These regulations may specify minimum distances from property lines and other structures, as well as the permitted fuel types and materials for fire pits.
Having a fire extinguisher or bucket of water nearby can be handy to swiftly extinguish any potential blaze.
Remember to never leave a flame unattended, regardless of the fire pit’s location, as changing wind directions and sparks can pose significant risks. Fire can be quite unpredictable and things could easily get out of hand in unexpected ways.