How to Safely Use a Fire Pit on a Deck: Expert Tips & Best Surfaces
If you're like many homeowners, taking time to relax and entertain on your home's deck during the warm summer months is a must. Why not add an inviting deck fire pit for cozy evenings?
But before igniting that hard-earned relaxation session with friends or family, there are some important considerations for using a fire pit safely on your wood or composite deck surface.
In this guide, we'll cover everything from tips for safe use to what materials make the best fire pit surfaces. So join us around the fire pit as we explore how you can get ready to light up those star-filled nights on your deck in style!
Choosing a Safe Fire Pit for Your Wood Deck
Above all else, when choosing a fire pit for your wood deck, it is crucial to ensure it is safe and suitable for use. To do this, you should consider a few factors:
Material: Fire pits come in various materials, including metal, brick, stone, concrete, and ceramic. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages when used on a deck.
- Metal fire pits are lightweight and portable but can become too hot for the decking material if not used properly.
- Brick and stone fire pits are heavier but provide more insulation from heat.
- Concrete fire pits are a great option because they stay cooler and are extremely durable.
Size: The fire pit's size should be considered when setting it up on your deck. Too large of a fire pit may cause warping or cracking in the decking material, while too small of a fire pit may not provide enough heat to keep you warm. Finding the right size fire pit for your deck can help you maximize both safety and comfort.
Shape: Fire pits come in different shapes, such as rectangles, round, and square. Each shape has its benefits. Rectangular fire pits are great for larger decks, while round and square fire pits are ideal for smaller outdoor spaces.
Ignition Type: There are various types of ignition systems for fire pits. The most common types are manual ignition, push-button, and fully electronic ignition.
- Manual ignition is the simplest, requiring a lighter or match to light the pit.
- Push button ignitions create sparks with the push of the button.
- Full electronic ignitions are the most complex but usually provide the most safety features when starting a fire in a fire pit.
Fuel Type: Fire pits can be fueled by coal, wood, or propane/natural gas. Selecting the correct fuel type is essential when you want to place a fire pit on your deck.
- Wood-burning fire pits can create a lot of smoke and sparks that can damage the decking material, so it is best to use a propane or natural gas fire pit.
- Propane fire pits allow for more maneuverability, while natural gas fire pits may be cheaper to run. You can learn about the differences between propane and natural gas fire pits here.
Examples of Fire Pits That Are Safe for Use on Decks
Now that you understand what factors to consider when choosing a fire pit for your wood deck, here are some examples of propane and natural gas fire pits that can be used on composite or wood decking safely.
Pyromania Millenia Fire Pit
The PyroMania Fire Millenia Rectangle Fire Pit is made from Glassfiber Reinforced Concrete. It comes with free adjustable legs that have added stability and allow the fire pit to vent from underneath, so it's not sitting directly on the deck. It is also fueled by natural gas or propane, so you don't have to worry about smoke, heat, or sparks damaging your wood deck.
Elementi Granville Fire Pit Table
The Elementi Granville fire pit table is made from Glass-Fiber Reinforced Concrete, making it resistant to weather, heat, and rust. It weighs 176 lbs., so it won't easily be knocked over or moved. It also comes with a CSA safety certification, providing peace of mind when using this fire pit on your wood deck.
Pyromania Fire Tao Commercial Fire Pit
The PyroMania Fire Tao fire pit is made from Fiberglass Reinforced Concrete, weighing in at a sturdy 190 lbs and capable of delivering up to 60,000 BTUs of heat when powered by propane or natural gas. The modern square design makes it an eye-catching feature that will transform your deck into an outdoor oasis.
Modeno Roca Fire Bowl
The Modeno Roca Round Fire Table is made from durable glass-fiber reinforced concrete and weighs 88 lbs. It features an easy-to-use electronic ignition and can produce up to 50,000 BTUs of heat when powered by propane or natural gas. It's perfect for creating a cozy atmosphere on your deck and will surely be the centerpiece of many enjoyable nights.
Outdoor GreatRoom Havenwood Fire Pit Table
The Outdoor GreatRoom Havenwood Fire Pit Table is an elegant and modern addition to any deck. It is fueled by natural gas or propane and features a white base that puts the fire pit up and off the deck for added safety. The contemporary white base of this fire pit fits a hidden propane tank, while it's Driftwood Everblend textured concrete top gives it a unique look.
Choosing the Best Location for a Fire Pit on Deck
When selecting the location for your fire pit on a deck, ensure it is at least 3 feet away from any flammable objects or combustible materials. This will help to prevent any potential accidents and keep you safe. Placing it too close to your house could melt vinyl siding and your house could easily catch fire, so keep it a safe distance away.
Additionally, ensure that the deck's surface is level and stable before setting up your fire pit and that your deck can handle the weight.
Also, allow enough room around the fire pit so you and your guests can maneuver comfortably.
Never Place a Wood Burning Fire Pit Directly on a Wood Deck
When placing a wood-burining fire pit on your wood deck, it is imperative to remember that it should never be placed directly on the wood surface (common sense). Doing this can cause excessive heat transfer, discoloration, warping, cracking, or other damage to the wood or composite decks over time.
Instead of placing the fire pit directly onto the wood deck, you can use a fire pit pad or heat shield to protect the decking from potential damage.
Some fire pits sold by Firepit Surplus come with adjustable legs to lift the fire pit up and off the wooden deck for added safety.
Image via: DeckProtect.net
The Dos and Don'ts of Using Wood Burning Fire Pits on a Deck
If you are going to use an outdoor fire pit on your wood deck, there are some critical things that you should keep in mind. These include choosing a safe fire pit, a safe location, and using a fire pit pad or heat shield as a barrier.
It is also essential to ensure that you always have a fire extinguisher or water supply nearby in an emergency. Additionally, it is vital to monitor the fire at all times and never use gasoline or other accelerants to start the flames.
Stick to the following safety tips, and you can enjoy a safe, warm, and inviting atmosphere on your deck.
Keep a water source or fire extinguisher nearby in case of an emergency.
Check with your local fire department to ensure outdoor fires are allowed in your area.
Use only dry, seasoned firewood or fire starters in your wood burning fire pit.
Use a spark screen to prevent embers from escaping the wood burning fire pit.
Monitor the fire at all times and never leave it unattended.
Use gasoline or other accelerants to start the wood burning fire pit.
Overload the fire pit with too much wood or debris.
Use the fire pit in extreme weather conditions, such as high winds or drought.
Allow children or pets to play near the fire pit.
Dispose of the ashes until they have completely cooled.
Best Surfaces for Your Fire Pit
When using a fire pit, it is important to consider the type of surface it will be placed on. While many surfaces can safely accommodate a fire pit, some should be avoided.
Safe surfaces include concrete, brick, and stone, as they have been proven to withstand high temperatures and provide sturdy support for your deck fire pit. Not only does this help prevent the spread of fires to surrounding areas, but it also ensures that you remain safe when enjoying your evening around the flames.
Unsafe surfaces can be a significant hazard when using a fire pit. These include surfaces made of flammable materials such as wood, plastic, and composite decking that can easily catch fire. Not only do these materials have the potential to cause significant damage if they ignite, but they also provide little protection against high temperatures or sparks from the fire pit.
Other factors include the distance from your house or other structures, clearance from overhanging branches, and local fire codes and regulations. Additionally, ensure the deck's surface is level and stable before setting up your fire pit to avoid tipping over.
You can still enjoy a lovely fire on your patio if you don't have a deck. Concrete and stone patios are excellent surfaces for fire pits, as they can withstand high temperatures and provide a sturdy base. Ensure the area is large enough to accommodate your fire pit, and you are ready to go!
Is it safe to put a fire pit on a Trex deck?
You can safely put an outdoor fire pit on a Trex deck using a barrier between the fire pit and the deck surface. Whether your fire is wood-burning or gas-powered, it is essential to create a physical barrier between the heat source and the composite material of your deck. This will prevent warping, discoloration, and damage to the Trex deck.
Can I use a propane or natural gas fire pit on a wood deck?
You can use a propane or natural gas fire pit on a wood deck. These fire pits produce less heat and are safer than wood-burning fires. It is still essential, however, to create a physical barrier between the fire and the deck's surface to prevent heat damage.
What are the local fire regulations for using a fire pit on a deck?
Check your local fire or municipal codes to determine what regulations cover outdoor fires on wood decks. These regulations may require that you maintain a certain distance from property lines and other structures and only use specific types of fuel and materials for your fire pit.
Is it necessary to use a fireproof mat underneath the fire pit on a wood deck?
Yes, using a fire pit pad underneath your fire pit is always the best practice when using it on a wood deck. This will provide additional protection against sparks and heat emanating from the fire pit and help protect your deck and home from fire damage.
Fire pits can be safely and responsibly used on wood decks when the proper precautions are taken. Ensuring that the surface is a non-flammable material such as concrete or stone, creating a barrier between the heat source and the deck surface with a fire pit pad, following local fire codes and regulations, and picking out the safest fire pit are all essential for safely using a fire pit on your deck.
Utilizing these safety measures will ensure you and your loved ones can safely enjoy the warmth and ambiance of an evening sitting on your deck next to the fire pit!
So gather around, kick back, relax, and make great memories with your friends and family.