Is Barbecuing Under A Gazebo a Good Idea?


Summer is known as the perfect time for outdoor entertainment, cold drinks, and especially barbecues (BBQ). But not everyone wants to wait for summer to show off their new BBQ or wait for summer to have friends over for a tasty BBQ meal. If you’re considering a gazebo to solve your winter woes and host that BBQ party after all, you might want to consider the risks involved in cooking on your BBQ under a gazebo. 

Due to the lack of clearance and ventilation in a gazebo, it is not recommended that you use a barbecue or grill for safety precautions. Barbecuing under a gazebo is unsafe and would be classified as a fire hazard and risk to the cook and any guests near or under the gazebo. 

If your gazebo is a minimalist type of gazebo, without blinds, flammable materials, and with plenty of open space, barbecuing – with safety precautions in mind – might be alright. The issue that you will have is with keeping the cold and rain outside, which we understand isn’t ideal. Read on to find out recommendations and safety tips for safe barbecuing practices.  

What Type of Gazebo are we Talking About?

A gazebo is typically a freestanding structure, made from wood or metal, in the shape of a polygon, with six to eight sides, and housing a roof on top. The gazebos made from wood are at risk of fire damage more than those made from metal or brick.  

Your gazebo can be connected to your deck for convenience, freestanding in the back yard, or even connected to your house for ease of access. If connected to a deck or close to your home, barbecuing is especially not advised.

Either way, gazebos are usually unsafe for grilling on the barbecue because the flammable and combustible hazards surrounding the gazebo, including the gazebo itself, are made from wood materials. They look great, they add class and shade and weather protection, but they’re not particularly ideal for cooking under if you want safety in front of your mind. 

If you’re considering grilling on your barbecue under a gazebo, consider the surroundings of the gazebo, the materials the gazebo is made from, and how a fire can significantly impact the area if it were to spread. The damage a fire can cause greatly outweighs the benefits of cooking undercover to protect yourself from sun and rain. 

Any wooden-made gazebo, or any type of gazebo structure that has been connected to other wooden-made materials, such as your home and your decking, are not recommended for any type of fire burning instruments like a fire pit or a barbecue. 

Why Shouldn’t You Barbecue in Your Gazebo?

Gazebos offer shade and protection from the weather for yourself and your guests. What they don’t offer is ventilation, clean breathing air, and safety from possible fires, especially if there are too many people and you’re cooking on your grill and more so if you own a closed gazebo. 

We do not recommend barbecuing under a gazebo for the following reasons:

  • You put yourself, your guests, your gazebo, and your house at risk of fire damage.
  • Dry grass, wood, decking, trees, blinds, food, fencing, and more, are prone to spreading fire.
  • Flammable or combustible liquids and gas can ignite and spread to other flammable materials, let alone the harm caused to anyone standing close by.
  • Many gazebos are built from wood which is a highly flammable product.

Research from the National Fire Protection AgencyOpens in a new tab. (NFPA) shows that, between 2014 – 2018, US fire departments attended over 10,000 home fires involving outdoor grills. Both fueled by gas or charcoal, most of these fires were started on exterior balconies and outdoor terraces and porches.  

If not the gazebo, then where?

  • Placing your grill on a concrete or brick/stone patio is the better option.
  • Consider a pergola instead of a gazebo, or a pergola in addition to your gazebo, but do not use a BBQ in your gazebo.
  • Outdoor spaces away from combustible materials

Still Insist that Barbecuing Under the Gazebo is the Way to Go?

Although we don’t recommend grilling under your gazebo, we know that some may still try to get away with it, so they don’t have to cancel their BBQ plans. If you don’t have a pergola, if you don’t have a safe undercover area for grilling, and the weather starts to get rough enough that you want to take your barbecue under your gazebo, there are alternate safety precautions you should take. 

Here is a list of handy hints and tips that you might opt for if wanting to barbecue under shade from sun or rain and insist on having a gazebo to do this:

  • Install a gazebo chimney for ventilation.
  • Add a splatter mat and grill pad underneath your BBQOpens in a new tab..
  • Consult a specialist builder on specifically-designed Grill Gazebos.
  • Fire-retardant deckingOpens in a new tab. and fire-retardant wooden gazebo.
  • Have a fire alarm installed in your gazebo.
  • Design your gazebo with non-flammable materials like metal and bricks.
  • Have large and multiple open windows for ventilation and accessible fire exits.
  • Remove all flammable items from around the gazebo area, including furniture and trees.
  • Build your gazebo away from the house and other structures that would be at risk of causing fire to spread further.
  • Never walk away and leave your BBQ unattended.

Grills should only be used outdoors and away from other flammable materials. Many people have their barbecues on their decking for convenience, but we always recommend having fire extinguishers, fire blankets, and sand buckets close by if this is where you place your grill. 

Taking extra safety precautionary measures is never a bad thing and is something you may thank yourself for in the future. 

Conclusion

Gazebos are an excellent addition to your home and can see you and your guests spending much time, day and night, having great fun and making happy memories. Gazebos, however, are not recommended for the barbecue. Grilling on the barbecue should be done away from multiple guests and away from objects, such as gazebos, that can easily catch and spread fire to other parts of your yard and home. 

Ryan Nickel

A Red Seal carpenter, passionate about building decks to be enjoyed.

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