Are you thinking about putting a fire pit on your deck?
Despite creating an inviting and cozy ambiance perfect for family get-togethers and evenings in the garden, one of the biggest concerns that many homeowners face is whether installing a fire pit is an appropriate choice.
Why? Well, regardless of whether you happen to have wood decking or composite – a fire pit can bring about a whole host of safety issues, including deck warping, and just generally being a fire hazard.
By making sure that you completely understand the potential risks that you may encounter from deciding to install a fire pit on your backyard deck. You will also be able to know whether the installation will be suitable for your decking, but you are also going to be able to make sure that you are able to safely install one if you decide to go ahead and do it.
This is where we come in to lend a helping hand. In this article, we are going to be taking a closer look at whether or not a fire pit can be put on a deck, as well as the potential challenges you might encounter and the safety precautions that you should take.
So, with all that being said, whenever you’re ready, let’s begin.
Can You Put A Fire Pit On A Deck? Are There Any Risks?
No matter whether you happen to have a wood or composite decking area, the good news is that it is possible to safely install a fire pit on a decking area regardless of whether the fire pit happens to be fueled by gas or wood-burning.
However, there are a few risks that you should be aware of.
In order to ensure that the installation will be totally safe, it is absolutely vital that the fire pit is located in an area of the decking that is kept at an appropriate distance from nearby structures including the home to prevent a fire hazard.
It should also be noted that fire pits can reach temperatures upwards of 1200 degrees Fahrenheit and sometimes even higher than that, so if you are planning to install a fire pit, you’re also going to need to make sure that you have the relevant protective equipment to ensure that you can enjoy your fire pit safely.
Despite these drawbacks, the good news is that there are a variety of ways that you can help to safeguard your decking and the area in which you choose to install your fire pit. This brings us to our next section.
What Safety Precautions Should Be Taken When Installing a Fire Pit?
Now that you know that it is possible to install a fire pit in your decking (as well as have a better understanding of the possible risks that might come along with it) we are now going to be talking you through the most important safety precautions that you will need to take if you do decide to go ahead and install a fire pit in your decking.
Let’s take a look at them all below:
1. Pick A Protective Base
If you are planning to install a fire put in your decking, you’re going to need to make sure that you are using some kind of protective base.
There are a variety of options on the market, and to help you decide which one might be best for you, we’re going to be outlining the most popular kinds below:
Regardless of what type of decking you happen to have, if you’re installing a fire pit – a heat-resistant mat is going to be an essential item and the best part?
They’re usually pretty inexpensive, long-lasting, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes to accommodate any decking situation.
These mats are made of a fire-resistant material and will be able to prevent damage to the decking spot you have placed the fire pit upon.
To see some of my recommended heat-resistant mats for under-fire pits, click the link.
Insulated Heat-resistant Tray
Another option you could consider using is an insulated heat-resistant tray, which is designed to elevate fire pits around an inch off the ground/decking.
These are typically the most popular protective base to use, as well as the most reliable.
Metal Fire Pit Barrier
If you don’t want to use a heat-resistant mat or tray, you could alternatively opt to use a metal fire pit barrier.
These barriers typically consist of a metal base with four legs that the fire pit is then placed on top of. Due to this, it means that if you were to use one, your fire pit would be elevated above your decking which will reduce the chance of any surface damage.
However, there is a risk of the fire pit toppling over if the base is disturbed, which is something to consider.
2. Choose An Appropriate Location
As we have already very briefly touched upon above, if you are planning on installing a deck fire pit, it is essential that you choose a location that isn’t going to be near any structures, such as your house.
It’s extremely important that you take the time to choose the most suitable location to install your fire pit, as installing a fire pit too close to surrounding structures can be extremely dangerous and potentially pose a fire risk.
As a side note, if you want to install a fire pit on your decking but you’re unsure of what area of your decking is going to be most suitable, we recommend getting a second pair of eyes to help you make the decision.
3. Make Sure You Use A Spark Screen
Last but certainly not least, the final safety precaution that you should make sure that you implement when installing a fire pit on your decking is a spark screen.
A spark screen typically consists of a mesh material that will be able to prevent any fire sparks from getting to the surrounding areas of your decking and causing cosmetic damage to the surface of your wood or composite decking.
As a side note, along with all of the above, it is also very important to make sure that you are following any installation guidance provided to you by the manufacturer of the fire pit model you decide to use.
Most manufacturers will provide you with an owner’s manual that will contain important information to ensure that you install your particular model of fire pit correctly and safely.
What Firewood Should Be Used On A Deck Fire Pit?
Following on, besides taking into account the main safety precautions that we have outlined above, if you want to install a fire pit on your decking area, you’re also going to need to make sure that you are considering what kind of firewood you are using, too.
To ensure that you are able to prevent your decking from becoming cosmetically damaged from fire burns, we strongly recommend that you steer clear of firewood that is prone to sparking, which includes most softwoods such as pine and fire.
Instead, we recommend that you opt for hardwoods that have been seasoned, as these are far more likely to offer you a clean burn.
Here’s a list of some recommended firewood that will be appropriate for use with your fire pit deck:
Safer Alternative to Wood Fire on a Deck
I love the crack of a wood fire but because of the risk of accidental fire or melting composite decking often a safer alternative is a gas fire pit or table.
They can be fueled by either propane which is easy to set up and portable.
For a permanent fuel source that does not require fills, natural gas is an economical option. The setup cost is more upfront but after that, there are no costly runs to the gas station to refill your tank. Or worse running out of fuel mid-evening just as you were getting comfortable out on the deck.
But more importantly to my point of safety. Gas fire does not have exploding sparks and the heat can easily be regulated. Ensuring the flames big enough to warm and entertain but not so hot as to damage your decking.
This is why I often recommended a gas fire over a wood fire on a deck. It’s just safer.
The Bottom Line: Should You Install A Deck Fire Pit?
There we have it!
Now that you have taken the time to read through this guide, we hope that you now have a much better understanding of whether or not installing a deck fire pit in your backyard is going to be a suitable option for you, as well as the potential risks and safety precautions that you should be aware of before going ahead and making your decision.
As we have already discussed in the article above, even though it is possible to install a fire pit on decking, that doesn’t mean that installing one comes without safety risks.
If a fire pit is not installed correctly, a whole host of hazards can occur, including cosmetic damage, risk of fire, warped decking, and much more.
Nevertheless, by making sure to take into account all of the guidance that we have provided you with above, we are sure that you will be able to safely install a deck fire pit without posing a safety hazard or causing any damage to your decking and surrounding areas of your backyard.
Of course, if you’re still feeling a little unsure about whether or not installing a fire pit in your decking is going to be a suitable choice for you, why don’t you consider asking a professional contractor to assess your decking area and provide you with their professional opinion on whether or not a fire pit will be a viable option?
In some instances, you may be able to hire them to install it for you. Thank you for reading, we hope that this has been a help!