A fire pit in your own deck is a perfect idea to create a stunning and starry aura ideal for gatherings, barbeques, and parties. In addition, an outdoor fireplace or a backyard fire is a long time investment and a cost-effective way to enjoy your surroundings.
However, putting a fire pit on different decks such as a wood deck, composite deck, vinyl decks, and patio pavers raised many eyebrows and questions. So, can you put a fire pit on a deck? Let us look through this guide for answers.
Yes, you can put a fire pit on a deck, but you must put a base underneath it as the excessive heat, and flying sparks can damage your wooden deck. Furthermore, always keep combustible materials away from the fire pit for maximum safety.
Is It Safe to Put a Fire Pit on a Deck?
Yes, it is safe to put a fire pit on a deck but not directly because nearly all kinds of the deck are combustible surfaces, whether a wooden deck, vinyl deck, or composite decking. You are at the safest deck only if it is built with concrete, or else certain measures are necessary.
In addition, you must be extra careful and take precautions while placing a fire pit on a deck to avoid any kind of fire mishap. Especially, radiant heat poses more danger while using a fire pit on a deck. Let us see what a radiant heat can do to the deck below:
- Radiant heat is electromagnetic radiation released from the fire that can radiate to nearby objects.
- Radiant heat is a major issue, especially with wood-burning fire pits, as this heat can also lead nearby flammable objects like pine cones to catch fire without even coming into contact with the fire pit.
- When the wood logs in the fire pit burn, they emit not only radiant heat but also sparks and embers, which can fly off to combustible materials like dry leaves and cause a fire.
- The larger and more significant the fire you would expect, the more radiant heat in your surroundings.
- Radiant heat is also released through the bottom of the fire pit, which further can burn the deck.
Can You Build a Fire Pit Safely on a Deck?
Yes, you can definitely build a fire pit safely on your deck for a cozy and inviting night. All you need to do is take care of specific crucial pointers to avoid any accidents and fire hazards. So below, we present to you a few vital things that will help you build a fire pit safely on your deck:
- Clean Deck: You must clean and clear your deck thoroughly and ensure that there are no combustible materials or flammable things near the firepit. A safe distance is extremely important because the embers can spark the fire even if the object is not touching the fire pit.
- Weight Support: Before placing the fire pit on a deck, you must be aware of the weight your deck can support. This needs you to calculate all the aspects and weights that are going to be on the deck, whether it’s things or individuals. Also, do not forget to use structural support for extra safety.
- Base Protection: Always place heat and fire-resistant base or barrier underneath your fire pit. This will regulate the radiant heat coming through the bottom of the pit and restrain the deck from catching any fire.
- Safety Accessories: Safety accessories include all the elements and things that would provide extra safety and assistance while using a fire pit. This would ensure additional welfare and protection of individuals.
What Do You Put Under a Fire Pit on a Deck?
As the radiant heat is radiated through the bottom of the fire pit, the chances of wood scorching and turning brown increases. Not just that, if the heat is released for an extended period, the deck may even catch fire.
The solution to this is a non-combustible, heat, and fire-resistant base that can be placed between the bottom of the fire pit and the deck. Some can be set directly, while some need to be attached to the deck. So here we hand out several best options to use as a base for your fire pit:
1. Landscaping Tiles: These tiles are the best option for safety and redecorating your patio. They come in various alluring shapes, sizes, and designs. In addition, they are fire and waterproof and can easily and quickly be washed with soap and water.
2. Heat shield: The heat shield is a base that guards and shields all kinds of surfaces of the porch or deck from extensive heat. You just have to place it underneath your fire pit, and you’re done!
3. Stones, Paver, and Bricks: These elements are the most commonly used bases for a fire pit. It is highly recommended to use bricks as they are more reliable and efficient, while stone and pavers may expand over time due to weather conditions and further damage the deck.
4. Fire Pad: A fire pad is specially designed to be placed underneath a fire pit. Moreover, It is relatively thick and comes in several shapes and sizes to fit under all kinds of fire pits, decks, and even a concrete patio.
5. Cement Board: The cement covered patio or deck is an inexpensive and easy-to-install base for a fire pit. In addition, it also looks impressive when placed on different types of patios or porches.
6. Fire-resistant Mats: This fire pit mat is relatively thin, leaner, portable, easy to use, and can be quickly folded. Also, as most of these mats are as large as rugs, the embers even won’t affect the safety.
7. Heat Resistant Tiles: Heat-resistant tiles made up of concrete, ceramic, clay, and stone are the best base for your fire pit. Also, embers and sparks will not even cause any damage on this surface. They won’t even need frequent replacements.
What Should You Not Put Under a Fire Pit on a Deck?
You should not put anything combustible or flammable under an outdoor fire pit that can easily catch fire. For example, after putting all the logs in your wood-burning fire pit, place the remaining logs at an advisable distance. In addition, make sure there are no paper goods or clothes near the fire pit.
Also, never put fuel near or under your fire pit because the embers coming out of the firepit can quickly spark the fire and lead to severe injuries and huge mishaps.
What Kind of Fire Pits Can be Installed on the Deck? (Depending on Weight)
The kind of fire pit to install on a deck firstly depends on the weight of the fire pit. You should be well aware of the potential weight your deck can support because you will find fire pits as light as 38 pounds to as heavy as 250 pounds.
So it is advisable to prefer lighter fire pits constructed of more lightweight materials as the risk of collapsing or breaking the deck is very low. Only if there is solid structural support nearby can you place a heavier fire pit on the deck.
What Kind of Fire Pits Can be Installed on the Deck? (Depending on Types)
There are different types of fire pits that can be installed on a deck. However, looking at their pros and cons will make your decision-making easier. So let us look below for different options:
1. Gas Fire Pit: The safest fire pit you can install on a deck is a propane fire pit or a gas fire pit designed for decks as there is no risk of embers or sparks. Also, get a professional to install the pit for you to ensure more safety.
2. Wood-burning Fire Pit: Though these wood-burning fire pits are not highly recommended on a deck because of embers and sparks that can ignite the surroundings, you can still manage them with a good non-combustible base such as a cement board or a fire pit pad and a spark screen for extra protection.
3. Folding or Popup Fire Pit: These portable fire pits can be the best option for decks as they are foldable and can be stored easily. You only need to open it, place it on a base, and close it after the party is over to reduce the risk of accidents.
4. Fire Pit Table: A fire pit table with a good base and spark screen can fit perfectly on a deck. This can also reduce the risk of radiant heat coming through the bottom of the fire pit and damaging the deck.
5. Gel Fire Pit: Gel fire pits are easy to use and need little maintenance. In addition, you can use a natural or electric gas burner as the heat source. Also, you won’t get soot, smoke, and odor with this fire pit.
6. Stone or brick fire pit: You can easily purchase bricks and stones from a local store and build a fire pit. This is a very cost-effective and most popular option in households.
Some other new and unique fire pit options that can be installed on deck with certain precautions include a wood fire pit, solo stove, fire bowl, barbeque grill fire pit, weber kettle fire pit, and chiminea fire pit.
Things to Take Care of Before putting a Fire Pit on a Deck
Before placing a fire pit, you must consider some crucial things to avoid fatal accidents or legal issues. The following information will help put things into perspective and make your job easy.
Fire codes are a set of standard rules that the government establishes to prevent fire hazards and promote safety. For example, in some dry and wildfire-prone areas, it is totally illegal to place a fire pit on a deck under any circumstances.
While in some other safe areas, fire codes may freely allow you to place a fire pit on a deck. Hence, checking your area’s fire codes is good before placing your fire pit on a deck.
The housing ordinance establishes and checks minimum health and safety levels of individuals and property for the existing housing. You must research housing ordinances in your locality to know the legality of putting fire pits on a deck.
Some housing ordinances may specify the kind of fire pit you can keep on a deck. For instance, they may allow propane fire pits and restrict wood burning fire pits.
Moreover, you should also check accessories and restrictions on exterior buildings and property because HOAs forbid fire pits even if city ordinances permit them.
Burn bans are restrictions on indoor and outdoor burning, mainly due to wildfire danger in the area. You can check the burn bans in your place by calling the non-emergency phone number of local fire departments or wildlife authorities.
In some fire-prone areas, burn bans are periods during the year where there is a strict restriction on fire pits and bonfires as this can start a wildfire. You can be fined and punished if you still use a fire pit during that time.
Consult the Fire Pit Installation Manual
When you are shopping for a fire pit, always read and check the fire pit installation manual prior. The information in the manual will give us some clear ideas about the size, clearance, and surface.
For instance, manuals will specifically mention the fire pit area in units. So you will know whether your deck has enough space for the fire pit and clearance.
Research Your Surroundings
Check all your surroundings and make sure that your home is at a safe distance from the fire pit. Don’t let walls, trees, overhangs, plants, or any combustible structure come in contact with the fire pit.
Generally, 20-25 feet is the best distance between your fire pit and any flammable structure. And a minimum of 3 feet clearance is required for all the sides. In addition, remember that 6 feet clearance from above the fire pit is needed too.
If you have an awning to cover your deck surface from sunlight, measuring heat using BTU output is essential.
Determine the Weight
You must calculate the total weight that is going to be present on the fire pit in order to estimate whether your deck can support it or not. So start by finding out the weight of the fire pit plus the weight of accessories.
Then add this to the estimated weight of outdoor furniture and the maximum number of people on the deck. Next, compare this total weight to the amount of weight your deck can support.
However, if you find this tricky, you can consult a structural engineer for professional help.
Important Accessories You Need While Using a Fire Pit
You can use certain crucial accessories to ensure additional safety while using a fire pit on a deck. These accessories reduce the risk of danger and secure individuals’ protection. Here are some of them:
Spark or Screen Guards
A screen guard, also known as a spark guard, is a mesh-like object that can be placed over a fire pit. It mainly helps prevent embers and sparks from flying out of the fire pit and sparking a fire.
In addition, the spark guard also helps individuals, mainly children, from touching the flames directly and getting burns. This is an essential accessory, especially for a wood burning fire pit that gives out a lot of sparks.
Wind and Flame Guard
Wind and flame guards are generally square, rectangular, and circular glass structures or partitions that are placed around a fire pit. They ensure extra safety and precaution in times of wind flow. However, you should remember that the flame guard would not protect or limit radiant heat from the fire pit.
Fire extinguishers and Fire Blankets
No matter how many safety precautions you take, things can go out of hand while using fire. So it is always reasonable and necessary to have fire extinguishers and fire blankets nearby. This is because a single ember on deck can spread like wildfire to the surroundings, including your home.
Stone or Metal Covers
After using the fire pit, the fire pit can still be hot and have some embers in it. So it is essential to fully extinguish using water or a fire extinguisher. And after that, you must cover the fire pit with a metal or stone cover.
They not only give extra fire protection but also increase the fire pit’s life span and validate the manufacturer’s warranty. However, for a portable fire pit, you can easily close and store it.
Safety Tips to Keep in Mind While Using a Fire Pit
When dealing with fire, it is crucial to take even the smallest precautions. The below-mentioned tips and precautions will undoubtedly ensure the safety around a fire pit on the deck:
- A fire pit should never touch combustible structures such as the deck, house, or railings. As mentioned in the installation manuals, a safe distance should be the priority.
- Ensure that your fire pit is placed on a level surface to reduce the risk of the fire pit falling off or toppling down.
- Make sure there is always a non-combustible base or barrier underneath your fire pit to ensure the radiant heat is not scorching.
- Be sure to clear any tree branches or hangings above the fire pit that can be damaged by the heat released from the fire pit.
- You should always have sufficient spaces as escape routes for people to escape any fire situation easily.
- Finally, always have a hose, bucket, or water source near you for emergencies and accidents.
Can you put a fire pit on a Trex deck?
Yes, you can put a gas fire pit on a Trex deck. However, if you are placing a wood-burning fire pit, use DeckProtect over the Trex deck for safety. It is because the radiant heat coming from the wood-burning fire pit can damage the Trex deck.
Can a solo fire pit go on a deck?
You can place a solo fire pit or a solo stove on a deck only with a stand and heat and fire-resistant base. Otherwise, The heat can cause damage and safety issues to the deck when used for a long time.
Can you put a fire pit on a paver patio?
You can build a fire pit on a paver patio if it is porous and fire-resistant. But if it is not fire-resistant, it is recommended to remove pavers and expose the ground and build a fire pit over the ground surface.
The best fire pit on a deck, such as gas fire pits or wood fire pits, creates an excellent ambiance and outdoor space, perfect for parties and gatherings. In addition, with the above guide, you can safely build a fire pit on an outdoor deck and ensure safety by taking precautions.
And if you want to know about installing a fire pit on grass, let us guide you through!