A fire pit on a wood deck provides tender warmth and welcome entertainment. I haven’t had much time to camp lately, so this is the perfect alternative that brings back happy memories. A fire pit is an excellent addition to a deck. They add warmth on chilly nights and are a good way to extend your outdoor enjoyment into the fall.
A good fire can provide a surprisingly relaxing atmosphere, taking you back to the evening when your family and friends shared laughs around the campfire. I quickly searched for anything I could find about fire pits and found that there are many different types available. The findings I found are shared here.
Things To Consider Before Installing Fire Pit On Deck
To install the fire pit, these things must be considered first!
Gas vs. Wood Burning Fire Pits
Gas fire pits are safe to use on combustible decks if installed properly by a professional. Still, you need to check the manufacturer’s requirements and your city’s local code before putting any fire pit on your deck.
Without the proper consultation and plans from the manufacturer of your deck, it is unsafe to put a wood-burning fire pit on top of natural material decks. Proper installation means that the 24″ all-around your fireplace needs to be a non-combustible surface such as concrete or stone.
It’s important to use a non-combustible base so embers from the fire don’t find their way onto your deck and start a fire.
Common Deck Surfaces Materials
It would be helpful to know more about the types of surfaces on your deck before you purchase a fire pit. This can help give you an idea of what type of fireplace or how much safety protection is right for you when installing or using one.
Wood decks are more combustible than most other surfaces. Some gas fire pits are approved for wood decks, but the type of wood-fired pits will only be allowed on a deck if they have been preapproved and proper cautionary measures have been taken.
This type of decking is typically made from plastic and chlorine, also known as PVC or vinyl. Vinyl can expand easily and cracks when exposed to heat.
Poured concrete or stone pavers make great durable surfaces for decks. Either surface will withstand the heat from a fire pit, making them the perfect materials for a deck with a fireplace.
Composite decks, made of wood, plastic, and recycled material are highly combustible.
Check The Fire Pit Installation Manual
When buying a fire pit, please spend some time consulting installation instructions to make sure that it is compatible with space.
Key clearance and installation instructions can be found in the manufacturer’s manual, so make sure to read them before you buy (most manuals are accessible on particular product listings on our website).
fire pits that require a stone base are usually heavy.
Once you have found the right fire pit for your deck, you may need to check manufacturer requirements to see if the deck is strong enough to support it.
To determine if your deck can handle a fire pit, follow these steps:
- Check the weight of the fire pit and any accessories (such as mesh nets to contain the fire) as needed.
- Add this to the weight of the deck furniture and the maximum number of people that will be on the deck at one time.
- compare the total amount contained in point 2 with the maximum weight your deck can hold.
- If you are not sure of your deck’s weight capacity, consult a structural engineer.
Research Your Location
It’s important to remember that a fire pit must be spaced far enough away from your home and should not come into contact with things in the vicinity that are easily combustible.
Most fire pits should be at least 20-25 feet away from a house or structure that can easily catch on fire and needs 3 feet of clearance on each side and 6 feet of clearance above.
If you use an awning over your deck, it’s important to consider the flame height and BTU output as well. You may need to go for a fire pit with a lower BTU output to ensure you have proper clearance overhead.
Every fire pit is different, so it is important to refer back to the manufacturer’s instructions before placing a fire pit on or around any combustible materials and structures.
Follow Safety Regulations For Your Area
It would be best to research any burn bans and fire codes that apply to your region. Choose a gas-powered fire pit if burn bans are in effect, and make sure to ask your local authorities when it is safe for use. That way, you won’t be dealing with an open flame within the context of your local municipal regulations.
Accessories For Safe Burning
There are a few accessories available for your fire pit that can make it safer to use. Non-combustible bases, spark guards and screens, and covers are some of the things you’ll find on Amazon.
Screens And Spark Guards
Typically constructed of steel and wire mesh, screens are typically used to keep sparks, embers, and ash from flying out of a wood-burning fire pit.
Metal Or Stone Covers
Covers are essential for wood-fired pits. Not only do they protect the fire pit from inclement weather, but in many cases, a cover is needed to maintain the warranty and provide safety protection.
Pads And Bases
Non-combustible surfaces are used to prevent harm from heat transfer as well as flyaway embers and sparks. After surface materials like stone or metal, they provide a comfortable surface under your fire pit for cooking grills and food preparation areas.
Additional Tips For Wooden Deck Fire Pit Safety
Make Sure The Gas Supply Connection Is Safely
If you plan to connect your fireplace to the home’s gas supply, make sure the connection is safely installed and away from where people will be walking.
When storing extra firewood, make sure you place it far away from your fire pit so sparks from the burning wood or a strong breeze won’t ignite it.
Never Place Your Fire Pit On A Bare Wood Deck
Instead, invest in a fire pit pad to protect the deck. They come in materials like stone, metal, and screen mesh that comes right underneath your fire pit with an extension all around the back of the pad to contain any damage from gas, embers, or ashes on the deck.
Use The Stand As A Prevention
Always use a stand when you place your fire pit on top of or next to your deck. Even if an appropriate fire pit pad is used, it’s best not to put the fire directly on the pad without a stand.
Additional Layer Between The Hot Coals With Sand
Pour a layer of sand, about 2 inches thick, at the bottom of your fire pit before lighting it. This will create one more physical barrier between the hot coals or wood and your wooden deck.
Never Leave Your Fire Unattended
It’s always better to prepare. Just in case your fire is sitting on an extremely flammable deck, you don’t want to risk a spreading fire to get some more hot dogs from indoors.
Don’t Light A Fire When The A Windy Day
A gentle breeze is fine for the fire, but a strong gust may encourage an out-of-control inferno.
After learning the safety tips for a fire pit on wood decks, find out which models are best suited to be installed on your deck. A customizable fire pit will add to any wood deck, allowing you to enjoy your evening for a lot longer fully. Learn about the differences between the two types of fire pits before making your purchase.
Different Types Of Fire Pits That Work With Wooden Decks
There are many styles of fire pits, but there are really only three types: wood-burning, propane- or natural gas-, and gel fuel-. Before purchasing a new fire pit for your deck, consider whether you want it near a building.
When installed correctly, fire pits can be enjoyed without worry. However, electric fire pits may not provide the same open-flame experience.
Wood Burning Fire Pits
The three most common fire pits for wood decks are open fire pits, portable metal fixtures with a screen, and chiminea cook-in-place style fires. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, but all burn the same product (wood), which is a hazard for wooden decks – so choose wisely.
Open fire pits are permanent stone or brick structures with a burning flame open to the air. This design can lead to potential house fires due to sparks and ash scattering easily, so some communities have banned them altogether.
I recommend the metal fire pit sitting on legs, which can be easily moved when not in use. It should place on a fire pad when in use, however, as it protects the wooden deck from the radiant heat.
A metal mesh screen often prevents sparks and burning embers from wafting into shrubbery or siding. Its size also limits the amount of fire it can hold.
One type of chiminea has a metal mesh door, but the fire is fully enclosed everywhere else. Other types are open mesh all around or in the front and back except for small openings at the doors, making them appropriate for positioning in a corner- or if you want to set it up on an outdoor deck safely.
It comes with a cooking grill as well. The chimney is at the front of this feature, and it will help guide smoke higher and contain sparks better than if it doesn’t have one. It should typically rest on a protective pad beneath it.
Sun umbrellas, overhead awnings, and pergolas are susceptible to burns from airborne sparks. The first two pits are fully open and visible flames so that smoke can drift into the eyes more easily.
Some of these fire pits have been designed for people to sit around, and they allow the aroma and smoke created by wood-burning to drift more freely. For some, this can lead to respiratory issues.
Propane Fire Pits
Propane fire pits offer flame without the risk of generating hot ash, smoldering embers, or irritable smoke. The heat is emitted upward, so it doesn’t risk warming up a wooden deck. They come in hundreds of styles and looks, from stones to timber to sculpted metal.
Propane fire pits can be lit with the push of a button like a BBQ and have adjustable flames. The flame heats ceramic logs, glass beads, or other warmth retaining materials.
Most offer a full range of views of the flame. Feel free to roast marshmallows, but don’t expect the snap, crackle, and pop you get from a burning log.
It should be noted that a propane outdoor fire pit is still an open flame, and surfaces will get hot—exercise caution when installing, lighting, or using an open flame enclosed area.
Fire pits fueled by propane can be converted and run on natural gas for an easier and safer experience, but always make sure a certified installer does it.
Gel-Burning Fire Pits
Gel-burning fire pits burn bio-ethanol, ethanol alcohol, or gelled isopropyl, a gelled petroleum product. The gel outdoor fire pits are considered eco-friendly since they don’t produce smoke, ash, soot, or odor.
Gel fuel comes in various formats, including cans placed into special holders, jugs for pouring gel into some models’ reservoirs, or gel-fueled logs that hid the containers inside.
Gel-burning fire pits are a safe option for decks, as the heat of the flames radiates upward while minimizing the exposure to wood.
Some can provide warmth and cooking in some instances, but marshmallows aren’t the best choice. Additionally, a fire pit can either use gel or wood-based fuel. Gel-fueled logs are a good alternative to other types of fuels.
Outdoor gel appliances are great conversation pieces and nice to have around. You will not get as much heat from them, but they’re still a welcome feature of your backyard at night.
Best First Pits For Wood Decks
You may need to learn more about how to choose the best product for your needs. Our buyer’s guide discusses the different factors that you need to consider while selecting a fire pit.
Who Needs Fire Pits For Wood Decks?
If you have a deck made out of wood (or any other weaker material), you may want to find the best fire pits for wood decks. Naturally, you would like to enjoy the relaxing and warming feel of fire with your friends and family. The issue arises from your deck’s low melting point or flammability, which may or may not allow you to have a fire pit.
Don’t worry. All you have to do is make sure that whatever fire pit you choose has been specifically designed to protect your deck material made out. The radiant heat from these fire pits is completely safe.
What Makes The Best Fire Pits For Wood Decks?
There are several different answers to this question based on your specific needs. The perfect answer for you will depend on your desires regarding what you wish to obtain from your fire pit. If you only want your fire pit to provide radiant heat, there is no need to buy the same fire pit that can be used for light cooking.
It is important to note that not all fire pits are for grilling and the different types of fuel sources have something to do with it. If the fire pit burns wood, it can be used for light cooking and requires an extra fire pit pad.
How To Find The Best Fire Pits For Wood Decks?
Keeping in mind the different properties of fire pits and their suitability for wood decks can turn out to be quite difficult. For this reason, our team has compiled some of the most suitable fire pits in the market – perfect for those looking to install without worrying about safety or compatibility with their deck.
This guide will feature what each fire pit is best for and why it is the best. Along with specific features that may be exactly what you were looking for or need! That said, here are the best fire pits for wood decks.
Type Of Material
Evaluating all the various materials used for fire pits can be challenging when trying to find the right one for you. Furthermore, every part of a fire pit consists of different materials, and you will need to understand the specific component to comprehend the significance it has on your deck fully.
When you add fire pits into the mix, materials become more complex because a fire pit may be made out of the same materials as your safety pads. This is troublesome because, though each product has been intended for a different use entirely, they are actually complementary to one another.
When considering fire pits and wood decks, it is important to consider the material of the fire pits— this is one of the most important considerations.
Resin is a term that usually refers to the substance you might find in your furniture, disposable cups, and boards. It’s typically a side product of oil and wood pulp processing, but some resins are made from polyester or other synthetic compounds. This material is a little tricky for outdoor products because they are in close contact with high levels of heat and direct flames.
Most synthetic materials are more prone to melting than others and don’t last as long in these conditions. Polyethylene is known for having the lowest melting point of any fire pit material, meaning it will fail sooner than other materials.
If you want to purchase a fire pit made of resin, make sure that there is an insulating layer between the flame and the materials. When a flame is produced in such a manner, much of the heat will be warded off the resin material.
Steel is one of the most common materials used to manufacture fire pits, largely due to its high melting point and durability.
The melting point of steel is one of the most important reasons why fire pits typically have steel in some way, shape, or form, because it will usually be seen in the burner, the frame, and even inside a larger body.
What’s even better? Steel tends to be a lighter material than the natural materials that make up fire pits. One of the biggest drawbacks to this material is that corrosion and rust set in when it’s exposed to certain elements, corrosion, and rust. This issue can be especially troublesome when your home sees a likelihood of inclement weather changes.
Concrete is not traditionally seen as a common and preferred material for fire pits, but it has some benefits which make it worth considering. Its use for fire pits isn’t more widespread because of the added weight this creates.
Though it is among the heavier materials, concrete undoubtedly makes for excellent fire pits. This is because concrete fire pits will stay cooler to the touch even in blistering temperatures. Concrete will never melt, not even if the entire fire pit was to catch on fire.
Cast Iron Firepit
Cast Iron is the optimal choice for most purposes, but some limitations do exist. Other than these, however, cast iron is the best material to use if you wish for your fire pit to generate heat and keep you warm.
Cast iron is great for absorbing heat, but the cast iron will radiate that heat even without a fire once it’s reached capacity.
Aluminum should generally not be used to construct the body of fire pits but rather for framework instead. Aluminum doesn’t react with different environmental stresses as would other metals. It is also resistant to rusting and twisting – making it a strong material for frames that allows the body panels on top of it to conduct heat more efficiently.
Aluminum is also a great heat sink and the most common fire pit material because it prevents these products from damaging the wood decks underneath.
Can Fire Pits Burn Down Homes?
If you take the time to read your manual and make sure that there are no combustibles around your fire pit, it is safe to use on your deck or patio. However, as with any fire, unsafe practices can lead to severe injury and death. Therefore, never take risks when using a fire pit on your deck, and always err on the side of caution.
Can You Put A Fire Pit On A Deck?
Yes, you are safe in using a fire pit on your deck. The type of decking material will determine which type of firepit is okay for it. Other measures should also be taken to protect both the fire pit and the surrounding area from a flame up.
Can I Use A Propane Fire Pit On A Wood Deck?
You want to make sure that you do not put your fire pit directly on or next to combustible materials. Furthermore, please follow all other safety guidelines and only place it on a non-combustible surface or pad.
Bringing a fire pit onto your deck can be dangerous. But if you use the right type of fire pit, follow these safety tips, and ensure that the fire pit fits with your deck, you will have a worry-free night by the fire.
Be sure to choose a safe location. Choose an appropriate protective surface, invest in a spark screen, and take adequate measures to prevent accidental fires, like adding a layer of material underneath the fire pit. Complete your preparations by taking into account the weather before lighting your fire.