It’s a common question for homeowners looking to add a cozy gathering spot to their outdoor space – can you put a fire pit on a deck?

While the ideal place for a fire pit is solid ground or a cement patio, it is possible to have one on your deck with proper precautions.

In this article, we’ll explore the considerations, local codes, and safety measures to help you determine if installing a fire pit on your deck is feasible and safe.

Checking Local Codes – How Close Can A Fire Pit Be To A Deck?

Before proceeding with a deck fire pit, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with local city or county codes. These codes often prohibit open flames on wood decks or within a certain distance from residential structures, typically 15 to 20 feet. For more information, read how far should a fire pit be from a house.

Check the ordinances governing open flames in your residential area to ensure compliance and avoid potential fines. Additionally, consult with your insurance provider about any impact on your premiums, especially in areas prone to wildfires.

What Type Of Fire Pit Is Best For Deck?

Assuming the local codes permit it, selecting the right fire pit is essential for deck safety.

Opting for a gas-fueled fire pit significantly reduces the fire risk. Gas fire pits, when properly installed, eliminate the sparks that can ignite nearby surfaces. Look for gas fire pits suitable for your home area to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

If you prefer a wood-burning fire pit for deck, exercise caution. Choose seasoned hardwoods such as oak, black locust, or hickory, as they minimize sparking. Avoid softwoods like fir, pine, or spruce, as they pose a higher risk.

Keep in mind that placing a wood-burning fire pit on a deck made of wood, vinyl, or composite materials is generally unsafe unless specifically approved by the manufacturer and local code. If approved, ensure the fire pit rests on a non-combustible base to prevent sparks, embers, and excessive heat from reaching the deck surface.

Safety Concerns – Is It Safe To Put A Fire Pit On A Deck?

gas fire pit for wood deck

When considering fire pits on decks, it’s crucial to address the potential hazards. One major concern involves sparks and flying embers that can ignite nearby surfaces, leading to a fire hazard (check out: Can you light a fire in your backyard?).

Even after extinguishing the fire pit, a small unnoticed spark can cause a blaze when it lands on dry leaf debris between deck boards or clings to the roof. Furthermore, fire pits situated close to the ground emit radiant heat that can damage the deck surface beneath.

Another critical consideration is the deck’s structural strength, especially when constructing a custom gas fire pit.

If you’re unsure about the deck’s capacity or planning to undertake the project yourself, consult with a local contractor experienced in fire pit design. In some cases, involving a structural engineer may be necessary, depending on the complexity of your plan.

Can You Put A Fire Pit On A Wooden Deck?

When using fire pits on wood decks, several challenges arise, including the risk of fire damage, potential destruction or weakening of the decking and its supporting structure, and cosmetic damage from scorching or spills. It’s crucial to exercise caution and implement preventive measures to mitigate these risks.

Can You Put A Fire Pit On A Composite Deck?

Composite decks, typically made from a combination of wood fibers, polypropylene, hardwood flour, PVC, and other plastics, offer advantages such as resistance to discoloration and rotting, and enhanced durability. However, they can become uncomfortably hot to walk barefoot, unlike wood decks.

Using fire pits on composite deck surfaces presents challenges similar to those encountered with wood decks. There’s a risk of melting under high heat conditions and warping, especially for polypropylene (which can start melting at 320 degrees Fahrenheit) and PVC (which can start melting at 212 degrees Fahrenheit).

It’s crucial to consult the specifications provided by composite decking manufacturers and adhere to their recommendations, as different products may have varying requirements.

How Do You Protect A Deck From A Fire Pit?

1. Creating A Safe Environment

If you’re considering using a wood-burning fire pit on your deck, it’s crucial to establish a safe setup.

Start by creating a designated no-burn zone beneath and around the fire pit. Position the fire pit away from flammable furniture, railings, or plants that could easily catch fire. Install a flame-resistant surface to hold the fire pit and act as a barrier to catch sparks and embers.

2. Accounting For Prevailing Winds

Before finalizing the location of your fire pit, take prevailing winds into consideration. You wouldn’t want your guests to be engulfed in smoke from your wood fire.

Even gas fire pits can benefit from a wind check to avoid concentrating smoke in one area. If your deck is exposed to crosswinds, consider creating a windbreak around the fire pit to ensure a more enjoyable experience for everyone.

3. Strategic Placement And Seating

When incorporating a fire pit on your deck, thoughtful placement and seating arrangements are essential. Take into account the chairs you’ll place around the fire pit, ensuring there’s enough space for comfortable seating.

If your deck doubles as a dining area, consider situating the fire pit nearby but not within the dining space. Allow ample room for moving chairs around and ensure easy passage for people behind them.

You may need to expand the size of your deck to accommodate these additional requirements. Plan for at least 6 feet of space on each side of the deck fire pit for convenient access, whether you opt for a built-in or freestanding portable model.

To enhance the overall aesthetic, you can incorporate materials from the deck area into the fire pit’s design, creating a seamless architectural connection. Moreover, a fire pit on the deck can provide a captivating view from indoors, so consider this perspective when integrating it into your outdoor living space.

Essential Fire Pit Accessories For Deck Safety And Protection

wood burning fire pit for deck

Despite taking all necessary safety precautions, accidents can still occur. It’s crucial to be prepared and have the right accessories on hand to deal with any mishaps that may happen.

Always keep a fully charged fire extinguisher, a hose, and a container of water nearby in case of emergencies. If an ember lands on a flammable deck, extinguish it immediately to prevent any potential damage. Sparks can also mar the appearance and surface of composite decks, so prompt action is essential.

1. Fire Pit Screen For Spark Containment

If your fire pit comes with a screen, make sure to keep it closed as much as possible while the fire is burning. The screen acts as a barrier, reducing the chance of jumping sparks that can potentially cause accidents or damage.

2. Fire Pit Pad For Deck Protection

To safeguard your deck surface from intense heat, consider investing in a fire pit pad specifically designed for this purpose. These pads can withstand temperatures as high as 1400 degrees Fahrenheit, providing a reliable protective layer between the fire pit and your deck.

Alternatively, you can create your own fire pit pad by arranging heat-resistant pavers in a grid configuration. Ensure the paver grid is large enough to accommodate the fire pit’s base or legs, allowing for some clearance to prevent tipping or accidental displacement.

3. Heat-Resistant Fire Pit Mat For Versatility

A heat-resistant fire pit mat is an affordable, lightweight, and convenient option for deck protection.

These mats come in various shapes and sizes, ensuring adequate coverage for most portable fire pits. They are commonly made of PVC, fire-resistant fabric, or rubber. Rubber mats or PVC often offer better performance and durability over time.

Before purchasing, it’s advisable to read reviews to ensure you select a reliable product. Pay attention to the recommended clearance between the mat and the heat source, as some mats may not perform as intended if placed too close to the fire pit.

4. All-Metal Fire Pit Barrier For Stability

Consider using an all-metal fire pit barrier, such as a metal heat shield. These barriers are typically 26 inches by 26 inches in size and raised about 4 inches off the ground.

While they provide minimal space for the base or legs of a portable fire pit, they serve as an extra layer of protection. However, it’s important to be mindful of the risk of tipping if one of the fire pit’s legs extends over the barrier.

FAQs – Can You Have a Fire Pit On A Deck?

1. What do you put under fire pit on deck?

It is recommended to put a non-combustible base, such as heat-resistant pavers or a fire pit pad, under a fire pit on a deck.

2. Can you put a gas fire pit on a wood deck?

It is generally not recommended to use a gas fire pit for wood deck. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines and local regulations to ensure safety. Using a fire pit pad or a protective barrier may be necessary.

3. Is there a fire pit mat for composite deck?

Yes, there are fire pit mats specifically designed for use on composite decks. These mats provide heat protection and help prevent damage to the deck surface.

4. What deck material is most fire resistant?

Among common deck materials, concrete and stone are considered the most fire-resistant. They have a higher resistance to heat and flame compared to wood or composite materials.

5. Can you use a propane fire pit on wood deck?

Yes, using a propane fire pit on a wood deck can be done with proper precautions. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and use a fire pit pad or a non-combustible barrier to protect the deck from heat and potential damage.

You may also be interested in: Can you roast marshmallows on a propane fire pit?

Conclusion – Can You Put A Fire Pit On A Deck?

To enhance safety and protect your deck while enjoying your fire pit, consider incorporating essential accessories. Keep fire extinguishers, water, and a hose nearby for emergencies.

Utilize a fire pit pad or create your own using heat-resistant pavers to provide a protective barrier between the fire pit and the deck surface. Employ a fire pit screen to contain sparks, and consider an all-metal fire pit barrier for added stability. Heat-resistant fire pit mats offer versatility and an additional layer of protection.

By using these accessories, you can enjoy your fire pit on your deck while ensuring the safety and longevity of your outdoor space.

Be sure to check out our guide on the best fire pit cooking grates.

By Robin M

Robin remains an active participant in the skilled trades community. His hands-on involvement in projects, coupled with a genuine enthusiasm for helping others succeed in their home improvement pursuits, reflects his commitment to empowering readers with the knowledge they need to tackle projects confidently.

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