Fire Pit on a Wood Deck
Having a fire pit on a deck sounds like an absolutely wonderful idea, but at the same time as a really risky idea. Fire pit on a wood deck –make sure you have solid house insurance!
If you (and I don’t blame you) really, really wanted the:-
- wonderful ambiance of a fire pit
- to relive childhood memories of melting marsh mellows over a fire
- the pleasant woody smell (to me at least) of a burning fire
- the ability to not only enjoy the fire, but once it has burnt down to use it as a bbq
- a great feature for when you next entertain on your deck…
Let’s see how safe it is or not a fire pit on a deck is.
The Fire Pit Itself
Well you are obviously not going to buy one of those ring type fire pits that have the fire directly on the ground – or in this case on your deck! An elevated fire pit seems like a possibility. Having the fire pit raised means that there will be less heat and thus should be less danger or damage to your timber boards.
You can buy elevated fire pits such as the one below.
Source: The Fire Pit Company
Choosing a really sturdy stand is very important. The image below shows a stand that is made of steel (steel is a poor conductor of heat) and has also been treated with a powder coating to provide heat resistance up to 500 degrees centigrade.
I am not an expert in fire pits, but I would suggest you become one if you want to have a fire pit on your deck. I would strongly suggest that you purchase the strongest, best manufactured fire pit that you can find. I think a cheap and nasty would be a very high risk decision.
Another factor to consider when contemplating a fire pit on a deck is the weight of the fire pit. It is extremely important to make sure that your deck is strong enough to support the weight of the fire pit and the fire pad.
Fire Pit Pad, Mat or Flooring
It is possible to purchase fire resistant pads (or mats) that you can place under your fire pit to protect the boards. There is one available right now on Amazon that advertises that it can withstand a 760 degree heat which they claim is higher than the average radiant heat generated by a fire pit.
The other alternative is to build (or have built) a tiled, paved or brick area (or a mix of these materials) on top of your deck to place the (still elevated) fire pit on. Obviously this would need to be very sturdy and the best heat resistant materials used. Another suggestion is tiled cement fibreboard.
To help reduce the likelihood of sparks flying out of the fire and lighting nearby debris or damaging your deck, it is a good idea to make sure that your fire pit pad or flooring is around 60cm beyond the fire pit in all directions.
Fire Pit Screen
Some fire pits come with a screen which we recommend you use, again as a protection against sparks or dropping embers.
Where to Place the Fire Pit
A fire pit on a deck needs to be well clear of all furniture and timber railings.
If you choose to have a fire pit on your deck it should never be left unattended. There should also be ready at hand a bucket or two of water, the garden hose or a fire extinguisher.
Fire Pit on a Deck – Fantastic or Crazy?
At the end of the day, having a wood burning fire pit on a timber deck is a risk and it really depends upon you and your family and your lifestyle as to how high a risk this might be.