Fire pits are becoming more and more popular as people strive to use their gardens all year round. With many people now opting for a wooden deck or a composite deck in place of a more traditional patio, it’s common to question can you put a fire pit on decking?
A fire pit should not be put directly on decking unless its instructions say it is ok. This is because decks are made from flammable components including wood or plastic. Fire pits not only produce direct heat but can also create sparks and embers. If you put a fire pit on a deck they could cause a fire hazard unless you take a number of important steps to prevent damage.
Ways to use a fire pit on decking?
Some fire pits, however, are designed to be used safely on the decking which is why you must read the instructions prior to lighting. You can also use a variety of different methods to prepare the wooden or composite deck to allow you to use your fire pit safely which can include:
- Utilising a specific fireproof area that doesn’t have any overhanging structures or is not close to the deck
- Purchasing a fire pit with a fireproof base
- Buying a fire pit that specifically says it can be used on decking
- Creating a fireproof base for your fire pit using bricks or pavers
- When extinguishing the fire do so carefully
Fire Pit on Wood deck
The main problem with using a fire pit on a wooden deck is that hot sparks, ash, and embers can spill out onto the deck unless you take some precautions. Hot ash, embers, and sparks can very easily and quickly make burn marks on your wood. This will not only damage the wooden deck but also make it very unsightly. The other main concern is that putting a hot fire pit on a wooden deck can easily create a fire hazard that could be avoided.
Fire Pit on Composite deck
In recent years composite decking has become more and more popular as people try to increase the lifespan of garden transformations. A composite deck is much longer-lasting than a wooden deck and takes less treatment to keep it looking good, but can you put a fire pit on composite decking?
Composite decking is made from a mixture of wood and plastic and normally you should avoid lighting a fire on a plastic surface at all costs. However, you can use fire pits on composite decking as long as you follow two simple rules. Firstly, provide the surrounding area with enough protection so the heat does not transfer to the decking.
Secondly, a fire pit should never be placed directly onto a composite deck. Always make sure you have some heatproof barrier between the bottom of the fire pit and the deck to prevent any ash, embers or sparks from hitting the deck and to also prevent any direct heat transfer between the legs or the bottom of the fire pit and the deck.
Problems with using a fire pit on decking
The main way to prevent any problems with using your fire pit on decking is to first follow the manufacturer’s instructions and second, to follow these simple do’s and don’ts.
1 Choose your location
Do: Make sure that you pick a suitable location. This needs to be away from flammable items including any furniture, overhangs, and buildings. Many fire experts suggest that you should leave a minimum distance of 10 ft from any of the listed items.
Don’t: Put a fire pit directly onto your decking unless it states in your manufacturers’ instructions that it is safe to do so. If in doubt always use a heatproof barrier underneath.
2 Always profect your decking
Do: Protect your deck from direct heat and ash, embers, and sparks by using specially designed heat pads. Heat pads can come in a variety of materials including metal, fabric, and stone, and are designed to protect the surrounding area of your deck from your fire pit. You can find a selection of different sized fire pit mats by clicking on the link.
Don’t: Put your fire pit on either a wood deck or a composite deck without protecting the surface of your deck. The ash, sparks, and heat generated by fire pits can quickly cause detrimental damage to the surface and even lead to fires.
3 Use a spark screen
Do: Use a spark screen to help prevent sparks or embers from escaping your fire pit and causing damage to your decking.
Don’t: Remove a spark screen and place it on the decking whilst refueling your fire pit. The spark screen will become incredibly hot when on top of the fire pit and this will mark, burn and damage your wooden or composite decking.
4 Allow it to cool
Do: Make sure you always keep an eye on your fire pit whilst it’s lit and always make sure it cools down fully after use.
Don’t: Try to move your fire pit whilst it is hot, or try to empty it. As fire pits are made from metal they will remain hot for some time after use. Any hot ash or embers still left within the fire pit will still be able to damage your decking.
5 Watch the weather
Do: Always have a look at the weather conditions before you light your fire pit. Using it in the wrong weather conditions can easily lead to problems and may end up causing damage to your decking.
Don’t: Use your fire pit in windy dry conditions. Windy conditions will not only cause your fire pit to smoke too much but sparks and embers can easily travel from your fire pit and may cause a significant fire risk to not only your composite or wooden decking but also to the rest of your garden and those of your neighbours.
If you’re determined to have your fire pit on your composite or wooden decking, what do you need to do to make sure it’s as safe as possible?
We’ve already discussed the main points to consider but the main one is to follow the manufacturers’ instructions. They’ve made the fire pit and they will also know whether it is suitable to use on decking without any further protection.
In any case, experts would always recommend that you invest in a fire pit mat as we mentioned previously.
Fire pit mats can come in a variety of styles, shapes, and sizes so choose one that adds extra protection to your decking, and don’t forget that creating a permanent base using fire bricks or flat stone would also be perfect.