A deck can become a favorite gathering spot during cool evenings. You may want to prolong your talks or relaxation into the night and you are thinking of adding some ambience and warmth with a fire pit. So, can you put a fire pit on deck?
No, a fire pit should not be put directly on a wooden or composite deck. Heat, sparks and flying embers can damage your deck or accidentally start fire. Using a fire pit on deck is against some local ordinance laws and the action can attract fines.
Can you put a Fire Pit on Deck?
Most decks are made of combustible materials like wood, composite or vinyl. Further this outdoor area is usually located nearer to a house. An open fire pit produces heat, sparks and flying embers that can damage your deck or accidentally cause fire that will raze nearby properties.
For this reason many local municipality fire codes discourage against use of open flames including fire pits on decks or near homes. Going against the regulations can attract heavy penalty including imprisonment.
However, that does not spell doom to your desire for memorable outdoor moments around dancing flames with friends or family. You can safely use gas or wood burning fire pit on your wood or composite deck without damaging your expensive investment or starting a wildfire by adhering to few guidelines.
How to Safely Use a Fire Pit on a Deck
Fire pits are common with patios as the areas are usually located quite a distance from home structures. Patios are also made from concrete, stones or gravel which are not easily affected by heat from a fire pit. You can safely put a fire pit on your wooden or composite deck by observing the following:
1. Double check your municipality code dictating use of open flames outdoors
Begin by revisiting local ordinances regulating use of fire pits in your residential area. Some municipalities allow open flames outdoors but with conditions that define a safe distance from structures, the size of fire pit and on-site emergency preparedness.
2. There ought to be enough clearance from structures and flammable objects
When you have been cleared by your local municipality to operate a fire place, the next thing you’ll want to ensure is enough distance of your fire pit from nearby items. The pit location should not be near or close to your house and other outdoor structures.
In most cases, a fire pit should be put at least 20-25 feet away from a house or other structures. In roofed structures, the roof should be at least 6 feet above the pit. Additionally, you’ll want to clear anything combustible from your deck including patio umbrellas, furniture, railings and plants that can catch fire.
3. Choose the right type of fire pit for your deck
Fire pits come in varieties and sizes that include wood burning pits and gas burning. You’ll also want to choose a fire pit based on the size of your yard. Wood-burning fire pits are the most dangerous to use on a wooden or composite deck as their flames are not easy to control. Gas-burning fire pits can be a great option.
4. Observe weather conditions of the day
A calm evening without speeding wind becomes the right time to enjoy a fire pit outdoors. Heavy breeze not only blow away your flames but also spread sparks and flying embers to nearby materials that can catch fire. This puts your deck, house, and other valuables items at fire risk.
A fire pit wind guard becomes helpful when you want to enjoy fire flames in windy outdoor conditions. The tempered glass wind guard will also allow you to sit by the fire and enjoy its light without burning off your eyes.
5. Protect your wood or composite deck from fire pit heat
Wood and composite are combustible materials that can be damaged or ignited by heat, sparks or flying embers coming from a fire pit. You should consider using a heat-proof material underneath your portable fire pit or fire ring for your permanent fire pit.
Fire pit spark screen will also be needed to help in containing flying embers and sparks from moving out of the fire pit to your deck or nearby items. There is also need to protect your concrete patio from fire pit heat by using a fire mat.
6. Provide a strong support for fire pit on your deck
Fire pits are quite heavy especially the custom-build models. You should be in a position to know the amount of weight your deck can support. Structural supports can be put in place to ensure that your deck is comfortably anchoring your fire pit. Without this, a weak deck can collapse and worse of when fire is burning.
7. Clear your deck before starting fire in the pit
Sometimes a deck tend to accumulate a lot of debris including dry leaves, pine straws and old newspapers. These are flammable objects that can easily start fire when a spark or ember lands on them. Before starting your fire, ensure that your deck is free from debris and other fire-catching materials.
8. Stay alert and keep a fire extinguisher on nearby
Always stay alert when using a fire pit on deck, patio or anywhere in your yard. Additionally, have a fire extinguisher or a water hose standby ready to tackle any fire incident or accident. Never leave your fire pit unattended or with children alone.
9. Put out the fire and clean the area once done
Once your outdoor party, conversation or relaxation has ended, simply put out the fire before you get into your home. When everything has cooled, you should then clean your fire pit to remove all the ashes, charcoal or wood remains. This gives you a good start up the next time you want to enjoy outdoors and also adds life to your fire pit.
Fire pits are great addition to outdoor spaces. With one you get a warm ambience characterized with dancing flames and cracking sounds. Although ideal for open spaces which are a distance from home, you can put a fire pit on your deck by adhering to our above recommendations.