Is your deck your favorite gathering spot? Then you most probably would like to enhance its ambiance by installing an outdoor fire pit. These days, portable fire pits seem to be the best choice for timber decks. Right?
If you think about it, using fire pits on a wooden deck seems very tricky and could possibly lead to your backyard burning. So, the question arises: can you place a fire pit on timber decking?
Yes, you can place a fire pit on a timber decking, but there are a ton of things you need to keep in mind before you do so. Hence, in this article, we will talk at length about all the things you need to consider before placing a fire pit on your wooden deck.
When it comes to deciding whether you want to add a fire pit to your outdoor space, it all comes down to your personal preference.
Typically, your local municipality will have ordinances in place that dictates the use of open flames, which include even the use of fire pits on decks. Several city codes stipulate that open flames are not permissible on timber or any other wooden decks. These are typically set at within 20 feet of your house.
The biggest and most obvious concern with using a traditional wood-burning fire pit on a timber deck is that the flying embers and sparks could potentially ignite the surfaces nearby. Any undetected spark that ends up landing on objects like dried leaves that could be wedged between the deck boards or even on the roof shingles could be the reason for a large blaze to occur, even after the fire pit has been doused.
The other concern could be the placement of the fire pit. Ones that are placed very low to the ground are capable of producing ample radiant heat that will end up damaging the timber decking below.
If you wish to use a fire pit on a timber deck and have received an all-clear from your city code, we recommend you opt for a gas-fueled fire pit as it comes with a lesser fire risk. This fire kit, when properly installed, will not produce any sparks that might end up igniting any nearby surfaces.
In fact, always look out for gas fire kits that are designed specifically for deck use. Typically, this is stated in its manual, or you can get in touch with the manufacturer to know more about it.
You also need to pay close attention to the timber decking itself. It should be strong enough to support the fire pit. This is especially important if the gas fire pit is custom made.
If you do this yourself and are not sure, we recommend speaking to a local contractor with ample experience before you begin. Based on the design’s complexity, you may require to have a consultation with a structural engineer.
If you are considering using a wood-burning fire pit on your timber deck, you need to begin the process by making a no-burn zone around and beneath the fire pit. Position the pit as distant as possible from any railings, plants, and furniture that could potentially catch fire. You can also install some type of a flame-resistant surface that holds the fire pit and even catches any sparks.
Alternatively, you can buy a fire pit pad to secure your deck further. These pads are designed in a way to protect the deck from temperature going up as high as 1,400 F. Otherwise, you can make your very own fire pit pad by using pavers, metal, or bricks over the deck. You can also choose to build a pad by covering the deck with tile.
Always remember that regardless of the type of fire pit pad you choose, it must extend a minimum of 24 inches beyond the pit in every direction. Make note that your timber deck is capable of handling the weight of the fire pit as well as the pad.
If your fire pit comes with a screen, then we recommend keeping it closed as much as you can so that you reduce any chance of sparks jumping around.
If you are placing your fire pit on your timber deck, there are certain dos and don’ts you must follow. These include:
It is always advisable to clean the deck before lighting the fire pit as the pit could be nearby trees, leaves, and other debris. If these are dry, they can end up getting sparked fairly easily and can cause an unwanted fire.
Even a stray ember could end up landing on this, which could set it ablaze. To clean the deck, you can either use a leaf blower or a push broom.
There isn’t exactly any use of lighter fluid in a fire pit. If you are using dry wood, that will ignite without any effort. You could add some kindling or tinder to help the fire get going.
Using lighter fluid is not recommended as it can increase the risk of injuries and even cause damage to property.
Once your fire pit has cooled down, ensure that you dispose of the ashes. By letting the ashes sit in the pit for a longer period is a terrible idea.
Ashes could blow out onto the deck or could soak up the moisture, which could contribute to corrosion. A great way to dispose of ashes is by using it as an insect repellent, garden compost, or other purposes.
It is imperative that you never leave a burning fire pit unattended. If you need to run some quick errand, ensure that you ask someone to watch over it.
This does not just apply to fire pits but to all types of fires. An unattended fire could spark a secondary fire and will need to be tended to right away before it causes any significant damage.
Can you place a fire pit on timber decking or not? The simple answer is yes, but it comes with a ton of caution. Fire and wood is a recipe for disaster, so it is imperative that you follow all the guidelines we’ve mentioned in this article to the T.