Can You Put a Fire Pit on a Deck? Do’s and Don’ts to Avoid Disaster

You have a big, beautiful deck that is perfect for outdoor entertaining. It is easy to envision family and friends gathered in your backyard, grilling out and enjoying each other’s company. The only thing that would make it more perfect would be enjoying a cozy fire and some s’mores as the sun sets. If you’ve been wondering, “Can you put a fire pit on a deck?”, we want to make sure you know there are some safety considerations that you should keep in mind.

Can You Put A Fire Pit on a Deck? | Custom fire pit on backyard deck

Adding a fire pit to your deck is doable, but there are steps that you should take to ensure the safety of both your property and yourself. This includes things such as using the right type of firepit and setting it up safely. Done right, your deck can be a fantastic entertaining spot for your home.

If you are wanting to install a fire pit on your deck, you have come to the right place! Read on to learn about the ins and outs setting up your fire pit safely.

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You Can Put a Fire Pit on a Deck

Done correctly, a fire pit can be put on a deck, but there are several safety concerns that should be taken into account.

You cannot just plop it down and light a fire. Doing this runs many risks including:

  • A house fire caused by heat of the pit or flying sparks
  • Cosmetic damage to your deck
  • Warping your deck
  • Personal harm or injury

That said, there are products and procedures that you can use to improve the level of safety for yourself and your deck while still enjoying your fire pit. 

Considerations When Placing a Fire Pit on a Deck

Raised fire pit on wooden deck

Fire can be dangerous, so it is extremely important that you take multiple precautions if you are hoping to use your fire pit on a deck.

Just because you can place a fire pit on a wooden deck, doesn’t mean you should.

The ideal location for a backyard fire pit would be away from your house and any flammable materials in an uncovered location. Even better if the pit can be placed over sand, gravel, rocks or pavers in an area that is cleared of any plant material.

That being said, we know that many people want to put the firepit on their deck or patio.

The steps we suggest below will help you create the safest, most enjoyable space that you can. (Just don’t say we didn’t warn you).

Many of these precautions apply to any backyard fire feature, including bonfires or fire pits placed in your yard. Others are specific to placing a fire pit on your deck. Regardless, all should be observed.

*Disclaimer: Even if extra precautions are taken, fire risk exists. Be sure to follow all directions and guidance provided by the manufacturer of the fire pit about set up and maintenance. It may be best to choose an alternative location. A fire pit should never be placed in direct contact with a wooden deck. You also need to check with your local bylaws and HOA association to see if fire pit use is permitted.

Things You Should Do

Wood burning fire pit on outdoor patio

These safety steps will ensure that you can enjoy your fire while minimizing the risk to your personal safety or property. All of the suggestions in this list should be followed each time you light a fire in your fire pit.

  • Always keep a hose or fire extinguisher nearby. It should be easily accessible whenever you have a fire burning in your pit. If your safety measures do not work, the hose will ensure that you can quickly put out any fires.
  • Use a spark screen. This will keep large sparks from flying out of your fireplace and onto your deck.
  • Clear debris and hazards. All kinds of debris can end up on your deck, from falling leaves to children’s toys. Make sure that your deck is clean before starting a fire.
  • Check your city’s codes. Some municipalities have ordinances against fire pits on decks and other structures. You should check with your local fire department to make sure that you are allowed to place your fire pit on your deck. Your local fire department or homeowner’s association can give you this information.
  • Use a gas fire pit. The safest fire pit option for your deck is a gas fire pit. This is because these are more temperature-controlled and do not get as hot. They also do not produce sparks that can damage your deck.
  • Use hard wood. If you plan to use a wood fire pit this is a good rule to follow. While this is not a hard and fast rule, this type of wood burns cleaner and does not spark nearly as much as more porous woods. Duraflame Outdoor Logs are also a good choice as they tend to emit less smoke, fewer sparks and you know exactly how long they will burn.

In addition to these specific steps, you should simply use common sense. Be sure to eyeball the area you want to put your fire pit in and identify any hazards. These should be handled before you light a fire. Consider walking space around the pit and eliminate those hazards.

Things You Should Not Do

In addition to safety measures you should follow, there are also things that you should avoid doing at all costs. Any of these could put you or other people at risk.

  • Do not place your fire pit too close to your house. There should be a safe distance maintained between the two, which is generally about twenty feet. If your deck is too small for a safe distance, you should choose a different spot for your fire pit.
  • Do not leave a fire unattended. Someone should always be able to see your fire pit while it is lit. This also means properly extinguishing the fire when you go in for the night.
  • Do not overfill your fire pit. If you put too much wood at a time in your pit, the spark screen may not be as effective, and the pit can get too hot for your barrier to handle. Check the manual that came with your pit since it should give you capacity information.
  • Do not use accelerants. Gasoline or lighter fluid can cause a safety hazard to your deck and home, not to mention you. If you are having difficulty starting a fire, use kindling or fire starters like these. You can also make sure that the wood you are using is dry enough since unseasoned wood will have a hard time starting.
  • Do not burn anything other than wood. Many people use outdoor fires as a way to burn other materials such as trash or yard waste, but this should not be attempted on your deck. You never know what materials may unexpectedly cause a flash or excess sparks.  Save the waste burning for a safer location.

To sum it up, a fire pit on your deck should not be a free-for-all or regarded as the bonfire at the center of a country party. This location is more for a contained gathering, and these safety measures should be followed to avoid disastrous problems.

If you want more freedom with your fire, you should consider placing your fire pit in your yard to avoid extra hazards.

Frequently Asked Questions

Each deck is unique, and there are many different types of fire pits out there. This can lead to some more specific questions that need answered. The questions that will be addressed here are:

How Do I Protect my Deck From a Fire Pit?

There are many different ways to protect your deck from a fire pit. These precautions will help keep your deck safe and in great condition.

1) Use a spark screen on your fire pit to prevent sparks from landing on your deck.

2) Place a barrier between your fire pit and deck, such as a heat-resistant mat or bricks.

3) Use a heat-resistant paint, finish, or sealer on your deck. These come in a wide variety of options and can suit any aesthetic.

4) Observe the above safety precautions at all times.

Ideally, you should do all of these for maximum safety and protection. Finishing your deck in a heat-resistant paint or sealant is not technically necessary, though, as long as you follow all of the other steps. 

Can You Put a Fire Pit on a Trex Deck?

Placing a fire pit on a Trex deck is not recommended unless it is sealed with heat-resistant paint or finish.

This is because Trex decking has plastic in it, which can easily melt with too much heat. This can easily ruin your entire deck and leave you with a pricey mess on your hands.

That said, if you coat your Trex deck in a high-quality sealant or paint that is heat resistant, this can mitigate the risks. While it can be a bit expensive, it is well worth the protection if you are determined to have a fire pit on your deck.

Trex also recommends looking into a gas fire pit as opposed to a wood-burning fire pit. The temperature can be more easily controlled and they put off far less heat than the coals of a wood fire.

Another option they suggest is to cut a section from your Trex deck to build a permanent pit with a wall around it.

Can You Put a Fire Pit on a Covered Deck?

No, you should not use a wood-burning fire pit on a covered deck.

This is because it causes a number of safety hazards. These hazards include:

Trapped smoke can cause excess carbon monoxide nearby and decrease the amount of oxygen. 

Sparks and embers often travel upwards and can easily damage your roof.

The trapped heat can char your roof or its paint. Smoke buildup contains a compound called creosote, which is a flammable byproduct of soot.

If you are determined to have a fire pit on your covered patio, you should consider a gas fire pit. Adding a gas fire pit under a roof would most likely need to be approved by your city. 

Additionally, you could also consider an outdoor fireplace. It is a more expensive option, but they are both safe and beautiful. An outdoor fireplace lasts much longer and even adds to the value of your home. If you can swing it, the investment is well worth it.

What Types of Fire Pits are Safe on a Deck?

As mentioned above, a gas or propane fire pit will be the safest as their is typically minimal heat transfer and you are able to easily control the fire with the push of a button.
If you decide to use a wood burning pit, you should definitely choose a design that does not easily transfer heat to what it is standing on, such as a model with legs or one that has a stone base. You might also consider a table with a built-in fire pit.

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Final Thoughts

Should you put a fire pit on a wooden deck?

Fire pits can easily change the entire aesthetic of your outdoor space, including your deck or patio. Sitting around a warm fire listening to the sounds of nature is one of the perks of summertime that many people would love to have in their outdoor space. 

Although you can put a fire pit on a wooden deck, that doesn’t mean you should. If you have an alternative space that would allow you to enjoy your fire pit away from the house, we suggest you do so.

That being said, as long as you follow the safety considerations and understand the risks, you can place a firepit on your deck. Allowing you to enjoy a glass of pinot with your friends or watch your children happily make some s’mores over your new fire pit.