How to Safely Build a Fire Pit on Your Deck

How to Safely Build a Fire Pit on Your Deck

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In recent years, fire pits have become increasingly popular additions to outdoor living spaces. We love them because they provide warmth, ambiance, and are the perfect place to roast s’mores at gatherings with family and friends. However, when it comes to incorporating fire pits in decking, safety should always be the top priority. Needless to say, a wood-burning fire pit on a wood deck can pose significant risks if not properly installed and maintained.

That said, with proper precautions and safety measures in place, you can safely enjoy the warmth and ambiance of a fire pit on your deck. Keep reading as we explore the essential steps and precautions to safely build a fire pit on your deck.

Understanding the Risks

Before delving into the construction process, it's crucial to understand the potential hazards associated with fire pits on wood decks. Wood-burning fire pits generate open flames and flying sparks, which can easily catch fire if they come into contact with combustible materials. Additionally, decking materials, such as wood and composite decking, are susceptible to heat damage and can ignite if exposed to extremely high temperatures.

Building your Wood Burning Fire Pit

Choosing the Right Location

First things first: selecting an appropriate location for your fire pit is the first step toward ensuring safety. Keep the fire pit directly on the deck surface, away from flammable materials and overhanging structures. Ideally, you should place it in an open area with ample ventilation to prevent the buildup of smoke and heat.

Use a Fire Pit Pad

To protect your wood deck from heat damage, use a fire pit pad or mat underneath the fire pit. These specially designed fire pit mats and pads act as a barrier between the fire pit and the deck surface, reducing the risk of fire damage. Fire pit pads come in various sizes and materials, such as heat-resistant silicone or metal, and provide an additional layer of protection for your deck.

Install Spark Screens and Ember Guards

Flying sparks and embers can pose additional fire hazards. For an added layer of protection, we recommend investing in spark screens and ember guards. These accessories help prevent sparks from landing on the deck surface or nearby combustible materials, reducing the risk of fire. Spark screens typically feature a mesh design that allows heat to escape while trapping sparks and embers inside the fire pit.

Create a Protective Surface

If you're placing the fire pit on a wooden deck, consider creating a protective surface using stone pavers or heat-resistant materials. Simply arrange the pavers in a circular pattern to create a stable base for the fire pit. This added layer of protection helps distribute heat more evenly and reduces the risk of heat damage to the deck surface. Additionally, stone pavers can enhance the aesthetic appeal of your outdoor space and create a designated area for your fire pit.

Keep Flammable Materials Away

Before lighting your fire pit, be sure to remove any flammable materials, such as pine straw or dry leaves, from the vicinity of the fire pit. As you can imagine, these materials can easily catch fire if exposed to heat or flying sparks, posing a significant fire hazard. In general, you want to keep the area around the fire pit clear of debris and combustible materials to minimize the risk of accidental fires.

Have a Fire Extinguisher Nearby

It goes without saying that you should always have a fire extinguisher readily available in case of emergencies. We recommend mounting it in a visible and easily accessible location near the fire pit to quickly extinguish any flames or embers that may get out of control. Choose a fire extinguisher rated for Class A, B, and C fires, which are suitable for extinguishing fires involving wood, flammable liquids, and electrical equipment.

Properly Dispose of Ashes

Once you're done, don't forget to dispose of wood ashes properly to prevent accidental fires. Use a small metal bucket to collect ashes and allow them to cool completely before disposing of them in a covered bucket away from combustible materials. Remember, never dispose of hot ashes in plastic containers or near flammable materials, as they can reignite and cause a fire. Empty the ash bucket regularly to prevent the buildup of hot coals and embers.

Safety Precautions

Following basic fire safety precautions when using a fire pit on your deck is essential. Avoid using lighter fluid or other accelerants, as they can cause dangerous flare-ups and increase the risk of fire. Moreover, never leave the fire pit unattended, and always supervise children and pets around open flames. To avoid accidental burns or injuries, be sure to keep a safe distance from the fire pit.

Consider Alternative Fuel Options

If you're concerned about the risks associated with wood-burning fire pits, consider alternative fuel options such as natural gas or propane. These options produce less heat and fewer sparks, reducing the risk of fire and heat damage to your deck. Natural gas and propane fire pits are available in various styles and designs, including table-style fire pits and built-in fire features. With plenty of options out there, it’s easy to find a fuel option that suits your outdoor space and lifestyle preferences while prioritizing safety and convenience.

Regular Maintenance and Inspection

Finally, make sure to regularly inspect your fire pit for signs of wear and damage. This means checking for loose components, cracks, or rust, and repairing or replacing any damaged parts promptly. Regular maintenance helps ensure the safe operation of your fire pit and reduces the risk of accidents. We also recommend cleaning the fire pit and surrounding area regularly to remove ash buildup and debris, which can increase the risk of fire. You can do this by using a wire brush or scraper to remove stubborn residue from the fire pit bowl and grates and disposing of the debris in a non-combustible container.

Lighting your Outdoor Fire Pit

The RocketFire™ Fire Starter offers a convenient and efficient solution for lighting your outdoor fire pit. With its powerful flame and adjustable intensity, the torch quickly ignites wood, charcoal, or other fuels with ease. Simply point the torch towards your fire pit and ignite the flame using the built-in ignition system. Its ergonomic design and lightweight construction make it easy to handle and maneuver, allowing you to light your fire pit safely and effectively. Whether you're camping, grilling, or enjoying a cozy evening in your backyard, the Rocketfire Torch is the perfect tool for hassle-free fire starting.