A fire pit on a wood deck is a welcome entertainment feature and a wonderful way to relax. I used to do a lot of camping, but lately, the time and opportunity haven’t been there. I decided I wanted to add a fire pit to my wooden deck. It would add warmth to a chilly spring night, and extend your deck enjoyment further into the fall.
A fire pit can be a soothing and relaxing way to bring the great outdoors closer to home. A quiet evening watching the flames, enjoying family and friends, and maybe even a toasted marshmallow, are what memories are made of. Before making a purchase, I did a bit of a check to see what was out there and what I type of fire pit I could have. I decided to share what I found.
- Double Flame Smokeless Patio Fire Pit
- Catalina Creations 29-inch
- Landmann 28345 Firepit
- AmazonBasics 34-Inch Natural Stone Fire Pit
- Outland Living Series 401 44-Inch
Other Good Choices:
- What is a Fire Pit and How Does It Work?
- Why Do You Need A Fire Pit on Wooden Deck?
- Different Types of Fire Pits for Wooden Decks
- Can You Put Fire Pit on Wood Deck?
- Features Of The Best Fire Pit for Wood Deck
- How to Protect Deck From Fire Pit
- Wooden Deck Fire Pit Safety
- Best Fire Pits for Wood Deck Reviews
- Fire Pit Accessories For Safe Burning
- Heat Resistant Fire Pit Mats and Pads
- Fire Pit Spark Screens
- Fire Pit Covers
- Ash Vacuum
- Fireside Accessories & Tools
- Log Racks, Carts & Wood Holders
- Putting a Fire Pit on a Wood Deck
- How To Light A Fire In Your Fire Pit
- How to Extinguish Fire Pit
- Fire Pit Care And Maintenance
- Winterizing Your Fire Pit
- How to Build a Fire Pit on a Wood Deck
What is a Fire Pit and How Does It Work?
A fire pit for some is a ring of rocks beside a beach for cooking and warmth while camping and relaxing. For others who may not be able to experience that, there’s another option. Adding a fire pit to a backyard deck is an awesome way to enjoy the snap, crackle, and pop by the warm glow of a fire.
Whether it’s homemade, store-bought, metal or stone, a fire pit on a deck is a safe way to bring that campfire experience home. Some fire pits operate on wood or charcoal, and others connect to propane or natural gas, and some burn gel fuel. In this article, we’ll take a look at all you need to know before you put a fire pit on your deck.
Why Do You Need A Fire Pit on Wooden Deck?
Sitting around a fire pit is a great way to relax at any time. A morning coffee beside the warm glow as you watch the sunrise or roasting marshmallows as the sun sets. Just sitting and watching the flames dance is a mesmerizing way to relax too.
A fire pit can be a work of art, a conversation piece, or a functional cooktop. It can take the chill off an evening, and extend your deck enjoyment earlier in the spring or further into the fall. However, a fire pit also has to protect the deck from heat and flame and prevent damage to it or surrounding buildings.
A fire pit doesn’t have to be for decoration only. There are hundreds of products on the market that work as cook surfaces, heat only, or have multiple functions.
The most difficult decisions are determining what you want it for, and how often will it be used. To help you out, check out the reviews further in the article.
Some people like to chill by the fire. Others use it for cook or grill on, warm food, even bake a pizza on. I’ve used it to keep my coffee warm and grill up a sandwich or two.
It’s also easier to make smores on than an open campfire. The possible uses are many, and many are delicious!
Different Types of Fire Pits for Wooden Decks
There are many different styles of fire pits, but only three types: wood burning, propane or natural gas, and gel fuel burning devices. Adding a fire pit to a wooden deck close to a building may sound like a recipe for disaster.
However, if installed correctly they can be enjoyed without worry. There are electric fire pit appliances though they do not offer the same open flame enjoyment.
Wood Burning Fire Pits
Wood burning fire pits come in three key styles; the open fire pit, the “portable” metal fire pit with a screen, and the chiminea style with a cooking grill or surface. Each has different advantages and disadvantages, but all burn wood which smokes and sparks and makes them a hazard for wooden decks.
The open pit is often of stone or brick construction which makes it permanent. The flame is open and sparks and ash land where they will. There is nothing to guide the smoke or restrict the size of the fire. Due to the number of house and grass fires, some communities have banned open fire pits.
The metal pit sits on legs and is light enough to move around when not in use. It should sit on a fire pad when in use though to protect the wooden deck from radiant heat.
There is usually a metal mesh screen to prevent sparks and burning ash from wafting into shrubbery or shingles too. Its size also often limits the amount of fire it can hold.
The chiminea style is available in cast metal or terra cotta clay. It has a metal mesh door for feeding the fire, but the flame is fully enclosed everywhere else. Some are open mesh all around; others are solid except at the door, making them suitable for positioning in a corner.
It often has a cooking grill as well. As its name implies, it has a chimney, which helps to guide smoke higher and contains the sparks and floating ash much better especially if it has a spark arrester. It too should rest on a protective pad.
Overhead awnings, pergolas, and sun umbrellas are susceptible to burning embers. The first two pits have fully open and visible flames, and smoke can drift into eyes more easily.
They are designed for people to sit around. Additionally, the smoke and aroma of some types of wood burning can trigger respiratory issues for some people.
Propane Fire Pits
Propane fire pits (or natural gas) offer open flame without the risk of floating embers, hot ash, and irritating smoke. The heat doesn’t radiate downward like a wood fire, so it is also less of a risk to wooden decks too. They are available in hundreds of styles and looks from stone, timber, sculpted metal to glass.
They ignite with the push of a button like a BBQ and have adjustable flames. The flame heats ceramic logs or tiles, glass beads or pieces, or another warmth retaining materials.
Most offer a 360° view of the flame. You can still roast marshmallows, but there isn’t the snap, crackle, and pop of a real wood fire.
Propane pits are still open flame, and surfaces still get hot. Care should always be taken when placing and using an open flame.
Many propane fire pits can be converted to natural gas, but make sure to have a licensed fitter do the conversion and set up the connection.
Gel-Burning Fire Pits
Gel-burning fire pits burn gelled isopropyl or ethanol alcohol, bio-ethanol, and in some a gelled petroleum product. The gel outdoor fire pits are listed as eco-friendly since they don’t produce smoke, ash, soot or odor. Gel fuel comes in cans that are placed into special holders, jugs for refilling reservoirs in some models, or gel-fueled ceramic logs that hide the fuel containers inside.
Gel-burning pits can look like any other fire pit. There are deck fireplaces and tabletop models. The heat radiates upward, so they are also safer for wooden decks.
Some can be used for warming or cooking food over, but toasting marshmallows aren’t recommended. Additionally, many propane or wood burning pits can use gel canisters or gel-fueled logs as an alternative to other fuels.
Outdoor gel appliances work similar to indoor products and are great conversation pieces and nice to sit around. They don’t put out as much heat as the other fuel options though.
Can You Put Fire Pit on Wood Deck?
Fire pits in most communities are covered under regulations. It is always best to check for zoning and fire regulations and restrictions.
Some communities require a fire permit; some need verification of insurability from your insurance company, and some flat out say “NO!” Your insurance company may also have restrictions or regulations – ignorance is not an excuse.
There are both safety considerations for a fire pit, plus legal considerations to consider. Location is one thing but also take into account prevailing wind, trees, and dry grass fields.
Having the police and fire department arrive uninvited at your backyard gathering, and handing out tickets and fines, will probably take the warmth out of the evening.
Wood burning fire pits should have a protective heat pad underneath to protect the wood. Embers falling between the boards though are even more dangerous, as are those that are airborne.
A quick look at the jurisdiction my home is in, plus the neighboring one, show differing restrictions. Mine requires a minimum of 10-feet from buildings, and the other 25-feet away.
A permit to use is needed in both, but one adds a permit to install and identifies the need for a chimney with a spark arrester and a fire screen to prevent embers from escaping.
Wood burning fire pits should be on gravel, flagging, brick or another non-combustible surface. Dry wood doesn’t smoke as much, and beware pine and cedar; they pop out a lot of sparks.
If using a gas pit have ceramic logs, fire glass or lava stones. Don’t use wet stones or river rocks since heat can cause them to explode.
Features Of The Best Fire Pit for Wood Deck
Many box stores display a variety of fire pits, but how to know which is best for you isn’t only a matter of looks. An understanding of how they work and what they require is important too. The purpose of this section is to identify what to look for when choosing a fire pit.
Deciding what is best for you will depend upon how you plan to use the fire pit. Some pits work well for barbecuing, and others are great for just chilling around. Of course, there are those that add to the outdoor décor, but you’re afraid to use. Begin with what will do what you want it to do.
Preferred Types of Fire Pits for Wood Deck
Gas-Burning Fire Pits
Fire pits that burn propane and natural gas operate similarly. You turn the gas on; push the ignitor, and poof! Instant flame! The fire heats ceramic logs, bricks, lava stone, or fire glass and provides ambiance and some heat retention. When you’re done with it, you just turn it off.
A 20-pound propane cylinder fits inside the fire pit cabinetry so it won’t detract from the look. It’s easy to exchange for a full tank when empty.
Most produce 30 to 50,000 BTU and will go for about 14 hours on a full tank. Many propane pits have conversion kits to natural gas.
Gas and propane fire pits are available in numerous shapes and sizes and will suit almost everyone’s decorating flair. Most come with cleaning kits and even covers to protect the pit when not in use. Natural gas connects to your household supply lines, so it is inexpensive and never needs to be filled like a propane tank.
Gel Fuel Fire Pits
Gel-ethanol comes in cans or jugs and pours into special ceramic logs, over fancy stones or fire glass, or is placed under decorative diffusers. Most will last for 2 to 3 hours before burning out and produce about 3000 BTU of heat.
It’s recommended that an elapse of 20 minutes, or more occur before refilling and lighting again. Additionally, if the gel-pit doesn’t have an airtight cover to extinguish the flame, baking soda or a dry-chemical extinguisher should be available.
Wood-Burning Fire Pit
A wood burning fire pit is the original, and for some, the only fire pit. It can be homemade or prefab, stone, concrete, or metal.
Wood fire produces the most heat of the three fuel types and radiates it in all directions. The radiating heat makes it more dangerous on a wooden deck than the other fuel pits.
Wood is an inexpensive heat source, but it produces the most smoke, sparks, and ash. While some people like the smoke and smell, others do not. If you live in a dry area, fire bans usually include all flame sources, including fire pits.
Gas vs Wood Burning Fire Pits
Guidelines for gas fire pits are less restrictive than those on wood burning fire pits. Gas burns cleaner, without smoke or odor, or sparks. Dry wood burns better but needs to be stored and kept dry.
It smokes, produces aroma, sparks, and ash. You will need a supplier for propane or gas, and although wood grows on trees, you still need to cut or buy it.
Building a wood fire takes time, and some skill, igniting gas is quick and easy. The heat from gas fire radiates upward while a wood fire heats up and down.
Gas is much safer and turns off quickly. A wood fire doesn’t extinguish fast. Additionally, gas has much less mess than wood. Cooking over wood, however, is an outdoor experience gas doesn’t have.
Style and Height
Fire pits are available in hundreds of design variations. They can be simple stone rings to creative metal and stone works of art.
Some are round or square table-shaped and others bowl-shaped with intricate designs cut in them. There are lightweight pits that are portable and others so heavy they need foundation support.
Most fire pits fall into three heights; ground or deck level, coffee table-height, and tabletop. Various designs have different features.
Spark arrestor screens are not standard on some, and won’t work on others. Check that what you want will fit your deck, and which fuel option is accepted in your location before making a purchase.
Size Of Burn Area
The burn area size depends on where the pit is located and how it will be used. A pig roast isn’t everyone’s plan, but neither is a tea-light.
Match the burn area to the size of your deck or patio. Putting a 3-foot diameter pit on an 8’x8’ deck doesn’t leave much space to sit. Ideal, a 16-inch burn area is ample for ambiance, a bit of warmth, and the occasional marshmallow and wiener.
Fire And Safety Features
Fire pits should be kept away from combustibles like buildings, stacked firewood, awnings, railings, overhead branches or roofs. I’ve read regulations that state 6-foot, 10-feet, all the way up to 25-feet away from buildings. Check local requirements and with your insurance provider before installing a fire pit. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
A fire pit should sit on pavers, bricks, or a manufactured fire mat that sticks out past it by 24-inches to protect from heat and sparks. It should also have a spark arrester if wood burning.
When using a fire pit keep the area around it clear of trip hazards. If using propane or natural gas, make sure the shut-off valve is accessible if needed.
There should also be a fire extinguisher close by if using wood or ethanol fuels. The plan is to enjoy it, not regret it.
The list of accessories depends on the fuel source and is limited only by budget and imagination. A spark arrester, heat and spark pad, leather gloves, and fire extinguisher top my list.
Comfortable seating and tables are next. Long handled skewers for hot dogs or marshmallows, and a popcorn popper are up there too.
You may want to add decorative fire glass or a cover for your pit. Firewood storage so you’re always ready. Porch or patio lights or lanterns plus some bug zappers for those attracted to the heat and light.
Fireplace tools if that’s the fuel and a grilling surface too. Add outdoor games, blankets, pillows, a cooler, plus a storage bin or shed for it all. And the list goes on!
How to Protect Deck From Fire Pit
A wood burning fire pit should sit on a non-combustible mat or surface that extends two or more feet beyond its perimeter to protect from embers and radiant heat.
A spark arrestor to catch flying embers and ash is also a must. If your fire pit has a chimney, a spark cap or screen will work too.
Propane, natural gas, and ethanol fuel pits don’t usually require a mat as they don’t spark and the heat radiates upward. However, a mat will protect the deck surface from scratches and spills.
Be careful not to spill ethanol as it is very flammable. When cleaning the propane or gas elements prevent the sulfur from staying on the deck as it can damage some surfaces too.
Wooden Deck Fire Pit Safety
1 Check local regulations for fire pits. Most communities have them, and they are not all the same.
2 Safe fire pit placement and lighting is important. The fire pit should be on level ground have clear access all around it.
3 Don’t place your fire pit against the side of the house. The heat from a fire pit can melt vinyl siding and ignite combustible materials.
4 Clear pit and deck before igniting a fire. Remove trip hazards and items that may have been stored on top of or against the pit.
5 Ensure proper ventilation. Fire needs oxygen to burn, so make sure there is good airflow around the pit.
6 Purchase a fire extinguisher. The flame is unpredictable and though you may have a shut-off or lid to shut the fire down; something else may be on fire.
7 Plan a firebreak to protect your home and those living near you. Windblown embers can fly 50 plus feet and still have enough heat to ignite grass.
8 Use the correct fuel. Seasoned hardwood will burn hotter and longer than pine or cedar. Pine and cedar will spark more too. Construction waste is not recommended.
9 Consider purchasing a spark screen if your pit doesn’t come with a screen. It will reduce airborne embers and hot ash.
10 Place deck furniture and seating at a safe distance for safety and to improve airflow.
11 Don’t use lighter fluid or gasoline to start any fire. The fumes are volatile, heavier than air, and can cause the fire to spread rapidly.
12 Never leave a fire unattended, or children unattended around a fire.
13 Dispose of ashes after the pit has cooled. Hot ash can cause a fire, but cold ash on a garden is a good source of potassium for plants.
Best Fire Pits for Wood Deck Reviews
Selecting a fire pit for wood deck can be a daunting task. Here is a selection to help with your decision.
Best Wood Burning Fire Pit
1. Double Flame Smokeless Patio Fire Pit
Manufactured by Breeo, it is a stainless steel pot-shaped, double wall, portable outdoor fire pit. It’s an award-winning, Made in America, wood-burning pit and comes in 2 sizes.
To prevent smoke air is drawn up between the double walls and out small holes around the top inside of the pit. As the smoke meets the rush of air, it ignites as a secondary burn – or a Double Flame.The small fire pot weighs 42-pounds so that it can be moved without too much effort. It rests on four welded on feet but should sit on a protective pad.
The stainless steel construction means it shouldn’t rust, and that it can stay out in rain or snow. It does have a drain hole in the bottom to prevent sitting water.
Available in 24” and 19” diameter stainless steel, and 24” black steel, an optional matching lid is available. The 24” model is 15” high and the 19” is 16” high from ground to the top.
A grill and post are also optional. The post slides into a hole in the rim, and the grill attaches to the post. A spark arrestor isn’t available.Check it out on Amazon.
2. Catalina Creations 29″
A cast iron cauldron shaped outdoor fire pit. Weighing 45-pounds, it is almost 20” tall and 29.5” in diameter. The fire can be covered with the included 24” diameter spark screen.
The pit is cradled in a ring and rests on four steel ribbon style legs. It should also have a heat resistant pad underneath.
The sides are perforated with stars and crescent moons which glow with firelight. The cutouts combine with an internal log grate for the wood to sit on to also provide increased airflow to the fire.
The cauldron comes with the log grate, spark screen, lifting tool for the screen, plus an outdoor cover to protect it from the elements.Check it out on Amazon.
3. Landmann 28345A large 23.5” diameter steel bowl-shaped wood burning fire pit with stars and moons cut out on the sides. Boxed and requires assembly.
It sits on three legs, has an outer ring-like bumper for carrying and added protection, an enamel cooking grate, dome-shaped spark guard, and a poker. It is available in black or clay-color.
The star and moon cut-outs improve airflow and visual effect. Fortunately, there is a screen behind the cutouts to prevent embers from pop out.
However, a non-combustible pad should be used under it. Weighing less than 30-pounds, it stands 29.5” top to the ground, and the outer ring enlarges the 23.5” bowl diameter to 29.5” also.Check it out on Amazon.
4. AmazonBasics 34-Inch Natural Stone Fire PitIt’s a stone tiled, circular table-top with a wood burning steel fire pit bowl in the middle. Overall diameter is 33.9,” and it stands 18” off the deck on four steel legs with adjustable feet for leveling.
With the spark screen, it is 23.6” high. The 22” diameter 11” deep fire bowl is black painted steel.
The fire pit comes with a poker, log grate, and a bowl-shaped screen to stop embers and ash from escaping. A round cover is available too. As with all wood burning fire pits, it should rest on a non-combustible surface.Check it out on Amazon.
Best Propane Fire Pit
5. Outland Living Series 401 44-Inch
The top surrounding the arctic glass rock fire pit is black tempered glass. The enclosed body of the table is espresso brown or slate gray resin wicker for aesthetics and durability.
The Series 401 produces 35,000 BTU per hour and includes an attached 3-foot hose and regulator to connect to a standard 20-pound tank. The tank sits in a cradle inside the table and is accessible through a removable side panel.
A chrome valve knob located under the tabletop overhang controls the flame height and on/off. A cover, glass wind fence, and glass lid for over the fire pit are available options.Check it out on Amazon.
6. Outland Firebowl 870The Firebowl is a portable outdoor 19” diameter 58,000 BTU propane fire pit. It includes a cover and carrying straps for easy storage and transport from deck to tailgate to cottage.
The attached 10-foot hose and regulator connects to a standard 20-pound tank. The Firebowl uses 4.4 lbs of lava rocks to disburse the flame and retain heat.
The pit is constructed of high quality, enamel and powder coated steel. It has decorative flame cut-outs that improve airflow and visual appeal. It is 19” round and 11” high.
There is a chrome valve knob to adjust the flame height and a manual ignition system for the stainless steel burner. A carrying bag and natural gas conversion kit are optional.Check it out on Amazon.
7. Christopher Knight Home CrawfordA 32” square stone clad propane fire pit table is 24” high and produces 40,000 BTU of warming flame. A standard 20-pound tank fits inside the table on a custom shelf and will last for approximately 12 hours.
The unit has an igniter battery, and the flame height plus on/off is knob controlled. Lava rocks are included for the stainless steel fire-bowl and burner.
The table frame is steel construction and covered with weather resistant stone look panels. The stones are gray to rusty brown to lighter taupe for a more natural look. The fully assembled fire pit includes a cover to protect it when not in use.Check it out on Amazon.
Best Bio Ethanol Fire Pit
8. Regal Flame AvonThe Avon is a portable bio-ethanol burning tabletop fire pit. It is clean burning, so is classed as vent-less for use indoors or out. It is available in black, white, or stainless steel finishes.
The fire burner insert produces about 3,900 BTU, which will warm medium sized room. The 7” – 12” flames are ash, soot, and smoke-free, and easy to put out.
The 6.6 lb tabletop unit is 35.5”x7” and only 8” high. It will burn for 2 to 4 hours when full, depending on temperatures and winds.
Two tempered glass side panels are included to improve flame view and protection from wind and for guests. Optional Regal flame logs or pebbles can be purchased.Check it out on Amazon.
9. Regal Flame UtopiaThe Utopia is a small table top bio-ethanol fire pit. It weighs 2 lbs and is 13”x7” and 5.7” high. The ethanol produces no smoke, ash or smell, and requires no venting, so is ideal for inside or out. A full fuel-well will burn for less than an hour and produce 2,000 BTUs of 8” – 12” high flame.
The Utopia has two tempered glass sides to protect the flame and guests, and to enhance the view of the flames. The stainless steel fire-well sits in the center of the metal unit which is available in white, black, green, blue, gray, and red. Pebbles and a damper tool are included.Check it out on Amazon.
Fire Pit Accessories For Safe Burning
Heat Resistant Fire Pit Mats and Pads
There are so many products on the market it’s difficult to know what to put under a fire pit on a deck. This section will provide some ideas on how to protect a deck from a fire pit.
There are mats and pads designed to protect the decking from radiant heat, sparks, embers, ash, and even marks from fire pit feet. It is recommended that the pad extends beyond the perimeter of the pit. Here are three excellent products.
Newtex FirePad Deck ProtectorNewtex is a U.S. company that manufactures light-weight 24” and 36” diameter deck protection pads. The pad is made from the same military-grade material used to aircraft and equipment from heat and fire – Z-Flex Aluminization and fire protection fabrics Z-Block.
The pad should be placed shiny reflective side up toward the fire pit, and in place before igniting. Do not bend the fire pit deck protector.
The protector should be stored flat and away from moisture when not in use. There should be at least 1-inch between the heat resistant fire pit mat and the bottom of the heat source.Check it out on Amazon.
Northland Fire Pit Heat ShieldThe Northland is a heat shield for a fire pit on a deck. The black powder coated steel frame and welded feet are fused with a diamond patterned aluminum top.
The shield will support a hefty 350 pounds. It is 26”x26” and 4-inches high. The four corner feet allow for a 3-inch air space between the deck and the aluminum surface, further protecting your deck from radiant heat.
The Deck Defender is made in the U.S.A. to withstand all weather conditions so that it can stay under your fire pit year round. The space between it and the deck ensures moisture isn’t trapped, further protecting your deck or the shield from damage.Check it out on Amazon.
Deck Protect Fire Pit PadDeck Protect offers different sizes of fire pit pads for deck protection in 6 sizes from 12” square up to 36” square. The pads are manufactured in the U.S. and will withstand temperatures up to 1,400°F, so will even protect composite boards.
The pad is made of spun volcanic rock wool woven into a fireproof pad that won’t be
compromised by water or heat so that it can stay out year round. The pad is framed in quality aluminum which won’t rust or discolor.
The frame is also equipped with rubber pad like feet and has drainage holes to prevent water build-up.Check it out on Amazon.
Fire Pit Spark Screens
Wood burning fire pits produce sparks, floating ash, and often have hot embers pop out of the pit. Containing them with a fire screen will protect your deck, patio furniture, and even your guests.
Catalina CreationsCatalina Creations has a round dome-shaped spark screen in five sizes from 24” to 50” diameter. The domes are hinged at the base allowing either side to open to access the fire.
Both sides of the dome have metal handles. Gloves or poker are recommended when using lifting or lowering the screen. The metal screen and steel frame are painted with high-temperature black paint.
SunnydazeSunnydaze offers seven diameters of spark protection from 22” to 40” diameter. The half sphere design allows the shorter half section to rotate into the larger part, providing access to stoke or attend the fire.
It is made of black painted steel mesh welded to steel strapping to prevent embers, sparks or ash from escaping. There is a metal handle the lift the rotating section of the screen and another one at the top center of the dome for lifting the screen off of the fire pit.Check it out on Amazon.
Fire Pit Covers
Fire pit covers help to keep moisture from pooling and damaging your fire pit. It will also protect it from the sun and prevent discoloration from occurring. The fire pit should be cold before covering.
Sunnydaze Round Fire Pit CoverSunnydaze produces five different sizes of round fire pit covers – 30” dia. X12”, 36”x12”, 48”x18”, 60”x24” and 80”x24”. The covers are made of heavy duty waterproof polyester backed with a PVC material. All seams are also reinforced.
The weather-resistant black fabric is designed to withstand cold climates and won’t crack. There is a drawstring with a toggle to tighten and secure the cover to the fit pit. It has a one year warranty.Check it out on Amazon.
Duck CoversDuck Covers are fire pit covers constructed of mocha cappuccino colored waterproof high-strength UV protected polyester. They have a breathable side panel that allows venting and prevents moisture build-up under the cover.
All seams are double stitched, and tape sealed to prevent leakage. 2”-wide Velcro straps at the bottom keep the cover on the pit. The covers are available in 32”diax24”H, 68”diax24”H, 50”diax24”H, 40”x40”x24”H, 50”x50”x24”H, and 56”x38”x24”H. It is backed with a two-year warranty.Check it out on Amazon.
Snow Joe ASHJ201 Ash VacuumCleaning a fire pit can be a messy task, but an ash vacuum can make clean-up of a cooled pit easy. Snow Joe will pick up ash from the fire pit, any wood burning appliance, and even a BBQ.
With a suction power of 500 W from the 4 amp motor, it’ll suck up 4.8 gallons of ash before needing to be empty. The dual filtration system keeps ash dust inside the canister, not all over everything. Plus, the fine dust filter is reusable.Check it out on Amazon.
Fireside Accessories & Tools
The list of accessories and tools for a fire pit could be very short, or longer than the tallest tree. Whether they are pads or mats, spark screens, or covers mention earlier, or fire pit inserts, benches, wood holders, pokers, or whatever takes your fancy, remember, you still have to store it.
Sunnydaze Fire Pit Ring InsertFire pit inserts allow you to create a fire pit and have a steel lined fireplace. Sunnydaze offers a 10” deep 30” or 36” square liner, or 27”, 30”, 36” or 39” diameter round inserts; all with a 3” top flange.
The liners are made of 2mm thick steel, and the top flange is 1.5mm thick. The inserts are shipped as 4 pieces that bolt together. The steel is finished in high-temperature black paint.Check it out on Amazon.
Sunnydaze Fire Pit BenchSitting around a fire pit is a great way to relax, and Sunnydaze has a great solution. Steel framed benches with mesh seats.
The 23”Lx13’Dx16”H sections are curved so they can be used individually or put together to form a curved bench. Each section will support up to 350 lbs but is lightweight and easy to move. Painted black and assembly required.Check it out on Amazon.
Log Racks, Carts & Wood Holders
Looking for wood every time you want a fire, or to stoke it detracts from the relaxing experience. Having it stacked, dry, and hand to the fire is a good idea. Here are some attractive solutions.
Patio Watcher 3-Foot Curved Firewood Rack Log RackPatio Watcher’s 3’ curved black powder coated steel tube wood rack offers an easy way to keep kindling and logs stored together, but separate. The double arch design has one arch opening downward providing the legs, and the other arch cradled in it and opening upward.
Kindling can go in the section where the two arches overlap, and the logs in the cradle above. The feet are 37.5” apart; the holder is 21.5” high and 15.5” deep. Over-all length is 48”. Assembly is required.
Putting a Fire Pit on a Wood Deck
Deciding where to put a fire pit on a wooden deck depends on the size of the deck, size of the fire pit, and they type of fuel the pit uses. Here are some suggestions to help.
Choose Proper Your Fire Pit Location
If you’ve already checked with your municipal by-laws and insurance company and decided everything is good to go, then locating it on the deck is the next task.
There should be a no-burn-zone around your fire pit, below it, and above it. Keep it away from combustible materials.
Gas or wood fires can put out a lot of heat. Melting the siding or decking won’t be relaxing.
Position the pit so people can still move around it, and never directly in front of doors or stairs. Two common locations are a corner of the deck, or the middle so more people can sit around it.
Use a cardboard mock-up or a hula-hoop and place it in different locations to visualize the space. Be mindful of plants, railings, and overhead eaves or awnings that can be damaged by heat or flame.
Portable means movable, so when in use it can be in the designated location, when not in use, it could be elsewhere. However, never move a lit fire pit.
How Far Should a Fire Pit Be from the House?
Depending on fuel type and local regulations, the pit should be anywhere from 6” to 25” from a building. Natural gas and propane should be at least 6-feet away, while ethanol can be closer, but probably shouldn’t be.
Prepare Fire Pit
To prepare your location on the deck clear all furniture out of the way, so you have space to work. If you have to assemble parts, put cardboard or a mat down, so pieces don’t fall through cracks. If using natural gas have a licensed installer put in an outdoor connection with a shut-off valve.
Setting Up – Check User’s Manual
Follow the manufacturer’s directions for assembly and set up. Check their safety recommendations too.
Install Heat Resistant Mat
Place a non-combustible heat shield or material on the deck where the pit will sit. For a wood-burning pit make sure the pad extends 2-feet beyond its edges to catch most of the embers and ash.
Put Fire Pit
Place the fire pit on the pad, or in such a way the fire pot area is over the heat pad. The feet of most gas fueled pits don’t get hot, but they may scratch the surface if dragged.
Install Spark Screen (for Wood Burning Pits)
If you’re using a wood fuel source, make sure to use a spark screen. If the device has a chimney, install a spark cap or screen to prevent sparks and hot ash escaping.
How To Light A Fire In Your Fire Pit
- Propane and natural gas pits have an on/off switch or knob, or a manual igniter.
- If lighting a wood fuel fire, make sure there is no fire ban in your area, and check the wind direction and move down-wind concerns.
- Collect the fuel needed for the evening. Pine and cedar spark a lot; hardwoods smoke less and last longer. Always use seasoned dry wood.
- Build your teepee or log cabin or other fire starting configuration.
- Use a fire starter log, stick or block if a starter is needed. NEVER use a liquid fire starter. Many fire pits have a drain hole in the center.
- Use an igniter that is designed for starting a fire or use matches.
- Have a bucket of water, hose, or fire extinguisher close by.
How to Extinguish Fire Pit
- Natural gas and propane have a knob to turn the gas supply off.
- Ethanol will extinguish with baking soda (messy) or with the manufacturer’s damper too which cuts off the oxygen supply to the flame.
- Wood fuel fires should be extinguished before walking away for the night. Pull back larger pieces and let then cool and char. Use water from a pail, hose, or spray bottle to reduce flames and begin to cool the wood and ash. Use a poker or shovel to mix water in with the hot embers and ash to extinguish hidden hot spots that can flare up later.
- Even with the fire out, leave the spark screen in place as a precaution.
Fire Pit Care And Maintenance
Taking care of your fire pit will keep it an enjoyable center on your deck, and help to protect your investment, property, and all who enjoy your fire pit. Before you cover your pit after use, make sure it’s cooled and cleaned.
That may mean an hour or two later for propane or ethanol, or a day later for wood burning. Always wear protective gear as recommended – gloves, safety glasses, dust mask,
- Remove the charred wood and vacuum or sweep out ash and debris. It is corrosive when wet and can prevent air circulation if it piles up.
- Wipe down any surface area that may have food drips or soot and ash on them.
- Let dry, and then cover until the next use.
- Clean, tidy and store accessories.
- Turn the gas off to the fire pit – at the propane tank or wall gas valve for natural gas.
- Make sure the pit is cooled.
- Remove decorative logs, rocks, stones, glass or lava. Wear gloves as spiders, wasps, and other critters like to nest in the decorative materials, and in the burners.
- Wipe the fire pit, burners and decorative elements with a soft cloth and mild soapy water, rinse, and wipe or air dry.
- Reassemble the pit.
- Cover until next use.
- If it still has some fuel in it, wipe the surface area as recommended by the manufacturer.
- Leave the damper or extinguishing cover in place; ethanol will evaporate, so either burn it dry or leave it covered.
- If fuel has burned out, let cool. Remove decorative stones, glass or lava pieces. Clean them as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Remove tray or burner, wipe down with a soft damp soapy cloth, rinse and let air dry.
- Wipe down the pit with the same (cleaned) cloth.
- Reassemble when dry. You’re ready to refuel when needed again.
Winterizing Your Fire Pit
When your fire pit season ends, it is a good idea to clean your pit thoroughly. If the pit won’t be used for several months, check it for damage and do any repairs, and then store it away.
- Disconnect gas or propane.
- Touch-up any damaged paint with recommended heat paint
- Bag decorative elements after they are clean and dry, and store with the pit, so they aren’t misplaced.
- If there is a grate, check for wear and damage – replace or repaint.
- Check spark screens for damage and replace if necessary. Repaint with high-temp paint.
- Clean any drain holes.
- If the pit doesn’t fit in covered storage, then protect it with a waterproof/weatherproof cover.
- Replenish and cover any stacked wood to keep it dry, ready for the next burn season.
- Store all accessories away for the season too.
How to Build a Fire Pit on a Wood Deck
Building a fire pit on a wooden deck is possible if the deck is large enough and the supports under the deck strong enough. The pit should be at least 10 feet away from buildings – it’s best to check with local ordinances and your insurance company too.
- Measure for the fire pit size, plus a minimum of 24” beyond its perimeter for the hearth, and then add 3-feet for walking, before adding the space for the sitting area.
- Lay down the hearth material. It should be able to withstand 1,400°F temperatures and extend 24-inches beyond the fire pit.
- Construct your pit using appropriate materials that will handle fire temperatures without exploding or damage.
- Raise the burning/fire surface off the deck with fire bricks to further protect the deck, and then use a grate to cradle the burning wood – it also allows air to feed the fire.
- The pit walls should be 6”-12” if being used as a footrest; however, 18” is best for viewing when seated. The walls should also be at least than 6” thick.
- Fire needs oxygen to burn, so screened venting at the base is a good idea, and it can double as drainage too.
Eugene has been a DIY enthusiast for most of his life and loves being creative while inspiring creativity in others. He is passionately interested in home improvement, renovation and woodworking.