Can you put a fire pit on a wood or composite deck?
Yes you can, but you will need a buffer between the deck and the fire pit and a way to protect the deck from jumping embers. Here’s the basics for putting a fire pit on a wood or composite (Trex) deck:
Place stone or concrete pavers underneath the fire pit to act as a heat dissipator. You may also purchase a heat shield mat
Use a large ember mat to further protect the surface underneath and catch any sparks or embers
Place the fire pit as far away from the home as possible, ideally a minimum of 10 feet
Use a spark screen to discourage embers from leaving the fire pit
Always follow your city’s codes, laws, and regulations
The main issue with placing a fire pit on any type of deck is the radiant heat and sparks that may jump from crackling wood. Heat stress over a long period of time can weaken a wood or composite surface where it can become brittle and likely to break.
If you have a vinyl deck, a fire pit is likely a no-go for you. These decks are made out of plastic or PVC materials and expand and contract very easily with excessive heat.
In the Solo Stove Review, we took temperature measurements below the Solo Stove where they reached 170-200 F.
Below are the best options, combined with the tips above and at the end of this article, for enjoying a fire out on your deck.
Best Fire Pits for a Wood or Composite Deck
Breeo X Series 19” Smokeless Fire Pit
Breeo’s X Series fire pit is the perfect option for entertaining, cooking, and relaxing. The smoke-free design prevents smoke from getting on or near your home or guests while the built-in sear plate is perfect for grilling and large enough to keep embers from jumping out around the edges.
Solo Stove Bonfire Smokeless Fire Pit
Solo Stove’s Bonfire fire pit is the perfect option for city dwellers or those with limited backyard space. With the Bonfire you get a lot of value for an affordable price. Lightweight, easy to get going, and very portable.
Breeo Double Flame 19” Smokeless Fire Pit
The Double Flame is perfect for someone who wants all the features of Breeo’s X-Series, but isn’t interested so much in the cooking side of things. This American made fire pit is perfect for the backyard of a family of 4.
Tips for putting a fire pit on a wood or composite deck
Do not exceed the maximum weight capacity of your deck. Pavers plus a fire pit can add significant weight.
Place your fire pit along a support beam and at least 10’ away from the house
Ensure there is adequate space on all sides and there is not anything overhanging near the fire pit
Keep a fire extinguisher and/or bucket of water nearby
Regularly check the top and bottom of your deck for any wear or damage
Store wood far away from your deck and home
Consider using a gas or propane powered fire pit
Using a gas-powered fire pit on a deck
If the fire is more for show, atmosphere, and ease of use, a gas or propane powered fire pit is the way to go. These fire pits are typically a safer and easier to use option than wood because:
There are no sparks or embers that can jump from the fire pit
Many propane-powered fire pits have the fire well elevated from the ground
Even with a propane tank, many gas-powered fire pits are not very heavy
When the night is over, the fire is completely out with the turn of button
No need to worry about wood or wood storage
However, don’t think gas-powered fire pits are completely better than wood-burning ones. Gas fire pits have a lot more moving parts and typically will not last longer than what is essentially a metal bowl. Don’t forget the cost of propane adds up and usually will not produce as much heat as a normal fire.
After looking around online or in your local home improvement store, you’ll find that many gas fire pits are very similar. Most compose of a line that runs to the propane tank with a burner where the propane is lit, similar to your grill.
Best Gas Fire Pit for a Wood or Composite Deck
How to set up a fire pit on a wood or composite deck
Our recommendation is to use both a combination of an Ember Mat, and a reflector, like this one, or stone pavers to further dissipate heat. The ember rug will catch sparks or small burning pieces of wood that escape from the fire pit.
The reflector or stone pavers help to dissipate the heat from where it’s being concentrated the most, underneath the fire pit. Unfortunately, heat can still transfer through the ember mat and cause damage over time, so this additional step is necessary.
Lastly, you may even consider purchasing a spark screen to further prevent any sparks from leaving the fire pit.