Deck Fire Pit Essentials: What to Know to Make the Best Decision

Are you in search of the perfect fire pit for your deck? We have all the deck fire pit essentials to guide you toward the right choice.

When choosing a fire pit for your deck, it’s important to look for one that has heating elements raised above the deck floor to allow for proper ventilation.

Additionally, fire pits that don’t rely on wood as fuel are generally the safest choice for decks.

Installing an outdoor fire pit on a vinyl or wooden deck can be daunting if you are unfamiliar with the different types available.

Although a fire pit made of fire brick and cement pavers may be suitable for a yard, it may not be a good option for a deck.

Currently, there are various outdoor fire pits that are safe for use on decks. They come in different sizes, fuel types, and prices.

No matter which fire pit you choose, it’s important to use a fire pit heat mat on your wood deck. This will greatly reduce the risk of damage to your deck.

If you plan on using a wood-burning fire pit on your wooden deck, it is highly recommended that you use a heat reflector pad and a fireproof mat.

Cozy patio area with fire pit showing deck fire pit essentials

Six Helpful Tips For Buying A Gas Firepit

For a deck fire pit that prioritizes safety, it’s recommended to opt for a gas fuel source.

Naturally, the size of your area will heavily influence your ability to utilize a gas firepit.

However, if you opt for this type of fire pit, there are six essential tips to keep in mind to ensure you choose the correct one.

1. Gas Supply

It is important to seek advice from a local expert to ensure that the gas line you have is properly sized for the model you plan to select.

When choosing a burner, it’s important to take into account the type of fuel it uses, the distance it will need to cover, and its BTU output.

2. Inside Dimensions

When selecting a burner for your fire pit, it’s important to consider the inside dimensions of your finished model.

This will ensure that the burner size is appropriate for your needs.

To determine the appropriate size needed for BTUs, burner, and plate for the completed model, it is recommended to work backward from the desired size.

3. Burner Size

When selecting a burner size, it’s important to consider both the BTU output and the size of the plate or pan being used.

4. Ignition

The most frequently used method to ignite gas-powered fire pits is known as “match lit”.

This does not necessarily require a match but rather involves providing the initial flame using a BBQ lighter.

You can also get models with an electronic ignition or a push spark ignition (similar to a lot of BBQ models).

Take some time to consider what you would be most comfortable using long-term.

5. Burn Media

The objects through which the flames from the firepit will emerge are lava rocks, fireglass, and ceramic log sets. These are the usual materials used.

It is important to consider the available options as they greatly impact the overall appearance of the fire pit.

6. Cover

It is important to always use a cover for your outdoor fire pit, especially if it is located on a deck.

Leaving your fire pit exposed to the elements without protection can result in unnecessary wear and tear that can easily be prevented.

To optimize your wood deck firepit, it is recommended to obtain a cover?

Commonly Used Fire Pit Materials

When looking for a fire pit to use on your deck, there are generally five types of materials to consider.

Understanding which material is best suited for your deck will assist you in selecting the most suitable fire pit.

Cast Iron

Fire pits made of cast iron are popular because of their low melting temperature.

This material is widely used for fire pits as it is affordable, easy to shape, and can be light enough to move around.


Fire pits made of copper are known for their durability and can last a lifetime.

While they may be costly, investing in a copper fire pit means you won’t have to worry about rust or deterioration, making it a one-time purchase.

Tile and Stone

Fire pits crafted from tile and stone are typically considered contemporary fire pits and are often fueled by gas.

They are heavy and tend to remain stationary. Despite this, their frames are still made of metals such as steel.


Steel is a highly malleable material that allows for the creation of fire pits in any shape.

However, it is important to have steel fire pits powder coated to prevent rusting, especially if used in damp environments.

Stainless Steel

If you’re in search of a firepit that won’t rust or deteriorate with use, consider investing in a stainless steel option.

Although these firepits tend to be pricey and hard to come by, they boast exceptional durability and a long-lasting, stylish appearance.

Screened walkout deck with fire pit, chais, bench and garden swing

Deck Fire Pit Essentials Buyer’s Guide

Although there are risks associated with fire pits, the majority of modern ones are highly secure.

Gas or gel-fueled fire pits are especially safe since they do not make use of combustible wood chips or logs.

Wood-burning fire pits are far more likely to “spit” embers and sparks out into the surrounding environment. 

If you’re thinking of getting a fire pit for your deck, patio, or yard, it’s crucial to consider some important factors to ensure its safety.

When considering important factors, some of the most vital aspects to keep in mind are:

  • Shape and design
  • Fuel
  • Size and weight

When considering fire safety, it’s important to take into account your outdoor deck.

Wood and vinyl decks are particularly susceptible to catching fire, so it’s recommended to use an elevated fire pit to minimize heat transfer to the deck flooring.

Homeowners and residents can have added peace of mind when using their fire pits with deck-safe designs.

Deck-Safe Fire Pit Design

Fire pits that are elevated are generally safer.

The heat generated by the fire does not touch the ground, which reduces the risk of accidental burns or fires.

Although most raised fire pits are bowl-shaped, some are rectangular or square. The shape isn’t as crucial as the pit’s height above your deck flooring.

Generally, fire pits that use propane or natural gas are heavier than those that use gel fuel or wood.

This added weight can improve the stability and keep taller outdoor fire pits upright.

Fuel Choice

Although wood-burning fire pits are a popular and traditional option, they can pose a significant safety risk.

Gas alternatives are friendlier to the surrounding environment, and they don’t generate ash or carbon monoxide like wood-burning fires.

One way to maintain a clean and warm deck is by purchasing an outdoor fire pit that is fueled by gel or gas.

Size and Weight

It’s important to consider the weight and size of appliances or furniture when building a deck.

A fire pit that is too large or heavy can damage the flooring and limit the available space for guests.

In order to maintain safety when using fire pits, it’s important to position them at a safe distance from any nearby flammable materials or objects.

This may prove challenging if your chosen fire pit takes up more than 30% of your deck’s total surface area.

If you observe any sinking in the flooring after setting up a new fire pit, it might be advisable to exchange it for a smaller size.

The continuous pressure on wooden or vinyl panels can cause the flooring to warp or create an unsafe deck.


It is important to make sure that your fire pit is covered by a warranty.

This will give you the peace of mind that you can return or have it repaired if needed, especially considering the amount of money you are investing in it.

BTU – British Thermal Units

If you have a fire pit that doesn’t burn wood, it will need a specific amount of heat, measured in BTUs, to increase the temperature.

It’s crucial to consider the BTU of your fire pit when choosing a fireplace for your deck.

Make sure it can effectively heat the desired space and area.


You may require a fire pit with specific CSA Certifications depending on your location and the available products in the market.

Safety Tips For Deck Fire Pits

If you have a deck fire pit or wooden deck fire pit, here are some essential safety tips to keep in mind.

  1. Never use flammable fluids to start a fire
  2. Avoid flammable and loose-fitting clothing
  3. Keep children and pets a minimum of 3 feet away
  4. Avoid woods that can “pop” like pine or cedar (softwoods)
  5. Keep a source of water or a fire extinguisher close by.
  6. Be mindful of wind direction when starting a fire
  7. Ensure the fire is extinguished when finished.
How to safely put out a fire

Fireproof Mats and Heat Shields For Wood Decks

For safety purposes, it is recommended to use a fireproof mat under your firepit, especially if it is placed on a wooden deck.

These mats can reduce the risks of burning debris escaping from the firepit or accidental tip-overs.

Fireproof mats and ember mats can minimize the hazards caused by popping embers or dripping grease, which may otherwise harm the surrounding area, such as a wooden deck.

Using screens can be useful when using a portable fire pit outdoors to prevent sparks from igniting and causing a fire.

Heat shields are designed to reflect heat away from the area underneath the fire pit.

This helps to protect wood decks from wear and tear caused by direct heat exposure over time.

You do, however, need to be utilizing a firepit that has legs in order to use a heat shield.

These are all deck fire pit essentials to consider.

Different Fuel Sources For Fire Pits On A Deck

When choosing a fuel source for your wood deck fire pit, it’s important to consider alternatives to wood in order to minimize the risk of damage to your deck.

Here are the most common fuel sources for firepits:

  1. natural gas
  2. propane
  3. ethanol
  4. wood

The most commonly used fuel for fire pits in backyards and decks are natural gas and propane.

Natural gas is primarily composed of methane, which is then compressed into a liquid.

Propane, on the other hand, is a hydrocarbon that is derived from the liquid byproducts obtained during the processing of natural gas.

Ethanol is essentially alcohol used as a fuel source. The benefits of using this fuel include its ability to produce no smoke or soot.

Additionally, it can create impressive flames and generate a considerable amount of heat.

Dangers Associated With Fire Pits and Decks

In 2017, over five thousand Americans were hospitalized for injuries associated with fire pits and outdoor heaters. The majority of these injuries were burns.

In 2018, $11.1 billion in property damage occurred in structure fires, including $8 billion in property loss in home fires.

As such, there are two primary dangers associated with outdoor fire pits:

  • Burns
  • Property damage
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

It’s important to be aware of the risks associated with using a fire pit, such as mild or severe burns, property damage, and exposure to airborne contaminants.

This knowledge can help prevent costly accidents, injuries, and long-term health issues caused by smoke inhalation.

Burn Injuries

There are different degrees of burn injuries, with first-degree burns being the least severe.

However, they can still cause pain. It’s worth noting that most sunburns are classified as first-degree burns.

The injury inflicted on the body is only on the surface and does not penetrate deeper than the top layer of skin.

Specifically, the outermost layer of skin known as the epidermis may display significant redness and heightened sensitivity to tactile contact.

Severe burns requiring surgery are classified as third-degree burns, but in some cases, they can heal with minimal medical intervention.

In technical terms, fourth-degree burns refer to burns that cause damage to the skin, muscle tissue, and bone. Unfortunately, such burns are seldom survivable.

Fire and Heat Damage

If a fire outdoors spreads to a house, it can cause extensive damage costing thousands of dollars.

The fire can burn wood, plastic, insulation, and other flammable materials, while the smoke can damage items not affected by heat or flames.

Water or fire-retardant chemicals in excess can cause considerable damage to carpets, walls, and personal possessions.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide is a hazardous gas that is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. It can attach itself to your red blood cells, which impairs your body’s ability to absorb oxygen.

When gas-powered firepits malfunction, they can produce incomplete combustion which releases Carbon Monoxide as a byproduct.

It is important to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when building, installing, or repairing a fire pit to ensure it is done safely.

Continue Reading: Covered Fire Pits – Complete Buyer’s Guide & Tips


For a deck, the outdoor fire pits that are safest are those that have minimal contact with the deck flooring, use fuels that can be controlled, and are light enough to comply with the weight limits of the deck.

Of course, no fire pit is perfectly safe, and consistent adult supervision is necessary when operating a fire pit of any type, shape, or size.

It’s also important to educate young children about proper fire safety and to limit fire pit access to both children and pets.

When it comes to choosing an outdoor fire pit that is safe for your deck, there are many options available.

However, the best one for your backyard will depend on factors such as your personal preferences, budget, and space limitations.

Choosing an outdoor fire pit that satisfies these requirements can help ensure your household’s safety and keep your deck looking its best.

As always, safety first!

Enjoy living the outdoor life!!!