Who doesn’t love spending cool evenings gathered around a bonfire, toasting marshmallows and delighting in the warmth and flickering of an open fire? If you’re thinking about adding a fire pit to your outdoor living space, there’s a few safety concerns to consider first.
Community Rules & Regulations
In certain types of neighborhoods and condominium complexes, there are strict rules in place that ban wood-burning fire pits from being positioned on decks made of certain materials. Many complexes will even prohibit the installation or use of any type of fire pit within a specific distance from a building structure. Always check with your homeowner’s association, as well as your city and county lawmakers, to ensure there are no rules against using a fire pit outside of your home.
Different Fuel Sources
There are many different types of fire pits, each using a different type of fuel to keep the fires going steadily. Some fuels are considered safe to use for fire pits on a deck close to your home, while others’ recommended locations are further from buildings and exterior walls:
- Propane: contained in a tank which needs regular refilling, typically has a shutoff valve that quickly stops the gas from flowing in cases of emergency
- Wood: one of the most inexpensive and easily accessible resources for starting your fire, can throw sparks and are often prohibited on wooden decks
- Natural Gas: affordable, requires piping from your home’s original gas line, shut-off valve required
- Gel-Ethanol: comes in cans and is commonly used for decorative rock fire pits, requires a dry chemical fire extinguisher to put out flames
Keys to Safe Fire Pit Use on Your Deck
If local laws and regulations allow you to install a fire pit in your deck, it’s beneficial to follow these safety tips in order to avoid any damage or emergency situations:
Keep the fire pit a minimum of 10 feet from any fuel source (i.e. overhanging tree branches, railings, exterior walls, stored firewood).
Move furniture, outdoor toys, floor mats, and other tripping hazards away from the fire pit.
Consider a protective barrier of pavers or fire bricks to shield the deck’s surface from heat and sparks.
Make sure your deck can handle the weight of your fire pit before you purchase or install it.
Purchase any other deck safety accessories that might be helpful in keeping your family members and guests, as well as your deck surface, out of harm’s way while the fire is burning.
Learn More About Deck Safety in Maryland
The professionals at North American Deck and Patio are here to make all of your outdoor living space dreams come true! If you’re interested in building a new deck with a fire pit included, or simply want to ensure adding a fire pit to your existing deck is a safe option, contact us today. We’re happy to assist you with all of your deck and patio needs!