Remember being a kid, sitting around a fire, and roasting marshmallow with your family – those are some of the best memories. A recent focus on fire pits and fire bowls is probably due to these memories and their ability to give you the feeling of the great outdoors in urban settings.
Can a fire pit be added to an existing deck? Most decks are made of either wood, composite or a stone. Stone decking around a fire pit is your best bet as you will not have to worry about heat, sparks or embers landing on the surrounding area. A fire pit or bowl on a wood or composite deck introduces the risk of the wood being damaged or catching fire and composite decking can damage or melt. So, what can you do if you have one of these decks, knowing that stone decking around a fire pit is the safest option? Transforming the entire deck into a stone deck is one option, but if that is not within your budget, you could simply replace the wood or composite boards in the area of the potential fire pit or bowl with stone. There are two pretty cool products on the market; SilcaGrate and Paverdeck Plank that let you add stone to a wood framed deck.
It is important to have stone decking around a fire pit, but also under it. Stone protects the framing of the deck from being damaged, and you may want to consider using specific fireplace bricks under the actually fire pit depending on the size of the fire pit. These specialty stones are manufactured to withstand high temperatures.
Weight can be a factor when adding stone decking around a fire pit depending on the size and the types of stones being used. Take this into consideration and add the extra bracing or supports needed.
If you are building a fire pit on the ground, stone decking around a fire pit is still the best option. It not only gives you a relatively flat, even surface to build your fire pit, but allows for a seating area as well, ensuring the area around the fire pit is non-combustible. You don’t need to be a landscape contractor to create stone decking around a fire pit, thanks to products like Gator Base and Silca SoilGrid. These products let the average do-it-yourselfer build a flat, robust surface to support the fire pit. Be aware, however, that putting these products directly under the middle of the fire pit is not recommended, as the heat from the fire could melt these products.
The perfect spot on your deck or in your back yard is another import point of consideration when putting stone decking around a fire pit. Consider lower traffic areas to prevent anyone from inadvertently making contact with a hot fire pit. Be aware of overhead structures such as roofed-in patios, or awnings and tree branches that might encroach on the area above. Covered areas are fine, but the overhead structure may need to be modified or built to local building codes. Choose an area that can easily be monitored and controlled to keep children and pets safe. Finally ensure the area is big enough to allow 3-5 feet of distance around the fire pit in all directions.
Safe installation is key with the gaining in popularity of fire pits and bowls, particularly considering backyard decks can be expensive so the last thing you want to do is damage them. By using stone decking around a fire pit, you will not only protect your investment, but also add to the look and feel of your deck.