There is something magical about sitting around a fire, that brings back memories of being a kid and roasting marshmallow with your family. This is perhaps why fire pits and fire bowls are becoming so popular – they can even give you the feeling of the great outdoors in urban settings.
Many of us with decks would love to add a fire pit, but can this be done? As far as decks go, you will find either a wood, composite or a stone deck. Stone decking around a fire pit is your best bet as you will not have to worry about the heat or any sparks or embers landing on the surrounding area. The danger with a fire pit or bowl on a wood or composite deck is the wood could be damaged or catch fire and composite decking can also be damaged 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? Well you could transform the entire deck into a stone deck, 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 out on the market; SilcaGrate and Paverdeck Plank that let you add stone to a wood framed deck.
When adding a fire pit or bowl you not only want stone decking around a fire pit but under it as well. The stone will protect the framing of the deck from being damaged, and depending on the size of the fire pit you may want to consider using specific fireplace bricks under the actual fire pit. These specialty stones are manufactured to withstand high temperatures.
Adding stone decking around a fire pit can add a bit of weight to the structure depending on the size and the types of stones being used. Taking this into consideration, you’ll need to add whatever extra bracing or supports are needed.
The same idea and concept are true for building a fire pit on the ground – stone decking around a fire pit is the best option. It not only gives you a relatively flat, even surface to build your fire pit, but an area for seating 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. With that being said, I would not recommend putting these products directly under the middle of the fire pit as the heat from the fire could melt these products.
Another import point of consideration when putting stone decking around a fire pit is finding the right spot on your deck or in your back yard. Look for a lower traffic area to prevent anyone from inadvertently making contact with a hot fire pit. Position your fire pit away from overhead structures such as roofed-in patios, awnings and tree branches that might encroach on the area above. Fire pits can be used in covered areas, 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.
With fire pits growing in popularity, people want options on how to best install and use them safely. 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.