Updated January 15th, 2023
Propane fire pits are great if you don’t want to deal with a wood fire. Propane fire pits and fire tables make nice additions to any wood deck. If you like fires you might be thinking about putting a fire pit on your wood deck. Can you put a propane fire pit on a wood deck? The quick answer is yes you can but you may need to take a few precautions. Here are some helpful tips for using a propane fire pit on your deck.
1 – Can you put a propane fire pit on a wood deck?
Yes. In most cases you can use a propane fire pit on a wood deck. You need to consult building codes and any HOA that affects your home to see if there are any fire pit rules. It is common for them to list a minimum distance between the fire pit and the house structure. They may also have rules about clearance above the fire pit.
Before using your fire pit on your wood deck you should read it’s manual and see if it is safe to use on wood. The manual should state whether it can be used directly on wood or combustible materials. If it can’t be placed directly on the wood you may need to use a fire pad or other heat insulator to protect your wood deck.
The below video shows the effect of heat and fire on different decking materials.
2 – What kind of fire pit can you put on a wood deck?
You can place any kind of fire pit on your wood deck if you are careful and follow the rules. A propane or gas fire pit can be placed directly on most wood decks because they don’t produce sparks or embers. To use a fire pit that burns wood on a wood deck you need to be a lot more careful. You may need to use a fire mat to protect the deck from the sparks and embers. You may need a brick, ceramic or other heat insulating pad directly under the fire pit.
3 – How do I protect my deck from a fire pit?
Protecting a wood deck from a gas or propane fire pit is easy. You may not need any protection if the fire pit is designed for use directly on combustible surfaces. If it is not then you may need an insulating pad. This pad only needs to be under the fire pit where it contacts the deck. Gas fire pits do not produce sparks or embers that can damage a wood deck.
If you wish to put a wood burning fire pit on top of a wood deck you need to be much more careful. You will need an insulating pad directly under the fire pit to shield the wood from the heat. You should use a fire safe mat surrounding the fire pit to protect the wood deck from any sparks or embers.
4 – What should I put under fire pit?
For gas fire pits that can’t be placed directly on combustible surfaces you need to use a heat shield. It must be a heat shield that insulates against contect between the fire pit and decking. Many heat pats sold only block radiated heat. They do not insulate against heat conducted through the legs or bottom of the fire pit where it rests on the wood deck.
Northland Online Deck Defender – Fire Pit Heat Shield
- “Deck Defender & Grass Guard”; the original all-metal heat shield; designed & manufactured by Northland Metal Industries in the U.S.A; watch out for poor quality foreign imitations; the heat shield lets you safely operate gas & wood burning fire pits on your wood deck, synthetic wood deck (aka: composite wood).
- No Assembly Required; just set your fire pit or chiminea on top of Deck Defender and burn as usual
- Designed to withstand high temperatures and protect areas from potential heat damage
- Size 26″ x 26″; fits MOST standard fire pits 18 to 36 inch; weight capacity 350 lbs
5 – Can you use a propane fire pit on a Trex deck?
Propane fire pits can be used over Trex decking with caution. Trex decking begins to soften at 176F. You should put an insulator between the fire pit and your Trex decking. To learn more, see our article on using propane fire pits over Trex decking.
6 – Can you roast marshmallows on a propane fire pit?
Yes, you can roast marshmallows on a gas fire pit. Some propane or gas fire pits will state they are not usable for cooking. This just means that the heating element may be damaged by food grease and other food waste buildup. In most cases, you can heat marshmallows over a propane fire pit.
You should be extra careful not to burn the marshmallow and let it fall into the fire pit. Marshmallows are a horrific mess to clean out of lava rocks. You can’t just let one fall in the fire and forget about it like you can a wood burning fire.
7 – Do fire pits keep mosquitoes away?
Mosquitos don’t like smoke. Having a fire pit can help repel mosquitos because of the smoke. A gas or propane fire pit makes very little smoke and won’t help much on it’s own. A wood burning fire pit will be much more effective at keeping critters away.
8 – What can I put in my fire pit to keep mosquitoes away?
Mosquitos dislike strong smelling herbs. Herbs that can repel mosquitos includge lavender, mint, lemon balm, sage, and citronella. Burning these herbs in your fire pit can create a natural bug repellent to keep mosquitos away. This works great for a wood burning fire pit.
You shouldn’t burn things in your propane or gas fire pit. The ash will clog up the lava rocks or ceramic logs, bricks and heating elements. If you are using a propane fire pit and want to get rid of mosquitos you need a different strategy. Citronella candles and tiki torches are good mosquito repellents you can use on a wood deck.
Are propane fire pits worth it?
Propane fire pits allow you to have a fire almost anywhere. They are usable in places that have bans on wood fires. Portable versions are easy to pack and take almost anywhere with you. A standard propane tank can give you hours of fire. You don’t have to clean up any ash afterward. You can turn off a gas fire pit and not have to worry whether the fire is really out and the coals are still hot. See our guide to the best portable propane fire pits to learn more.
You might also like:
- How To Stop Lava Rocks Exploding In Fire Pit In 3 Easy Steps
- How Long Do Lava Rocks Stay Hot? 9 Helpful Facts About Lava Rocks
- The Best Portable Propane Fire Pits Of 2021 Helpful Guide
- Can You Use A Propane Fire Pit On A Trex Deck? 5 Helpful Fire Pit Tips
- 14 Helpful Tips For How To Light Outdoor Fire Pits
About the author
My name is Doug Ryan. I am a homeowner and love having get togethers and finding the best things to make spending time at home easier and more fun. We spend a lot of time at home so why shouldn’t we have a great time there? I decided to start Great Home Gear as a way to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for all things home living with everyone.