Trex decking is great. It lasts a long time and doesn’t rot like wood. 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 deck. If you like fires you might be thinking about putting a fire pit on your new Trex deck. Can you use a propane fire pit on a Trex deck? The quick answer is yes you can but you should take a few precautions.
1 – Can you use a propane fire pit on a Trex deck?
Trex deck material starts to soften as low as 176F. This is not that hot. A wood burning fire can get as hot as 1000F. Fortunately propane fire pits don’t get as hot and they don’t spit sparks and embers out. The feet on your propane fire pit will still get hot. They don’t get as hot as a wood fire but they still get hot. It is a good idea to use a heat barrier between your fire pit and your Trex decking to prevent damage. Learn more about Trex decking and high temperatures here.
There are a few varieties of fire pit barriers out there. A really easy barrier is bricks. Another really easy cheap option is stone or ceramic tile. Be careful you don’t scratch your decking if you use brick. You can also get a fire pad or mad to put under your fire pad that will insulate it. Fire mats can be made from rubber or metal. Many fire mats you see advertised are reflective heat barriers only. They won’t protect from heat transferred from the fire pit legs to the decking.
- “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
Some locations have rules for how close a fire pit can be placed next to a building structure. You should look up the regulations where you live for fire pits. The rules can be different for propane fire pits vs wood fire pits and also what surface you are burning it on.
2 – Can you use a propane fire pit on a composite deck?
Yes, you can put a propane fire pit on a composite deck. Common composite decking brands include Trex, TimberTech, Cali-Bamboo, Dura-Life, Fiberon, and Lumberock. They all have temperature points where they will soften or catch on fire. It is a good idea to use a temperature barrier when using a propane fire pit on any composite deck. The below video shows how to use a DeckProtect pad with a fire pit on a composite deck.
3 – Can you put a gas fire pit on a wood deck?
Yes, you can use a gas fire pit on a wood deck. In most cases, a gas fire pit does not get as hot as a wood fire pit. The legs on a gas fire pit will still get hot. It’s always a good idea to use a temperature barrier between your fire pit and whatever you are setting it on. A few bricks or stone tiles will protect most surfaces from the heat of the fire pit. See our article on putting a propane fire pit on a wood deck to learn more.
The below video shows how easily different types of decking including wood and composite burn and get damaged by heat.
4 – How do you protect a composite deck from a fire pit?
You should place your fire pit on top of some form of temperature barrier. You should not place your fire pit directly on your composite decking. Trex decking can soften and become damaged at temperatures as low as 176F. A temperature barrier can be bricks, stone or ceramic tiles or fire mats.
If you are putting a wood burning fire pit on composite decking you need to be much more careful. You should put down fire mat around the fire mat to protect from sparks and embers that come off of the fire.
You should check with your local regulations for any rules that apply to gas or wood fire pits. Many locations have rules for how close fire pits can be placed to buildings and what they can be placed on top of. If you are having a professional install a fire pit at your home, make sure they go over the regulations with you.
5 – What is the best fire pit for a deck?
Propane or natural gas fire pits are much safer to place on composite or wood decking. They don’t get as hot as wood fire pits and they don’t throw off sparks and embers. A fire pit can burn a long time on a 20 lb propane cylinder. They can be hooked up to your home’s natural gas supply. Gas fire pits can be installed into your deck. You can use a gas fire table or gas fire pit sitting on your deck. There are many possibilities. See our guide to the best portable propane fire pits for some ideas on what is available.
If you are insistent on putting a wood burning fire pit on your deck, you need to build a proper temperature barrier.
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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.