Can you use a fire pit on decking? It all depends on the type of decking you have, according to experts

If you play with fire on certain types of decking, you may get burned

(Image credit: La Hacienda)

If you’re toying with the idea of buying a fire pit but are worried because you have a deck rather than a patio, you might be wondering: Can you use a fire pit on decking? And this is a very valid question.

The best fire pits can instantly transform your garden decking ideas, and we have no doubts that your deck will quickly become your favourite area of your home with this garden gadget in place. It offers the ultimate chill-out spot (or should we say warm-up spot?) for summer soirées and toasted marshmallow Tuesdays and is one of the best ways to make your deck look expensive.

But one thing we all know is that you should never play with fire, so how does that work when you want to use a fire pit on decking? Well, we decided to reach out to the experts, and the general consensus is that it all depends on the type of decking you have.

Can I use a fire pit on decking?

While you may dream of turning your fire pit idea into a reality, it’s important to understand that fire pits can be dangerous. After all, you’re dealing with fire.

That’s why Joanna Humphreys, Fire and Stove Specialist at Direct Stoves, urges, ‘It’s recommended that your fire pit should be at least ten feet away from your house, shed, fences or any other structure to prevent accidental fire spread.’

‘In addition to location, it’s important to make sure you place your fire on a non-flammable surface such as stone, brick or concrete.’

But what about decking? Well, if you want to avoid any decking mistakes, it’s best to thoroughly do your research before adding a fire pit and buying marshmallows.

la hacienda fire pit on a shingle gravel patio area

(Image credit: La Hacienda)

Richard King, Owner of Dino Decking, explains, ‘As a decking expert, I would advise caution when considering the use of a fire pit on decking. The suitability largely depends on the type of fire pit and decking material involved.’

‘For instance, wood or composite decking may be susceptible to damage or ignition from the heat generated by the fire pit. In such cases, it's crucial to assess the potential risks and consult with a professional to ensure compliance with local fire codes and safety standards.’

In fact, this is one of the instances where you really need to understand the differences between wood decking and composite decking, as well as the other types of decking options on offer - especially when it comes to the fire rating.

grey chair sitting in front of fire pit with festoon lights behind

(Image credit: Future PLC)

This fire rating tells you how fire-resistant the decking material is, with A being the least flammable and F being the most flammable. And if you have untreated timber decking, your deck will likely sit in the D category.

Because of this, Richard says, ‘If your decking is made of timber, adding a fire pit is not advisable due to its susceptibility to catching fire easily.’

However, if you have composite decking, the outlook is a little brighter. Although no composite decking is completely fireproof, it is typically rated B or C, which means that you can use it on decking as long as you put extra safety measures in place.

‘Composite decking is another viable option for accommodating a fire pit, provided certain precautions are taken. Elevating the fire pit helps prevent issues like melting, ensuring the integrity of the decking surface,’ Richard explains.

So, if you haven’t bought a fire pit yet and want to use a fire pit on composite decking, it’s best to buy one that has legs or its own personal stand. Alternatively, you could buy a specific mat designed to create a barrier between your fire pit and your decking, like this Tamfile Fire Pit Mat for Decking from Amazon.

But if you were wondering whether you could bypass all of the issues with using a fire pit on decking by placing your fire pit on or around an outdoor rug, you might want to think again.

VonHaus Black Faux Concrete MgO Fire Pit

(Image credit: VonHaus)

Kirsty Barton, Marketing Manager at Alternative Flooring, says, ‘While a cosy outdoor rug can make nights outside feel extremely comforting, it’s essential to avoid placing them near fire pits, as they can pose as a hazard unless specifically designed as fire-retardant.

‘Instead place your fire on hard surfaces like gravel, concrete, tiles or heat-resistant mats and keep your outdoor rug underneath furniture and a safe distance away from heat or open flames.’

You might be interested in knowing that one particular type of decking is safer than the rest, though. And if you have aluminium decking, you don’t necessarily need to take any safety precautions when using a fire pit on decking.

Richard says, ‘Aluminium decking is classified as A2 fire-rated, signifying its modern, corrosion-resistant, and durable properties. Unlike composite decking, which can hold fire pits but may present some fire risk, aluminium decking eliminates concerns about heat damage or ignition.’

Still, it’s always a good idea to use a fire-resistant mat if you’re worried. And Richard finishes by stating, ‘By selecting the appropriate decking material and implementing safety measures, you can confidently enjoy the warmth and ambience of a fire pit on your decking without compromising safety.’

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Can you use fire pits on decking?

This all depends on the type of decking you have. If you have traditional timber decking, it’s best to avoid using a fire pit on decking at all costs, as it’s extremely flammable and a huge safety risk.

If you have a composite or aluminium deck, however, you can use a fire pit on your decking as long as you exercise caution. Ideally, you should eliminate contact completely and buy an elevated fire pit on legs, or use a stand or fire-resistant mat to limit the heat and fire exposure.

If you’re ever in doubt of whether you can use fire pits on decking or not, we’d suggest placing a fire pit elsewhere.

What surface can you put a fire pit on?

You should always aim to put a fire pit on a non-flammable surface, such as a fire-resistant met, concrete, or gravel. This will not only limit extreme heat exposure but will also reduce the chance of the fire spreading or melting the flammable surface below.

So, just because you may be able to use a fire pit on decking doesn’t necessarily mean that you should do so without taking extra precautions.

Lauren Bradbury

Lauren Bradbury is a freelance writer and major homes enthusiast. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Chichester in 2016, before dipping her toe into the world of content writing. After years of agency work, writing everything from real-life stories to holiday round-ups, she decided to take the plunge and become a full-time freelancer in the online magazine world. Since then, she has become a regular contributor for Real Homes and Ideal Home, and become even more obsessed with everything interior and garden related. As a result, she’s in the process of transforming her old Victorian terraced house into an eclectic and modern home that hits visitors with personality as soon as they walk through the door.