Can you use a patio heater on decking? Yes, as long as you follow these 5 expert-led safety tips

Ensure safety when using a patio heater this season

Patio heater on decking
(Image credit: Haloo)

Patio heaters are nothing less than a must if you want to enjoy your outdoor space for longer throughout the year, but is it safe to use one on decking?

Although the weather has finally got warmer, the evenings definitely still lean on the cooler side. As a result, you might be considering investing in one of the best patio heaters to help curb those chilly nights and make the most of the longer evenings. But of course, before you make such an investment, it's important to be aware of the worst places to put a patio heater so you can steer clear of them.

Thankfully, contrary to popular belief, it is safe to use a patio heater on decking. As with any appliance, there are just a couple of precautions to keep in mind to ensure safety when using one outdoors.

Patio heater on decking

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Can you use a patio heater on decking?

In short, yes, you can use a patio heater on garden decking.

'Placing a patio heater on your wooden decking is perfectly safe and will not damage the surface of your decking. Unlike other areas of a patio heater, the base does not get hot and therefore is not deemed a fire hazard when placed on a wooden surface,' explains Tom Clifford, garden design expert at Gardenstone.

Lewis Darley, content creator for NeoTimber explains that most electric and gas patio heaters can be used on any kind of decking, as the heat source is normally raised above the ground. However, should you be in a toss-up between composite and wood decking, Lewis says that composite decking is Class-C fire-rated and slightly more suitable to use with patio heaters than other timber alternatives.

Patio area with metal garden table and chairs seating area in alcove concrete stairs leading to house ledge with large plater trees

(Image credit: Future PLC/Darren Chung)

Safety precautions when using a patio heater

Despite it being safe to use a patio heater on decking, it's still incredibly important to abide by a key few rules to operate one responsibly that apply when using both gas and electric patio heaters.

1. Put it on stable ground

This goes without saying, but you should always ensure your patio heater is on a flat, level surface. So long as you've laid your decking correctly, this should be easy enough to always stick to.

'Your decking should provide this, making it an ideal home for your patio heater, and uneven ground could cause the heater to tip over, creating a fire hazard,' explains Robert Quinton, DIY expert and owner of Construction Megastore.

2. Keep it away from flammable materials

When considering outdoor living room layouts, you must give as much space as possible to a patio heater.

'Avoid positioning a patio heater too close to garden furniture, outdoor rugs, or any other flammable materials as this could be a fire risk,' warns Adam Oldfield, director at StovesAreUs.

As a rule of thumb, try to keep your patio heater at least one metre away from anything including your best garden furniture, awnings, and other outdoor decorations.

Zanussi 2100W Black Adjustable Freestanding Patio Heater in a garden with tables and chairs

(Image credit: Zanussi)

3. Steer clear of busy areas

Although you're likely investing in a patio heater to warm up guests of your outdoor get-togethers, Robert advises against placing it right in the centre of the busiest areas of your decking.

'This should limit the possibility of your patio heater being accidentally knocked or bumped and causing subsequent issues,' he explains.

4. Be mindful of windy conditions

While we may be creeping into summer, British weather remains as unpredictable as ever and you must be cautious when using a patio heater in strong winds as these conditions could cause the flame to blow out or for the heater to get blown over completely.

Small garden divided into zones using decking, paving and shrubs

(Image credit: Future PLC/Annaick Guitteny)

5. Never leave it unsupervised

Lastly, patio heaters should never be left unsupervised when they're on.

'When lit, patio heaters shouldn't be left unsupervised under any circumstances to prevent the risk of a fire, this is especially important if you have young children or pets,' urges Tom.

Shop our top-rated patio heaters

Investing in a patio heater for your decking is worthwhile to get the most out of your outdoor space irrespective of the season, but it certainly pays to be clued up on the best practices to keep you and your household safe all year round.

Jullia Joson
Junior Writer

Jullia Joson is Ideal Home’s Junior Writer. She’s always loved all things homes and interiors, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Nottingham in 2022. Previously, she was an Intern Editor for ArchDaily. Now focused on news stories, Jullia can be found down the TikTok and Pinterest rabbit hole scrolling through any new and upcoming trends, hacks, and home inspiration.