6 Steps on How to Build a Fire Pit on a Wood Deck — Tips & Guides

How to Build a Fire Pit on a Wood Deck

Having a wood deck can beautify your home and improve its curb appeal. It can also increase its value. Most importantly, this will enable your family to enjoy quality time outdoors and also entertain their guests on the deck. Unfortunately, many people have to stay away from their deck on cold days and during the days of winter.

That is why it is important to build a fire pit on your deck. It will keep you and your family warm during cold days. This also means that you will have access to your deck all-round the year. For this reason, many homes have a fire pit on their deck.

Building a fire pit on a wood deck is not a straightforward task. Wood is a combustible material, so having fire close to wood is dangerous itself. That is why there are several issues to consider.  This article teaches you how to build a fire pit on a wood deck and also gives you tips to apply.

6 Steps Involved In Building a Fire Pit on a Wood Deck

First Step: Measure the perimeters of your deck to be able to decide how big you want your fire pit to be. The measurement should be at least 24 inches beyond its perimeter for the hearth. Add enough space for sitting areas and for walking around.

Second Step: The next step is to lay down the hearth material.  You must choose a material that can withstand up to a temperature of 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit. Extend it up to 24 inches beyond the fire pit.

Third Step: You can now construct the pit, but you must use materials that can withstand the heat from fire for hours.

Fourth Step: To protect the deck, you must raise the fire surface with fire bricks. And you may also cradle the burning wood with a grate.  This allows proper airflow as fire needs adequate air to burn.

Fifth Step: The pit walls should be 6 inches thick or more.  Mold it with your predetermined thickness.

Sixth Step: Provide a screened venting to allow the fire to get an adequate amount of oxygen. It is needless to remind you that fire needs oxygen to burn.

You may also cover the fire pit with a screen or a spark guard to prevent embers from flying off. Embers can ignite a fire if it lands on combustible material.

Now that you have learned the steps involved in building a fire pit, let’s talk about the safety tips to consider.

Tips on Building a Fire Pit on a Wood Deck:

As explained above, here are some of the tips to consider when building a fire pit on a wood deck.

1. How do you Extinguish the Fire?

In everything you do, you must consider the safety of lives and property first. Of course, you’ll make sure that the fire does not get out of hand. But always remember that an accident can happen.

So, if you start a fire and it snowballs into a raging fire, how do you bring it under control? This is why we will advise you to either install a water line or have a fire extinguisher around.

If anything goes wrong, you will be able to put out the fire as quickly as possible. Nobody plans to set their cars on fire, but everyone has a fire extinguisher in their cars.

It is for safety reasons. So, in building a fire pit, you must consider the source of water or where to install the fire extinguisher, depending on what the case is.

2. Wind can blow in any Direction

Wind does not blow in a single direction every time. So, assume that wind could blow in any direction while you and your family are seated near the fire pit.

That is why you have to design it in such a way that wind will not be blowing the smoke and ashes in people’s eyes. The sitting area has to be at least 10 feet away from the fire.

The distance will prevent the wind from blowing ashes on you. Also, it will prevent you from being roasted by a roaring fire.

3. Raised Edges

You must surround the fire pit with a non-combustible material like stones, and the edges have to be at least a foot higher than the logs of firewood that are being burned. Even if the wind blows the fire, it won’t be able to put it out since it won’t hit the fire directly.

4. Don’t put your Fire Pit in High Traffic Areas

No matter how big your deck is, people pass through some areas more than others. Take note of the high foot traffic areas.

Build your fire pit in an area with very little traffic to minimize contacts with the fire pit. The more the traffic in the path of the fire pit, the higher the likelihood of accidentally coming in contact with the fire pit.

5. It should be at Least 20 Feet away from any Structure

Your fire pit should be at least 20 feet away from your home or any other structure. If you’re still wondering why this is necessary, consider how embers fly. Flying embers make wildfires worse.

When they are blown by the wind, they could land on a building several feet away. Once a flying ember lands on a combustible surface, it will ignite another fire. This is why you should give your fire pit about 20 feet space.

6. A screen or Spark Guard is a Must

Screens and spark guards prevent sparks and embers from leaving the fire pit. This is a great idea as nothing spreads fire faster than flying embers. It will be safer to prevent them from flying off with either a screen or a spark guard.

7. Consider the views Around your House

If you have beautiful scenery around your house, it is necessary to build your fire pit in such a way that people will be able to face the scenery while enjoying the warmth of the fire.

For instance, if your home faces an ocean, it is appropriate that whoever sits near the fire pit faces the ocean and not otherwise.

8. Never leave your fire pit alone with your Pets and Children

You must always be around whenever your fire pit is burning. Don’t make the mistake of leaving your children alone with your fire pit. Children find fire fascinating, and they keep having the urge to explore it.

They may go near when you are not around. Also, they may throw an object into the fire pit. So, never leave them alone with it.

Maintenance of Your Fire Pit:

It is not enough to build a fire pit. You must also learn how to maintain it. Here are some important maintenance tips for a fire pit.

1. Tips on Wood-Burning Fire Pits

Always clean and tidy all the accessories. Store them whenever they are not in use. Remove charred wood and ashes on a daily basis. It can prevent smooth burning when wet.

If you have a garden around, cold ash can boost the amount of potassium in the soil. If you cook with your fire pit, clean off ash or food drips on every surface with a wet piece of cloth. Give them a few minutes to dry up before you store them away.

2. Tips on Gas-Burning Fire Pits

Always turn off the valve after use. Allow it to cool before you remove all the decorative glass, stones, rocks, and logs. This will allow you to reach every corner of the pit. Soak a soft piece of cloth in mild soapy water and wipe the walls of the pit, the burners, and other components with the cloth.

Rinse the soap off the cloth and wipe them with an ordinary wet cloth. You can now reassemble the pit and store it properly. Keep every component of the fire pit out of the reach of your kids, especially your propane tank or cylinder.

3. Tips on Ethanol-Burning Fire Pits

It may still have some fuel in it, so you can wipe only the surface. You must leave the extinguishing cover in place to prevent the ethanol from evaporating. On the other hand, you may burn it dry. Allow it to cool before you remove all the decorative glass, stones, rocks, and logs.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to clean them. Now, you can remove the burner or tray and clean it with a piece of wet cloth. Also, you should wipe the body of the pit with the same piece of wet cloth and allow it to dry. You can then reassemble it.

Regardless of whatever kind of fuel your fire pit uses, it is necessary to keep it clean and tidy so that you will keep getting optimum performance from it.


If you have been following from the beginning, you should have learned how to build a fire pit on a wood deck and necessary safety tips. Remember the tips whenever you decide to build your fire pit.

June Brandt
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