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Can You Put a Fire Pit on a Trex Composite Deck?

Can You Put a Fire Pit on a Trex Composite Deck?

As more homeowners opt for low-maintenance composite deck materials like Trex, a common question arises - can you safely install an outdoor fire pit on synthetic deck boards? The answer is yes, you can place fire pits on Trex decks, as long as you take safety precautions like using a protective base.

Trex is made from a wood and plastic composite that is more resistant to damage from moisture and pests. But how fire resistant is it? This article will explore everything you need to know about placing fire pits on Trex decks. So, Continue reading to learn more!

Key Takeaways

  • Trex decking meets fire safety standards but can still combust when exposed to high heat from fire pits. Take proper precautions.

  • Use a protective base like concrete pavers under the fire pit to prevent deck contact.

  • For Trex, self-contained gas and ventless gel fuel fireplaces are safer options than traditional sparking wood pits.

A spacious, curvilinear wooden deck featuring a lounging area, dining set, potted plants, and a stone fire pit.

    Is it Safe to Put a Fire Pit on a Trex Deck?

    An important first question is how fire resistant Trex actually is. According to the manufacturer, Trex decking products meet Class A and Class B ratings for flame spread resistance in testing. This means Trex demonstrates good resistance to spreading fire across the deck surface.

    However, Trex is still categorized as a Class C building material, similar to wood. So while it's designed to minimize fire spread better than traditional lumber, Trex can still combust and will smoke and char when exposed to high heat and open flames. It's crucial to take safety precautions when installing a fire pit.

    Fire Risk with Wood and Composite Decks

    In general, industry tests show wood and composite decks are vulnerable to ignition, especially during wildfires. Embers, sparks, and other exposures can easily ignite untreated lumber, wood-plastic composites, and even wood treated with fire retardants.

    So using a fire pit directly on top of deck boards poses an inherent fire risk, even with materials like Trex that slow flame spread. Proper clearances, protective bases, and other precautions are essential.

    Considerations for Safe Fire Pit Use on Decks

    Whenever installing a fire pit on a deck, important safety tips include:

    • Check local fire codes for restrictions on residential deck fire pits
    • Leave ample clearance around the fire - 36 inches from burner pans and 5 feet from railings
    • Use a protective base material like concrete pavers or ceramic pads
    • Ensure adequate ventilation under covered decks for gas fire pits
    • Keep an ABC fire extinguisher nearby
    A wooden deck with a curved railing, hosting a patio dining table and chairs, overlooking a grassy lawn.

      Choosing the Right Type of Fire Pit for Trex Decks

      Selecting an appropriate fire pit design for deck installations increases safety. When picking a fire pit model, consult our helpful buying guide on fire pits to compare the pros and cons of different fuel types and safety features. The main options include:

      Wood Burning Fire Pits

      Traditional wood-burning fire pits allow loose sparks and embers, raising the fire risk. Enclosed, self-contained metal units are safer than open portable pits. Consider weight limits so heavy models don't overload deck framing.

      Gas Fire Pits

      Propane and natural gas fire pits avoid issues with blowing embers. They light instantly with adjustable heat and flame heights. Many include safety features like auto shut-off valves and glass flame guards. Just position propane tanks at least 10 feet from the fire.

      Gel Fuel Fireplaces

      Gel fuel fireplaces are the safest deck option, producing no sparks or smoke. Ventless models work well on covered decks since they output no exhaust or emissions. Verify the model is approved for composite deck materials.

      For Trex decks, gel and gas fireplaces tend to be best suited over traditional wood-burning pits. But any model used requires fire safety vetting first.

      When selecting a fire pit type for your Trex deck, consider how the features compare:

      Fire Pit Type Spark Risk Fuel Source Maintenance
      Wood burning High Wood High
      Gas Low Propane or natural gas Medium
      Gel fuel None Gel cartridges Low

      Considerations for Other Composite Deck Brands

      While this article covers Trex, other quality composite decking brands like TimberTech and Fiberon claim to achieve the same Class A rating for flame spread resistance. However, always reference the manufacturer’s documentation to confirm a decking allows integrating fire features safely. Some composites contain less plastic and more wood content, impacting fire vulnerability. Don't assume all composite deck brands guarantee equivalent fire performance.

      A stone fire pit on a wooden deck with built-in benches and integrated deck lighting, in a residential backyard.

      Conclusion

      With careful setup and adherence to fire safety, many types of natural gas, propane, and even wood-burning fire pits can be incorporated safely on top of Trex decks. Just be certain to allow for proper clearances, use a protective base, keep flammables away, and periodically check deck boards for any heat-related damage.

      Fire pits remain a coveted backyard addition for expanding outdoor living possibilities on low-maintenance composite decks. By taking a few precautions, you can enjoy cozy evenings around the fire with peace of mind atop your beautiful Trex deck.

      FAQs

      What do I need to consider when choosing a fire pit for my wood deck?

      Some factors to consider when choosing a large modern fire pit on a wood deck include the fire pit's heat output, safety measures, type of fuel being used, and size. It's essential to make sure the fire pit is designed for deck use and is placed on a fire-resistant mat to keep it away from direct contact with the wood deck surface.

      Can you place a fire pit directly on your deck surface?

      It is not advised to place a fire pit directly on your deck surface, especially if it’s a wooden deck. High temperatures from the fire pit can warp and damage the wood or cause fire damage. Using a fire pit pad or mat under the fire pit can protect your deck from high temperatures.

      What type of fire pit fits best on a deck?

      Some fire pits are specifically designed for decks. Before buying a deck fire pit, make sure you read the product’s safety specifications and recommendations. Gas fire pits that make use of propane or natural gas are typically a safer choice as they do not produce sparks that can easily catch fire.

      What type of decking is safe for a fire pit?

      If you're using a fire pit on a deck, fire-resistant composite decking is more suitable than traditional wood decking. Even so, precautions need to be taken, and the fire pit should not be placed directly on the deck.

      Should I consider local fire codes and regulations before putting a fire pit on my deck?

      Absolutely, before installing a fire pit on your deck, you must check with your local fire codes and regulations to ensure that it is legal and safe. There may be restrictions on the types of fuel you can use, as well as the location and distancing requirements for a fire pit.

      How can I safely use a fire pit on my composite deck?

      You can safely use a fire pit on your composite deck by ensuring it is placed on a fire-resistant mat or stand to prevent heat transfer. Consider using a spark screen to prevent stray sparks from causing a fire. The fire pit's size should also fit perfectly on your deck and be at least 10 feet away from structures or combustible materials.

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      About The Author

      Andy Wu - Resident Expert

      Andy Wu - Resident Expert

      Andy Wu is the resident backyard products expert and hails from Atlanta, Georgia. His passion for crafting outdoor retreats began in 2003.

      As a fellow homeowner, he founded Backyard Oasis to provide top-quality furnishings and equipment, collaborating with leading manufacturers.

      His main focus is on sheds and generators!

      In his spare time he like to hike the tallest mountains in the world and travel with his family.

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