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7 Do’s & Don’ts When Considering a Wood Deck Fireplace

Wood Deck Fireplace

So, you’ve been making your backyard area look great, and you may have even installed a wooden deck for some fun outdoors. Now, you are thinking about adding some kind of fireplace to your outdoor space so that you can still enjoy your backyard when it is cold outside. You are in luck. This article is going to share everything you need to know about adding a fireplace to your wood deck, cover concerns you may be aware of, and give you some additional tips.

Throughout this article, we’ll give you at least seven tips of things you should do, and at least seven tips of things that you shouldn’t do. We’ll also cover a few more questions and considerations, so that you can hopefully explore your options more and see if a fireplace for your wood deck is even the best choice.

In This Post, We’ll Share The Answers To All of These Questions Regarding a Deck Fireplace As The Focal Point of Your Outdoor Living Space and More:

  • What Are The Dangers of Outdoor Fireplace Kits That Are an Outdoor Wood-Burning Fireplace On a Wood Deck Fireplace?
  • Does a Fire Pit or Outdoor Fireplace That Burns Wood Need a Spark Screen To Protect The Surrounding Area From a Random Sparking Ember?
  • If Homeowners Are Doing a Remodel of Their Backyard Patio and They Build a Pergola, Is It Safe To Put a Fire Pit or Outdoor Fireplace Underneath It?
  • Is a Chiminea Always a Wood Burning Centerpiece, or Do They Come In Gas Varieties as Well?
  • Is The Best Fuel Type For a Gas Fireplace Propane Gas or Is It Natural Gas and What Is The Major Difference Between Propane and Natural For Patio Heaters Like a Gas Fire Pit or Fire Pit Table?
  • For Landscaping Fireplace Features and Outdoor Fireplace Designs, Is This Something Most People Can Plan and Install Themselves or Do You Need To Consult With The Equivalent of an Outdoor Architect or Consult With The Equivalent of a Backyard Home Builder?
  • Are Most Deck Fireplace Options For a New Home Outdoor Area or Backyard Makeovers a Higher BTU Output Than Fireplaces That Might Have Been Put Inside of a Home By an Interior Designer?
  • If You Have a Fire Pit, Fire Bowl, or Other Outdoor Patio Fire Elements, Are Fireplace Ideas That Involve Lava Rocks or Fire Glass Aesthetically Pleasing and What Is The Difference Between These Two Fireplace Accessories?
  • Does Decking Need Extra Support For The Weight of a DIY Fireplace or Outdoor Fire Pit?
  • How Close Can an Outdoor Type of Fireplace Be To Something Like a Hot Tub or Outdoor Furniture?
  • Will a Pizza Oven For Your Outdoor Kitchen Be Enough To Warm an Area Like a Fireplace or Do You Need a Dedicated Fireplace?
  • Is a Cast Iron Fireplace The Best Material For Outdoor Fireplaces or Instead of One of These Should You Try Other Materials Like Stainless Steel or Stone?
  • Are Small Tabletop Fire Features Powerful Enough To Warm Outdoor Areas or Do You Need Something Bigger and More Permanent?
  • Can You String Lights Above The Area of Outdoor Fireplaces or Is There a Risk of Them Catching On Fire?
  • Do Outdoor Fireplaces Need Complete Open Air or Can They Be Used Under Canopies or Other Covered Areas?
  • If You Wanted To Use Gas Fireplaces Under Covered Areas, Do They Always Need Ventilation or Are There Vent-Free Types That Can Be Used That Don’t Produce As Much Harmful Emissions?
  • If You Wanted To Do an Interior Design Home Improvement Projects To Add Some Fireplace Ambiance, Is an Electric Fireplace a Better Choice Than Either a Wood Fireplace or Gas Option?
  • For Interior Home Decor Design Ideas For The Living Room, Which Types of Electric Fireplaces Are Best To Use?
  • Do Interior Electric Fireplaces With Natural Looking Logs or Ember Beds Inside The Firebox Add To The Sense of Realism?
  • How Much Do Fire Effects Matter In Electric Fireplaces and Which Types of Fire Effects Are The Ones That Look The Most Like a Real Fireplace That Is The Type That Burns Wood?
  • When Choosing Electric Fireplaces For a Residence, Which Brand Has The Best Fire Effects Displayed In a Reliable, High End Fireplace Unit?

1. What Are The Dangers of Outdoor Fireplace Kits That Are an Outdoor Wood-Burning Fireplace On a Wood Deck Fireplace?

Outdoor fireplaces and kits you use to make them are great for backyards. However, there are certainly some serious considerations with using them on or nearby wood decks. The first and most obvious safety concern is that the deck itself is made of wood which is very flammable. This already is a bit of a fire hazard. Not to mention that most decks are built right onto the back of your house, so the fireplace will also be close to the house itself. Anytime there are outdoor fireplaces on a wood deck, you need to exercise special caution when using it, and take other precautions as well.

First, it is a good idea to put some kind of barrier that is flame retardant directly under the fireplace that will be on your deck. This will give your fireplace a bit more of a solid space to sit on and help with heat absorption. Second, it is a good idea to use fireproofing spray on your wood deck as often as the spray directs you too. This will make the wood of the deck a little fire retardant to lower the chance of a massive fire starting accidentally.

2. Does a Fire Pit or Outdoor Fireplace That Burns Wood Need a Spark Screen To Protect The Surrounding Area From a Random Sparking Ember?

If you are using outdoor fireplaces that burn wood, the chance of an ember sparking off the log and out of the fireplace at some point is pretty high. Even though you may have taken plenty of precautions to ensure that the area around your fireplace isn’t as flammable, you still want to reduce the chance of embers sparking off as well. Using a screen over your pit or in front of your fireplace will certainly severely reduce the chances of something like this happening.

These screens may already come with the fireplace you purchased or you may have to purchase one yourself for your outdoor fireplaces. If it is the latter, take your time picking out a good one that matches your fireplace and the decor of your patio, deck, and backyard. This is something that will be visible whenever your outdoor fireplaces are on, therefore you want to make sure that the screen looks as aesthetically pleasing as possible.

3. If Homeowners Are Doing a Remodel of Their Backyard Patio and They Build a Pergola, Is It Safe To Put a Fire Pit or Outdoor Fireplace Underneath It?

This depends on many different factors. In most cases, you can put your fireplace under one as long as smoke or other emissions can freely escape to the open air. That being said, you need to make sure that the structure is high enough that the flames won’t be getting close enough to start a fire. You also want your fireplace to be far enough from any of the legs or supports of the structure for the reason of embers sparking outwards.

Just like your wood deck, it is a good idea to use a good quality fireproofing spray on this structure as well, to minimize the chance of the entire thing catching on fire. Just be sure to follow the proper instructions of the fireproofing spray, and use it as frequently as recommended by that brand of fireproofing spray.

4. Is a Chiminea Always a Wood Burning Centerpiece, or Do They Come In Gas Varieties as Well?

Traditionally, chimineas come in many different looks and styles but usually burn wood to generate heat for the surrounding outdoor space. Of course, there are some companies that choose to make versions that use gas instead of burning wood inside of them. Most people who get chimineas like the idea of it being more traditional and using wood as the source of heat. Of course, if you like the aesthetics of a chiminea but you don’t want to deal with the hassle of building fires inside of it, then gas options might be a good choice for you. Regardless of which type you go with, still make sure to take safety measures as these can be as much of a fire hazard as any other type of outdoor fireplaces for your backyard or wooden deck.

5. Is The Best Fuel Type For a Gas Fireplace Propane Gas or Is It Natural Gas? What Is The Major Difference Between Propane and Natural For Patio Heaters Like a Gas Fire Pit or Fire Pit Table?

Both of these types of fuel for outdoor fireplaces that burn gas have their strengths and their weaknesses you have to be aware of. With any natural-gas style fireplaces for outdoor use, you’ll have to have somebody come and professionally run safe gas lines under your deck or even underground in some cases to attach to your fireplace. This will give you a consistent source of gas for your fireplace, even if the initial installation was a little more involved.

With propane-style gas fireplaces, the big difference is the installation will be a bit easier to begin with, but you are going to have to keep an eye on the tanks and change them whenever they start to get low. Propane-style fireplaces also have the benefit of being a little bit more efficient with the fuel when producing heat, as well as burning ever so slightly cleaner.

Of course, if you live further away from a city, there is a chance you don’t actually have utility gas lines for that type of fireplace. You’d only be able to use one that is a propane-style unit. If you haven’t yet moved into this home, maybe because you have recently purchased it, you need to be sure if it has gas utilities before choosing your outdoor fireplaces because most fireplaces use one type of fuel or the other. There are only some specific models that can use either type of fuel, and these units tend to cost a little bit more.

6. For Landscaping Fireplace Features and Outdoor Fireplace Designs, Is This Something Most People Can Plan and Install Themselves or Do You Need To Consult With The Equivalent of an Outdoor Architect or Consult With The Equivalent of a Backyard Home Builder?

This really depends on you and your confidence in coming up with a great design. Most people know what looks good, because they can tell the difference of when a backyard looks beautiful or not. This is a great starting point. If you want to head down this path but you really aren’t sure, start doing research and educating yourself about backyard layouts and designs with fireplace units. Look for pictures for inspiration, find some tutorials and examples of people doing backyard remodeling on YouTube, and see for yourself if it is something you think you are up to the challenge for.

If you aren’t confident in your own abilities to make a great looking backyard area or you just don’t want to do the work yourself, there are plenty of experts that can help you both with your landscape and hardships to come up with the perfect backyard area to share with your friends and family.

7. Are Most Deck Fireplace Options For a New Home Outdoor Area or Backyard Makeovers a Higher BTU Output Than Fireplaces That Might Have Been Put Inside of a Home By an Interior Designer?

Yes, for any good outdoor fireplaces, they will usually produce significantly higher BTUs than their indoor counterparts. This is because the heat dissipates so quickly outdoors, so there needs to be a constant stream of radiating heat to keep nearby people warm. With indoor fireplaces, you have the luxury of the home holding a lot of that heat in like an oven. They can afford to produce significantly less BTUs as not nearly as much heat is needed indoors to keep it warm unless you have a giant house. Even then people usually go with multiple heat sources around the home rather than one big heat source.

For this reason, if you are looking at outdoor fireplaces, make sure they are rated for outdoor use and unless you are installing it for some kind of covered deck or enclosed patio where the heat will be held in more, don’t use an indoor rated fireplace in these outdoor areas.

8. If You Have a Fire Pit, Fire Bowl, or Other Outdoor Patio Fire Elements, Are Fireplace Ideas That Involve Lava Rocks or Fire Glass Aesthetically Pleasing and What Is The Difference Between These Two Fireplace Accessories?

With certain types of outdoor fireplaces that have space in them like fire bowls or tables, accessories like a lava rock arrangement or an assortment of different colored fire glass can be a great way to add a stunning visual element to your fireplace. Both give it more volume and make the fireplace look a little more unique than ones just off the shelf.

The main difference is that a lava rock, or several of them in a bowl or on a table, looks very natural. They are a solid, natural color in most cases. Fire glass, on the other hand, is semi-transparent, comes in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Fire glass makes the light from the flames refract and reflect so that the fire glass seems to glow a little bit.

A lava rock arrangement usually looks best on tables where only the top of it is seen. Fire glass assortments are usually best in fire bowls where you can see light easily shine through them. Understand that fire glass tends to look more modern, so if you have a traditional style, you might want to go with the rocks. Of course, glass can also be used on a flat fireplace style table, and rocks can still be used in a bowl.

Regardless of which you choose, both need regular cleaning otherwise they will start to look ugly and ruin the look of your fireplace. Grime is even more noticeable so these will need to be cleaned more often. Cleaning can be as simple as dropping them in a bucket of water for a few minutes and agitating the water inside of the bucket.

9. Does Decking Need Extra Support For The Weight of a DIY Fireplace or Outdoor Fire Pit?

This will depend on how strong the deck you have already is. Larger beams with reinforcements can hold quite a bit of weight. If you are unsure if it can hold the amount of weight that it needs to hold, then you can add extra support just to be safe. Keep in mind, placement of legs, thickness of wood, and type of wood can all make a difference. Also, wood decks need to be held together firmly by strong bolts as well. Most nails may lack the support capability to hold up a heavy fireplace. If you get a fireplace that is on the heavier side, it is worth having a professional contractor come and take a look at it and add any support necessary to hold up the additional weight of the fireplace on the deck.

10. How Close Can an Outdoor Type of Fireplace Be To Something Like a Hot Tub or Outdoor Furniture?

Like most flammable things, you need to make sure you have a good distance from exposed flames. If you have gas fireplaces, it may not need quite as long a distance as something that burns wood. Since burning logs inside of outdoor fireplaces has the tendency to spark embers off of it, extra space needs to be given for proper precautions. You need to check with the owner’s manual that came with the fireplace that you have purchased and see what the requirements are for a clear space around it. Also, some areas might have their own local guidelines on what is allowed around outdoor fireplaces and how close it can be. You need to make sure you are following local regulations. Lastly, anything nearby that it is safe and necessary to use fireproofing spray on, should have it applied as required as well.

11. Will a Pizza Oven For Your Outdoor Kitchen Be Enough To Warm an Area Like a Fireplace or Do You Need a Dedicated Fireplace?

Pizza ovens are such a fun thing to have in your outdoor area because you can bake some of the best home pizzas in them. Unfortunately, the thing that makes them so great as an oven, the ability to hold in heat, is exactly what makes them terrible as a fireplace. Other than people standing right in front of the oven with the door open or removed, don’t expect it to be able to warm an area reliably well. If this kitchen area will be used a lot for outdoor eating, especially when it is cold out, then it is a great idea to find an additional fireplace to put in this area to help warm it up.

12. Is a Cast Iron Fireplace The Best Material For Outdoor Fireplaces or Instead of One of These Should You Try Other Materials Like Stainless Steel or Stone?

The material of the fireplace really is dependent on what you like and what you need. For outdoor fireplaces, as long as the material is durable and weather resistant, you are usually okay. Stainless-steel will be more resistant to the weather than cast-iron, but cast-iron may be a little bit more heat efficient. Of course, the heat efficiency isn’t that big of a difference, so steel is fine, and for cast-iron, you can always put a rain cover over it to protect it when you aren’t using it. In the end, go with whatever looks best for your specific backyard decorations. Just make sure it isn’t too heavy for that part of the deck unless you have proper support added.

13. Are Small Tabletop Fire Features Powerful Enough To Warm Outdoor Areas or Do You Need Something Bigger and More Permanent?

Small little fireplaces that go on your table can be fun, but they are certainly more of a novelty than a substantial fireplace setup. These little versions for your table are only good if you rarely need heat outdoors and it is only you and two or three other people around a table with you. Even then, it may not actually be enough. If you are someone that will be using your outdoor area a lot when it is a little chilly out, especially if you plan on having gatherings with a significant amount of people, then you need to get a more robust fireplace for the space that can consistently warm the larger area.

14. Can You String Lights Above The Area of Outdoor Fireplaces or Is There a Risk of Them Catching On Fire?

In most cases, stringing some outdoor lights in your outdoor areas will be safe. Just make sure it is high enough above any flames, and if possible, don’t hang them directly above, rather a little adjacent to the area. That being said, keep in mind that wood fireplaces can absolutely get some high flames if you use a lot of wood, so you need to judge how your lights should be based on the flames when they are at their highest, rather than a smaller fire. Gas fireplaces will be more consistent so it is easy to judge. Whatever you do, just make absolutely sure that the lights you choose to string are ones rated for outdoor use and not just indoor Christmas lights exclusively.

15. Do Outdoor Fireplaces Need Complete Open Air or Can They Be Used Under Canopies or Other Covered Areas?

Most outdoor fireplaces should be in the completely open air so that there are no harmful emissions. This includes smoke of course, but it can also include carbon monoxide as well. Smoke is mostly limited to fireplaces that burn wood, but the incomplete log burn will also produce carbon monoxide. Gas fireplaces will mostly just produce carbon monoxide from gas that doesn’t have a complete clean burn. Either way, you are better off using these in completely open air. If you use them with some kind of canopy or covering overhead, you will need a ventilation system either in the form of a chimney or for many gas fireplaces, a venting pipe of some kind.

16. If You Wanted To Use Gas Fireplaces Under Covered Areas, Do They Always Need Ventilation or Are There Vent-Free Types That Can Be Used That Don’t Produce As Much Harmful Emissions?

Some gas fireplaces don’t need ventilation. If you were to want gas fireplaces for a covered area, vent free is definitely the way that you should go. These work with a much cleaner burn so that there isn’t a significant amount of carbon monoxide that is emitted by them compared to other gas fireplaces. It is important to note that vent free versions are more commonly found as interior fireplaces, while they are less common for outdoor fireplaces since it is usually assumed they will be installed with open air. However, vent free outdoor fireplaces do exist if needed. Get one if you think it will be useful to you. Just keep it maintained properly so that it doesn’t start emitting too much carbon monoxide without you knowing.

17. If You Wanted To Do Interior Design Home Improvement Projects To Add Some Fireplace Ambiance, Is an Electric Fireplace a Better Choice Than Either a Wood Fireplace or Gas Option?

Being able to use a fireplace year round inside of your home has its benefits over outdoor fireplaces that can only be used for certain parts of the year. While wood and gas are decent options for outdoor use, they shouldn’t be considered at all for indoors. Here is why wood is a bad idea:

  • Fire Safety – The chance of them causing a fire is too high.
  • Harmful Emissions – Not all of the emissions will clear out of the chimney successfully.
  • Hassle – There is no shortage of hard work needed to use them.
  • Heat Loss – A big chunk of heat is lost through ventilation of wood fireplaces.
  • Smell – The smell of burning logs gets into the air and your furniture.
  • Stains – Furniture and walls are unsafe from being stained yellow.
  • TV Damage – Flat screens can’t be mounted without permanent damage to them.
  • Wood Storage – Space for a lot of wood will be needed for them.
  • Expensive Construction – Expect to spend a lot of money to build a new one.

And even though gas has some benefits over wood, here is why it still is far from the best choice:

  • Exposed Flame – They’re almost as big of a fire hazard as wood fireplaces.
  • Some Emissions – Still produce carbon monoxide.
  • Fire Color – Neon blue never looks good, neither do dull natural colors.
  • Weak Flame – Lacking flicker and strength, the flames move poorly.
  • Costly Install – Just like wood fireplaces, they can cost a lot to have installed.

Of course, here are all of the great reasons electric is best:

  • Not Fire Hazard – With anything burning, there’s no added risk.
  • No Contaminants – Be free of harmful emissions.
  • No Smoke – Staining and smells are not a concern anymore.
  • Easy Use – No work, hassle, and maintenance to take care of.
  • Easy Install – Install them yourself easily at no extra cost.
  • Apartments and Condos – You aren’t as limited to residence type.
  • Any Room – You also aren’t as limited to room choice.
  • TV Mounting – They are perfect if you want a TV right above your fireplace.
  • Heat Efficiency – No ventilation means no loss of heat.
  • Zone Heat – Several fireplaces together can warm extremely big homes in sections to save money.
  • Remote Control – Control it while sitting.
  • Fireplace Atmosphere – With luxury models, they feel and look the same as real ones.

18. For Interior Home Decor Design Ideas For The Living Room, Which Types of Electric Fireplaces Are Best To Use?

The different types have their uses, but some are better than others in specific scenarios:

  • Mantel Package – Best if you want a traditional fireplace against a flat wall.
  • Corner Fireplace – Good if you want to save space in the corner instead.
  • TV Stand Fireplace – Can also save space, but usually weaker fireplaces.
  • TV Stand Corner – Smaller, weaker versions of the normal TV stands.
  • Wall Mount Fireplace – Good for a modern look and recessed walls.
  • Electric Insert – Perfect to convert existing fireplaces.
  • Freestanding Heater – Portable devices that work poorly. Don’t use these.
  • Electric Stove – Only good if you want a wood stove look with a farmhouse aesthetic.

19. Do Interior Electric Fireplaces With Natural Looking Logs or Ember Beds Inside The Firebox Add To The Sense of Realism?

Yes, using any kind of logs or ember beds inside of them like MagikFlame fireplaces have, will ensure that you have a much more realistic looking fireplace for the interior of your home. Many cheaper electric fireplaces forgo these additional little touches and details. The lack of these elements make those cheaper fireplaces look tacky and unrealistic.

20. How Much Do Fire Effects Matter In Electric Fireplaces and Which Types of Fire Effects Are The Ones That Look The Most Like a Real Fireplace That Is The Type That Burns Wood?

Fire effects are everything if you want realism in your home. Cheap fireplaces have cheap effects. These will be simple, 2D style LED flames that hardly look authentic at all. Instead, you need more realistic flames, like 3D style flames that are projected holographically. With the Holoflame technology found in MagikFlame fireplaces, you can expect 3D fire that will make you think you are looking at a traditional fireplace rather than one that is electric.

When Choosing Electric Fireplaces For a Residence, Which Brand Has The Best Fire Effects Displayed In a Reliable, High End Fireplace Unit?

MagikFlame is the only wise choice there is for electric fireplaces. Their flame effects are completely unmatched, and they have so many beautiful models to choose from like the MagikFlame Athena. These features come with all models:

  • 30 Different Ultra-Realistic Flames For Any Mood
  • Crackling Log Sounds For a Relaxing Audio Experience
  • 5,200 BTU Heating Unit To Warm a House
  • Smartphone App For Easy Control From Anywhere In Your Home

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