Chimineas are bought for a variety of different reasons. Some people buy them as decorative pieces and never intend to light them, but most chiminea users want to sit around their chiminea and use them as a source of heat. As many homeowners now have a wood deck or a composite deck, it’s common to question can you put a chiminea on decking?
You should never put a chiminea directly on decking because decks are most commonly made from flammable products such as wood and chimineas are specifically designed to generate vast amounts of heat and can create sparks and embers in the process. Putting a chiminea on a deck has the potential to pose a fire hazard unless you take a great degree of caution.
Ways to use a chiminea on decking?
Having said that, chimineas can either be designed to be safely used on any surface or you can prepare the surface by employing some stringent safety precautions such as;
- Designing your decking with a specific fireproof space that doesn’t have any overhanging structures
- Creating a fire safe base for your chiminea using bricks or pavers
- Purchasing a chiminea that has its own raised base
- Always ensure that you monitor the flames in your chiminea
- When extinguishing the fire do so carefully
- Try not to move the structure when there is any hot ash inside
Most fire safety professionals will recommend using as many of the precautions listed above as possible even on surfaces that are said to be fire safe.
Chiminea on Wood deck
Whether you’re using a cast iron chiminea or clay chiminea, both can spew ash and sparks without taking the correct precautions. These embers and sparks can quickly create burn marks on your wood, making your deck look grubby and worn. Obviously, as you’ve learned so far placing a chiminea directly on a wooden deck is just going to create a fire hazard and should be avoided.
Chiminea on Composite deck
This is a hard question to answer. Most experts will tell you the lighting a fire on a plastic surface should be avoided at all costs. However, composite decks are a mixture of wood and plastic and it may be possible to safely add your chiminea to your composite deck as long as you provide the surrounding area with enough protection. The heat of the chiminea alone can quickly warm up your decking materials, and any stray embers will also quickly burn, so similar to wood, chimineas should never be placed directly onto a composite deck.
Dangers of using a chiminea on decking
If you follow these simple do’s and don’ts and read the manufacturers instructions, using your chiminea on your deck may be able to be done safely
1 Your location
Do: Choose a location as far from flammable items as possible, including overhangs, furniture, and property. Experts advise that you should keep it at least 10 ft away from your home and any other items that are potentially vulnerable.
Don’t: Place your chiminea directly onto your deck, as is the potentially flammable surface. If you think you’re far enough away from flammable objects, then just move it a little further, always remain aware that on windier days the sparks from your fire have to potential to travel much further.
2 Protect the surface
Do: If you’re truly concerned about using your chiminea on your deck then we highly advise that you invest in a fire pad as this can provide extra protection from ash, embers, heat, and sparks. These pads come in a variety of original materials varying from metal to stone and are specifically designed to protect the surrounding area of your deck from your chiminea. If you haven’t purchased your chiminea yet we also highly recommend you buy one that comes with its own stand as this will reduce the possibility of fire even further.
Don’t: Place your chiminea directly onto any decking either a wood deck or a composite deck without this added layer of protection. The ash, sparks, and heat generated by these devices can quickly cause detrimental damage to the surface and even lead to fires.
3 Use a spark screen
Do: Remember that adding a protective layer underneath your chiminea to protect your deck is just the first step, also buy a spark screen and this can prevent sparks or embers from escaping and causing fires nearby.
Don’t: Become complacent and allow any fire in your chiminea to burn unattended as sparks and embers have a tendency to travel in windy conditions, covering the chiminea with a spark screen is one of the first accessories you should buy.
4 Additional precautions you can take
Do: Make sure you pour an additional few inches of sand to the bottom of your chiminea before lighting as this adds an extra layer of protection between your device and your wood deck.
Don’t: Light your fire without taking this precaution even if you have your chiminea on a stand or a fireproof pad because the sand is vital to prevent the bottom of your chiminea from becoming damaged too.
5 Allow for the weather
Do: Always take into consideration the perfect weather for using your chiminea. Do try to use your device when there is little or no breeze.
Don’t: Be tempted to use your chiminea in any windy dry conditions, especially if your surrounding area has any potential fire hazards. Don’t forget that the sparks and embers from your chiminea can easily travel wide distances if it’s too windy outside it may pose a significant fire risk to both your house and your neighbours.
What to put under your chiminea on decking
So you’re determined to place your chiminea on your deck so, how do you do so safely? Obviously, you’ve learned that placing it on your deck’s surface whether it’s made of composite or wood should really be avoided if possible. However, if you’re determined then make sure you follow the rules. Experts recommend you invest in a fire pad as we mentioned previously, and this will offer some protection your deck from ash and embers.
Fire pads can come in metal or stone and you can buy them in various sizes so choose one that adds extra protection to your decking and don’t forget that creating a permanent base using fire bricks or flat stone would be perfect.