Having a chiminea can result in wonderful outdoor time in chilly weather, but can you put a chiminea on a wood deck?
Yes, it is possible, but there are safety measures to consider, such as installing a protective fire mat or avoiding fires in certain weather conditions. Without proper precautions, you could literally set your house on fire.
Keep reading to learn everything there is to know about installing and using a chiminea safely.
The Potential Dangers of Using a Chiminea on a Deck
Install your chiminea directly on your deck, as the surface is possibly combustible. If you believe you are sufficiently removed from combustible things, simply move it further away. Always keep in mind that on windier days, sparks from your fire can go much further.
Damaging the Deck
Always avoid placing your chiminea on a composite or wood deck without a protective layer between them. Chimineas can generate a lot of heat but also ash and spark that could land on the surface. This could damage it or, even worse: start a fire.
How Can You Protect Your Deck from your Chiminea?
There are a few tricks that you can turn to if you want to protect your deck from your chiminea:
- Create a fireproof area beneath your decking that is devoid of overhanging buildings.
- Use bricks or pavers to construct a fire-safe base for your chiminea
- Install a fire-resistant mat under the chiminea.
- Invest in a chiminea with its own raised base.
- Always keep an eye on the flames in your chiminea.
- When extinguishing a fire, proceed with caution.
- Avoid moving the structure if it contains any hot ash.
5 Fire-Resistant Surfaces to Place Under Your Chiminea
1. Concrete Pavers
Concrete pavers or patio slabs are excellent choices for the base of the chiminea. Concrete is non-combustible, and it is also sufficiently strong and durable to give stability. Ascertain that the chiminea is stable.
2. Fire-Resistant Mats
You know those fire-resistant mats that can be used as a protective layer between firepits and the surface they’re laid on? Good news! You can also use them under your chiminea.
Wood decks are protected by fire pit mats from the radiant heat emanating from the pit, which shoots embers and sparks. If your chiminea can stand 20 inches or more above the deck, you most likely do not require heat protection.
However, the mat guards against flying sparks and embers, which can leave minute burn marks in a matter of seconds. Finally, most fire-resistant mats are easier to clean, which is always a bonus.
Considering this is an important safety measure, fire-resistant mats aren’t expensive. For example, you could use The Original Ember Mat.
It works for chimineas and firepits alike, has reflective edging for nocturnal visibility, and catches everything from dripping grease to flying embers.
3. Heat Shields
If you’re organizing a backyard campout or want to keep the weekend BBQ going all night, investing in a heat shield is a no-brainer. Regardless of where you intend to utilize the chiminea, you will be safe from fire and heat damage as long as you have a heat shield.
Heat shields are simple to use, especially because they require no assembly. Simply lay it beneath the fire pit, and you’re ready to go.
But, keep in mind that a heat shield is only suitable for use with chimineas. If you intend to place anything hot or burning on top of it, ensure that the item’s size does not exceed the heat shield’s.
Additionally, you should verify the heat shield’s maximum heat capacity. While heat shields have been shown to tolerate extremely hot surfaces, the heat shield may be damaged if the heat exceeds the heat shield’s capability.
You can use products such as the VEVOR Fire Pit Heat Shield. It’s made using heavy-duty carbon steel and can resist temperatures of up to 752℉.
4. Gravel Pit
You can create a gravel pit for the chiminea to sit on, but you can also add it inside the pit, right at the very bottom.
If you layer gravel inside your chiminea, this will protect the bottom against excessive heat. While this doesn’t go under the chiminea per se, gravel can help protect the deck.
5. Sand Pit
The same gravel pit rules from above apply to sand pits as well. The fire in a clay chiminea must be built on sand to avoid contact with the clay. This keeps the clay protected, doesn’t allow your chiminea to crack, which eventually helps shield the deck as well.
Safety Tips When Using a Chiminea on a Wooden Deck
Inspect Before Using
Always inspect your chiminea before using it because any potential damage can lead to a fire hazard. Numerous causes might contribute to the breakage or cracking of clay chimineas. These include dehydration, aging, excessive heat, and excessive dampness.
The most common way for clay chimineas to sustain harm is when dropped or bumped. However, chronic use can also be detrimental to a chiminea.
Chimineas have an expiration date. So, beginner or experienced user, you must mentally prepare to purchase a new chiminea after a specific amount of time. Your chiminea can endure long beyond five years depending on how well it is maintained and how frequently it is used.
Additionally, burning enormous fires that are too hot or too large for a clay chimenea results in the production of cracks and finally breakages.
Finally, moisture is a significant component in the creation of fissures. Leaving your chiminea outside, particularly in the winter or during inclement weather. Clay is a porous material, and as moisture accumulates in its pores, it contracts and expands, causing the clay to alter its shape.
Avoid lighting a fire in your chiminea during dry weather rather than taking the danger of accidentally starting a fire that might quickly spread. Sparks are significantly more likely to start a fire in the nearby grass or bushes.
If in doubt about the weather, a good rule of thumb is to contact your local fire department to determine whether a burn ban is in effect in your area. This way, you can avoid having the fire department respond to your home in the event of a fire or accident.
Have Water or a Fire Extinguisher Nearby
Always keep a bucket of soil or sand on hand to quickly extinguish a fire in an emergency. If possible, avoid using water unless it is absolutely required.
The fast drop in temperature caused by water being thrown on a chiminea can be harmful and will also leave it soggy and wet, which will begin to eat away at your chiminea.
Keep the Fire an Appropriate Size in Your Chiminea
If you’re looking for a big fire, the chiminea may not be the greatest option. Chimineas are little outdoor fireplaces that are incredibly efficient. If your chiminea’s top is licking with flames, your fire is too big. Put an end to fuel additions and take note of how much fuel is excessive.
Use a Spark Arrestor
Any device that stops the emission of combustible material from combustion sources is referred to as a spark arrestor.
Steel and cast iron chimineas are typically pre-installed with a spark arrestor in the interior at the top of the chimney stack. If your chiminea does not have one, you may easily make one by cutting some chicken wire or mesh to size and inserting it.
This will keep any stray ember or spark from exiting the chimney’s top and possibly igniting neighboring bushes. This is especially critical in locations with limited rainfall.
Keep Away from Siding, Railings, and Furniture
Select a place that is as far away from flammable objects as possible, such as overhangs, furniture, and personal belongings. According to experts, you should keep it at least 10 feet away from your home and any other potentially vulnerable goods.
Returning to our common sense, chimineas – particularly the metal version – may get incredibly hot. You should strive for a minimum of a few feet between your chiminea and any nearby structures. This also applies to your home.
Don’t Cover Them
It is critical that chimineas have adequate ventilation and that the carbon monoxide they emit has free space directly above them to escape. Additionally, check for overhanging foliage directly above, as embers and flying sparks may burn tree branches above.
Use the Right Tinder
Yeah, it seems like a good idea to use accelerants such as lighter fluid or gasoline to jump-start your fire, but you risk endangering not only your chiminea, and you put your safety at risk.
Rather than that, use tinder such as dry paper, shredded wood, or even self-igniting charcoal to ensure that your fire does not spread rapidly. The straightforward reason for this is to avoid the risk of explosion.
Whether your chiminea is composed of clay or metal, too much heat applied too rapidly can cause the walls to fracture and shatter, resulting in injury at the at least and a wrecked chiminea at the very worst.
Can You Use a Chiminea on a Composite Deck?
Most specialists will advise you to avoid setting a fire on a plastic surface at all costs. However, because composite decks are a combination of plastic and wood, you may be able to securely add your chiminea to your composite deck as long as you offer adequate protection for the surrounding area.
Because the heat from the chiminea will add heat to the materials used to make the decking, chimineas, like wood, shouldn’t be placed directly on top of composite decks.
What’s a Good Chiminea for Using on a Wood Deck?
The Deckmate Sonora Outdoor Chimenea Fireplace is a nice design for your deck. If you want more information on its performance and features, it can also be found on our 7 BEST CHIMINEAS FOR WOOD DECKS guide.
Are Chimineas Safer than Other Deck Firepit Options?
Due to their construction, chimineas are often regarded as being safer compared to other types of deck firepits. The main reason is their distinctive form and design make it simpler to regulate the fire and the heat they generate.
How to Properly Care for Your Chiminea
A cracked clay chiminea is a common occurrence. However, you can avoid this by lining the interior with sand, using only firewood and kindling, and sealing the exterior. This will keep moisture out.
Although thick and hardened, your clay chiminea is fragile. It might break if you drop it. Avoid damage by locating the chiminea and then leaving it in that area.
Certain individuals enjoy rearranging their patios each year. Are you one of these individuals? Then you should relocate your chiminea using a cart.
Chimineas made of clay are composed of the base and stack. They are joined together when the clay dries. This creates a weak point. This is why it is critical to never raise the chiminea by the stack. Always lift it by the base and with the assistance of a buddy.
Along with these suggestions, there are some simple things you can do daily to prolong the life of your chiminea.
It is critical to clean the chiminea regularly, including cleaning the interior, removing the sand, and allowing the chiminea to completely dry before adding new sand.
Additionally, you need to get a cover for your chiminea. This helps protect the interior and keeps critters out while not in use. Use the cover only after the chiminea has cooled completely.
Bear in mind that these fireplaces are not designed to accommodate enormous fires, but rather smaller ones. Additionally, never use water to extinguish a fire. Instead, allow it to burn out spontaneously.
The rapid temperature fluctuation could cause damage to the chiminea. This is simple to overlook, yet critical since many chimineas have been broken in this manner.
So, can you put a chiminea on a wood deck? Thanks to a wonderful range of products and ideas that can protect the wood and composite surfaces, you absolutely can. However, even after having invested in these products, you still have to remember the safety rules for starting a controlled fire.
Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.