According to a recent survey, 52% of people reported that their most recent home improvement project was DIY.
Are you looking for a new project? Then install a fireplace on your deck! This is a fantastic addition to your outdoor space.
Not only can it keep you cozy as you barbeque, relax in rocking chairs, or get ready for an outdoor dinner party, but it also adds another layer of design to your outdoor living space that wouldn’t otherwise exist.
While you might be dreaming of a wood deck fireplace, actually putting one in poses a lot of challenges. This article covers a few of these challenges and how you can work around them to get the home improvement style you’ve always wanted.
Keep reading to get a full guide on how to install a fireplace on a wood deck.
Dangers of Outdoor Fireplace Kits
It’s important to understand the dangers of installing an outdoor fireplace without professional installation.
For starters, wood decks are highly flammable, making them a fire hazard. And since the majority of decks are attached to your home, you may want to rely on a professional for this type of fireplace installation.
Since your outdoor fireplace would be very close to your home, you’d need to exercise extreme caution when using it and take plenty of precautions.
Begin by installing a flame-retardant barrier directly under your fireplace. The flame retardant barrier should be on top of your deck, protecting it. This gives your fireplace a layer of heat absorption.
You also want to use some sort of fireproofing spray on your wood deck. If the can says to respray yearly, for example, then be sure to do so. Always follow directions.
When you use fire retardants, you reduce the incidence of starting a devastating fire.
Do You Need a Spark Screen?
For any outdoor fireplaces that burn wood, you run a high risk of embers sparking from logs. Even though the area has been secured with fireproofing measures, flying embers still pose a serious safety hazard. This means you want to use a spark screen to contain embers from flying out of your fireplace.
While screens don’t completely stop flying embers from exiting your fireplace, they’ll greatly reduce the chance.
Certain fireplaces come with screens and others require an after-market purchase. You can choose one that matches your patio decor and backyard, making it an aesthetically pleasing part of your outdoor decor.
Fireplaces and Pergolas
Many homeowners looking to install outdoor fireplaces wonder if they can install one underneath a pergola.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear-cut answer. While you can generally put one under your pergola as long as emissions and smoke can freely escape into the open air, your pergola must be high enough that flames can’t get close to it.
You also need to keep your fireplace far from the pergola’s legs and supports, especially if embers fly out of your outdoor fireplace. Don’t install outdoor curtains on your pergola if you plan to install a fireplace underneath one.
Now that you know some of the do’s and don’t’s of an exterior fireplace, it’s time to learn how to install one, along with some key installation tips!
Step #1: Determine Local Laws
The first step in exterior fireplace installation is to determine if your local codes and ordinances allow outdoor fireplaces. It’s not uncommon for some towns to completely forbid them due to air pollution concerns.
Some towns might require you to use only certain fuels in an outdoor fireplace. You’ll need a permit regardless, so be sure to research local laws and ordinances before moving forward with any work.
Step #2: Choose a Fireplace
Once you know if you can install an outdoor fireplace, you’ll need to decide what type of fireplace you wish to use. Are you looking for a traditional fireplace or a cast iron fireplace? Do you want to install a chiminea, a type of pottery-based fireplace from Mexico?
These fireplaces heat from the back to the front, while fire pits radiate heat in every direction. Additionally, their low profile keeps smoke low to the ground.
You can also install a stone fireplace, but only if you install it at the same time your deck is being built. Otherwise, you’d need to install it next to your deck. It requires you to dig cement footing into the ground, and its heavy nature can damage an already-existing deck.
Step #3: Select a Location
Once you select the type of fireplace you want to install, whether it’s wood-burning or electric, you need to select a location to install it. It’s important to take into consideration exterior wind patterns and the amount of sun and shade it’ll face. You also need to consider its proximity to your home.
Step #4: Protect Your Deck
The next step is to protect your deck from any falling logs or flying embers. You can place tiles or a patio block underneath your firepit. Ensure that these tiles or blocks stick out by three to four feet on all sides of your fireplace.
When using a fire pit or chiminea, you’ll need to place it on a pad. You can use hearth pads for protective measures, or grill pads and fireplace screens.
Remember that whatever type of fire protection you use needs to stand up against a continuous heat source when in use.
Never leave your fireplace unattended and always be alert and aware of stray embers.
Step #5: Natural Gas
If you opt to install a natural gas fireplace, you’ll need to contact a gas line according to the manufacturer’s instructions. However, it’s best to have a professional install a gas line to avoid dangerous gas leaks.
Your supply line needs to remain protected from any type of accidental breaks or tampering, which is why it’s best to defer to the professionals.
Step #6: Wood Storage
For wood-burning fireplaces, you need to ensure wood-burning safety. For starters, store wood far from your fireplace and protect it from the elements.
You can store it in your garage or shed, for example. You should always store it on a rack. This reduces the incidence of dampness and helps to keep insects and pests away
It’s best to use some sort of transportation carrier to bring logs to and from your firepit, bringing only enough wood for one fire. If you have unused logs, remove them from the area of your fireplace, protecting them from stray embers and working to prevent fires.
Benefits of Outdoor Fireplaces
Now that you know how to install an outdoor wood-burning fireplace on a wood deck, you’re probably wondering about some of the benefits. Let’s take a look.
Outdoor fireplaces add an extra layer of warmth and comfort as you and your family and friends unwind around a toasty fire. Outdoor fireplaces also add ambiance to any exterior setting and allow you to use your outdoor space even in the cold months.
Add Home Value
A survey explained that a 10-foot-in diameter gas fire pit made from natural stone can recoup an ROI with an average of 67%.
Although you won’t get back the total amount you paid, you’ll add to your home’s overall value while giving prospective buyer’s a unique focal point to focus on.
More Time Outside
Do you love to spend time outdoors? If so, then you probably benefit from the Vitamin D, improved focus, and improved sleep that the outdoors is said to offer.
But cold weather limits the amount of time you can spend in your yard. This is what makes an outdoor fireplace such a great investment.
No Vents Required
Since outdoor fireplaces don’t require vents, you’ll find them to be a straightforward installation. This means they’re cheaper to install.
However, it’s important to ensure their installation location is far from your home, with plenty of airflow. This allows fumes to be dispersed into the air.
Install a Fireplace Today
Now that you know how to install a fireplace on your deck, you can choose the best type of fireplace for your needs. Remember to keep your fireplace a safe distance from your home, take precautionary measures against stray embers, and follow local guidelines.
If you’re looking for more fireplace inspiration, Dreifuss Fireplaces has you covered. You can check out our complete lineup of fireplace products or contact us with any questions!
We offer everything from gas, electric, and wood fireplaces for all your indoor and outdoor needs.