Putting a Fire Pit Under the Gazebo – Is It Safe?

fire pit under pergola

A backyard gazebo heated with a fireplace sounds to be the best idea to make it more comfortable and inviting.

You can spend colder evenings outside with your family or friends if you have a reliable source of heat. But is it safe to use a fire pit under the wooden gazebo in the first place? And should you really put a fireplace there?

The short answer is yes; with proper precautions, you can have a fire pit under the gazebo with no risk to the structure. But as I said, there are a few risks involved – let’s take a closer look at all those risks and how to avoid them.

In the article below, I will give you all the necessary tips on how to do it right and enjoy the fire’s warmth without stressing about your gazebo’s safety.

Risks Associated with Fire Pit Under a Pergola

With an outdoor fire pit pergola combo, you get the best of both worlds – the protection from the rain as well as the sun during the day and the source of heat during chillier evenings.

But as with any other type of open fire, a backyard fire pit has certain risks you must be aware of before installing one under your gazebo.

The most common risks include:

1- Fire

If not correctly extinguished, the fire from the pit can easily spread to the structure of the gazebo and damage it beyond repair.

Especially if the ceiling is too low, the sparks from the fire can damage the materials and potentially cause a collapse.

Canopy, curtains, and other materials can get singed or even catch on fire if they are too close to the source of heat.

2- Heat & Smoke

If the pit is placed too close to the gazebo, the heat from the fire can damage the fabric or even melt plastic parts of the structure.

When you have a lot of smoke rising from the fire pit, it can become a nuisance not only to you and your guests but also to the neighbors. And if the smoke is too dense, it can also be a health hazard.

is fire pit under pergola safe

How to Build an Outdoor Gazebo Over a Fire Pit Safely?

When you’re planning to install a fire pit under the gazebo, there are certain precautionary tips you should follow to make sure it’s done safely and without any risks.

1- Regulations

Always start with checking the local regulations and building codes in your area.

There might be some limitations on the firepit size, type, and location you’re allowed to have outdoors – especially if you also have a canopy attached to the gazebo.

2- The Right Location

While you choose the location for placing your fire pit, ensure it’s at least 10 feet away from the gazebo. Ideally, there should also be enough space for the smoke to dissipate.

This way, you’ll minimize the risks of heat damage to the structure.

You should also not use any accelerants such as gasoline, kerosene, or alcohol to start the fire in your selected location. And also, avoid using too much wood as it can cause the fire to get out of control.

In addition, don’t ever leave the fire unattended on the location, especially if children or pets are around.

3- Proper Ventilation

When installing a gazebo or pergola over the fire pit, make sure there’s enough airflow in the area where you’re going to have the fire pit.

You can achieve this by placing the pit in the open or by creating an opening on the roof of the gazebo.

This way, you’ll also prevent the buildup of smoke inside the structure.

If required, you can also consider installing a screen around the fire pit to prevent sparks from flying out.

4- The Right Materials for the Firepit

For the fire pit itself, choose materials that won’t spark or produce too much heat.

Some good non-flammable options include concrete, stone, and metal which are also much easier to clean and maintain than wood.

When it comes to the type of fuel, choose something that burns clean and doesn’t produce a lot of smoke.

A few good options for a pergola with a fireplace include gas, propane, or ethanol. These are also the safest options when you have a fire pit under the gazebo.

You can also use the type of firewood that burns slowly and doesn’t produce a lot of sparks, such as cherry, oak, or maple.

5- Consider the Gazebo Pillars and Type of Flooring

Ideally, the pillars of a gazebo should be made of materials that can withstand high temperatures.

And when it comes to the type of flooring, avoid anything that’s flammable or can be easily damaged by heat.

Concrete, stone, and tile are all excellent options that can withstand the heat from the fire pit.

Avoid using carpets or rugs as they can easily catch fire.

When building, do not forget to inspect the gazebo structure for any damage regularly. If you happen to notice any cracks, holes, or other structural damages, make sure to repair them right away to avoid any accidents.

Precautions and Safety Tips When Putting Fire Pit Under Gazebo

In addition to the tips I have outlined above, there are a few other things you can do to make sure your backyard fire pit is highly safe to use:

  1. Don’t wear loose clothing that can catch fire
  2. Do not allow anyone in your family or friends to stand too close to the fire pit
  3. Always keep a fire extinguisher, a water hose, or a bucket of water close by in case of any emergency or if you need to put out the fire quickly
  4. Make sure the fire is completely extinguished before you leave it for the night
  5. Don’t use the gazebo storage for flammable materials such as propane tanks or firewood
  6. Avoid using the gazebo if there’s strong wind, rain, or snow on the roof – it can cause the fire to spread and can be hazardous
  7. Make sure there is no wood furniture nearby, and nothing is hanging above the fire pit that can catch fire

Final Thoughts

A fire pit in a yard is an excellent addition to any property, especially if you have a wooden gazebo or pergola. But it’s important for you to take the necessary precautions to ensure it’s safe to use for your family.

By following the tips and ideas above, you can be sure that your fire pit is safe to use and enjoy for many years.

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