If you have a covered patio, you naturally want to make the most of it and use it as much as possible all year long.
With the seasons changing and colder weather already making us think of Thanksgiving, you’ll probably be wondering whether or not your covered patio would be a good place to install and use a fire pit.
Sadly, there’s not a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer to this question, as there are many factors you have to consider first.
How high is your patio ceiling?
First things first – you need to measure the exact height of your covered patio and proceed from there. A cute patio ceiling might look adorable, but sometimes there’s just not enough room to fit a fire pit underneath.
Fire pits are not just pretty, they are meant to keep you warm too, and the amount of heat they house can easily damage the ceiling if it’s not high enough.
It might not seem too serious at first, but over time, the heat will definitely cause extensive damage to your patio ceiling; and in the worst-case scenario – it can even end up in a fire.
Do the research and check to see what is the minimum height the manufacturer requires to safely install a fire pit, and also look up your city’s codes and regulations.
For example, Barbara Jean collection of gas fireplaces is only permitted to be installed in case your patio is fully opened on a minimum of 2 sides beneath the floor, and the clearance under a veranda or a covered patio must be at least 47 inches.
In Canada, clearance to a mechanical air supply inlet must be 6 feet, while in the US the distance should be 3 ft.
What kind of flooring do you have?
The type of flooring that you have on your covered patio also plays an important role in reaching a decision on the matter.
If you have wooden and vinyl flooring, you should definitely be extremely careful when picking a fire pit to go there. Composite, wooden, and vinyl floors are combustible surfaces, and finding and selecting a fire pit to install on top of them might be tricky.
Also, before you install a fire pit on a wooden floor, you should call pest control to make sure the wood is in good condition. If your wood is rotten or in a bad shape, you risk ending up with wobbly railings, splintered and/or rotting boards that break in an inconvenient moment or which might not be able to support the weight of your new fire pit.
On the other hand, if the flooring is concrete, stone, or simple brick, you can easily find a good fire pit, as these three happen to be the safest flooring options.
Consider the ventilation of your covered patio
Proper patio ventilation is also essential when you’re thinking of adding a fire pit, and for a good reason.
The rules are that fire pits should definitely not be used in an enclosed space because improperly ventilated spaces can cause a buildup of harmful gases and toxic smoke.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is no joke, and if your covered patio isn’t properly ventilated, you might want to reconsider getting a fire pit in the first place.
There should be plenty of airflow and loads of open space so that you can safely light a fire and not worry about carbon monoxide.
Even if you’re considering installing a fire pit that doesn’t use wood, such as a gas fire pit, it doesn’t mean you should use it in an enclosed space.
Where exactly are you going to place your fire pit?
Whatever fire pit you decide to buy and install, it will come with instructions that will clearly state what is the recommended minimum distance required so that you can safely install it.
For example, OW Lee says that minimum clearances of at least 60 inches must be maintained from the center of the burner to any combustible sidewall, ceiling, or material.
Your city or town might also have their own regulations that you should become familiar with before you start building your patio and fire pit, as you don’t want to accidentally break the law and end up with a hefty fine.
In almost all cases, if you place your fire pit in an open and clear location, you should be safe.
Just keep in mind that any low-hanging plants and nearby trees with low branches might be a hazard, so try to find a place where these won’t be an issue.
What should be kept away from your fire pit?
The list of things that should be kept away from your fire pit is a lengthy one:
- no plants and no tree branches nearby,
- kids and pets shouldn’t be close,
- it would also be best if the furniture is kept at a safe distance, too
While this sounds like no fun at all, remember that for the most part, outdoor furniture is safe to use around a fire pit, it’s just that it shouldn’t be kept too close.
Also, there should be plenty of room for everyone to move around without the fear that they will be burned accidentally. All in all, it’s best if everyone is able to move their own bench or an armchair around until they find a place where they’re warm and comfortable.
Final words about a fire pit under a covered patio
To conclude, you definitely have to wait for a little before you install any type of fire pit under your lovely covered patio because you don’t want to break the law and bring anyone in danger.
Make sure you do your research before you make your final decision, check out the codes and regulations of your city, see whether or not the manufacturer of the fire pit says whether it would be safe to install under a covered patio.
You will some time reading and doing paperwork, but in the end, it will be worth it. Also, take a look at our winter porch decoration ideas to see what you can implement using your new knowledge!