Can you have a gazebo with fire pit inside?

Have you been reminiscing about warm spring nights with a bit of greenery and fresh air but it’s still too cold outside?

Same here.

I’ve recently been contemplating adding a heating system, ideally a gazebo with a fire pit inside, but I have had some doubts and fears about its safety and durability.

After a brief search on the internet, I found that many others share the same concern, with many questions but very few answers. Some were quick to judge that it’s an absolute no, others were determined to prove that it carries no risk. The answer you’re looking for is something in between.

So if you find a fire pit inside a gazebo an appealing idea, but are worried about the logistics, maybe this can help you make up your mind. Here are some important points to consider.

gazebo with fire pit inside - gazebo

Gazebo

First, let's look at the gazebo itself. What elements are important when it comes to fire safety?

Gazebo Structure

The most important aspect in considering a fire pit is how your gazebo is built. You should consider the following building parameters of your gazebo:

Pillars

  • Materials to avoid: Wood and canvas come first to mind. Fire pits no matter how small and controlled can emit some sparks that may ignite dry wood or fabric
  • Preferred materials: Cement, stone, metal

Flooring

  • Materials to avoid: wood and composite decks are considered highly combustible so installing a fire pit on either of them could be hazardous
  • Acceptable material: Vinyl. It is a better alternative, however, there’s still a risk of it expanding and cracking when exposed to heat
  • Preferred materials: Concrete and stone are particularly durable and safe and are considered the best alternative for a gazebo with a fire pit, according to Woodland Direct

Gazebo dimensions

  • It typically needs at least 3 feet on each side of the fire pit, says Woodland Direct
  • The roof has to be a minimum of 6-10 feet high. If it isn’t high enough, most of the heat will reach the ceiling before it has time to disperse. This can cause cracks and chars

Apart from that, pay attention to the other parameters of your gazebo and fire pit combo such as location, ventilation, etc. For gazebos, here's more information about how to choose the best one.

Location

The National Fire Protection Association recommends the fire pit not to be located within 25 feet (7.6 meters) of a structure or building. It should also be kept away from any overhanging branches or leaves.

Ventilation

Never use a fire pit in a closed or a screened gazebo without a ventilation outlet. Even in one with open sides, smoke rises upwards because of its low molecular weight and gets trapped below the roof. This could be very toxic and may cause carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s therefore advised to build some type of vent space for your fireplace. You can find inspiration in one of these ideas.

Furniture and Curtains

Again, make sure to choose non-flammable furniture and to keep it some distance away from the fire pit.

  • Avoid fully upholstered couches and chairs which could easily catch fires. Outdoor metal furniture is a good alternative
  • Avoid loose or low lying curtains
gazebo with fire pit inside - fire pit

Fire pit

Now, let's look at the fire pit. How can we make its fire safer?

Fire Pit Types

The type of the fire pit you plan to use is important since each type can produce different fire hazard.

Wood Burning​

When burning, wood may produce thick smoke which is toxic for your health and the environment. Usually, wood that has been treated should not be used for burning; this is to tell how to tell if wood is safe to burn.

It also radiates sparks and embers that can land on any nearby structure and set it on fire.

However, if you really like the ambiance wood fire pits provide, you can use them safely with a screen or in an open space, maybe near the gazebo, but never on wood decks.

Gas and Propane Burning​

These fire pits are smokeless alternatives of the wood burning ones. They produce a cleaner fire and pose much less risk. 

This type of fire pit is more preferable to use inside a gazebo.

Make Your Fire Safer

If you like to be more meticulous and extra careful, there are a variety of accessories you can purchase that help you control and minimize the risk of fire pits.

Here are some of them:

General tips

Here are a few general tips to keep in mind when having an open fire next or inside a gazebo in your backyard:

  • Check your city’s codes and regulations. Some regions impose fines
  • Check the manufacturer requirements for each fire pit to make sure they can be installed under a gazebo
  • Never, ever leave a fire unattended
  • Ensure that children stay at least 3 feet away from the fire pit
  • Have a fire extinguisher nearby at all times
  • If you’re still anxious, consider alternatives like having the fire pit near your gazebo or using an electric heater

Bottom Line

In conclusion, I think a fire pit is a good investment for your gazebo.

It adds a lot of elegance and practicality. Nevertheless, it could be risky to install one without following the safety regulations. Always remember that safety comes first and make sure you do your research and ask around.

Finally, I hope I’ve answered your question of whether or not you can have a gazebo with a fire pit inside. Don’t hesitate to drop your thoughts/experiences in the comments section below and of course, questions are always welcome.

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Last update on 2020-09-28 at 02:39 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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