Have you been reminiscing about warm spring nights with a bit of greenery and fresh air but it’s still too cold outside?
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.
If you are looking for a gazebo that is designed to hold a fire pit and that you can also use for cooking, you need a grill gazebo.
Now, let’s dive into important aspects of having a fire pit under a gazebo.
Gazebo Safety Tips
First, let’s look at the gazebo itself. What elements are important when it comes to fire safety?
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:
- 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
- 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
- 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.
The National Fire Protection Association recommends the fire pit not 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.
Never use a fire pit in a closed or 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
Firepit Safety Tips
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.
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 to the wood-burning ones. They produce a cleaner fire and pose much less risk.
This type of fire pit is 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:
- Fire pit screens
- Fire pit pads
- Fire pits with a stone base
- Fire pits with a mesh cover
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
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.