mat failed to protect a deck

Bad Ideas on the Internet

We all know that information on the Internet is not necessarily reliable. However, it may not be easy to spot the bad information or where it will turn up. If you search on Google for “Deck-safe fire pits” you will probably see fire pits that have no features that make them different from other fire pits or in any way safe to use on a deck. 

deck burned by a fire pit

I got an email from a customer a couple of years ago who had purchased a mat on Amazon that claimed to make safe to use a fire pit on a wood deck. The mat was inexpensive and seemed like a good choice. It may have stopped flying ember from burning the deck, but it was no match for the heat radiating from the bottom of the fire pit.

deck burned by a fire pit

After the fire had been going for a while, she noticed smoke coming from under the mat. The mat was actually trapping the heat, which had built up enough to catch the wood decking on fire. 

Granite failed to protect decking under a fire pit

Another customer sent the photo above. He had read online that a good way to protect your deck under a fire pit is to use a slab of granite. What actually happend was that the granite acted as a “heat sink,” he said. And it melted the composite decking underneath. He had to use a hammer to break up the stone to try to separate it from the decking.

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