Gazebos and fire pits are great for outdoor living, but can you safely put a fire pit under a gazebo so you can enjoy both together?
The answer is yes, with proper precautions.
Gazebos and fire pits can coexist very nicely together. Read on to learn if and how you can enjoy a fire pit in your gazebo on cool nights.
What is Your Gazebo Made of?
Some gazebos are more flammable than others, depending on what they are made of, and this matters if you want to use a fire pit in the gazebo.
One of the most important factors is the amount of space between the fire and your structure.
There should be at least three feet on each side of the fire pit, and the roof of the gazebo should be a minimum of eight feet high.
In addition, the fire pit should be 25 feet from any building and far away from trees and low-hanging branches.
It is important that the roof of the gazebo is vented. The vents allow the smoke and carbon monoxide emissions to disperse quickly, preventing heat from building up and damaging the roof itself.
If the ceiling is very high and has plenty of air circulation, a gazebo with a solid roof might be acceptable, but ideally, it should have air vents.
You can feel reasonably safe using a fire pit under a gazebo if the floor has a concrete, brick, or stone floor.
There is more cause for concern if the floor is vinyl, as vinyl can expand and contract with temperature changes, causing the floor to crack.
It is not recommended to use a fire pit on a wood floor or wood-composite surface in a gazebo since these materials are highly combustible.
The pillars and walls of your gazebo should be made of cement, stone, or metal to use a fire pit safely. These are not likely to catch fire or be damaged from the heat.
If the sides of your gazebo are made of wood or canvas, it is not a good idea to use a fire pit.
Even if you are careful and keep your fire under control, sparks can happen, which can be dangerous.
How to Use a Fire Pit Safely
If you have determined that your gazebo is suitable for a fire pit, you will still want to take some basic precautions.
- Check both your local ordinances and the manufacturer’s recommendations. You may need even more room around your fire pit than you had planned for.
- Make sure that there is adequate ventilation. You don’t want to be breathing in smoke from a wood-burning fire pit or, worse, carbon monoxide from a gas-fueled fire pit.
- Clear a wide-open area around your fire pit. Don’t place chairs or tables near the fire pit unless they are all metal with no fabric cushions.
- Place the fire pit on a level surface. Do not balance the fire pit on a table or stand.
- Do not allow children to play unsupervised near the fire pit.
- Keep a fire extinguisher in the gazebo.
- Do not leave the fire unattended. Make sure that it is completely extinguished before you go inside.
Alternatives to Using a Fire Pit in a Gazebo
Don’t despair if you have reviewed all the precautions and do not feel that you can safely use a fire pit in your gazebo!
There are other ways to enjoy warmth outdoors.
For those who like the idea of a warm fire on a chilly night, “grill gazebos” are designed to be used with barbecue grills.
They usually have metal supports and metal roofs, which means they are also safe to use with fire pits.
Another alternative is to use an electric patio heater in your gazebo.
Patio heaters are designed for outdoor use, so they are safe. You can choose either electric or gas heaters.
Ceiling-mounted, wall-mounted, and freestanding heaters are available, so you can pick the one that suits your gazebo layout best.
They will provide plenty of heat, and you won’t have to worry about flames or smoke.
If you love the look and feel of a fire, though, you could consider an outdoor fireplace. Both gas-powered and wood-burning fireplaces can be safely installed.
They offer the same warmth and ambiance as a fire pit but are usually enclosed and screened.
You can even control a gas fireplace with a remote, which you certainly can’t do with a wood-burning flame!
Outdoor fireplaces sometimes sit outside the gazebo instead of in the center of it, making them a safer alternative if you think your gazebo is not a good setup for an open flame.
No matter what you decide I know you will get plenty of enjoyment, and warmth if you need it from your outdoor fire pit or fireplace!