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Fire pits are perfect for kicking back when you’re enjoying everything your backyard has to offer. Have you ever wondered how you could get the most out of them in your covered spaces, too? In this guide, we’ll show you how to have a firepit in a gazebo or pergola safely so everyone can enjoy the warmth of a fire in comfort.
How to Have a Firepit in a Gazebo or Pergola Safely
Let’s look at a few of the different options you’ve got for having a fire pit that’s installed inside of an outdoor gazebo or even a pergola while observing basic fire safety in and around your structures.
It’s worth noting that not all gazebos are suitable for a firepit of any kind.
Gazebos that do not have suitable airflow, such as those with solid walls, doors and windows are not capable of having a flame be it propane or wood burning. The smoke/gas produced by the fire can build up inside of the structure making it generally unsafe. It also poses a fire hazard to the walls and ceiling of the gazebo.
Gazebos without solid walls, such as those with open-sided rails, trellis or simply posts are much more ideal for use with a fire pit. They should also have a fairly high ceiling to allow for proper heat dissipation.
Before we get started, here’s some precautions to observe before putting a firepit in a gazebo:
- Whenever you have an open flame you should have access to a fire extinguisher nearby in case it gets out of control
- Always use a spark screen to ensure ash, embers and sparks stay safely within the fire pit.
- Make sure there is proper ventilation for smoke and gasses to leave the pergola or gazebo.
- Don’t leave the fire pit unattended while it’s still burning, or there are hot embers present.
- Do not build a fire that is excessively large, or where the wood sticks out of the sides of the fire pit.
- Remove any hanging lights, extrusions or material that could be easily damaged by hot temperatures. This includes anything you believe to be flammable.
- Be aware of any paints, stains or potentially flammable surface dressings on your gazebo or pergola.
- Don’t use any fire pit outside of its manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Do not use a fire pit near any plastic or composite siding as it can cause heat warping or even burning.
- If the floor of your pergola or gazebo is made from wood, or you want to catch stray embers a fireproof mat is a great option for adding a little extra safety. They’ll also help in the unfortunate event of the firepit tipping.
Potential Downsides to Lighting a Fire Pit in a Gazebo
While you should follow all necessary safety precautions, there may still be some unintended side effects of lighting a fire pit underneath, or inside of a gazebo or pergola. Both wood burning and gas powered fires have the potential to throw off lots of heat which can pose a threat to the surface and ceiling of a gazebo in particular.
Without proper heat dissipation, the fire can slowly ‘bake’ the wooden structure of the gazebo which can cause unintended cracking and drying of the building material over time. To avoid this, ensure that there is proper ventilation above any flame inside or underneath your structures.
This is an important point of consideration, as heat damage could potentially shorten the life of your wooden structures, as well as their overall structural integrity.
Below we’ll evaluate which style of firepits are the safest for a gazebo or pergola which you should consider taking a look at before using your own, or purchasing a new one. Not all fire pits are made equally, which is what we’re going to help break down here so you can use one safely inside of a gazebo-style structure.
In an open-sided gazebo, these are the preferred types of fire pits you should be using.
Using a Propane Fire Pit in a Gazebo or Pergola
Gas fire pits have been growing a lot in popularity decade after decade. A lot of them let you use the same fuel source as your BBQ making them just as convenient, if not more, than a wood burning fire pit.
They throw off consistent heat, while also giving you the ability to simply cut the fuel supply once you’re finished. This eliminates the worry of hot embers or smoking wood. The other awesome benefit is that you can tap into the fuel you’re already using to fuel your BBQ!
These fire pits also come in a much wider variety of sizes and styles than wood burning fire pits do. You can find everything from fire tables, to warming propane fire pits, as well as propane pedestal fire pits.
They’re incredibly versatile, and generally a much safer option for burning in and around outdoor structures like gazebos or pergolas.
Using a Wood Burning Fire Pit in a Gazebo or Pergola
Wood burning fire pits are a lot cheaper to run, as opposed to a gas powered propane fire pit. Besides being more economical, they typically throw more heat. Also, could you imagine using anything other to roast marshmallows over?
There’s two predominant downsides to using a wood burning fire pit, especially in this instance. While open flames are dazzling and incredibly cozy, they’re a little unruly. Or at least, they have a reputation as such. If you follow our precautions as discussed above, then wood burning fire pits shouldn’t pose too much cause for concern.
Get yourself a decent spark screen, a heat proof fire pit mat and some common sense and you shouldn’t have any problems.
Wood burning fire pits require solid fuel in the form of your favorite type of bonfire wood. Storing it can be an issue for some, but depending on how you come about it wood can be fairly cheap. Where these types of fire pits really shine is in comfort, there’s nothing quite like the sizzling heat that these things throw off on a cool summer’s evening. Throw a blanket and a beverage into the mix, and you’re looking at one relaxing night!
Yes, You Can Have a Firepit in a Gazebo or Pergola
By following our precautions, as well as the manufacturer’s recommendations for whatever model of fire pit you’re using, you can avoid any incidents and enjoy some time by the fire with friends, family and peace of mind!