Get all the info you need on deck fireplaces, and prepare to install a stylish and attractive fire feature on your exterior deck.
Deck fireplaces are a great option for any homeowner looking to add a warm and welcoming gathering place to their outdoor living area. They can increase the ambience of any deck, provide a natural entertaining spot, and even serve as a cooking space. You have a wide array of options to consider for your deck fireplace, from custom-built units designed to your exact specifications to simple, portable models you can pick up from your local hardware or home improvement store.
Your first decision when it comes to your deck fireplace will be related to its location. Any outdoor fire feature should keep safety first in mind when it comes to location. Firstly, any deck fireplace should rest on top of a fire-resistant mat. It should be completely clear of any low-hanging branches, bushes, shrubs or other flammable elements. When you've ruled out any safety concerns, think about how your deck fireplace will be used. Is it meant mainly to serve as a gathering space, for comfort and conversation among guests, friends and family? Will it be used for cooking, and will meals take place nearby? What's the maximum capacity of guests you can foresee gathering around the fireplace on your deck? These factors may help determine the location, scope and size of the deck fireplace you ultimately decide to incorporate.
Once the location for your deck fireplace is decided, it's time to consider the type and style you'll feature. From traditional wood-burning designs to contemporary or modern styles that burn gas or propane, you'll have many choices—and ultimately your decision may be driven by whether you want to pay for a custom build, or purchase a prefab, modular or portable unit from a home improvement or outdoor specialty store. A custom build will require a stone mason, as well as exact specifications from you regarding design, scope, size and materials—and it'll cost you, both for the labor required and for any higher-end materials or ancillary features (e.g., a pizza oven) you wish to add. For a slightly more budget-friendly approach, consider a prefabricated or modular model, which you can purchase from most home improvement stores. You can sometimes work from a blank slate base model, then add finishes or other adornments and customizations—or, alternately, purchase a pre-finished model, for even more convenience. You may also opt for a portable deck fireplace or chiminea—these offer a combination of budget pricing and flexibility in terms of location that appeals to many homeowners.
Finally, you'll need to decide on the fuel source for your deck fireplace. Wood burning models are still hugely popular, but gas, propane and electric are other common choices here. A gas-fueled fireplace will require a connection to your home's or municipality's gas line, and it offers an efficient and environmentally friendly option. Propane has many similarities to gas as a deck fireplace fuel source, but it will require connection to a tank that'll need to be refilled occasionally. Portable electric fireplaces are also an option for your deck—these work like electric heaters, but they feature faux flames and embers and artificial logs, to approximate the look and feel of a real fire.