Pergolas are one of the best ways to enjoy your backyard or garden. It offers shade and protects you from sunlight in the summer, making it easier to relax and enjoy all sorts of summer activities.
Yet, what happens in winter when it gets too cold? That’s when you start wondering: can a fire pit go under a pergola? Is it even safe?
In today’s article, we’ll answer all your questions about having a fire pit under a pergola. So, stick around to find out more.
The simple answer is yes! A fire pit can go under a suitable pergola. However, there are some things you should consider before rushing out to your backyard.
The first thing you have to do before installing a fire pit under your pergola is to check with local laws. Some areas have specific regulations for the type of fire pit you’re allowed to use in situations like this.
Moreover, some areas have certain laws for the overhead clearance of pergola fire pits. Others, on the other hand, have laws against having backyard fire pits.
One of the most important things is to check if your pergola is high enough to withstand heat and embers. Unfortunately, there are no exact measurements for the pergola overhead clearance, but 15 feet in height is a safe average.
Then, when buying a fire pit, check the manufacturer’s instructions for the suggested overhead clearance. Modern fire pits come with detailed instructions and safety recommendations.
Normally, your pergola should have proper airflow. So, there’s no point in hanging curtains or pergola covers that will trap in air and decrease the ventilation.
It can become a serious fire hazard because the accumulation of smoke can be harmful to anyone inside the pergola. Not only that, but the smoke can cause discoloration of the paint on your pergola.
Moreover, when you pick a location for your pergola, make sure there’s nothing in the way of the airflow. Avoid placing it near big trees, bushes, or fences. There should be sufficient airflow on all sides of the pergola.
What’s more, if your pergola is right next to the house, you may want to reconsider adding a fire pit under your pergola. Why? Well, for safety reasons, experts recommend that the fire pit should be at least ten feet away from your house.
When choosing a location for the fire pit, you need to ensure that there’s sufficient space around the fire pit. There should be enough room for anyone to move around without getting close to the fire, so avoid having any kind of seat directly next to the pit.
Not all types of pergolas are suitable for having a fire pit. For example, if you have a wooden pergola, you might reconsider having a fire pit.
The safest option would probably be aluminum. That’s mainly because aluminum doesn’t catch fire and can withstand harsh weather conditions.
Additionally, prolonged exposure to smoke can cause discoloration of your beautiful pergola. So, you also need to consider the type of paint used on the pergola.
It should be able to withstand the heat coming from the pit. It should also be a dark, muted shade because lighter shades tend to show discoloration faster and require more frequent cleaning.
When it comes to the furniture inside your pergola, there are two major safety factors: material and placement. All the pieces of furniture inside the fire pit should be made of fireproof or fire-resistant material.
Furthermore, all furniture should be at least five feet away from the fire pit. Moreover, always leave some space for people to move around freely without getting too close to the flames.
Fire pits in pergolas may seem like a serious fire hazard. Yet, they’re actually pretty safe as long as you follow basic safety precautions, such as the ones we’ve listed in this post.
In fact, landscapers say that having a fire pit under your pergola is safer than having a fireplace inside your house. The key is proper ventilation.
That’s not the case with pergolas, as they have proper ventilation for a fire pit. Additionally, modern fire pits contain safety measures for easy use. The most important is that you can turn off the fire pit with a simple click of a button.
Having a fire table under your pergola poses no problem as long as the pergola is high enough. Modern fire tables run on gas, which is safer than wood and other options. Additionally, most fire tables don’t produce too much fire, making them safe for use under pergolas.
One thing worth mentioning is that when installing a fire table, you should test all gas connections for leaks. Moreover, you want to make sure that all the manufacturer’s instructions and safety precautions are followed properly.
Most manufacturers recommend having around six feet of overhang clearance for gas fire tables that produce less than 50,000 BTU.
The answer is yes! There are several types of fire pits that can safely go under a pergola with different safety requirements. The most popular are gas and wood fire pits.
Gas fire pits are more common. They use liquid propane or natural gas as fuel sources, which are known to give a cleaner burn, unlike wood fire pits. Almost all modern fire pits now use propane as a fuel source.
Another fun fact is that gas fire pits are safer than wood-burning pits. This is because they give you better control of the amount of fuel that goes into the fire pit, thus helping you control the size of the fire.
Moreover, you can quickly light or put out gas fire pits with a simple switch. It’s much more convenient than dealing with wood.
When it comes to clearance, most fire pit manufacturers recommend around 80 inches of overhang clearance for fire pits up to 200,000 BTU. In addition, most modern gas fire pits come with a regulator that prevents any fires from getting out of control.
Unfortunately, wood fire pits aren’t the safest option to have under a pergola. That’s because it’s hard to control the amount of fire it produces, and you have to deal with flying embers, which can be serious fire hazards.
It’s true that you can use a spark screen to contain the embers, but it still doesn’t make it a safer option. Plus, studies show that the fumes that come out of burning wood are more dangerous than gas fumes.
Even though it makes sense to not have a wood fire pit under your pergola, some people love hearing the soothing sound of crackling wood. If you’re one of these people who just have to have a wood fire pit, then always make sure to use a fire screen and be extra careful when lighting them up.
The first and most crucial thing is to have a fire extinguisher available at the pergola. Having one inside the house isn’t enough.
Second, you should never leave children or pets unsupervised when using the fire pit. Additionally, before leaving your pergola, you must always make sure that the fire is completely out.
Third, make sure your pergola is adequately ventilated at all times. Furthermore, you need to check that no tree branches or climbing plants are dangling over the fire pit.
One of the most important things when installing a fire pit under your pergola is to have a professional install it for you. You shouldn’t attempt to install a fire pit or a fire table, even if you have prior experience.
To add, you should keep flammable materials as far from the fire pit as possible. Also, never use gasoline, alcohol, or any flammable liquid to light up the fire.
Here’s a great tip: try to figure out where the wind is coming from before starting the fire. This will give you an idea of what direction the flames will be heading so you can clear the area accordingly.
Finally, never turn the flames super high. If it’s getting too cold, that means you should go inside, not turn up the fire.
Can a fire pit go under a pergola? The answer is yes!
Installing a fire pit under the pergola will turn your backyard into a relaxing, fun place to gather with friends and family. Yet, you have to check local regulations first.
Additionally, you need to make sure your pergola is properly ventilated. Also, never forget to go out with your fire extinguisher, just in case the fire gets to be too much to handle.
Always remember, safety comes first!
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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