A chiminea is a great focal point for any garden, particularly on those long summer nights when the temperature begins to drop. Used essentially as an outdoor heater, a chiminea adds warmth to the area and are popular due to their rustic look and traditional tending to.
Decking is also a popular feature that many people have in their gardens. But is it safe to put a chiminea on decking? Read on to find out how you can safely use your chiminea on decking and what risks are involved.
Latest update: October 2021
Can You Put a Chiminea On Decking?
The short answer is yes, you can put a chiminea on decking. Now here comes the but... Chimineas can reach temperatures of 450 degrees fahrenheit and this kind of heat paired with wooden decking could be a recipe for disaster.
Strong gusts of wind can blow out sparks and embers that could potentially set your decking alight. However, with the right protective surface, you can safely enjoy your chiminea. Let’s take a look at the different ways in which you can protect your decking from damage.
Safest Surfaces For a Chiminea When on Decking
Firstly, you should look for a fire-safe place to locate your chiminea on decking which should be free from any structures that may be near or hanging over it.
Some chimineas have a raised base meaning they can be used on any surface as there is enough space between the decking and the fire itself to cause any serious damage. If the ground lies directly below your chiminea, then you can use bricks or paving slabs to raise it slightly which will protect the decking.
Fire pads are recommended whether your chiminea has a raised base or not. Embers and sparks can still fly out of the chiminea at any time which cannot only damage your decking by burning tiny holes in it,the whole area can go up in flames.
Using a small fire guard will further protect your decking from any sparks. Fire guards are also useful if you have small children running around.
Fire resistant products
Treating your decking with a fire-resistant substance before using your chiminea is ideal and although it won’t necessarily stop a fire, it will slow the spread if one occurred. This coupled with any of the above is a safe option in reducing the chances of a serious fire.
It is always a good idea to use a durable fire mate on top of any treated decking as the fire resistant substance will not be enough to prevent a fire.
Precautions To Take When Using a Chiminea on Decking
It is perfectly safe to use a chiminea on your decking with the right precautions. Let’s take a look at how you can use your chiminea in the safest possible way. We also wrote a helpful guide if you have a fire pit on decking too.
The first rule is to keep your chiminea away from any flammable objects. This includes any nearby objects such as furniture or hanging clothes and overhanging branches.
Be sure to check that the chimney has sufficient room above it to let the smoke out of and it goes without saying that the chiminea should be at least 10 feet away from the house.
Keep your chiminea away from any walls or wooden railings in your chosen area. Again, keep the chiminea away from any garden furniture or fabrics that sparks may be able to jump out at.
Keep an Eye on The Fire
Monitoring a lit chiminea will prevent any serious damage. While chimineas are safe to use, it is always a good idea to keep your eye on it just in case. It is also wise to make sure you don’t fill your chiminea with too much fuel. You’ll know if the fire is too big as the chiminea will find it hard to maintain the flames inside its belly.
If you are new to using a chiminea, begin with a small amount of fuel and then gradually build it up until you feel in control.
Purchase a Fire Extinguisher
For complete peace of mind, why not purchase a fire extinguisher? This way, if your chiminea does happen to get a little out of hand, you will be able to extinguish a fire in seconds.
Always use the correct fuel to avoid any incidents. Wood or charcoal briquettes are fine to use in the majority of chimineas and if you are unsure, always read the manual. Burning anything other than this such as leaves or discarded food packaging may cause unnecessary damage.
Do not ignite the fire with diesel or petrol as this can be dangerous. Fire starting bricks are the best way to get the fire going and are cheap to purchase. Below is a list of the best fuels to use inside a chiminea.
- Charcoal - These ‘lumps of cole’ or briquettes are easy to use and are self-lighting.
- Wood - If using your own wood, make sure it is dry. Wet wood is hard to ignite and produces a lot of smoke. Store-bought logs work just fine and even though they cost more, they are cut down to a good size and are dry, so all the work is done for you.
- Gas - Gas should only be used in chimineas made out of aluminium or cast iron (You can check out our guide to best cast iron chimineas). The safest gas to use is either propane or natural.
Check The Weather Forecast
Chimineas are best used in dry conditions with little to no wind. It is unlikely that you would want to sit out in your garden in anything less than these conditions but some people like to use their chiminea on cold, dry nights such as bonfire night.
Windy conditions are not great when using a chiminea, the wind cannot only blow sparks and embers around your garden, it may also spread them to your neighbours garden causing more damage.
Can I Put My Chiminea on Composite Decking?
Composite decking is mostly made out of plastic, although some brands may be designed using a plastic and wood mixture. With that being said chimineas should not be used on composite decking as plastic is just as prone to setting on fire as wood is. However, there is no reason why you cannot use your chiminea on composite decking provided you use a safe surface and extra precautions like the ones listed above.
To summarise, the best way to prevent a fire breaking out when using your chiminea on decking is to minimise the risk. Therefore, start by finding a suitable location for your chiminea before moving it into a good position away from any flammable or overhanging objects.
Protect your decking by raising your chiminea with bricks or paving slabs (if necessary) before laying down a large fire mat to protect your decking further from embers or sparks. Calm, dry conditions are best for using chimineas, however if the temperature is too high this can also be dangerous as the heat can make the surroundings even more flammable.
If you have pets or small children, it may be a good idea to purchase a fire guard for your chiminea to protect them against the naked flames.
Before You Go
A chiminea brings people together and is a great garden accessory. If you do have decking in your garden, follow the above steps to prevent any fires from breaking out. If you are still unsure, get in touch with the manufacturer for more specific guidelines.
Features three protective layers and can be used on a variety of surfaces including decking. It requires a two inch clearance and is easy to clean and will be suitable for most fire pits.