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Wood Decks and Fire Safety

By Mike Holmes

Mike’s Advice / Home Safety & Maintenance

Friday, May 15th, 2020 @ 3:46am
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Nothing says summer like a beautiful deck, a barbecue, outdoor mood lighting and a fire pit, but because many decks are made from wood there is the potential for fire, so proper fire safety must always be practiced. 

It’s also a good idea to have a fire extinguisher nearby should a deck fire ever occur. And don’t skip your yearly deck maintenance – I don’t want to hear about your deck in the news next.

Below are a few helpful tips to ensure you can safely enjoy your deck with friends and family during those prized summer days (and nights).

#1 SAFE DISTANCE


Set your grill several feet from your house and away from high traffic areas. Also keep it away from deck railings and out from under overhanging branches.

#2 SAFE STORAGE


Do not store combustible materials under your deck.

#3 CLEAN AND CLEAR


Keep your deck clear of leaves, debris and combustible rubbish. Give the deck a good sweep before you grill. If a spark flies, striking any leaves or debris, you run the risk of combustion.

GIBRALTAR-DECK

For example such as this home from Gibraltar Homes.

#4 REMOVE HAZARDS


Consider the vegetation surrounding your deck – it might dry out and become highly flammable.

#5 CHECK ELECTRICAL WIRING


Check wires and electrical cords on a regular basis – at least once a year.

RELATED

DOS AND DONTS OF OUTDOOR PROJECTS.

#6 PRACTICE SAFE GRILLING


Here’s a question I get asked a lot: is it safe to use your barbecue on your deck? The answer to that is yes – but you still need to take some precautions. Keep the grill a couple of feet from the house, as well as any guardrails and high traffic areas. Don’t place the barbecue under any overhangs or tree branches. 

Use fire pits and grills with care. Glowing coal could fall from barbecues or fire pits and ignite its surroundings. Embers tend to fall out from the ash pans and land on the deck. If you’ve recently treated your wood deck with a stain or sealant, it can be extra flammable. A level patio made of brick or concrete several feet away from the house would be a safer place to set your barbecue.

#7 PAD IT DOWN


Protect the deck surface with a nonflammable pad. This handy object will protect your deck from the heat that radiates from your barbecue. You can also place a fire resistant grill mat directly underneath your barbecue, which can also protect your deck from grease stains.

Bonus: Deck maintenance tip in the video below.

#8 AVOID THE FLAME


Avoid using candles and tiki torches around your wood deck whenever possible. If you do enjoy the occasional tiki torch, keep it away from anything flammable, including your deck.

Like in this home from my Holmes Approved Homes builder RDC Fine Homes.

#9 INVOLVE THE FAMILY


Make sure your family understands fire safety. Talk to your kids regularly about the dangers of fire, matches and lighters and keep them out of reach.

Remember, your outdoor structures need love and care, too. It’s important to make sure your deck and safe before you start using it. Here are some deck safety tips to follow.

Make It Right®