Friday, January 17, 2014

Four Seasons on Your Deck or Patio

Now that it is the season to consider construction projects that may come to completion during the warmer months, this tends to be the time for homeowners to start dreaming of a new deck or patio. As you think about this while it is still chilly outside, it is exciting to consider how you will be using the outdoor space year-round. If you are not able to choose a project that includes masonry work with a large chimney as part of your back yard landscape feature, this is the season to get a chiminea, fire pit or fire table at a bargain price.

There are many table styles to choose from, including coffee table height, dining tables, and bar tables. The bar height tables obviously move the heat source up and away from the deck surface, which may be advantageous, and many of these will hold a propane tank concealed in the furniture design. Low fire pits and tables radiate heat in all directions, but smoke is also dispersed everywhere along with it if you are burning wood for your heat.

A chiminea or traditional fireplace will radiate heat forward and smoke up and away. Be cautious of the  hazards present when any of these are situated on or near wooden decking, with the danger from heat and stray embers.

Move free-standing heat features away from plants, trees, railings, walls and furniture. If the product is specified for use on a wood deck (check the manual to be sure), it should be placed on a pad of fire resistant tiles. Gas pits and tables are safer than wood burning ones, since they won't release hot embers to be carried away in the wind. With wood, be sure to use a fire screen. If you have one constructed or choose to make a basic fire pit yourself, it is also easy to make a spark arresting cover.

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