Fire Pit Vs. Fireplace for Decks, Which is Better?

Outdoor spaces such as decks and patios look inviting, cozy and comfortable when you throw in a fire pit or fireplace into the décor mix. But, of the two, which is the best option for your deck?

Well, such a question is valid but has no ‘one fit all’ answer as each deck has its peculiarities that dictate whether a fire pit or a fireplace would be the best fit. In this post, we explore this question and look to help you determine which choice would best work for your deck no matter how unique.

What are Decks?

Decks are open spaces that are an outdoor extension to your home. They can be on the ground floor or higher floors of your home. What gives your deck beauty can be the view or decorative features that are used to furnish the area and make it functional.  Poolside surfaces are also considered decks.

Decoration that goes into a deck can range from manicured grass, wooded or cobbled flooring to tiled or composite decking. Deck furniture is often weather-resistant and features powder-coated metal seats or wicker couches that are durable, easy to clean, and can stand up to inclement outdoor weather.

A common inclusion in most decks is a fire pit or fireplace that brings a warm and cozy vibe to the space. Both options allow you to seat outdoors almost all year round with family and friends.

It also means you can extend the time that you sit outside into the night on most days because of the warmth provided by a fireplace or fire pit. There is no better way to dine under the stars or enjoy a cold beer or bottle of wine with friends and family.

To determine whether a fire pit or a fireplace will be the best option for your deck, there are two main considerations to keep in mind. They include;

  1. How Do You Intend to Use the fire?

Other than the aesthetic of the finished fire pit or fireplace, determining what you need the fire for will help you arrive at a choice that meets your needs and that of your deck’s décor. For instance, if you are more inclined toward entertaining a larger group of people and are looking to conjure a campfire-like experience where friends and family can roam freely in the yard and congregate at the fire to enjoy conversation and just hang out, the fire pit will fit the bill.

That’s because fire pits can be built bigger and stylishly to enhance the outdoor living area while also unleashing intense heat to warm all those around or within proximity of the fire. If you happen to live in an area where wood for fuel is readily accessible, then a wood-burning fire pit is more economical. Alternatively, if you have a natural gas line or you reside in a metropolitan area where logs for fuel are scarce, you can opt to get a gas fire pit .

While wood burning fire pits are great, they are simply not recommended for wooden decks due to safety reasons not to mention the fact that they can be damaging to wooden floor surfaces

Fire pits, specifically fire pit tables are also excellent decorative pieces on your deck. A good number of propane fire pit designs can be used on the edges of a conventional or infinity swimming pool as well as on retaining walls or next to a water fountain.

If you intend to do some occasional cooking on your deck, a wood burning fire pit is a good bet because you can get a cooking grate to be placed on it that allows you to grill and roast meats with relative ease.

For those who simply want a quieter vibe that allows you to curl up on a lounge and dig into a good novel, or spend time with smaller groups of family or friends, then a fireplace is a great option for your deck.

However, unlike some fire pits that can be situated pretty much on any part of the deck, a fireplace is more selective because it is a wall structure and will have to be somewhere near an existing wall. Alternatively, you will have you build a wall or half wall to construct a fireplace on the deck.

A fireplace on your deck can be wood burning or can be powered by gas based on what fuel source is available and more economical to you. A fireplace on your deck can be used for cooking pot dishes such as soups. This is possible provided you have incorporated strong and sturdy hooks for the pot(s) to hang above the fire.

  1. The Design

Over and above the practical functions of heating and cooking, the design of the fire pit and finishing are a factor to consider. Fortunately, fire pits come in a myriad of designs and a wide array of finishes that can match up to a plethora of exterior décors. Finishes can feature anything from tile, stone, stucco to blocks for a delightful look.

Fireplaces too can be designed and finished in a way that complements your deck furnishings. Finishes can range from stained cast concrete, copper, sandstone, mazeras, granite, and brick to name a few.

That coupled with a suitable modern mantle, crown the whole visual appeal that makes your fireplace a fixture that looks amazing whether the fire is on or off.

The Choice is Yours!

Whether you settle on a fire pit or fireplace for your deck, your budget will determine the size, design, and finishes to go with. Fortunately, either option can be bought or constructed at a fairly reasonable cost and comes with a stellar finish that makes your deck pop with style. As to which is better? That question can only be answered by you.

About Kyle Gordon

Hey there! My name is Kyle Gordon, a part-time week-end home enthusiast who loves outdoor projects. This blog is the fruit of my extensive experiences performing outdoor home improvements. More so, I'm here to share with you a lot of great ideas and experiences you can use to make the outdoor life at your home fun and entertaining at the same time. Join me as we explore fire pits, grills, outdoor fireplaces, outdoor kitchens, pizza ovens, and many more outdoor improvements with lots of product reviews.

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