Fire Pit Vs. Fireplace for Decks

An outdoor fireplace or fire pit brings a different deck experience. Both as a source of heat, light, and an interactive ambiance. Despite the similarities between the two outdoor fire features, they have major differences that should not be ignored. So, what are the differences between the fire pit and fireplace?

A fire pit is cheaper to install than a fireplace. However, a fireplace is safer if enclosed than a firepit, so it can produce a lot of heat. A fire pit creates an interactive ambiance because it can host more people than a fireplace. The fireplace is a feature that is the focus of the deck and therefore increases the home’s value.

What’s a fire pit?

A firepit is typically installed outside and low to the ground. It should be smaller than the fireplace so as not to obstruct the view. A firepit does not need a flue or a chimney. If you are using gas, piping is necessary.

There is also the option of a portable standalone fireplace. A stand-alone is easy to move and cheaper. There are different styles to choose from, such as a sunken fire pit. 

A fire pit has visible fire flames that are attractive and mesmerizing. Due to this, a screen may be necessary to prevent fire hazards. Wood-burning fire pits produce sparks, heat, and smoke that can cause a fire on the deck. If the deck is covered with materials, such as a gazebo could be damaged or discolored.

The walls should not be higher than one foot. They should be sturdy to help contain the fire. The structure should follow the manufacturer’s instructions to prevent overheating and gas leaks. It should provide a vent, drainage, and a gas valve. 

To protect your deck, if it is wooden, you need to use a fire pit and the deck. You can use pavers, steel shields, and fire pit pads.

What is a fireplace?

An outdoor fireplace is a permanent structure that is built on the deck to provide heat and a gathering setting. The fireplace becomes the focal point of the deck. People can sit in front of it but not around it, like in the case of a fire pit. The type of materials, the size, the heat output, and safety considerations determine the features of the fireplace.

An outdoor fireplace can use multiple fuel types such as wood, electricity, propane, or gas. It can also be freestanding or attached to the house. 

For decorative purposes, there are different designs to choose from as long as the fireplace has a base, firebox, and chimney. You can install masonry with brick, stone, or marble. The fireplace can be custom-made in many styles, such as adding wood boxes, a hearth, or a mantel, depending on what you want it to look like. 

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

A fire pit or fireplace on the deck provides an atmosphere for entertainment for family or guests. However, they differ in the value that they offer in the home.

Here are the major differences between a fireplace and a fire pit.

  • A fireplace will have more heat under the same prevailing conditions as a firepit. In the fireplace, the wind’s effect is minimized, and the flame is contained. The effect of wind in a fireplace is minimized by its structure.
  • A fireplace is more expensive than a fire pit because of the installation costs. On average, a fireplace on the decks will cost between $1,500-$20,000. The cost is because an outdoor fireplace will need a mantle, hearth, and seating. A fire pit is not as pricey because most fire pits are built low to the ground and don’t need a chimney. Portable fire pits are much cheaper, from as low as $30.

A fireplace is also bigger than a firepit. A fireplace is usually larger in size and also requires more resources to make

  • A fireplace can block the wind, especially if it has a door or fireplace screens. Still, a firepit is easily affected by adverse weather conditions because it’s out in the open. A fireplace is therefore considered safer than a firepit. A wooden-fire pit will have dangerous sparks, especially if it does not have a screen cover.
  • A built-in fireplace adds more aesthetic appeal to the home than the fire pit. A home with an outdoor fireplace looks architecturally elegant. Because it’s anchored, a fireplace in the deck exudes a homey feel. If kept in good shape, the fireplace increases the home’s value compared to a firepit which does not offer much.
  • A fire pit provides an interactive experience better than a fireplace because people can sit around it. When gathering friends or family on the deck, they can gather around a firepit just like a campfire.
FirepitFireplace
Less heat.Has more heat.
Less costly to install or buy because it’s smaller and needs fewer resources.Costly to install because it’s bigger and requires more resources.
It is not safe, especially if the flames are not covered.It is safer because the fire flames are mostly enclosed.
It doesn’t significantly change the value of the house.It increases the house’s value by being a focal point of the deck.
It creates an interactive experience and can accommodate many people around it.It can only accommodate a limited number of people.

It is obvious from the factors above that a fire pit and a fireplace differ in their cost, heat, size, and resources.

Your needs will determine which is better for your home. A fireplace is suitable if you want a more permanent structure. A fire pit is better if you don’t want to spend much money.  

Fire Pit Vs. Fireplace for Decks considerations

When installing a fireplace or a fire pit on the deck, safety is essential. The following consideration will help you install them on or around the deck.

        A  fire pit

  • Firepits are generally positioned at least 10 feet away from flammable structures such as wooden sheds. Also, it is essential to determine the prevailing direction of the wind to prevent smoke from blowing into the house. Typically, a fire pit should be at least 15-20 feet away from the house or any other structure. 
  • Consider the cost and the space available. If the space in your backyard or deck is compact, you should consider a portable fire pit. A portable fire pit can also be moved and positioned frequently as you prefer.

Factor in the investment before installing a fire pit. While a fire pit will increase the value you should think about the cost. An average fire pit costs about $700, while a professional installation would be double that. A DIY project can be cheaper at approximately $300.

  • Before building a fire pit, you should be fully informed of the local regulations on constructing a fire pit and the potential hazards. For example, some cities may have regulations on the size of the fireplace or fire pit in the backyard. Others may require a permit.

A fireplace

These are the most important factors you should consider before installing a fireplace.

  • Design, Size, and Location- There are different design choices when installing a fireplace. Classic, modern, sleek, and contemporary or rustic styles are some of the styles you can use. The design and size depend on the purpose and space available. If the fireplace is for the entertainment of large groups or for family.

The type of fuel used is also a factor in the design. A wood-burning fireplace needs a chimney while gas and electric-fueled fireplaces don’t.

  • Safety is also an important factor to consider. Fire can be a hazard in the home if not common fire safety procedures are not followed. The local municipal regulation gives guidelines on the 

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