DeckProtect.com

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Can a fire pit cause damage to Trex or another brand of composite decking?

The answer to this question is maybe, probably, most certainly… it depends. There are several variables: How hot and how big is the fire? How long has it been going and heating up the surface below it? What is the ambient temperature of the day or evening? Is there a breeze that can flow between the fire pit and the deck surface? What kind of composite decking? How much space is between the bottom of the fire pit bowl and the composite deck? We have seen a deforming (from partial melting) of the thin vinyl texture layer that covers the composite, even on a super cold day with cold air flow under the fire pit bowl.
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Trex warns customers about using a fire pit with its composite decking and recommends DeckProtect™.

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Below is the wording from the document at left, which is the installation sheet about fire pits that Trex prepared for contractors and homeowners that install Trex decking:

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Outdoor fire pits and fireplace use with Trex:

There are several factors to consider when using fire pits and fireplaces in conjunction with Trex decking. Most notably is the whether the fire will be gas or wood burning. Trex decking will soften as low as 176 degrees Fahrenheit.

Most of the fire pits in Trex ads that show a fire pit are gas burning. In this case the fire pit is installed by cutting around the Trex decking.
The fire pit is not installed on top of the Trex decking. A fire-resistant material is installed under the fire pit and a protective “wall” made of stone or other fire resistant material is installed to hold the fire pit in place and also to protect the decking from heat.

Wood burning fire pits are not recommended on top of Trex decking unless using a product called DeckProtect™. Wood burning fire pits can damage the decking due to the extreme heat from the bottom of the fire pit and/or burning embers “shooting” onto the decking. DeckProtect™ was tested on all Trex decking and there were no issues with burning of the decking surface when placed directly under a standard size portable fire pit along with the accompanying rack (check with manufacturer to determine size that would be needed). Trex does recommend that the DeckProtect™ padding/rack be moved from time to time for general cleaning underneath. For more information about this product please visit their website at
www.deckprotect.net.
It should be noted that even when using DeckProtect™, burning embers could “shoot” beyond the protective mat and burn the deck.

Regards,

Trex Technical Services

For Rooftop Events in Atlanta, everything was perfect except for one detail. The Fire Table was a problem for the Trex composite deck.

"Sadly, I heard of you guys only after doing research on Google ….. The fire department warned that I could not burn this type of fire without some sort of protection on my deck. It all lead me to you, but at least there was no major damage and no injuries"

Photo at right:
Andre’s fire table now resting safely on a custom sized DeckProtect
.

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Shown above and at right: the damaged caused by using a fire table without a good heat barrier. Quite a lot heat builds up in the base of the fire table.

"During a party last year, I learned the hard way that having a strong, protective barrier between a fire pit and Trex decking is not simply a luxury, but a necessity.  After burning for several hours, my ethanol fire pit produced enough heat to burn a hole through my outdoor rug and began to burn through several of my deck boards.  In the end, after being rescued by the local fire department, I was left with over $1000 worth of damage.  Luckily, after some research, I discovered DeckProtect. 

Because of the unique, rectangular base of my modern fire pit, I contacted the team at DeckProtect and they responded to me in a very timely manner.  They listened carefully to my situation, asked detailed questions, requested to see specific pictures and measurements and began to brainstorm an AMAZING solution.  
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The team at DeckProtect demonstrated a sincere desire to not simply sell me a product, but to actually problem solve with the sole interest in keeping my home safe.  They carefully explained how their products worked, they detailed the conditions needed for me to burn a fire on top of my Trex deck safely and used multiple internal resources bring their solution to life.  Even better, they demonstrated a level of personalized service this is pretty rare these days. 
Shown below: the base of the fire table sitting on a DeckProtect custom made to the size of the base. Several strategically placed rubber feet keep the DeckProtect elevated slightly above the rug and deck. This allows just enough critically important ventilation
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With my next event looming, they not only created a custom solution, perfectly catered to my unique specs, but they even had it delivered in time for our company's launch event.  The DeckProtect product not only seamlessly complimented the aesthetics of my fire pit and my space, I feel confident that they helped me install a product that will keep my deck safe.  Our event would not have gone off as smoothly as it did without the expertise from the team at DeckProtect.  Not only do I recommend them, I've already sent them a referral. "
Andre Macklin, Atlanta, Georgia

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Photo Credit: header photo of composite deck with beautiful scenic view. Copyright : iriana88w - from www.123rf.com
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