When we bought our house, we were told we couldn’t use charcoal grills on our wooden decks. We had to use gas grills instead. But after living in our new home for almost 2 years, we’ve found that using charcoal grills on our deck is not only safe but also very convenient.
In this article, I’ll explain why you should consider using charcoal grills on your deck. I’ll also tell you how to ensure you get the most out of your charcoal grill without harming your deck.
Summary – You can use a charcoal grill on a wood deck safely. However, this depends on the type of wood and its thickness. For example, a thick cedar deck is more resistant to high temperatures than pine and can withstand the heat from your grill. Just be sure to use a fireproof pad to protect your deck.
How to Use Your Charcoal Grill on a Wood Deck
Wood decks are usually made out of pressure-treated wood or redwood, which is known for its durability. If you have a large deck surface area, it will be best to use a charcoal grill with side tables or legs, as this will allow you to place the coals farther away from the wood deck and prevent them from getting too close to it and causing damage.
If you have been using a Charcoal grill on your deck for a long time, the following care tips are worth following;
- The first step in avoiding ash from sticking to the deck’s wood is cleaning it. Clean the deck thoroughly with mild soap and water to remove any dirt or dust build-up. This will help prevent the ash from burning into the wood surface when you start cooking.
- You should also use steel wool or sandpaper to eliminate any lingering marks. If you’d rather not treat your deck with chemicals, try using lemon juice or vinegar instead of bleach or ammonia when cleaning it after using your charcoal grill.
- A better method is to find an old metal bucket and fill it with sand or gravel. Then, place the fire bucket on your deck and place your charcoal grill on top of that. This keeps the ash off your deck and prevents any possible damage from sparks or hot embers.
- Before cooking, remove the grill grate and place it on a heat-proof surface, such as a concrete patio or brick walkway. Then, place the charcoal in its holders, ensuring they are level with each other (so they don’t tip over). Now, return the grill grate back on the charcoal, with the hot coals facing up (not down).
- Place foil at least 2 inches away from flammable material (such as your deck). This will keep things from getting too smoky or messy if you have to open your grill lid frequently to check on things (which you most likely will).
Will My Charcoal Grill Damage My Wood Deck?
The answer is yes, if not protected. When you’re using a charcoal grill on a wood deck, it is best to place it on a fireproof pad. This is because the heat from the coals will burn through the wood decking (or any other type of wooden decking) over time. But the fireproof mat prevents the hot coals from directly dropping on the wood surface.
Also, if you plan to use your charcoal grill frequently, it’s crucial to monitor how much heat your grill produces when it’s in use. If it generates too much heat, it may burn through the wood in your deck more quickly than expected.
Additionally, be sure there are no flammable liquids in the vicinity where you are grilling. Any liquid spill on top of hot coals could cause an explosion or fire hazard.
How Long Do We Have before Seeing the Problems with Our Grill on a Wood Deck?
It depends on how much use your grill gets. If you grill very often, you will likely see discoloration and burn marks sooner than if you only use it seasonally.
Also, the type of wood you use can determine how long it will take for grill heat to damage your deck. This is because heat-treated hardwoods like cedar, redwood, and cypress are more prone to heat damage than pressure-treated softwoods like pine or fir.
Safety Tips for Using a Charcoal Grill on a Wood Deck
Charcoal grills produce a lot of heat and smoke. They can leave carbon deposits on the surface of your deck. The longer you let them sit there, the more likely they will damage your wood decking.
Here are some measures to protect your deck from heat damage;
Get a Grill Pad
You need to take every precaution to lessen the likelihood of mishaps. A grill pad helps to cover your porch or deck’s surface from heat damage or grease stains. The pad also helps to keep your outside space clean and secure.
You should consider cleaning up after each use and resealing your wood deck with a clear stain or sealer every year to prevent any damage. And, always remove all food from your grill before cleaning it up!
Make sure you have a good place to put your grill. If you’re short on space, consider folding or portable grills that can be folded up and stored when unused.
Use a brick with several holes drilled into it as an anchor for your chimney starter (for charcoal) or chimney/propane starter (for gas). The brick will keep the starter from rolling around while you light it up!
Don’t forget to keep your fire extinguisher nearby in case of a fire outbreak.
FAQs On Can I Grill With Charcoal On A Wood Deck
How Far Away from My Home Should a Grill Be?
According to most grill manufacturers, you should keep your house walls at least two feet from your gas barbecue. In addition, both portable propane grills and charcoal barbecues should be avoided at all costs.
Can I Cover My Grill With a Tarp When Not in Use?
Yes, but you should regularly check for moisture build-up and leaks around the perimeter of the tarp so that mold doesn’t form. If moisture does build up, remove any moldy material before using again (this may require replacing some of the wood).
How Do I Clean a Damaged Wooden Deck?
You can utilize a pressure washer or scrub brush and soap to remove any dirt or stains from the decking boards’ surface. However, be cautious when cleaning with a pressure washer so you do not damage your decking planks more than necessary.