There’s nothing better than sitting around a fire pit in your yard, toasting marshmallows over the flames. Solo Stoves are especially great for this as they’re virtually smokeless and get less hot than other models – but are smokeless fire pits like this ok to use on your decking?
Solo Stoves should not be used on a wood or Trex deck without a Solo Stove stand or fireproof mat underneath. Solo Stoves emit less heat than other types of fire pits, but could still damage your deck without one of these heatproof barriers in place.
Let’s look in more detail at why Solo Stoves are fine on both wood and Trex decks, how they direct heat – and why you should use that stand we mentioned or a fire pit barrier. We’ll also consider just how hot these stoves get on the outside, and if they’re ok to use on a covered deck, porch or patio.
Can You Use a Solo Stove On a Wooden Deck?
Yes, you can use your Solo Stove on your wooden deck. That’s great news, because there’s nothing cosier on a cool evening than sitting round your wood-burning fire pit together, swapping stories and drinking something warming. But – we’re still talking about a mix of fire and wood here, so there are several precautions you have to take for deck use.
Firstly, choose wisely. Don’t go for a pit that stands directly on the deck and doesn’t have a stand option. Go for a model that’s compatible with a stand; and we’ll look at Solo Stove stands in a moment, as this can be a straightforward solution. There’s also the option of placing a heat-resistant barrier on the deck (again, we’ll cover this in more depth later).
The main thing to think about is heat direction. If the heat radiates downwards, it’s going to heat your deck. With some fire pits reaching temperatures of 1000oF, you really, really don’t want that level of heat hitting the deck.In order for heat to dissipate between the fire and the surface, there needs to be distance between them.
Another thing to bear in mind is sparking. A real fire can hiss, spit and send out sparks, and you don’t want these damaging your deck. There’s also a risk of red-hot embers shifting out of the pit if it’s disturbed. You can guard against this with a larger barrier, and always burn good quality hardwood which is less likely to spark.
Solo Stoves are an excellent option, as they are cooler than many models, and don’t produce as much smoke or sparks.
Is it OK To Use a Solo Stove On a Trex Deck?
Trex is a type of composite decking, along with types like Azek, Nexan, and Versadeck. All these brands have manufacturer’s fire resistance gradings for high-heat conditions. These are rated from A to C, with A being the most fire-resistant. Check with the installation manual, your builder or the manufacturer to find one which rating your composite or PVC decking has.
However, with those 1000oF temperatures potentially reaching your Trex decking, we’d definitely recommend using a stand for your fire pit. This will raise it the required distance from the deck, and you could always add a surface barrier. As with a wooden deck, never use a fire pit that sits directly on the floor.
If you are really worried about the surface of your deck, whether it’s composite or wood, go for an alternative fuel source such as a gas-powered fire. We know it’s not the same, but there are some great gas fire pits out there.
Of course, if you want both wooden decking and a real fire pit, another option is to site it just off your deck. Surfaces you don’t have to worry about include concrete, most pavers, gravel, stone and dirt. Grass can actually get scorched, so think twice before sticking your fire pit straight onto the lawn.
Should I Use The Solo Stove Stand?
The short answer is yes. These are great, and we wouldn’t light our Solo Stove without first popping it on its neat stand. The stands are smart rings that are made from the same material as the stoves, 304 stainless steel. They have holes designed to radiate residual heat.
Because the Solo Stove stand is designed to fit the fire pit, there’s no risk of it wobbling or feeling precarious. Plus, when you want to put the stove away, the stand stores away tidily inside it.
If you’re using the Solo Stove on your deck, the stand is an essential. We’d also recommend using one on grass (you’ll regret not doing this if you end up with a scorched circle on the lawn) and on sand, if you’re taking your fire pit to the beach. Yes we know sand won’t catch fire, but it can and does obstruct the air vents at the bottom of the stove, so the stand adds a bit of height to prevent this.
If your patio is made from stone or concrete pavers, you should be fine without a stand. However, if you’ve stained or painted your pavers, you’ll need to use a stand.
Do I Need a Heat Resistant Fire Pit Barrier For a Solo Stove On a Deck?
If you’re using a Solo Stove stand, this should provide sufficient distance between the fire pit and the surface to avoid burn marks. However, if you want to be extra safe, you can stand it on a heat-resistant fire pit pad.
You can get these tough barriers on Amazon: Newtex makes a round one that looks smart under a Solo Stove fire pit. Deckprotect makes aluminum thermal barriers in a range of sizes. Just make sure any barrier is larger than your fire pit to prevent the base or legs from wobbling.
How Is Solo Stove Heat Directed?
Solo Stoves create less downwards heat than many other types of fire pit, which is why they’re one of the best fire pits on the market – certainly for use on heat-sensitive surfaces. The reason behind this is their airflow. Air is sucked in through the vent holes at the base, which is pulled upwards by the flames. A lot of the heat is directed upwards, away from your deck.
If you’re after radiant heat, this might concern you: is all the heat lost upwards? No, it isn’t. This design doesn’t radiate as much heat as some; however you’ll still get plenty of warmth from its cozy flames.
Does The Solo Stove Get Hot On The Outside?
Yes, it does: it’s a metal box with a fire in it. It doesn’t get as hot as some other fire pit burners, because of the way it draws cool air in from the bottom, and its insulated design also prevents it from becoming red hot. But, you’ll still need to take care around kids and pets.
Solo Stoves themselves recommend not touching any part of the fire pit until it’s cooled down. Because it burns rapidly, the stove also cools quickly. That’s definitely a plus when it comes to fire safety.
One really good thing about the Solo Stove fire pit is that it produces less smoke than other designs, which makes it a more pleasant, less eye-watering experience for children. Because of this, there are fewer sparks, too, although you might still want to guard against this. You can get fire pit spark screens made from tough mesh, which prevent those little sparks from flying up when there are kids around.
If you are really concerned, you can use a fire guard the same as you would with your indoor wood-burning stove. Of course, you can simply keep the fire pit as a nighttime treat for grownups and older kids, when the toddlers are tucked up safely in their beds…
Do Solo Stoves Get Hot on the Bottom?
Yes, your Solo Stove will heat up on the base, which is why it’s essential to use the stand and preferably a fireproof mat. As we mentioned earlier, these tough 304 stainless steel stands provide distance between your stove base and the deck, and are designed to radiate heat.
You can also add a heatproof mat to your deck, which gives further protection from heat radiating downwards.
How Long Does It Take for a Solo Stove to Cool?
Generally, it takes about 40 minutes for a Solo Stove to cool down, although we’d say, better allow an hour just to be sure. Keep the fire guard up during this time if you have kids or pets in the vicinity.
Can The Solo Stove Be Used On a Covered Deck, Porch or Patio?
This is a real area for debate. It’s a small, compact stove that doesn’t belch out smoke and sparks like some fire pits, and the fire is neatly contained. So, you can light it under a canopy, right?
All stoves need good ventilation to prevent a build-up of carbon monoxide – and none of us wants that. Every year, we read about campers getting poisoned from using their BBQ inside their tent or awning.
A covered deck or patio, or a porch with a roof, has much better airflow than an indoor room; however, it’s still not as good as the great outdoors. A patio or porch that’s open on three sides has a reasonable airflow, as does a gazebo if you open all the sides.
If you want to use your Solo Stove outdoors on a rainy day, put it as close to the edge of the covered patio or porch as you can. If you have the space and budget, a purpose-built pergola, open on all sides and with a high roof, makes a safer outdoor space for your fire pit.
Want to heat a partially covered space most evenings? An electric patio heater is a safer option, with the fire pit kept for outdoor use. There’s another option if you love a real fire but feel that your porch is too enclosed: install a proper fireplace, with a real flue.
We can’t really recommend using a fire box under cover because of the CO risks. There are plenty of dry days and evenings to enjoy your Solo Stove in the great outdoors, safely on your deck or in your yard.
How Far Should a Solo Stove Bonfire Be From a House?
Your Solo Stove needs to be at least six feet away from your house or any other buildings, when it’s in use. Remember to also leave 15-10 feet clear above the stove, so watch out for patio overhangs and tree branches.
Can You Leave a Solo Stove Outside? (What Happens if They Get Wet in the Rain?)
You can keep your Solo Stove outside; however, it’s a good idea to invest in a cover, as prolonged exposure to rain and damp conditions can lead to rust and discoloration. Solo makes covers that are designed to fit snugly and securely onto their stoves.
Of course, if you have a convenient storage place for your stove (such as your shed), it’s best to winterize it indoors. Even so, it’s still helpful to have a set of covers so you don’t have to keep carrying it in and out of storage. If your stove does get wet, make sure it’s thoroughly dry before using it or storing it undercover.
What Wood Burns Best in a Solo Stove?
The best wood (as recommended by Solo) is a dry hardwood. Birch, maple, hickory, and oak are good choices. Wherever you can, opt for hardwood over softwood, as you’ll get a longer and cleaner burn.
Can I Use Duraflame Logs in a Solo Stove Outdoor Fire Pit?
You can use Duraflame logs in your stove; however, they’re still not as good as a dry hardwood like maple or oak.
Can You Burn Pine in a Solo Stove?
Pine needles and pine cones are great ways to start a fire, so use these as kindling. However, the needles can get a bit smokey, so once the fire has started, switch to something else.
If you like that distinctive resinous smell, you can burn cedar wood on a stove (it’s one of the only softwoods that Solo suggests using).
Can I Burn a Christmas Tree in a Solo Stove?
This isn’t the best way to dispose of your Christmas tree after the holidays. Your old tree will create sparks, smoke, and potentially toxic fumes from the terpenes in the needles.
Despite having been cut for a few weeks, the tree still won’t be as dry as properly seasoned wood is, so you’ll get that nasty damp burn. As well as being unpleasant, this can cause a build-up of creosote, which isn’t good for the stove itself.
Can You Burn Leaves in a Solo Stove Bonfire Fire Pit?
The Solo Stove isn’t designed to be a garden waste disposal. Yes, you technically could get rid of a few (very) dry leaves, but it’s an inefficient way to manage garden waste.
Instead, aim to compost or mulch as much of your yard waste as possible, and failing that, have a proper bonfire.
Can You Put Charcoal in a Solo Stove?
Opinion is divided on this one. Generally speaking, don’t use charcoal on a burner that’s designed for wood, and the stove is more for heat and the odd smore than something to cook on. Solo does make a grill…
Can You Use Starter Firewood Logs in a Solo Stove?
Yes, you can use starter logs in your stove, and indeed, Solo makes and sells their own starters, created from recycled hardwood.
Starters are a great invention, much easier and cleaner than messing about with old newspaper sheets.
Can You Use Lighter Fluid in a Solo Stove?
Don’t use any form of lighter fluid in your Solo Stove, either to start it off or keep it going. It’s so easy to light a stove with starters and dry wood, that there really is no need for it, anyway.
How Do You Dispose of Ashes From a Solo Stove?
It’s easy to get the ashes out of a Solo Stove, as this short film shows. Wait until it’s cool (allow up to an hour), tip the ashes out, wipe the inside of the stove, dry, then store.
But what do you do with the ashes? Wood ash is a great source of potassium for your garden. Sprinkle the cool ash onto your beds or even across the lawn, as the grass will love it.
Do Solo Stoves Give Off Sparks & Embers?
One of the reasons why Solo Stoves have become such a popular stove brand is the lack of sparks and embers.
While we can’t guarantee that there’ll be zero sparks, there’s fewer than you get with other types of real wood fire pits. This is why Solo Stoves are a good option for family use, as there’s a reduced risk of sparks flying out and causing injury – especially if you use the stove with a stove shield.
Is the Solo Stove Shield Worth It?
If you have kids, pets, or a wooden deck, the Solo Stove Shield is an excellent idea. It’s designed to further reduce the emission of sparks and embers.
The shield simply fits over the stove, and can easily be removed, using the heavy-duty stainless steel sticks, to add more logs. There are even grooves to rest your roasting sticks.
The Solo Stove Shield is available on Amazon, so we checked out the reviews. It scores 4.8 stars out of a possible 5, based on over 700 customer ratings. So, we reckon that Solo Stove customers definitely think it’s worth it!
Customers say it does the job well, is easy to work with, and is made from quality materials. However, at a cost of around $160, it does add significantly to the cost of your stove set up.
Ultimately, it’s fine to use your Solo Stove on either a wood or Trex deck if you have the special stand underneath it or use a fire pit barrier.
Solo Stoves give off far less smoke and heat than other types of fire pits, and although they still do get hot on the outside, they are safer in general on decking than other models which direct more heat downwards onto the deck and also release more sparks.
And the best thing of all? You can toast marshmallows to perfection on your Solo Stove as well. 🙂
Homeowner and property investor Larry Jones founded Take a Yard in 2020 to bring you the very best outdoor living content, based on his years of experience managing outside spaces. Read more >