Is It Safe to Grill on a Wooden Deck?

by  Lauren Lockett-Summers
Last Updated: Feb 07, 2023

Luckily for grilling maestros, when you take proper precautions to protect a wood deck from the hazards of cooking, a fire is highly unlikely to break out.

Grilling On A Wooden Deck - Austex Fence & Deck

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an average of 16,600 patients were admitted to emergency rooms with grill-related injuries between 2012 and 2016.

Wood decks are a popular location for grilling, and it’s common knowledge that wood and fire don’t mix. If you own a wood deck and want to grill on your deck read the following tips.

Use a Grill Mat

Grill mats are designed to protect patios from sparks and grease stains and come in all shapes and sizes to fit under virtually any grill. Bargain hunting is not a good idea when shopping for a grill mat because cheaper products won’t be as effective at shielding your deck.

You’ll want to find a grill mat that is heavy enough to avoid being blown around and wide enough to extend a few inches in every direction around your grill. For added protection, make sure your grill mat is fire resistant to prevent the spread of flames if an ember were to fall on it.

Keep Flammable Objects Away

It might seem like an obvious precaution to take before lighting up the grill, yet many people neglect to move their grills away from walls or other flammable objects when using them. Storing a grill against a wall is perfectly safe when it’s not in use. When lit, however, a good rule is to make sure there isn’t anything within a 3-foot radius of your grill – plants included.

Have an Extinguisher Nearby

grill and extinguisher

Even master grillers experience the occasional unruly grill flame. Make sure you always have a fully charged fire extinguisher or baking powder nearby to prevent the spread of flames. In the event of a grease fire, baking powder is a common kitchen staple that can be sprinkled on the flames to put them out.

Because water only provides fuel for grease fires, the presence of these extinguishers is crucial to prevent severe damage.

Keep Weather in Mind

Grilling on a rainy day on an uncovered patio is probably an activity you’d steer clear from, but you should also avoid grilling on days with high wind speeds – especially if you plan to use a charcoal grill. While charcoal is safe inside your grill, high-speed winds can blow flaming charcoal onto your wooden deck and cause a serious fire that can quickly burn out of control.

Use Two-Zone Cooking

two zone cooking grill

Two-zone indirect cooking is an excellent way to avoid flare-ups while grilling. In this cooking method, grills are set up with “hot” and “cold” sides. If a flare-up does occur, you can quickly move the meat to the “cool” side of the grill to prevent more fat from dripping on the charcoal and feeding the flame. After moving the meat, place the lid back on your grill and wait for a few minutes until the flare-up subsides.

Clean Your Grill Regularly

Clean Grill Grates

As with any cooking utensil, your grill requires regular cleaning to prevent the spread of bacteria. Removing flammable grease buildup is also important because one of the leading causes of grill fires is the failure to clean them.

Minimize the amount of cleaning you’ll need to do by placing a drip or water pan under your food. The pan will catch a lot of the flammable grease that would otherwise build up in your grill.

Close Vents When Finished

After removing your cooked food from the grill, close all air vents to suffocate lit charcoal and smother the fire. Resist the urge to trash your ash until at least 24 hours after you’ve cooked to decrease the likelihood of a sporadic flare-up.

Professional Deck Installation in Austin, TX

Enjoy weekend afternoons by the grill with your own custom deck from Austex Fence & Deck. We believe that nothing utilizes a backyard living space better than a well-built deck – perfect for entertaining, relaxing and grilling. For more than 25 years, we have provided Central Texas homes with high-quality decks to encourage outdoor living year-round.

Contact us online for your FREE project quote or call 512-258-5000 today.

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