A handsome and useful fire pit surrounded by a wood deck is a do-it-yourself project that can be accomplished by those who are handy around the house.
The Western Wood Preservers Institute of San Diego offers some tips for the project. Form the fire box with concrete blocks laid right on the ground.
Face it with slump brick for a more attractive structure (see picture above). When the fire pit is in place, the wood deck can be built on level support framing bearing on concrete or with the supports directly buried in the ground.
The decking can be laid either diagonally or parallel to the support stringers, as you prefer. The Institute, naturally, suggests that the decking and support framing be built with long-lasting pressure-treated wood.
They offer some good reasons why you should use their product. In addition to looking good, it resists moisture, weathers to an attractive color and maintains its beauty for more than 50 years.
Pressure-treated wood will last longer than any untreated wood because the preservatives locked permanently in the product make it resistant to decay and termites.
Getting back to the deck, comfortable wood benches, also made of pressure-treated wood, are a useful and attractive alternative to the railings often constructed around deck edges. Almost all lumber dealers carry pressure-treated wood and many will provide you with detailed instructions for building a deck.
Prices are competitive with cedar and redwood in the same grades, according to lumber dealers I talked with.
A great advantage of pressure-treated wood is that it is well suited for ground contact use. Discuss your project with your lumber dealer, who will help you to select the specie and grades appropriate.
Pressure-treated wood can be painted or stained, but why bother? It looks good in its natural state, ranging in color from natural wood tones to various shades of green/brown.
Few special precautions need be taken in handling the product, except that good safety practices should be followed. Wear gloves, dust mask and safety glasses when cutting, sanding or drilling.
Cut ends should be painted with some type of preservative, available from building materials dealers. Trimmings and scraps should not be burned.
For a copy of “What You Should Know About Pressure-Treated Wood,” write Western Wood Preservers Institute, 5830 Oberlin Drive, Suite 300, San Diego, Calif. 92121.