Frequently Asked Questions
about DeckProtect, fire pits, composite decking such as Trex, fire resistance, grill mats, decks and patios
Do I need DeckProtect for an AZEK deck?
Short answer: To be safe, Yes. Long answer: To clarify, Azek has recently merged with a composite decking company, and now offers composite decking on its web site. However Azek decking is commonly known to consist of solid pvc with no composite (wood fiber) in its core. PVC is a type of plastic. And “plastic” is not a word you will ever hear a chemist use to categorize a material. It will always be Poly-something-or-other. And the actual chemical formula used to make PVC has many, many variables. So the question of how much heat PVC (PolyVinyl Chloride) can endure depends upon the chemical mix and additives used in its manufacture. Naturally, a company like AZEK will have employed very competent chemists to develop the optimal mix for decking. Heat resistance is not the only thing they are working to achieve. PVC decking companies such as AZEK will also be looking for a formula that maximizes scratch resistance, stain resistance, mildew resistance, and color stability.
In general PVC melt point can vary between about 175 degrees Farenheit, and 370° F. It is not easy to find an answer to the question: At what temperature does your company’s decking melt?” The Azek web site is now more confusing than ever since the merger with TimberTech (a composite decking company) because it focuses on appearance and style with names such as “Harvest Collection” and “Vintage Collection.” You have to read carefully to see which one is solid PVC.
In any event, we don’t have an answer to the melting point of AZEK pvc decking. Trex is the only company that we know of that specifically recommends DeckProtect. However, we have NOT seen any other decking company say “Go ahead and use a fire pit on our deck and don’t worry about it.”
We did find this warning on the AZEK site:
“Please be aware that excessive heat build on the surface of AZEK products from external sources such as but not limited to fire or reflection of sunlight from energy efficient window products can potentially lead to damage. For example, sunlight which may be reflected by low-emissivity (Low-E) glass can potentially lead to damage of exterior building products including AZEK Deck and AZEK Porch products due to extreme elevation of surface temperatures which far exceed that of normal exposure of the same materials to direct sunlight. Possible damage by such reflected concentrated light may include melting, sagging, warping distortion, surface discoloration, increased expansion or contraction, and unusual weathering.” https://azek.com/resources/technical-resources
Some homeowners are now using “Low-E” glass in windows and patio doors because this special kind of glass reflects the heat from the Sun’s rays, when normal glass allows that heat to pass through and heat up in inside of the house.
There are also many, many variables that will determine heat build up under a fire pit. These include ambient temperature at that time of day, air space under the fire pit, any breeze that may be replacing the air under the fire pit, the type of fire bowl, how hot the fire is, etc. So back to our short answer: To be safe, you should not use a fire pit on your deck without somehow protecting the deck from excessive heat build up. We believe (and our customers agree) that DeckProtect is the most effective and convenient solution.
What is the difference between DeckProtect and a fire-resistant grill mat?
A grill mat is designed to catch grease splatters and sauce spills. DeckProtect is a complete system of protection specifically engineered for use under a fire pit with an inch of basalt (volcanic rock) fiber board that cannot catch fire. A pad of any kind left on a deck may become damp underneath or collect moisture and result in an unsightly stain on the deck. DeckProtect’s specially designed heavy aluminum tray and feet avoids contact with the deck surface.
Is DeckProtect™ fire proof?
It is completely nonflammable. We put a propane torch to it. The flame from a propane torch reaches 2000 degrees Fahrenheit but does not cause the basalt (volcanic rock) fiber board we use in DeckProtect to flame or catch fire. The heat under a fire pit does not reach temperatures anything like the flame of a propane torch.
Is DeckProtect Weather-Proof? Can I leave the DeckProtect in place under the fire pit when I am not using it?
Yes. DeckProtect is weather-proof. The basalt board can get wet, and it will dry out. Moisture does not collect in the tray, because the tray has a network of holes. The decking board under the DeckProtect will be able to dry out also because of the half inch of ventilation under our tray. You may want to move it during or after prolonged periods of wet weather to give the decking the same full exposure to sunlight as the rest of the deck.
Does DeckProtect work with composite decking?
Yes. Trex, the largest manufacturer of composite decking actually recommended DeckProtect in a technical sheet as the best alternative to custom building deck around the fire pit.
Is DeckProtect as effective as custom building the deck with a special opening for a fire pit?
A custom built deck with a built-in fire pit can be a great way to enjoy a fire pit on your deck, but custom building the deck actually has a couple of disadvantages compared to using DeckProtect. One, of course is cost, which could be substantial. The other is that you can’t use that part of the deck for anything else. With DeckProtect, you can place your fire pit on one side of the deck in the spring, and on the other side of the deck in the fall. Or you can put it aside to set up a dinner table, or a game. DeckProtect fully protects your deck for a fraction of the cost while giving you complete flexibility.
Can DeckProtect be used on a lawn?
We do not recommend DeckProtect for a lawn because the feet sink into the grass.
Can DeckProtect™ be used with a gas fired fire table?
Yes. It may be particularly important for a fire table because the table may trap heat under the fire bowl. Please check out a customer account of what happened when he used a fire table on a Trex deck. You would probably need to order a custom size for your fire table.
Should we use DeckProtect for a stone patio?
As the name suggests, we designed DeckProtect to protect wood and composite decking, which can be easily damaged by heat. We were not thinking about stone patios. However, many of our customers do purchase our product for use on a patio because they are concerned about the effects of heat radiation on pavers or tile. See our article on Patios.
Can I order a custom size?
Yes. Please visit our page on custom sizes.
Can I place two 30” DeckProtect side by side to make one that is 30” x 60”?
Yes, two or more DeckProtects can be used side by side. However you should measure your fire table carefully and check out pricing on our custom sizes page.
Is DeckProtect effective for protecting decks from the radiant heat of fire bowls or chimineas?
Yes, we have a number of customers who have purchased DeckProtect for a fire bowl or chiminea. Please check out our photo gallery.
If I place the fire pit on top of the DeckProtect, will the feet of the fire pit dent or damage the basalt board?
DeckProtect is actually designed to support the weight of a fairly heavy fire pit with the added weight of logs. Depending on the shape of the feet, they may press into the board a little, but not a lot, and not in a way that will really damage the DeckProtect.
Where does DeckProtect ship from?
Our plant is in Allendale, South Carolina, which is in the rural southern part of the state near the Georgia line. UPS picks up daily Monday through Friday Shipping to a northwest state such as Oregon may take 6 business days. Shipping to a southeastern state can be as fast as one or two days.
How fast will my order be filled, and my DeckProtect shipped?
We generally ship the DeckProtect within two business days. The black finish DeckProtect can take an extra day.
What is your return policy?
DeckProtect comes with a one-year warranty. If you are not satisfied with our product for any reason, simply return it in its original packaging within 7 days for a full refund of the purchase price. We do ask that purchasers to pay return shipping. More important, if there is anything at all that you find disappointing about DeckProtect, we want to know. Customer feedback is very important to us. We love hearing when customers are happy with our product, but we need to hear from customers who are not happy so that we can address the issue. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any thoughts you have, good or bad.
What if the product arrives damaged?
DeckProtect can be damaged in shipping, especially the larger sizes. We designed the shipping cartons to minimize the risk, but we can’t completely eliminate the risk. If your DeckProtect is damaged when you receive it, let us know. We will ship you another one and arrange for the damaged one to be picked up. You don’t have to take pictures to prove the damage…. just describe it to us by phone or email. We take your word for it and get another out to you right away. If you have an event that you are counting on the DeckProtect for, go ahead and use it, until the replacement gets there. Please email email@example.com