The Virtual Weber Bullet - Your best source for Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker information & discussion on the Web
Protecting Patios & Wooden Decks

Originally posted: 07/01/2004
Last updated: 09/26/2014

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This article offers some ideas on how to protect your patio or wooden deck while using the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker.

As on any of the pictures to view a larger image.

Undercar Oil Drip Pan

Undercar oil drip pan
Photo 1
Undercar oil drip pan closeup
Photo 2

A large-sized automobile oil drip pan—the kind you place on the garage floor to catch oil drips under your car—does a great job catching drips or spills from the cooker. It's also large enough to provide space for you to set down the lid and charcoal chimney without messing up your patio. In fact, you can light a charcoal chimney on the metal pan without scorching a concrete patio.

Made from galvanized steel, these pans resist rusting, clean up easily with soap and water, and can be stored away between uses.

Some people use a pan like this directly on a wooden deck. They report that there is enough air circulation around the bottom of the cooker that the wooden deck does not become scorched.

About $10 at auto parts stores.

Hot Water Heater Drip Pan

Water heater drip pan
Photo 3
Water heater drip pan in use
Photo 4

These aluminum pans are placed under a hot water heater to prevent leaks from damaging your home. They measure 24" in diameter and 1-3/4" deep, just the right size to hold a WSM.

Like the undercar oil drip pan, a hot water heater drip pan will not rust, can be cleaned easily with soap and water, and can be stored away after use.

David Ward sent in this photo of such a pan in use.

About $20 at home improvement stores.

Grilling Pad

Grilling pad
Photo 5

Made of fiber cement, these pads will protect your wooden deck from radiated heat or sparks. They come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes; most are about 1/4" thick.

About $30-40 at barbecue specialty stores, home improvement stores, and

Patio Paver

WSM on a patio paver
Photo 6

An 18" square cement patio paver will do a fine job of protecting a wooden deck from heat or sparks.

About $5 at home improvement centers.

Chimney Starter Safety Tips

Exploded concrete patio
Photo 7
Close-up of exploded concrete patio
Photo 8
Fire-safe bricks with chimney starter
Photo 9
Terra cotta flower pot saucer
Photo 10
Weber chimney start sitting on flower pot saucer
Photo 11

Never place a chimney starter on or near flammable materials like a wooden deck or dry grass.

Important: Never light a chimney starter directly on a concrete surface. Heat from the chimney may cause the concrete to explode, damaging the concrete surface and possibly causing physical injury.

Photos 7-8 from Greg Caesar of Houston, TX, show the damage caused by a chimney starter on his concrete driveway.

Safe locations to light a chimney include:

  • On the WSM charcoal grate
  • On the grate of another grill
  • On fire-safe bricks placed on your deck or patio (Photo 9)
  • On a terra cotta flower pot saucer without a drain hole (Photos 10-11)

Photo of WSM on hot water heater drip pan: 2005 by David Ward
Photo of WSM on patio paver: 2004 by Larry Davis
Photos of exploding concrete driveway: 2007 by Greg Caesar

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The Virtual Weber Bullet is your best source for Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker information and discussion on the Web. Popular with competition barbecue teams, the WSM is an easy-to-use water smoker that's equally at home in the backyard. See the WSM and its component parts; get recipes, usage tips, and modification ideas; check-out BBQ-related resources; and discuss the WSM with owners and enthusiasts in our online forums.
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