Safest Place To Put A Chimenea

chiminea on a patio
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 200-1,000

A chimenea (or chiminea) is a free-standing, open-face, clay fireplace that needs to be placed in a low-traffic location so people won't brush against it and get burned.

Avoid Regular Movement

Chimeneas are heavy. When you bring a new one home you will want to locate its permanent location immediately so you don't have to move it again later. Moving them again is not encouraged. Clay chimeneas are quite brittle and can easily crack.

Flat Location

Find a flat, fireproof surface to place your chimenea. A base of flat stone or fire bricks would be ideal. Make sure the stone or firebricks are well set in a layer of sand or fine gravel. If the chimenea is on a wooden floor (a deck, for example), a wide area under and in front of the chimenea should be protected against sparks and falling embers. (Note: The chimenea will stand on a flat rock on the deck. It should not come in contact with the wood.)


The exhaust from a chimenea can be extremely hot and requires generous overhead clearance. Do not put your chimenea under trees or wooden roofs. Even if the trees did not burst into flames, the heat from the chimenea would kill the branches overhead.


chiminea in a yard

The body of a chimenea is the radiant surface so you will not want to place it in a cultivated area such as a garden. The heat would devastate the plants. Long exposure to the heat of a chimenea could also sterilize an area of soil.


Equally vulnerable are plastic items. Plastic patio furniture, plastic fences and even plastic wheelbarrows can be deformed by the heat from a chiminea. In rare instances the insulation in electrical wiring has melted enough to cause short circuits.


Do not set a chimenea too close to a wooden structure. If wood gets hot enough, it will scorch and may even simmer or burst into flames.

Low Traffic

It isn’t always obvious that a chiminea is burning and hot. Make sure you place it where few people walk and place a fire guard or low fence around it. This will stop people from bumping into it and getting burned.

Clay Chimeneas

Clay chimeneas are vulnerable to water. Do not put a clay chimenea where it will be splashed with water, certainly not outside without protection from the rain. A clay chimenea should come with an iron stand. Make sure that wherever you put it, you use the stand.

Cast Iron Chimeneas

cluster of chimineas

The only enemy of cast iron chimeneas is also water. A hot cast iron chimenea suddenly drenched in water can literally explode. A more insidious threat is rust.

Gas Chimeneas

Although gas chimeneas can be controlled you should treat them with the same caution as other chimeneas. Pay attention to where the gas supply is and make sure the pipe is in a conduit to protect it from direct heat.

An ideal position for a cast iron chimenea is probably the corner of a brick room, on a brick or concrete floor with the exhaust being vented through a wall to the outside. This would not work with a clay chimenea.