How to respond to burn marks on deck?

Our guest who just checked out used our charcoal chimney directly on the deck surface. The deck is old, but it still sucks that there’s now a nice burn mark there. What would you all do in this situation (confront guest via message, mention in review, request payment, etc.)?

Note that it clearly wasn’t intentional, they appear to have not been familiar with how to use a charcoal chimney, but they did not mention this to me (my cleaner did). They left the place other wise in good shape, and clean.

It seems you simply presumed that guests would know how to use the chimney or where to set it when hot.

If that is the case, that you provide no instructions, forget asking for payment or mentioning in the review. The most I would do is politely and in a friendly way educate them via private message so they don’t do this anywhere else in the future- it’s not just the mark, it’s a fire hazard.


Did you try to sand it? If it’s a surface burn, it might come out with some sanding. Otherwise, you’ll have to powerwash the deck and stain a darker color to hide that burn. I would also get rid of the charcoal chimney. You can send a request for payment to your guests through the resolution center. I would also send them the picture of the burn and explain the cost of repair.

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Thanks for the feedback. We didn’t penalize the guest for this because it was clearly an accident.

And I agree, we should include some sort of instructions, but also … you’d think someone would not build a fire 2 inches above a wood deck. Or wouldn’t try to use such a device if they didn’t know how. Oh well! :man_shrugging:


I can only tell you what I’d do which might not suit your hosting style. :slight_smile:

I’d put a large and tough tile over the burn and in the house tour say “Oh, if you’re using the barbecue, please put the chimney on the tile so that the deck doesn’t burn. Yes, I’ve had to do this because the tile is hiding a burn caused by a guest.” [Roll eyes]


Many people have no qualms about using things they have no experience with. Like guests who try to use a fireplace, have no idea that there’s a flue that needs to be opened, don’t bother to read the house manual instructions on using the fireplace, and fill the house with smoke. Then they try to carry the smoldering log across the room and throw it out on the porch.


You might try sanding the mark out then a little sanding on the rest of the deck. Doesn’t look like there’s any sealer on it.


It’s hard to tell from the picture how extensive it is. But if it’s just a scorch mark then it can be sanded off. And in time, and not long with winter coming, it will weather and blend in and you won’t notice it.

But if you’re willing to invest $20-40 then you could solve two problems at once by buying an under-the-grill mat. They go under the grill, of course, and are available in large enough sizes to both cover that current burn mark and also help to prevent further burn marks. This looks like a good one but it’s just an example:


This is unbelievable. [Yes, of course, I believe you. It’s an expression.]

Going forward this should be explained in a face-to-face orientation. Also, in the manual. I also leave a separate excerpt from the manual in a plastic protector sheet with the BBQ Supplies.

Thankfully, the damage was as little as it was.

I would endorse Muddy’s view and take a compassionate approach.

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Perfect. Agree this is situation for guest-proofing. Thank goodness they didn’t burn down the entire deck!


This is the only reason I’m happy the previous owners removed the woodstove from our place! Though I would love to add one back at some point. Having guests use it scares me.

There were there watching it the whole time, so that’s good. They just must not have realized what it was doing to the deck underneath it.

Back in the 70’s when I was young, all us back-to-the-landers had a type of cheap, thin-walled steel barrel-shaped woodstove, which wouldn’t be allowed anywhere now. I can’t remember what the brand-name of them was, but they were commonly referred to as hippie-killers.

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1: I would never have any appliance that can cause fires etc in a rental property. My rental doesn’t even have gas appliances. Renters are not to be trusted.
2: Is there a fireproof place that the charcoal burner can be used? A charcoal burner or any device that uses flames shouldn’t be on a flamable surface at all, certainly not on a well seasoned timber deck.

given all humans have a kitchen at home, and take hot things out of an oven, and are aware of the limitations of what surfaces can handle hot things, one would hope that this knowledge would transfer into broader situations.

This is what they called “process thinking” at school in the 80s (no doubt it has a fancy new term, for the same thing). It’s terrifying how dumb people can be, even with vacation brain.


No, no new name. From what I can tell they just scrapped it completely :rofl:


:smile: :laughing: :rofl: makes sense. No one can read beyond 122 characters either. Let’s hope we don’t have to start making dancing TikTok’s to share our house rules.


Or to get help getting out of bed :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

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It’s meant to be used on the grill. :slight_smile:

To be fair, Twitter allows 280 characters now. :+1: