Wood stoves are incredible inventions that are an effective way to heat your home and add to any room’s ambiance. However, as with anything involving fire, you must also take safety precautions. As a wood stove owner, you may be wondering what you can safely put under a wood stove.
There are many things to put under your stove to keep your walls and flooring safe. This includes pads made specifically for wood stoves, as well as concrete or other fireproof materials. These protectants can either be purchased or constructed on your own.
Your wood stove should add to your enjoyment of your home without causing stress, and protecting the area around it is a great way to do this. Keep reading to learn more about why it is important to protect the area near a wood stove and to learn more about some of the products that go under wood stoves.
Why do you Need to Protect the Floor Under your Wood Stove?
Wood stoves are a cozy and functional addition to your home, but they can also be dangerous. Wood stoves operate by burning firewood and producing heat as a result. This process means that high levels of heat and flames are often emitted from the stove.
Most houses are not built to withstand extremely high temperatures. If you do not protect the area around your stove, you can severely damage your flooring and walls.
Additionally, an unprotected area around a stove poses a severe safety hazard. If your flooring or walls catch fire, you could have a house fire on your hands that could result in a lot of damage or threats to personal safety.
How to Fireproof the Area Around a Wood Stove
When you begin the process of fireproofing around your wood stove, you will need to focus on two areas: the floor and the walls.
Both of these features need to be fireproofed up to a certain amount around the stove. This is referred to as clearance, and in the United States, you are required to have a certain amount of it.
In front of the stove door, you are required to have 18 inches of the pad before any other material begins. On all other sides, you must have 8 inches. Because of this, you must never put a stove directly against a wall.
Fireproofing Walls Near a Wood Stove
One of the most common ways to protect walls around a wood stove is by adding a wall shield. Wall shields are a protective covering over the normal wall surface and are often made from the following non-combustible materials:
- Sheet metal
Before installing your wall shield, look into your local building codes, as these will guide you on installing the shield.
You may also install a rear heat shield directly onto the stove. It will need to be custom-made for your stove and can cost more money than adding a wall shield as a result. However, it will reduce the need to make lasting changes to the walls of your home.
Fireproofing Floors Under Wood Stove With a Hearth Pad
The most common way to protect floors around a woodstove is by adding a hearth pad. You may choose to either build your heating pad or buy one. Hearth pads can be made from a variety of materials, but they all must be non-combustible.
How Thick does a Hearth Pad need to Be?
A hearth pad needs to be at least 2 inches thick to protect your floor fully. If your wood stove already stands on a raised platform, the hearth pad could be thinner, but you will need to verify this with building codes in your area.
Where to Buy a Hearth Pad
If you choose to buy a hearth pad, your best option may be to contact the manufacturer of your wood stove directly. They will guide you on where to buy a hearth pad and tell you if they manufacture any themselves.
If you choose to buy a hearth pad from a third-party source, make sure that the pad is compatible with your stove. This can include meeting the following requirements:
It may be more expensive to buy a hearth pad rather than build one, but it will save you time and require minimal installation effort.
How to Build a Hearth Pad
Building a hearth pad can be a good option as it will save you money and result in a product that perfectly fits your wood stove.
If you choose to build a hearth pad, you will need to measure the space around your stove and buy materials to fit these dimensions. You will also need to invest in construction materials, such as grout to help adhere your hearth pad to the floor.
It may be helpful to consult construction experts before you build your hearth pad. They can provide insight on building a pad that works well for your space and follows safety guidelines.
How to Build a Raised Hearth For Your Woodstove
Another option is to build a raised hearth. This will further protect your floor from the heat emitted by your stove.
If you build a raised hearth, make sure that it is in a shape that works well for the room’s space. For instance, if your stove is in a corner, consider constructing a triangular raised hearth.
The main consideration when you build a raised hearth is that it can bear the weight of your stove. Use sturdy and non-combustible materials to build the platform. Ideal materials include brick and stone. Avoid using wood, as this is flammable and will likely not be strong enough to hold the stove.
Even if you build a raised hearth, you will still need to have some form of hearth pad. However, it may not need to be as thick as a hearth pad on an unraised hearth.
Choosing Materials for Your Wood Stove Hearth Pad
Whether you choose to build a hearth pad or buy one, you will need to consider what type of material you will use. Hearth pads can be made from various flame-resistant materials, and each has its unique advantages and disadvantages.
Backer Board Foundation
Backer board foundation is heat-resistant and sturdy, making it a good choice for a hearth pad. You may need to purchase multiple sheets and cut them in the dimensions of your stove.
Cinderblock Fireproof Mats
Cinderblocks are taller than many other commonly used materials, making them a good fit for stoves with no legs or short legs. You may need to apply mortar to affix the cinder blocks in place.
Firebrick is extremely heat-resistant and has an appealing, rustic look. An added benefit of firebrick is that it provides additional heating as it absorbs some of the heat from your wood stove and releases it into the room, acting as a heat sink.
Stone or Tile
Stone or tile is a classic choice and can be a good fit, provided that your stove has long legs or other support systems that create a lot of clearance between it and the floor. Stones and tiles can be styled to your preference and will require grout and other flame-resistant adhesives to install.
Gypsum Plaster Board
Gypsum boards can also be a good option, as some are made to be non-combustible and are fire-rated. They are also durable and can be a more cost-effective option than other materials.
Improving the Appearance of the Floor Under a Wood Stove
A wood stove is an important fixture in a house, and there are many ways you can choose to enhance its appearance, even with a raised hearth or hearth pad.
- Add grout around the tile for a finished look
- Design the hearth to fit the flow of the room while still meeting clearance regulations
- Add bathroom tile to the top of a cement board to add style
Even though you do have to meet safety regulations, this does not mean that your hearth pad has to be an eyesore. Many people install hearths and hearth pads that are pleasing to the eye and add a lot to the character of a room.
Wood stove owners know that these appliances come with many benefits, including increasing heat efficiency and cutting down energy costs. For those hoping to install a wood stove, there are many ways that you can make sure that the stove’s surroundings are safe and fire-resistant.
The most common things to put under a wood stove are raised hearths and hearth pads. Whether you build or buy, these add to the safety of your stove. Additionally, putting up a wall shield or adding a shield to your stove will further protect the area around the stove.
Regardless of how you choose to design your hearth pad, ensure that you are meeting clearance requirements and any applicable building codes. With some research, you will soon have an area around your stove that is fireproof and eye-catching.