How can I protect the wall behind a wood burning stove?

Answered by Brett Kulina ~ April 25, 2013 ~ No Comments

I am putting a free standing wood burning stove in my house. What do I have to do to protect the wall behind the stove? Thank you.

Wendy H.

Brett Kulina

Wendy, the best way to protect the walls near your wood burning stove are to make sure that the stove, and its installation, comply with all fire and building codes in your local area. Although a wood burning stove should never be closer than 36-inches from any combustible material, the minimum clearances for your stove depend on its specific make and model. If you purchased a new stove, it most likely came with very detailed installation instructions for you to follow. If you have an older stove, then I would consult a professional installer so that you can be sure that your stove is installed correctly and operates safely.

If you want to reduce the required clearance between the back of your wood stove and the adjacent wall, then you should cover the wall with a non-combustible material, such as sheet metal, brick, or stone. Keep in mind that you must leave a 1-inch air gap between the protective material and the wall, because without that gap the heat from the stove could radiate through to the underlying combustible wall. There are ceramic spacers available that are specifically designed for this type of installation.

Due to the potential risks of using a wood burning stove in your home, it is extremely important that the unit is installed correctly. Likewise, if your home does not already have a code-compliant roof or wall penetration for the stove pipe, then this is another situation where I highly recommend that you consult a professional stove installer. Remember, this is one home improvement project that has no margin for error.

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