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Need help on a Wood stove hearth

j88hawk's picture

I want to frame out a 16" raised hearth for my new wood stove. Stove will go in the corner and I thought I would build the frame out of 2x6 lumber and 3/4 plywood sheathing.  I will then cover with cement wonder board and finish the hearth with a tile or brick veneer. Should I worry about the lumber under the cement board getting to hot? I planned to place a couple of vents in the hearth for air circulation. What do you think?

(post #175764, reply #1 of 10)

You're more likely to get a response to this type of technical question at the Breaktime forum which is associated with Fine Homebuilding magazine. House Chat is the forum for Inspired House magazine. Just click on the Breaktime link at the top of this page.

Good luck, Anne

(post #175764, reply #2 of 10)

I can't answer your question authoritatively.  But, I caution you on tile.  If you drop a log on it, it will crack easily.  You might want something more durable.

(post #175764, reply #3 of 10)

Just did a re-do of my fireplace and I used Cultured stone (Owens Corning you can check out their web) Their heartstones are approx. 19"x20" and about 2" thick. Easy to apply. I went over to the "Breaktime" chat (that's really where you need to go to get the scoop for questions like this) Got alot of great tips, and, it is a simple as reading the directions for the install

(post #175764, reply #4 of 10)

I built a 5' x 5' platform for my wood stove which is very similar to your idea.  I built my hearth/platform for my cabin which is located in Alpine, Arizona.  My platform, however, is only 7 - 8 inches high.  I used 2"x4"s (with the 2" side attached to the subfloor) to make a gridlike platform onto which I attached 2 layers of 1/2" OSB.  I used deck screws along with Simpson strong-tie connectors to build the platform.  The platform is basically a 5' x 5' square with one of the corners cut off at an angle.  On top of the OSB layers, I layed down 2 layers of wonderboard/cement backerboard.  I used thinset between the two layers.  On top of the wonderboard I installed 12" ceramic tile with a 1" grout line.  The tile has a reddish/rustic/stone look to it.  I also put the tile up the back two walls to a height of 3'.  On the front edges I used some 3/4" white oak to match the wood flooring.  The whole platform came out great.  I too was worried about the heat, howver, it is not even an issue.  The wood stove can have a roaring fire in it while the floor and wall stays cool.  One other note:  I used fire-resistant/rated drywall on the walls behind the woodstove platform.  Not sure if that was needed or not.   I'll see if I can find a picture of it. 


Edited 12/30/2004 9:09 pm ET by AZAHARCHUK


(post #175764, reply #5 of 10)

Thanks for the reply on the wood stove hearth. I have been searching for a concurring opinion on this project for over two months. The pic you sent did not come through the Taunton Press site. Could you email me directly with the pic? I have a very good idea of how I will build this project but it never hurts to look at someone elses work for ideas. or

Happy New Year!!



(post #175764, reply #6 of 10)

Lets's see if this works.....

This picture is before I installed the white oak flooring and trim.  I keep thinking it might look better if I add three more tiles to each side of the hearth....

Edited 1/1/2005 1:49 pm ET by AZAHARCHUK


(post #175764, reply #7 of 10)

This is something you should check with your local code officials before doing it. The installations described in two posts here do not meet approval in many jurisdictions.

Most codes I am familiar with require a non-flamable wall and floor. Those described have a non-flameable surface but not the structure behind.

The diff is that the heat can be transferred to studs or joists below and char them over time, lowering the temp at which spontaneous copmbustion occours. I agree that from a practical view, the floor generally stays cooler and safer, but I have had occasion to replace joists that were charred under one such installation.



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Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #175764, reply #8 of 10)

We put in a granite tile hearth for our wood burning stove. It's worked really well and has seen a log or two dropped on it. No cracks.

(post #175764, reply #9 of 10)

I agree with "piffin" about building codes.  I built a wood burner using metal studs as the framing and sheathed it with 1/2" cement board as the platform,(using screws designed for cementboard), then bricked over that.  Unfortunately the owner had me paint that beautiful brick!  

(post #175764, reply #10 of 10)

I concurr about the building codes. I recently ran across a site that listed the Kvalues for the materials I planned on using and they were inadequate. I have since redesigned the Hearth and will submit my drawings to the code enforcement officer for review. Thanks to all those who replied.