How to build a hearth for a wood burning stove

Many people are turning back to using wood burning stoves for heating their homes. It can be very cost effective, especially if you have enough land to cut your own wood. In your planning before the installation of the stove, you will need to find out the requirements and safety precautions necessary for a safe burning stove. Heat is a wonderful addition to a cold home, but heat out of control is a nightmare. Take the time to install your stove right the first time, and you will rest easy knowing the heat is under control.

Measure the area where the stove will sit. Because it has to sit out at least 90 cm (36 inches) from the wall, measure from this point out. A nice working size is 1.2 m (4 feet) out and 1.5 m (5 feet) wide. This will give you enough room for wood and fire tools that will always be around the stove.

Cut the plywood and the backerboard to the same size. Backerboard has to be installed because the tile can conduct heat to the plywood so the concrete in the backerboard will absorb it.

Screw the plywood in place. Spread some liquid nails over the plywood and then lay the backerboard over it. Screw it in place with the backerboard screws.

Spread a thin layer of thinset over a section of the backerboard with the notched trowel. Butter a little on the back of the tile and set it in place. Set the spacers on all the sides of the tile and install the next tile in the same way. Work in small sections at a time to prevent the thinset from skinning over.

Cut any tiles along the edges and install until the whole area has been tiled. Allow it to dry for 24 hours. Remove the spacers and apply the grout, pressing it into place with the float. Wipe up any excess grout with a large sponge. Let it dry again for 24 hours. Clean the tiles with a cloth rag.

Trim the hearth edges with wood trim to give it a finished look. Nail it in place with finish nails and Liquid Nails adhesive. The hearth is wood stove ready and heatproof.


Use rustic tile or stone tile. Install smoke detectors.

Things You'll Need

  • Plywood 1.8 cm (3/4 inch), 1.2 by 2.4 m (4 by 8 foot) sheet
  • Concrete backer board 1.2 by 2.4 m (4 by 8 foot) sheet
  • Backerboard screws (50 box)
  • Liquid nails adhesive, 1 tube
  • Electric drill
  • Thinset, 4.5 litres (1 gallon)
  • Spacers
  • Grout, 1 litre (1 quart)
  • Tile
  • Float
  • Trowel, 6 mm (1/4 inch) notched
  • Wood trim
  • Finish nails
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About the Author

Maryland resident Heide Braley is a professional writer who contributes to a variety of websites. She has focused more than 10 years of research on botanical and garden articles and was awarded a membership to the Society of Professional Journalists. Braley has studied at Pennsylvania State University and Villanova University.