Wood Stove Installation

Before You Install

The proper installation of a wood stove is critical to the safety of your family. With solid fuel heat, you are bringing a dangerous element into your home. To avoid disaster, pay constant attention to safety practices - beginning with following all proper and safe installation guidelines.

  • Check with your local fire and building departments for installation requirements.
  • Check with your insurance company for new installation standards.
  • Check your stove for a recognized testing agency label for installation instructions. Follow those specific instructions rather than the general instructions found in this pamphlet.
  • Check the nationally recognized standards for installation in this pamphlet for stoves not listed by a testing agency. These stoves can be installed safely by following the directions.

Floor Protection

The floor beneath your stove should be protected from both heat and embers from the stove.

  • Floor protection should extend 18 inches in all directions to the front, rear and sides of the stove
  • If the stove is less than 18 inches from the wall, floor protection should meet the wall

Acceptable types of floor protection depend upon the length of your stove’s legs:

  • Legs two inches long or less - use at least four inches thick hollow masonry units; lay the masonry so air is allowed to freely circulate. The top of the masonry should be covered with 24 gauge sheet metal.
  • Legs two to six inches in length - protector should consist of two inches of solid masonry covered by 24 gauge sheet metal.

Distance from Walls

Stoves are designed to be used with a minimum clearance from combustible walls. In many cases, this clearance is 36 inches. When it becomes necessary to place a stove closer than this to the wall, a suitable heat shield must be placed between the wall and the stove. Any stove which requires 36 inches or less clearance to an unprotected combustible wall may be placed 12 inches from the wall if the wall is protected by one of the following means:

  • A 3 1/2 inch masonry wall space out one inch from the combustible wall
  • A sheet of 24 gauge sheet metal placed out one inch from the wall on noncombustible spacers

In both cases, it is of the utmost importance that a one-inch air space be left between the heat shield and the original wall and that the sides or top and bottom of the shield be left open to permit air to circulate.


Stovepipe is used to connect the firebox of the stove to the chimney. Since the stovepipe can become very hot, specific clearance must be maintained between the stovepipe and combustible wall. With no wall protection, stovepipe should be 18 inches from a combustible wall.

  • Using either type of wall protection previously described in this pamphlet, a stovepipe may pass nine inches from a combustible wall. With the stovepipe 9 inches from the wall, the wall protector shall be 36 inches wide with the stovepipe centered in the middle of the protector. This is necessary to protect the wall on both sides of the stovepipe. Other recommendations regarding stovepipe are listed below:
  • The thickness of the pipe should be at least 24 gauge (the lower of the gauge the thicker the metal)
  • It should be the same size as the opening on the stove
  • It should be as short and straight as possible
  • It should enter the chimney at a higher level than it leaves the stove
  • Male sections of the stovepipe should be fitted into the female sections so that the male section points down
  • Sections of the stovepipe should be fastened together with sheet metal screws
  • Single wall stovepipe should never pass through an interior wall
  • Single wall stovepipe should not be used in attics or other concealed spaces

Factory Built Chimneys Diagram of wood stove installation for prefabricated chimneys indoor and outdoor

The home owner who has a substandard masonry chimney or none at all may choose from several factory built chimneys. The desirability of one type of factory built chimney over another should be discussed with the dealer or contractor prior to purchase. The most important thing to remember is that the chimney must be able to withstand the high temperatures created by a solid fuel fire. Use only a chimney that has been tested and found to be safe by a recognized testing agency. Complete installation instructions are provided with each listed chimney. The instructions must be closely followed to insure the safety of the completed project.

The two most common type of factory built installations are illustrated. The critical points of this type of installation are where the chimney passes through the ceiling and the roof or where it passes through the outside wall of the house. It is essential that proper components be used as these points to maintain the required clearances.

To prevent downdrafts and fire from sparks, chimney height must be at least two feet above any roof surface within 10 feet horizontally.

Masonry Chimneys

  • If a wood stove is to be used with an existing masonry chimney, several precautions must be observed:
  • The chimney must be completely inspected by a qualified person. If there is any deterioration of the liner, the chimney cannot be used.
  • Be sure all unused openings have been properly sealed. Don’t be surprised by an old flue opening that has been paneled over.
  • If a single wall pipe is connected to the masonry chimney, it must pass through a ventilated thimble. The thimble must provide at least 18 inches of clearance between the stovepipe and combustible wall materials.
  • The single wall pipe must extend to, but not beyond the chimney liner. The thimble (not the stovepipe should be cemented in place with special furnace cement.

Mobile Homes

Wood stoves installed in mobile homes require special measures of precaution. Use only stoves and chimney parts tested and labeled for mobile home use. Follow the approved instructions for each unit closely.

Final Safety Note

Always remember - if an emergency should occur dial 9-1-1 as soon as you have safely removed yourself from the situation.