How much room do you need around a small wood burner?
This article will explain how much room you need around a small wood burner. Although everybody loves to sit and watch a warm, cosy fire whilst it flickers away in your small wood stove, there are a few regulations that you will need to comply with to ensure that your stove is installed safely. After all, the fire in your wood burner can reach several hundred °C! You might be wondering how much room you need to have around a small wood burner, as it’s crucial that your stove isn’t placed too close to any other surfaces, for obvious reasons!
Sifting through lengthy official documents can be confusing, overwhelming, and quite frankly boring! That’s why we’ve done that bit for you. As a result, we’ve put together this guide to make it quick and easy for you to find out how much room you need around a small wood burner.
There are 4 main factors to consider:
- The distance between your small wood burning stove and any combustible materials.
- The distance between your small wood burning stove and any non-combustible materials.
- The size of your hearth.
- How your flue pipes are going to be arranged.
In this article, we’ve also suggested a few solutions to help you install your small wood burning stove into an especially small space! If you don’t have much room around your small wood burner, then it’s definitely worth taking a look at our heat shield options, and our custom off set kit for your flue pipes, and you can read more about these options below!
How Much Room You Need Around A Small Wood Burner – Combustible Materials
Firstly, the distances that you’ll need to maintain between your small stove and any combustible materials, such as wood, are probably the most important thing you’ll need to consider. Your tiny wood burner shouldn’t be positioned too closely to any combustible surfaces, as the stove itself can get very hot. You also don’t want to run the risk of any logs or embers falling out of the firebox when you go to refuel your small wood stove.
However, there’s no need to panic! As long as you keep your small wood burning stove at least 400mm away from any combustible material – and providing that you take the appropriate care and attention when it comes to lighting, refuelling and operating your stove – then you don’t have anything to worry about.
You can find more guidance on how to use your small wood stove by visiting our help section, or by reading the instruction manual for your Hobbit, Hobbit SE or Little Range Cook Stove. To help prevent any fuel from falling out of your stove when you go to refuel it, you could also equip your Hobbit stove or Little Range Cook Stove with our coal bar option.
How Much Room You Need Around A Small Wood Burner – Non-combustible Materials
Even if your small wood burning stove is going to be placed next to a non-combustible material, such as metal, then you will need to position it a certain distance away from these types of surfaces. To comply with Approved Document J Building Regulations – and in order to get your stove installation approved by a HETAS installer or a building control officer – your small wood burner will need to be placed at least 200mm away from any non-combustible material.
The Hobbit is one of the smallest wood burning stoves that’s available, but you still might find it difficult to maintain this much room around a small wood burner depending on where you’re looking to install it. Our small wood stove is often installed in small Victorian fireplaces, but the Hobbit has also found its home in canal boats, shepherds’ huts, campervans, tiny homes, and lots of other small spaces!
Our heat shield option is incredibly useful if you’re looking to install your small wood stove into a particularly tight space. By equipping your small wood burning stove with heat shields at the sides and at the back, you will halve the amount of room that you need to maintain.
This means that you can then position your stove 200mm away from combustible surfaces, and 100mm away from non-combustible surfaces. These distances apply to whichever side(s) you have your heat shields fitted to – you might choose to have a heat shield on just one side of your stove, or just at the back, or you might choose to have heat shields on both of the sides and at the back of your small wood burning stove!
It’s worth noting that these distances are measured from the body of the stove itself, rather than from the heat shields. So this option really enables you to squeeze your small wood stove that bit closer to your walls, without compromising on safety. You can see what they look like below.
If you’ve already purchased a Hobbit stove and you’re looking to move it somewhere where there won’t be as much room around your small wood burner, then our heat shield option can still be retrofitted to your existing stove! Please feel free to contact us, so that we can talk you through the process of how a new set of heat heat shields can be fitted to your existing Hobbit stove.
If you’re fitting your small wood burning stove into a small fireplace, then you might need to pull your stove out of the recess slightly to ensure that you have a good flow of air around your stove. You can check out our fireplace installation document for more information about fitting your small wood stove into a fireplace, and this document will also show you the clearances that you will need to maintain. You’re also more than welcome to email us a photo of your fireplace with some measurements, and then we can advise you on how a Hobbit stove or a Little Range Cook Stove can be installed into your fireplace!
On the other hand, if you’re looking to install your small wood burning stove into a cabin, a garden room, a summer house or a shepherd’s hut which has wooden walls or cladding, then you can also shield this combustible surface so that your small wood stove can be installed into a tighter space.
You can achieve this by fitting some fireproof boarding or hardiebacker board onto your wooden surface. Either material is fine as long as it’s at least 25mm thick. This can be positioned in front of your wooden surface by using some spacers on a 12mm air gap. This is one of the most common ways to install a small wood burning stove into this type of space, and you can quite easily source these types of materials from Vitcas, which is a manufacturing company based in Bristol.
Alternatively, you might want to use a different non-combustible material which might look more attractive to you, such as wriggly tin. This type of material is becoming a lot more fashionable to use, and it adds a rustic flair to your fireplace. This makes it a great option if you’re looking to rent your space out as an Airbnb! If you’re lucky, then you might even be able to source these materials cheaply from Facebook marketplace, Gumtree, or from your local recycling centre.
Your small wood burning stove is also going to need some sort of platform or plinth to provide it with a flat, even and sturdy base for it to sit on. Your hearth will also need to meet certain specifications in order for it to comply with the regulations – our small wood stoves have to be placed on a hearth which is made out of a non-combustible material that’s at least 12mm thick. This is known as a non-constructional hearth, and this can be used for both the Hobbit stove or our Little Range Cook Stove.
Your hearth can be made from any of the following non-combustible materials, or there might even be other non-combustible materials that you can use which we haven’t covered! You can source these materials new, but it’s better for your pocket and for the planet if you can source second-hand or reclaimed materials to stop them being thrown away! Your hearth could be made from any of the following materials, providing they’re at least 12mm thick:
- Metal sheeting
- Patio tiles
Whatever non-combustible material you decide to use, you will need have at least 225mm of room from the front of your stove to the front of your hearth. This can be measured from the stove doors rather than the footplate, which sticks out a bit further. We would also recommend you to have at least 150mm of hearth space at either side of your small wood stove.
After you’ve figured out how much room you’ll need to have around your small wood burning stove, then you’ll also need to consider how your flue system is going to be arranged, as this will also determine where your small wood stove can be situated. This is because there is a certain amount of room that you will need to maintain around your flue pipes too.
Our single wall vitreous enamel flue pipes by Midtherm can be positioned 3 times their diameter away from combustible surfaces, and 1.5 times their diameter from non-combustible surfaces. This means that if you’re using flue pipes with a 100mm/4” diameter, then these pipes can be positioned 300mm away from combustible materials and 150mm away from non-combustible materials.
Due to these distances, your flue pipes might not be able to exit straight up from the top of your small wood burning stove and through the section of roof directly above it. Although this would be the easiest way to install your small wood stove, this isn’t always feasible if your flue pipes are going to be positioned very close to other surfaces, or if they’re going to be positioned close to a window.
If you find yourself in this situation, then make sure you take a look at our custom off set kit. All you need to do is select the angle of elbows you need, and any particular lengths of flue pipe, and this can easily be added to your cart with a few simple clicks. If you’re not sure about what angle of off sets you’ll need, or what lengths or flue pipes you’ll need, then feel free to email us some details and a picture of where you’re looking to install your small wood stove, as we offer a bespoke flue consultancy service free of charge! You can visit our contact page to drop Mark an email, or you can call our office to talk through how your small wood burning stove can be installed.
On the other hand, your twin wall flue parts can be positioned just 50mm away from combustible materials, as these components are well-insulated. If you find that a single wall flue system would not be possible due to the space that you will need to maintain between your flue parts and any combustible or non-combustible surfaces in your room, then substituting these parts with twin wall flue components might solve this problem!
Alternatively, you might want to consider exiting through the wall of your structure, before going straight up in twin wall flue. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that twin wall flue parts are considerably more expensive than single wall flue components, and you might have a preference of one over the other when it comes to the aesthetics – some people prefer the slimline appearance of single wall flue parts, whereas others prefer the stockier look of twin wall flue.
We’ve designed a wide range of installation kits for your small wood burning stove, so that you can get your tiny wood burner installed quickly and easily, regardless of whether you’re looking to install it into a shed, a Victorian fireplace, a campervan, shepherd’s hut, tiny home, garden room, or a canal boat! Most of our flue kits exit your small wood burning stove in single wall flue, but there’s also some twin wall flue kits and wall exit kits to fit almost any type of installation.
If you would like to arrange your flue kit differently, or if you have any questions when it comes to installing your Hobbit stove or Little Range cook stove, then please do not hesitate to contact us! We love hearing about each and every project where you might be looking to incorporate one of our small wood burning stoves.