How much space do you need to leave around a wood-burning stove?


You’re thinking about fitting a wood-burning stove and you’ve got the perfect space set aside for it. But have you left enough space?

Deciding how much room to leave around the woodburner is influenced by two main factors:

1. The law

Building regulations dictate that your stove must be positioned three times the diameter of the uninsulated flue pipe away from combustible materials. So, if you have a 6-inch flue, that’s at least 450mm (18in) from combustible materials.

You can reduce this to one-and-a-half-times the diameter away from non-combustible materials by using a heat shield.

If your stove is being placed within 300mm of a wall, and will sit on a hearth that abuts a wall, then the wall must be non-combustible to at least 300mm above the appliance and 1.2m above the hearth.

There is no legal restriction on how close you can place the stove to a non-combustible surface, such as brick. However, that might be restricted by…

2. The manufacturer’s guidelines

Your stove manufacturer will often give guidance on how far away the stove should be positioned from combustible materials to the front, back and side. This information can usually be found on the back of the appliance and in the stove manual.

You might also find additional recommendations on how much space should be left from non-combustible surfaces. If no information is given by the manufacturer, a space of at least 80mm is advisable in order to allow air and heat circulation away from the stove.

Struggling for space?

If you’re finding it difficult to meet the minimum clearance recommended by a particular stove manufacturer, a possible solution is to fit a cassette stove or inset stove. These are designed to slot snugly into a recess and generally need much less space around them than traditional wood-burning stoves.

A good example of this is the Arizona Denver…

Make sure you’ve considered all the possible costs associated with wood-burning stove installation.

37 thoughts on “How much space do you need to leave around a wood-burning stove?

  1. What about in a caravan if i lined the walls with some kind of metal plate rigged to reflect or sum tiles pretty tight space

    • Hi Michael

      As long as you’re allowing for air gaps (as per the Building Regulations) that should work, as would vermiculite board.

      Best to double-check with Building Control or a competent installer, though.



  2. Hello
    We have installed a fireplace and a wooden beam for the mantel in our lounge. We have had 3 HETAs engineers visit to provide a quote for installation of a woodburner and all 3 have said the wooden beam is too low and we need to move it higher. I can not find anything to sat what the minimum distance is. Can you help?

  3. Hello,
    We are finding it all pretty confusing and would like your help. Our wood burner will be positioned on an inside wall that already has a constructional hearth. This wall is brick construction with a non-combustible fire board facing. How close can the burner be situated to this wall? If we fit a heat shield, do we have to have twin walled flue all the way down to the stove? What we want is the fire back to the wall with a single flue, but can we have this please?

    • Hi Lynn

      There is no legal restriction on how close to a non-combustible surface you can place a stove, so the only restriction would be the manufacturer’s guidelines for your appliance. We’d recommend leaving at least a space of at least 80mm to allow air circulation.

      So, if the only reason for a heat shield was proximity to that non-combustible fireboard, you shouldn’t need one and single wall flue should be fine.

      Feel free to give us a call on the number at the top of the page to discuss in more detail.



  4. I have just had installed a multi fuel stove with clearance of 3.5inches at the sides and 5 inches above. It’s stood on a stone hearth with brick sides, metal top. Is this enough space, is it legal?

  5. Hi,
    I’ve a prime spot in the conservatory for a stove. I’ve worked out that after going through the conservatory roof, the flue will be within a couple of inches of the guttering on the outside house wall. Difference in conservatory roof height to gutter about a meter. The roof slopes away from where the flue is to be.
    My question is, there’s a sky light in the roof about 2.5 meters from where the flue will be. Is this enough distance from a openable skylight window. And aesthetically How far will the flue need to go past the gutter?

    • Hi Perry

      You should be OK. Document J of the Building Regulations states:

      Point where flue passes through weather surface:

      below (on a pitched roof) or within 2300mm horizontally to an openable rooflight, dormer window or other opening

      Clearance to flue outlet:

      at least 1000mm above the top of the opening.



  6. Hi I’m having a multi flue log burner fitted , I already have chimney and the brick recess opening , could you tell me what size air flow gap I should leave at the rear of the log burner

  7. Hi Gr8,

    I’ve been looking around for info on placing a stove in the corner of a room – it would be brick/plaster to either side (so non-combustible) but the building regs state a required hearth should be 840×840 (presuming sitting 90 degree perpendicular to a wall) but I can’t find anything relating to corners. Can you advise?


    • Hi Lawrence

      We’re not aware of any body that would do that. You could contact a competent installer to take a look for you, but it’s unlikely they’d be able to sign-off on anything because your installation would not be covered by Document J of the Building Regulations.



  8. Hi Gr8
    I’m building a house and have a stove fitted the building control officer says that my stove is to close to the timber frame , the stove is 160mm from the walls in a corner and the stainless single skin from the stove to the twin wall is 330mm from the walls . The stove has no heat to the sides and the rear it’s a modern stove about 1200mm high with a void at the bottom.
    If I fit a vermiculite board would this be sufficient.

    Look forward to your response.


    • Hi Nigel

      It’s the building control officer’s opinion that will matter in the end, so probably best to give him a call and see if that would satisfy him.



  9. I have taken our wood burner out of the kitchen fireplace which had quite a large opening, when it was installed they put a piece of flue pipe over a mitre long through a plate into the chimney, I want to install it in the lounge which is also a brick fireplace but is much lower with a much smaller opening prob only a foot square and the pipe is too long as the chimney starts forming lower. Can you put a shorter length in

    • Hi Ian,

      There is no minimum or maximum restriction on the flue length you use (as long as doing so doesn’t contravene the Building Regulations in any way).



  10. Hi, I can’t see where in the part-J the 450 mm is specified – can you help me see where I missed it?

    Also, isn’t 1.5x pipe diameter the distance from the flue to a non-combustible shield when protecting a combustible material (fig 19) rather than the distance from any non-combustible? (ie the flue could run nearly touching a non-combustible chimney breast I think?)

    Sorry to nit-pick, but I’m trying to get a good handle on the rules ready to do a DIY installation.


    • Hi Peter

      You’re right: the 450mm referred to a standard 6-inch flue installation, so the article has now been amended to reflect this more clearly.

      And, yes, the sentence on 1.5x diameter was incorrect. The one that followed – ‘There is no legal restriction on how close you can place the stove to a non-combustible surface, such as brick’ – is correct.



  11. hi i have a opening of 22.5 inches and a stove which is 17 inches.
    My stove requires a 6inch gap either side but obviously i cant have this so would it be ok to put a bigger gap at the back and top to make up for the small air space at the sides.
    kind regards Ben

    • Hi Ben

      We wouldn’t be able to overrule the manufacturer’s guidelines – probably best to discuss directly with them.



  12. We have a log cabin where I want to fit a stove.
    I am going to line the wall behind the stove with stone to make it non-combustible but don’t know how thick this has to be to insulate the wood behind from heat and meet regulations – can you advise?

  13. Hello chaps, my daughter is interested in one of your stoves to install on a property she has just purchased. The last but one owner of the property had an expensive wood burner installed in to a traditional brick fire place and brick flue, unfortunately he removed the wood burner and installed it within his next property leaving the current owner to revert back to an open fire. My question is the previous wood burner obviously operated with a metal soffit plate closing the chimney shaft with one section of black flue pipe only and no stainless steel flue, i have smoke tested the brick chimney shaft and it draws correctly without any leakage, can i legally repeat the last wood burning stove installation without a SS flue being installed ?? Thanks Jonathan

  14. Hi I am having a multi fuel stove fitted, 300 mm away from the chimney beast which is concrete, then hardwall skim over the concrete, then I am getting slate cladding over that. Is this OK or do I need a heat shield.
    Thanks paul

    • Hi Paul,

      Yes, that should be fine to have 300mm clearance from that non-combustible material (slate). HETAS recommend a minimum clearance from non-combustibles of 150mm either side and 50-100mm at the rear of the stove.

      If in doubt, do also double-check with your registered installer or Building Control to confirm they are satisfied to sign off the installation on this basis too.



  15. Hi there – wondered if you could please help! Having some trouble with plasterboard on the front face of the chimney breast and installer saying all needs to be angle grinded out to sides and above recess opening (not great!) Is Victorian breast constructed of 225mm solid brick. Brick has original plaster on it. We refurbished the room so builder put on dot dab plasterboard with plaster coat on the side walls and front face of chimney breast. We want a multi fuel stove (5kw) which only needs 12mm hearth. Could also give it a twin wall flue. What would be the distances to combustibles (I.e. the plasterboard on the breast faces behind plaster) in this case? Document J confusing as it basically caters for the old style stoves and new style stoves much better for surface temperatures. I can see 200mm distance to combustibles in 2.19 of ADJ. bit confusing here as lots of ‘ors’ and I’d say you only need to satisfy one as otherwise it would be ‘and’ or ‘and/or’. I see you also mention in replies above combustible walls (is plasterboard on plaster behind brick a combustible surface?!) to be 300mm above appliance and 1.2m above hearth if the hearth abuts a wall. We have a constructions hearth with 12mm tiles set into it. What about putting a hearth on top of that hearth which doesn’t abut the walls? Sure lots of people have this issue with chimney breasts that have been plasterboard over on the outside.

  16. Ive just had a ‘Burley Debdale’ Unfortunately I have damaged the stone hearth. Rather than remove the fire that’s just been installed. I’m thinking of putting tiles on top of existing hearth cutting around the feet of the stove. This obviously means the hearth is closer to the underside of the stove I can’t find any building regulations dictate what distance the underside of stove should be from hearth? Can you advise me. Thank you

    • Hi Karen

      It will be an non-combustible material so you should be fine. The manufacturer might specify a distance, but it’s highly unlikely the thickness of a tile would bring you to within that distance.



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