Installing a wooden mantel above a wood-burning stove


With the wood-burning stoves resurgence showing no sign of slowing down, the humble stove now has interior design trends attached to it.

One of the biggest stove decor must-haves at the moment is the wooden mantel, which is often in the form of a piece of reclaimed or salvaged timber.

The difficulty with this is that the relevant building regulations state that a standard uninsulated flue pipe must be positioned at least three times its diameter away from combustible materials.

So, wood being a combustible material, a wooden mantel would need to be at least 450mm (18 inches) from a 6-inch flue, which isn’t always practical.

Heat shield

One way to overcome this is to use a heat shield, usually in the form of fireboard. This should still be positioned at least one-and-a-half times the flue’s diameter away from it. There should also be an air gap of at least 12mm between the shield and the mantel.

Some stove fitters are prepared to fit the heat shielding around the flue rather than close to the mantel to avoid spoiling the aesthetics of the wood. But it is worth noting that this a matter of contention and other fitters maintain that this approach is not compliant with building regulations.

You can read the building regulations for yourself here.

17 thoughts on “Installing a wooden mantel above a wood-burning stove

  1. I have a Victorian fireplace with a wooden mantle piece with wooden supports/columns. My fitter, without even seeing it is saying, “You cannot have woddeen mantle and that’s it. You will have to buy a stone one?”

    Is this true, or is it that he is just using the excuse so he can sell us a new mantle etc?


    • Hi Patrick

      You can have a wooden mantel as detailed in the article. Of course, the Building Regulations are subject to interpretation. You could contact your local building control office to get their take on it and find out what they would be happy to sign off.



  2. What if there is wall between the beam and the flue pipe,My stove recommends 3 X flue size 5″X 3 = 15 “”..stove is set back in fire chamber so can achieve this by measuring down to the opening then in to pipe or at an angle from beam edge to pipe ,but not straight up if that makes sense

    • Hi Alan

      Can’t quite picture the situation you’re describing, but if the beam is within 15inches of the stove, you will need to fit a heat shield.



      • With in 15″ of the stove or the stove pipe ,stove will be set back in fire chamber so not directly below mantel ,from bottom of mantel to top of stove is approx 400mm.
        ,I can use a double walled pipe on the stove pipe if need be to reduce the required distance .

  3. Just measured up from the top of the stove to bottom of where the mantle will be is 17″
    From the bottom.of the mantle to the top of the fire chamber opening 4″ the in to the stove pipe 11 to 12 ” = 16″

    Or does it not work like that

  4. Hi, I’m afraid I’m a bit confused: from this page I understand that a wooden mantle must be 465mm from the top of the stove, but from this ( I understand that the wall must be non-combustible for 1.2m above the hearth. So if I’m looking at a small stove, say 60cm height, would a wooden mantle need to be at 1.2m or 1.065m? Thanks loads!

    • Hi Annie

      It needs to be 1.2m above the hearth and three times the diameter of the flue away from the flue. So, in the example of a 6-inch flue, that’s 18 inches or 450mm.

      The distance to the stove itself will be given by the manufacturer, but it’s typically around 400mm. If you’re already 1.2m above the hearth, you should be fine for this distance.

      If you can’t work it so that the flue is three-times its diameter away from the mantel, that’s when you would need a heat shield.



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