Installing a wood-burning stove

If you are thinking of installing a wood-burning, you have come to the right place to get all the information you need and the answers to any questions you may have.

At Gr8Fires, we sell, live and breathe wood-burning stoves… but we don’t install them. Our focus is on getting appliances to our customers at the lowest possible price. We leave the installation to the specialists. As such, the advice containing in this article is impartial. 

Although our strong preference is that our customers end up with an installation that allows them to use the stove they have bought from us efficiently, safely and successfully, we do not have any stake in the route they choose to go down when installing a wood-burning stove.

The information provided here is intended to be as useful as we can possibly make it, but it is only advisory. For questions that are particular to your installation, we would always recommend calling upon the services of a competent heating engineer to get answers to your questions.

Wood-burning stove installation terminology

If you are new to wood-burning stoves, you may come across some words and terminology that are new to you as well. We will attempt to explain these as they come up but, if in doubt, you might like to refer to our wood-burning stove glossary.

The legal considerations of installing a wood-burning stove

However you ultimately go about installing a wood-burning stove, it is vital that the resulting installation is completed in accordance with the law. That means the installation need to comply with Document J of the Building Regulations for wood-burning stoves being installed in England and Wales, Document G of the Building Regulations for boiler stoves being installed in England and Wales, and the equivalent local regulations in Scotland. You local authority’s building control office may offer additional guidance in relation to your installation.

Making sure that your installation is legally sound and verified as such by building control will help to ensure your household’s safety, make life easier when you come to sell the property, and avoid costly complications in the event of an insurance claim.

Learn more about making sure you comply with building regulations when installing a wood-burning stove.

The basics of installing a wood-burning stove

To simplify the process as much as possible, a wood-burning stove installation entails connecting the appliance to a flue system (like a chimney) in order that the stove can function safely and correctly. 

The flue system might take the form of a chimney, a flue liner that is fed down an existing chimney or a twin wall flue, which performs the role of a chimney in installations where the use of a chimney is impossible, impractical or undesirable.

In any case, the stove must be connected to the flue system so that air can be drawn into the stove to maintain the fire and so that smoke and gases can be drawn up the flue and away from the stove.

Learn more about a typical wood-burning stove installation.

Different types of wood-burning stove installation 

Fireplace recess installation

Perhaps the most common way of installing a wood-burning stove is to open up an existing fireplace recess and place a wood-burning stove within the recess. The chimney opening will be closed through the use of a register plate. The flue pipe will run from the stove and through the register plate, and usually be attached to a flue liner.

Inset installation 

This approach also makes use of an existing fireplace and chimney, but rather than opening up the recess to facilitate the wood-burning stove installation you simply slot an inset stove into a standard fireplace opening. This avoids the need for structural work as part of the installation. Learn more about inset stoves.

Twin wall flue installations

This is for installations in which there is no chimney in the property or the stove is to be installed elsewhere. This might includes a freestanding woodburner being used as a design feature in the centre of a room. When the use of a chimney is not possible or desirable, a double-skinned flue — with insulation between its two walls — can be used instead. Learn more about wood-burning stove installation with a twin wall flue.

Who should install your wood-burning stove?

The choices when installing a wood-burning stove essentially boil down to doing it yourself or having someone else do it for you. If you are thinking about carrying out your own installation, you need to weigh up your DIY competencies. If your bodge jobs tend to come crashing down in a month or two, keep in mind that this installation will require the safe removal of potentially dangerous gases from your home. It is also worth considering that you will need to arrange a visit from your local building control office to sign-off on your work and confirm that it complies with the Building Regulations.

If you are going to get somebody else to install your wood-burning stove, we would suggest you use a heating engineer who is accredited by a competent person scheme. These schemes include Hetas, Oftec and APHC. Installers who have joined a competent person scheme are able to self-certify their work, which means there will be no need to get the sign-off from the building control officer. Follow this guidance on finding a competent person to install your woodburner.

The cost of installing a wood-burning stove

Money is often the key factor in deciding whether or not a wood-burning stove installation goes ahead. The cost of your woodburner installation will vary depending on a number of factors including:

Whether you’re self installing or using an installer.

  • The nature of the installation.
  • Whether structural work is required.
  • The size (particularly the height) of your property.
  • Whether or not the flue can leave your property via a direct route.

If you’re working with an installer, we recommend setting aside a budget of at least £1,000 for installation. If you’re self-installing, an inspection from the building control office is likely to cost up to £250.

Calculate the cost of installing a wood-burning stove in your home.

The practicalities of installing a wood-burning stove

In addition to the type of installation that is right for your property, there are some other practicalities you need to consider before going ahead with your installation.

Smoke control area

If your home is in a smoke control area, there will be some limitations on your options when installing a wood-burning stove. You will need to install a DEFRA exempt appliance

Learn more about the restrictions and see some recommended DEFRA exempt stoves. 

Space around your stove

In order to install a wood-burning stove, you must ensure there is sufficient space for you to do so safely and legally. Learn more about how much space you need to leave around a woodburner.

Hearth

The need to install a wood-burning stove on a hearth is contained within the Building Regulations, which also detail requirements in terms of depth, choice of materials and size. Learn more about the regulations relating to hearths.

Grade of flue liner

Flue liners come in different grade of stainless steel. You can choose between 904 and 316 grade stainless steel when installing a wood-burning stove. 904 grade stainless steel is harder wearing and is considered to be the best option when burning coal or regularly slumbering your appliance.

Wood-burning stove or multi-fuel stove

We have referred throughout this article to installing a wood-burning stove. The advice is equally applicable to a multi-fuel stove. You will just need to decide what you want to burn on your appliance and choose the type of stove accordingly. See a full range of wood-burning and multi-fuel stoves.

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