Q:

What is considered safe clearance for wood stove installation?

A:

Quick Answer

A wood stove requires a minimum 36-inch clearance from any combustible material on the top, sides, back and front of the device. If the stove is on legs, there should be a minimum of 6 inches of open space between the bottom of the firebox and the floor.

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Full Answer

It is possible to reduce the required clearances using fireproof shields. For stoves that do not meet the minimum height requirement for the floor, an appropriate shield is a layer of bricks, placed to minimize the space between them and covered with 24-gauge or thicker sheet metal. This shield should extend 18 inches beyond the stove on all sides. An Underwriter's Laboratory approved floor protector is an acceptable alternative, if the owner installs it according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Thin, noninsulating materials such as sheet metal, masonry veneer or drywall installed on the wall do not provide adequate insulation to reduce the clearance from the stove. Installing insulating shields reduces the minimum clearance from the front, back, sides and top of the stove to 12 inches on the shielded side. Proper shields include engineered wood stove shields or materials that provide at least an inch of air space between the shield and wall. Installing the stove correctly also requires following any clearance requirements for the flue.

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