Tiling a hearth for a wood burner

  • This topic has 14 replies, 9 voices, and was last updated 5 years ago by  b r.
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  • Tiling a hearth for a wood burner
  • Sorry if it’s been covered and yes..another wood burner related question.
    Wood burner, flue etc all sorted. Just struggling to find out exactly what i can and can’t do for a hearth.
    Nearly every wood burner I’ve looked at is either a solid stone hearth or if tile it’s first has had a concrete hearth shuttered and poured – but i can’t find anywhere why that’s required or if its just an aesthetic thing?

    Is there a reason that i can’t use thick tiles (min 12mm) or blocks directly on top of the constructional hearth?

    cheers

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    Under our old one I used a 3″ slab of gritstone as the hearth. It was the most enormous storage heater and worked brilliantly…edit: we just went and visited a local quarry, and they there and then sliced it up and helped pop it in the boot of the car in two halves. Cost was £100 I think.
    I also installed another on a slab of concrete, with heavy slate tikes directly onto it. Again, it was good as heat store, and 8 years later it’s all still there fine for our mates who bought the place.

    Thanks Matt – With the concrete/tile option did you pour a concrete slab on top of the constructional/builders hearth (assuming it had one) and if so why?
    cheers

    globalti
    Member

    A slab of local stone looks nice; you should be able to move it using a trolley then slide it into the fireplace on wood battens, withdraw them and drop it onto some sandy mortar. I wouldn’t do tiles; I’d be worried about them coming loose with the constant thermal expansion and contraction.

    trail_rat
    Member

    Tiles work fine its what we had when we moved in.. We changed it to rough slate though cause the tiles looked pish.

    globalti – yep, stone is the first choice, but also considering tiles – just trying to get to the bottom of what’s necessary if we do go down the tile option.

    Premier Icon slowoldgit
    Member

    My stoves bloke said a single slate slab might crack with expansion and contraction: best to make it with four. The joins go both ways through the middle, they aren’t obvious. That’s polished slate about 20mm thick. It’s bedded on mortar over the original hearth.

    If I were doing it again I wouldn’t use polished slate, it shows marks too easily. I’d look for (perhaps thicker) split slate. Or for this thirties house I’d investigate quarry tiles.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    It was old Victorian house – it had concrete base already. We added support underneath, poured extra slab directly on top of old, rough slab and fire hearth.

    Premier Icon Richie_B
    Subscriber

    A hearth is a base intended to safely isolate a combustion appliance from people, combustible parts of the building fabric and soft furnishings.
    The exposed surface of the hearth provides a region around the appliance which can be kept clear of anything at risk of fire. The body of the hearth may be thin insulating board, a substantial thickness of material such as concrete or some intermediate provision dependent upon the weight and downward heat emission characteristics of the appliance(s)upon it

    Taken from the relevant approved document of the building regs.

    It is usually taken that the hearth has to extend 300mm beyond the opening door of the stove to prevent sparks falling onto rugs carpets etc.

    In practice quarry tiles or similar should be fine as long as they are solid bedded on a solid substrate. If there is likely to be any flex in the substrate you will have problems

    Thanks for that – i’d found the guidance but was struggling with the concrete bit.
    Sounds like we have plenty of options – we have a concrete constructional hearth so no combustible issues so could theoretically tile straight onto that if it was in good nick, or shutter and pour for a higher, smoother surface to tile.
    If stone then slate in two pieces is the way to go.

    Right – just need to find a builder and a quarry…neither of which are that easy in South Oxfordshire.
    cheers all

    Premier Icon granny_ring
    Subscriber

    Black sandstone slabs from builders merchant?
    I used a 900×600 and 2 600x600s.
    Cant remember how much now but not loads, had to cut to size but looks ok and can take the heat.

    sharkbait
    Member

    Is there a reason that i can’t use thick tiles (min 12mm) or blocks directly on top of the constructional hearth?

    None at all, as long as you’re stove doesn’t excees the downward heat limit. I’m planning on using a 12mm sheet of glass on top of the carpet on my next stove installation.

    So really any stone slab could be used – sandstone etc?
    Just depends on what finish you want.
    Doing it cheap means you use slabs and risk it looking a bit patio-ish, expensive is the smooth solid stone slab – both do exactly the same job.
    cheers all
    Jim

    Premier Icon granny_ring
    Subscriber

    I did want to put a slate hearth down but the installer said it was more prone to flaking so recommended I use something else.

    b r
    Member

    If I were doing it again I wouldn’t use polished slate, it shows marks too easily. I’d look for (perhaps thicker) split slate.

    and this

    I did want to put a slate hearth down but the installer said it was more prone to flaking so recommended I use something else.

    We went to our local stone supplier and he also said the above, but my wife still wanted the ‘slate’ look.

    So he recommended we took a piece of shiny stone, buff it off and sealed it. It now looks like slate but hasn’t marked at all.

    Bloody heavy though, at 5’x 4’…

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