Making your Own Wood Stove Heat Shield

Is making your own wood stove heat shield actually possible?

If you’re looking to add a wood burning stove to your home, you may have heard that you’ll also need to install a heat shield.

Wood burning stoves can be a beautiful addition to your home, adding charm and a homely vibe. However, before you start using one, it’s important that you understand how to take care of them properly.

Using a wood burning stove incorrectly can increase the risk of fire and heat damage and decrease safety in the home. Let’s take a look at what heat shields are, why they are important and finally, how you can make your own. 

Making your Own Wood Stove Heat Shield

What is a Wood Stove Heat Shield?

Wood stoves require heat shields both under and behind them to protect your home from heat damage.

You might not know it, but your home is filled with combustible materials (materials that catch fire quickly). From building materials to electronic devices, every house is filled with them so it’s important we protect our home from extreme heat sources and that’s where heat shields come in.

So, what is a wood stove heat shield anyway?

Wood stove heat shields are panels made from heat-resistant materials such as vitreous enamel, which are designed to protect the wall behind a stove. Many wood burning stoves already have heat shields built into the design, but some do not. Before you decide to make your own heat shield, check your stove, and find out whether an external heat shield is required or not.

Why are Wood Stove Heat Shields Important?

Fire outbreaks are possible when your structure, and all those combustibles within, is exposed to excess heat.

On a wood burner the stove and flue pipe can get extremely hot.

A stove flue pipe can reach between 300F° and 400F°, or even hotter if the stove fire is burning. They have been known to get much hotter, particularly if the stove fire is burning fiercely.

Using a heat shield can significantly reduce the risk of a fire outbreak or any heat damage.

How to Make your Own Wood Stove Heat Shield?

Heat Shield:

When heat shields are installed onto wood stoves, it’s done using a non-combustible external jacketing. External jacketing could be made of metal, brick, ceramic tiles, stone, or cement board. These should attach to the sides and the rear of the wood-burning stove. Please note that there should be some spacing (around 50mm) between the heat shield and the wood stove for air circulation. The spacing will require the use of non-combustible spacers to help prevent fires because of the heat. Below we have listed some of the different types of heat shields:

Metal-Only Heat Shields: A clearance of around 25 mm is recommended.

Brick Heat Shields: Spacing of about 7/8 inch between the wall and the heat shield is recommended.

Ceramic or Cement Board Heat Shields: Ensure you have it installed by a professional. A clearance of around 25 mm is recommended.

Combined Non-Combustible Heat Shields: A clearance of around 25 mm is recommended.

What gets installed in your home will depend on the positioning of your wood stove, your preferences, and what works best for your situation.

Wall Shield:

Wood burning stoves have very specific requirements about how close they can be placed to combustible surfaces. In fact, many stoves are required to be 8 – 36 inches away from a combustible wall, but this depends on which type of stove you have.

When heat shields aren’t installed directly on wood stoves, they’re installed on nearby walls. This helps protect nearby walls and combustible items.

Drywall is combustible and therefore, not a suitable material to have behind the wood stove or for use underneath the tiles. 

How to install cement backerboard?

Remove the drywall

  • Using a drywall saw, cut right through the drywall
  • Remove all of the drywall within the 8-36 inches (or whatever your stoves manufacturer recommends).
  • Remove the drywall straight to the ceiling

Put up the backerboard

  • Backerboard is a concrete-based wallboard that is non-combustible, and it installs on walls similarly to drywall.
  • Test-fit the panels on the wall
  • Cut the panels to size by scoring the surface and snapping on the score lines.
  • Screw it to the studs, driving the screw heads just below the surface of the board.
  • Place fiberglass tape on the seams between the different boards.
  • Cover the tape with a layer of thinset mortar (same material you will use to install the tiles onto the backerboard).

Tile wall

  • Let the tiles dry for 24 hours.

Grout and Paint

  • Pack the grout between the tiles using a grout float.
  • Move the float over the tiles from several angles to ensure good coverage.
  • Clean the surface of the tiles well using a damp sponge.
  • Leave the grout to dry for 24 hours.

Now that the grout and paint are dry, your wall now is non-combustible, and you can therefore use your wood-burning stove safely.

As you can see, it’s not necessarily a quick or easy job. If you’re uncomfortable or inexperienced with larger DIY projects then it’s highly recommended you bring in professionals to ensure the best finish possible is achieved.

Why is Space Needed for Heat Shields?

Not allowing enough space between the wood stove and heat shield can stop the heat shield from working properly.

This is because heat is no longer shielded from absorption by combustible material. The surface will absorb or conduct heat right through the combustible material behind it. Therefore, causing damage and even fires.

Having heat and wall shields are very important when using a wood burning stove.

The damaged caused by the heat and the potential fires are not worth the risk. Having heat shields will help keep you, you family, and your home safe. Ensure that when building a heat shield, you follow the correct procedures and allow enough space between the stove and the shield. Having a poorly built shield can be just as dangerous as not having one at all.

We hope this helps and for everything else home heating, stick with