What to Put Behind a Wood-Burning Stove

Are you planning to install a wood-burning stove in your home? Whether you are a first-time owner or an experienced enthusiast, you should know a few things about your stove's installation and placement. While these stoves provide warmth and comfort during the cold months, it's important to consider what you'll put behind them. Choosing the right materials for this space protects your walls from heat damage and adds aesthetic appeal to your living space. In this blog post, we'll explore the various materials suitable for behind a wood-burning stove and provide tips on choosing the right one for your needs. So, if you're you're looking for the perfect material to put behind your wood-burning stove, keep reading!

Safety Considerations for a Wood Burning Stove

Before delving into the materials you can use behind a wood burning stove, it's crucial to understand the safety considerations involved. Wood stoves can generate intense heat, and proper precautions must be taken to prevent fires and minimize the risk of accidents.

Clearances and Fire Safety

Maintaining proper clearances between the wood burning stove and combustible materials is crucial. The manufacturer's guidelines typically specify the minimum clearance requirements. It ensures that surrounding walls, floors, and other materials do not ignite due to the stove's heat. Check the stove's documentation or consult a professional to determine the appropriate clearances for your specific stove model.

Heat Protection

A wood stove can radiate a significant amount of heat, potentially causing damage to adjacent walls or surfaces. Protecting these areas with suitable materials is essential to prevent heat-related issues. The materials used should have excellent heat resistance and insulating properties.

Floor Protection

Aside from protecting the walls, it's also essential to safeguard the floor beneath the wood burning stove. While the stove may come with a built-in hearth or a heat-resistant base, additional floor protection may be necessary, especially if you have a combustible floor covering like carpet or hardwood.

What to Put Behind a Wood-Burning Stove?

Several materials can be used as a protective backing behind a wood burning stove. Each option has its advantages and considerations. Let's explore some of the commonly used materials:

Non-combustible Backing

Installing a non-combustible backing behind the stove is one of the most straightforward and effective options. It can be a non-combustible material like a metal sheet, such as stainless steel or aluminum. These materials have excellent heat resistance and can withstand the intense temperatures generated by the wood burning stove.

Heat-Resistant Wall Panels

Heat-resistant wall panels are designed for near high-heat sources like wood burning stoves. These panels are typically made from mineral fiber or ceramic materials, which offer excellent insulation and heat resistance. They are easy to install and provide an additional layer of protection.

Fire-Resistant Boards

Another viable option is fire-resistant boards, such as cement boards or gypsum boards. These boards are designed to withstand high temperatures and provide a fire-resistant barrier. They are available in various sizes and thicknesses, making them suitable for different installation requirements.

Tiles and Stone

Tiles and natural stone are aesthetically attractive options that can be used as protective backing. These materials offer excellent heat resistance and add a decorative touch to the space. When using tiles or stone, ensure they are correctly installed with an appropriate adhesive and grouting material.

Installing a Protective Backing

Once you have chosen the material for the protective backing, it's essential to install it correctly to maximize safety and effectiveness. Here are the steps to follow when installing a protective support behind your wood-burning stove:

Preparing the Area

Before installing the protective backing, clear the area around the stove. Remove any flammable materials, furniture, or curtains that could be too close to the stove and pose a fire risk. Ensure the area is clean and free from dust or debris.

Wood-Burning Stove

Choosing the Right Materials

Gather the necessary tools and equipment for installation based on your chosen material. Follow the manufacturer's instructions and guidelines when selecting and handling the materials. Depending on the chosen backing material, consider any additional items needed, such as adhesive, screws, or brackets.

Installing the Backing

Carefully position the protective backing behind the wood burning stove, ensuring it covers the required area specified by the stove's manufacturer. Secure the support firmly to the wall or surface, following the manufacturer's instructions. Use appropriate fasteners or adhesives to ensure stability and durability.

Enhancing Safety and Aesthetics

While the primary purpose of a protective backing is to ensure safety, it can also enhance the overall aesthetics of the wood-burning stove area. Consider these additional options to improve both safety and visual appeal:

Adding a Mantel

Installing a mantel above the wood burning stove adds a decorative element and acts as a heat shield. The mantel provides an additional layer of protection by deflecting heat away from the wall or other combustible materials.

Decorative Heat Shields

Decorative heat shields are specially designed accessories that can be installed behind the stove. These shields are available in various designs and materials, and they help minimize heat transfer to the wall, reducing the risk of damage or discoloration.

Heat-Reflective Paints

Heat-reflective paints are an innovative option that can be applied to the wall behind the wood burning stove. These paints have insulating properties and reflect heat into the room, reducing the impact on the wall.

Maintenance and Cleaning Tips

Regular maintenance is essential to ensure the safe and efficient operation of your wood burning stove. Here are some maintenance and cleaning tips to keep in mind:

  • Clean the stove regularly to remove ash and soot buildup. Follow the manufacturer's guidelines for cleaning frequency and methods.
  • Inspect the protective backing periodically for any signs of wear or damage. Replace or repair the backing as needed.
  • Check the clearances between the stove and surrounding materials regularly to ensure compliance with safety regulations.
  • Have your wood-burning stove inspected and serviced by a professional at least once a year to address potential issues and ensure optimal performance.


Choosing the right materials behind a wood-burning stove is crucial for maintaining safety and protecting your home. Non-combustible backings, heat-resistant wall panels, fire-resistant boards, and tiles or stone can all be effective protective measures. Proper installation and regular maintenance are essential to ensure the longevity and efficiency of your wood-burning stove. By implementing these safety measures and following the maintenance tips, you can enjoy the warmth and comfort of your wood-burning stove while keeping your home and loved ones safe.

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