I am about to acquire a potbelly stove and was wondering if I should make a tiled platform for it to stand on or is it OK to have it stand on hardwood floor directly. The legs provide quite a bit of clearance from the floor, seems like. Will it be bad for the hardwood to have the stove standing on it or should I make a tiled area?


From the Vogelzang manual (pdf) available at the link you provided:

Stove legs must set directly upon the solid-surface non-combustible floor as specified in this stove instruction manual.

Hardwood is combustible.

  • I guess if I just put some sheet metal mat below the stove, that should be fine, what do you think? – amphibient Oct 27 '13 at 20:33
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    They used to make asbestos platforms, probably not anymore. A search reveals they're called hearth pads now, and come in materials from metal to brick to stone. You'll want to check your local codes before proceeding. – Wayfaring Stranger Oct 27 '13 at 20:39
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    No, sheet metal is not sufficient. – Fiasco Labs Oct 28 '13 at 2:07
  • The sheet metal will get hot and burn the floor. Try making a small bonfire in a pie tin on a piece of wood. It will be set on fire! – wallyk Oct 28 '13 at 3:20

There are code requirements on this. NFPA 211 is the code section you probably are looking for. The stove will either be UL listed and certified and have specific clearance and hearth requirements mentioned in its installation manual or be unlisted. So when we consult the manual for the Vogelzang Cast Iron Pot Belly Stove, Model# PB65XL, this kind of leaps out at you.


Unlisted stoves start having all sorts of requirements like having a fire resistant hearth underneath that extends 18" out in all directions from the stove perimeter, 36" clearance from the wall unless heat shielding is installed.

Sheet metal below the stove is not sufficient.

The hearth has to be a material that can give you protection from the floor and underlying structure igniting, usually sheet metal over the top of masonry and the stove must be constructed such that the firebox is 6" or more above the surface.

So, returning to the manual for this stove, we find:

The stove must be placed on solid concrete, solid masonry, or when installed on a combustible floor a solid surface floor protector listed to UL1618 Type 2 with a minimum of 1" thick and a R-value of 3.0 or greater, such as Hy-C or Imperial Model UL 5463BK must be used.

(NOTE: To calculate R-values of equivalent alternative materials, see page 15).

The base must extend at least 18" beyond the front, rear and sides of the stove, and must extend underneath and 2" beyond each side of horizontal connector pipe if it is elbowed towards a wall (see figure 5 and consult local building codes and fire protection ordinances.

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One such item that may fill the bill is the HY-C Floor Protector/Wall Board.

HY-C Floor Protector Manual for installation.

If you decide to DIY your floor protector, it basically has to be usable as an open hearth (resist 2 hour burn) and consists of a 2" thick firebrick platform overlaid with 24ga. min thickness sheet steel that extends out 18" from all sides of the stove. It also has to extend under the pipe to the wall.

Note: Depending on where you live, not properly installing a wood stove or not getting installation permits where required will void your home-owner's insurance where loss by fire started by the installation occurs.

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    Great answer. +10, and take the rest of the day off. – mac Oct 28 '13 at 15:38
  • my chimney is only i think 4" and it already has a ceramic liner (i think). do you think a 6" stovepipe can go into a 4" chimney flue? – amphibient Oct 29 '13 at 14:31
  • 4 inch chimney indicates you're replacing a pellet stove or natural gas heat, correct? Wood burning stoves must have a chimney that withstands much higher temperatures (600° F.) and also the likelihood of withstanding a creosote chimney fire (1200° or more). You will need to do some more research, but indicators say no. You cannot reuse gas appliance chimney's for wood heat at all, they were never intended to handle the stack temperatures wood heating runs at. (Pellet stove flue temp. less than 500°F.) – Fiasco Labs Oct 29 '13 at 15:10

Gotta remove wood and put down tile, pavers, something nice. I might even recommend using backer board for added safety. I believe they make pads for this purpose too if you don't wanna get into larger project (I don't they're very attractive).

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