Introduction: Podium for a Wood Stove
Wood stoves are awesome! Beautiful, cheap and reliable. And they add that special kind of cosiness to a home. Do you agree?
With them, though, come certain risks that have to be addressed. Fire safety is something that I do not like to cut corners with. When you mess up with water pipes you get a flooding which is not too devastating. Electrical fails could be bad but still managable. Fire on the other hand has no room for errors. Once you make a mistake there probably woun´t be anything to recover. This is why I built this podium for my wood stove that is not only a beautiful decoration piece but also gives me peace of mind when it comes to fire safety.
I built this podium out of wood, special non-combustible boards and Fermacell boards. I decided to line the sides with old handmade red bricks for the looks and to increase the thermal mass. Total materials cost was around 100€.
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Step 1: What You Will Need
I´m going to write this in first person as your setup is probably going to be completely different from mine.
Firstly, I want to explain in a little more detail why I had to build this. As you can see the area were the stove will be is quite small. I built it this way because the flat is really small - only 17 m2 and there just is not much room. This created a problem because the stove´s manual said that it had to be placed 800 cm from a combustiable wall. Since the side walls are from gypsum board I had to come up with a safe solution. After consulting with the professionals I decided to build a little stand and line both walls around the stove with non-combustiable sheets. Alledegly this material is so good that " someone could fire a flamethrower at you and you would not feel a thing when standing behind a wall made of this material". Long story short it is pretty damn good at heat insulation. The wall behind the stove is a chimney and made from bricks so I did not add anything to it.
For materials I used:
- 3 sheets of calcium silicate boards.
"Calcium silicate board is an asbestos-free thermal insulation product that can withstand continuous high operating temperatures. It is a lightweight, low thermal conductive, high strength, easy to install, reliable and durable product."
- Some timber for the frame. I used 2X3 and 2X6 material. A total of maybe 1.5 m.
- Scraps of Fermacell board. This is kind of like gypsum board but much much stronger and it is also fire resistant. One sheet is more than enough. I used scraps from previous project.
- High-temperature adhesive. I used 4 tubes.
- Fireplace plaster.
- High-temperature paint
- A bunch of bricks :D
- Brick mortar
- High-temperature brick finish
- Screws and wall anchors
- Heat shield for the floor
Of course, you also need a wood stove and a place to put it. Believe it or not but this stove you see in the photos is cast iron and together with the metal pipes cost under 200€ (new)!
Tools needed are:
- Jig saw for cutting wood and sheet materials. Miter saw is much better for cutting wood but jig saw is OK as well.
- Paint roller, brush and a pan
- Sandpaper (120 grit)
- Cordless drill with a mixer
- Silicone gun
- Tools for plastering and laying bricks.
- Angle grinder with wire cup for cleaning and diamond cutting disc for cutting the bricks.
As I said before the total cost for my project was around 100€. 60€ of that was the silicate boards. One sheet of Fermacell board in my area costs around 20-25€ and a single old red brick would have cost around an euro (I used total of 35-ish). Even if I would have had to buy all these materials the total cost would still not have exeeded 200€.
If you do not have all these materials in your area I suggest contacting professionals to get some advice. I usually just phone a fire safety professional and ask. The sales people in my city seem to know alot too.
PS: the pictures do not show the actual tools/materials I used - they are for illustration!
Step 2: Build the Frame
First thing I did was to mark out the leg locations for the frame. I decided to also cut away the parquet flooring so that legs would be straight on the sub-floor. The parquet flooring is a bit bouncy because of the sound insulation and when you also add bricks there will be quite a bit of weight so it is better to support it on a solid surface. I was planning on building some sort of frame on top of the vertical posts (2X3) but this turned out to be unnecessary. Instead, I just put two 2X6 flat on top. Looking back I would have made the legs from 2X6 as well to add more support. The legs were screwed to the walls using anchors and the top was just screwed to the legs using 120 mm screws.
Step 3: Lining the Walls
Next up, I started lining the walls with Fermacell and calcium silicate boards. The very first thing I did was to cut the front face to size and then mark the frame location on the inside. This was really easy since I still had access from the top. I could have marked and cut it later but then I would have spent quite a bit more time on measuring. This piece was then set aside.
Next, I did the floor on which the stove will stand on. Since the calcium cilicate board is quite brittle I decided to add Fermacell board on top. As I mentioned before this material is fire-resistand but not as good as calcim-silicate. As this was only on the floor I did not bother too much since not much heat will be radiated through the bottom of the stove anyway. Some heat will still be radiated and that is why there is also the calcium silicate board underneath. After cutting both sheets to size using jig saw I glued them to the frame using construction adhesieve. At that point I had not purchased heat-proof adhesieve yet so I used a regular one.
After that I lined the walls around the stove with calcium-silicate and the firewood compartment with Fermacell board.This was done with adhesieve and screws. My initial plan was not to line the firewood area but it felt right and gave much better result.
As you can see on the right side I had to glue and screw a little extra lip on the calcium silicate board becasue I did not want any dust or stuff falling between the chimney and the wall. Construction adhesieve and lightly tightened wood screws seemed to work good on this board.
Step 4: Plastering and Painting
Next up, I plastered all the walls with coarse plaster. I had accidentaly purcased it instead of fine mud that I planned using on gypsum boards. Well, I guess there is something good in every mistake because it turned out to be perfect for plastering the chimney and the walls. It left a really nice finish.
The plaster was mixed with a mixer on a cordless drill. I applied the plaster with a mudding knife. After it had dried I did a light sanding with 120 grit sandpaper to remove some of the roughness and loose material.
Final step was to paint it all with heat-proof paint. I chose a light colour which probably was not the greatest idea since it is pretty hard to keep the area around a fire stove clean.
Step 5: Heat Shield for the Floor
This is a step that should not be excluded!
If you have ever used a fire stove you probably know that there is quite a risk of burning charcoal to fall out while adding firewood. For this reason it is quite important to add a heat shield right in front of the fireplace. This will prevent (or minimize) the chance of the charcoal coming in contact with combustiable materials when they fall out of the stove. There are a lot of different heat shields for the floors. You could use stone, metal or glass - there are probably lots more but these are the ones that come to my mind right now.
I chose metal one. It costed just 7 euros and conviniently came in perfect size for my setup! Attaching one is pretty straight foward as well. Add a bunch of adhesive beads on the under side making sure corners are covered really well. Try to make the beads small to get even contact with the floor all around. Add weights and wait until the adhesieve has set. Although I did pay close attention that the corners would get enough adhesieve I still did not seem to get enough under there and the corners are a bit loose. I think I need to add a tiny bit more with a thin tube to fix it.
You probably noticed that the firewood is quite close as well. There is a lip on the back of the heat shield to stop burning charcoal from reaching the firewood. Never the less one has to keep an close eye to make sure everything is safe.
Step 6: Finishing the Bricks
This, again, is not a must but it just adds a bit to the looks - just like oil to a beautiful wood (okay, that is a bad example - oil adds quite a lot to a nicely sanded piece of wood). I strongly reccomend contacting professionals to find out what finish can be used. In my case, it was Supi Saunasuoja by a company called Tikkurila (shoutout to Finns!). It is mainly used for finishing surfaces in saunas but in my case the surface would be really close to the fireplace. I was reccomended to do a really thin coat to avoid any suprises. Well, actually this thing will be absorbed into the brick like oil and not leave a layer like laquer does. I know it seems a bit funny in the pictures but I assure you it dries completely transparent.
Anyway seemed to work just fine. The surface on the bricks gets a little sticky when heating the stove but I have not notieced any changes in colour or anything like that.
Step 7: Additional Step : Bricks!
Well, you could call it finished if you like but I decided to go a little extra and add some old handmade red bricks on the sides. I had some left over from many years ago when I built a similar thing. Believe it or not but I got them from a old chimney that I pulled over using my truck!
As the bricks were covered in old mortar I had to first clean them. Hammer and light tapping seemed to remove bigger chunks of mortar and I used a coarse wire wheel to clean the rest.
Now I don´t think I am the right person to teach brick laying as it was my first time. As I could not add bricks to the back wall (due to lack of space) I could not interlock the bricks with each other. This would have meant that over time due to temperature changes the bricks would have come loose from the wall. My solution was to use brick mortar inbetween the bricks and heat-proof adhesieve between the bricks and the wall. I added 4-5 thick beads per brick.
It is also important that the verticals mortar caps would not line up so the bricks have to be cut. This requires an angle grinder and a diamond cutting disc. It is also quite a bit better if you have the big angle grinder like I do because then you can cut the bricks in one go. With the small disc you have to go all around.
The mortar I used was just a regular brick mortar for fireplaces. After the mortar has set for a couple of hours it is also important to wipe the wall clean with a wet rag. Otherwise you will have a thin layer of mortar on the bricks and this does not look too appealing.
Step 8: This Is It!
I, personally, am quite satisfied how it turned out. It is functional, looks good and most importantly is safe. I can now sleep peacfully knowing that I have done my best to make sure nothing will catch on fire. Of course, it is also super important to install smoke and carbon monoxide sensors and to have a fire extinguisher close by! I have done all of those.
I would love to hear what you think! Let me know in the comments below!
Again, it would make me super happy if you voted for me in the Anything Goes Contest. You can find the "vote" button after this step. Many thanks!
Thanks for tuning in and thanks for actually reading the article! :)
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