An efficient wood burner can heat your home while lowering your heating bills and creating a cozy atmosphere. A well-designed heat shield may significantly provide wall protection from long-term heat damage. It also minimizes required air space for wood-burning installation while ensuring safety.


Around a wood stove, bare wood or sheetrock walls pose a fire threat. You require fire-resistant wall protection to remove the danger of fire.

The best wall protection assists the stove in radiating heat into the room without causing damage to the wall. The space generated between the heat shield and the wall inhibits heat transmission from the shield. It is customary to place fire-resistant wall spacers above wall shields rather than above them.

Clearances, Precautionary Measures, and Regulations

Wood studs buried under the drywall must be at least three feet away from a radiant wood-burning stove. The minimum three feet distance is necessary on all sides of the wood-burning stove. Therefore the required open area for a wood stove installation may be significant. The most common way to reduce clearance is to install a heat shield around the wood burner.

The National Fire Protection Association recommends a minimum of 36 inches between the stove and combustible walls, furniture, and other things. However, you may lower the distance by using a non-combustible heat screen to protect your walls. 

With such a shield, you may reduce the separating area to as little as 18 to 12 inches. However, you must keep the heat shield a few inches away from combustible objects for safety reasons. The shield material may get quite hot while the stove operates. 

To solve this problem, buy ceramic spacers from a wood fire supply store and fasten them to the wall with a drill. 

You’ll get detailed installation instructions from your wood-burning stove manufacturer that include all essential safety measures. If these instructions are unclear, see an expert.

Concept of the Heat Shield 

Understanding a heat shield’s basic concept is crucial. Directly attached brick, tile, or stone do not operate as a heat barrier. Heating masonry is slow, but it rapidly transfers to the wall once heated. 

A heat shield must have an air gap between it and the wall, with top and bottom apertures for airflow. Unlike brickwork, air space allows heat to escape harmlessly into the surrounding environment.

If your walls are combustible, you may install a barrier to reduce the stove’s clearance. Your local building regulations will dictate how to install it and how much distance it requires. Construct the heat barrier with non-flammable materials like sheet metal. Construction professionals usually mount the heat shields on spacers, 1 inch (2 cm) from the wall.

Add a rear heat shield to a stove to limit clearance while protecting the walls. This feature isn’t available for all stoves since you must install a heat shield for each one.

Clearance of Stovepipes

Clearance does not stop at the stove. If any portion of your stove pipe is not enclosed by a chimney or otherwise covered by a heat shield, it should have the exact clearance as the stove itself. After all, the stovepipe is a heat source. A not insulated stovepipe may pose a fire threat to humans and inside pets alike.

5 Wood Burning Stove Wall Protection Ideas

While there is no question that wood-burning stoves may be an excellent source of heat during the winter, you must be conscious of the impact they have on the inside of your house. Installing wall protection is the most excellent approach to protect your walls from severe temperatures and to limit their wear and tear. However, several heat shields are available, ranging from bare heat shields to complex built-in thermostats. The following are five suggestions for excellent wood stove wall protection.

1. Heat Shield Made of Sheet Metal

Sheet metal is likely the most straightforward heat shield material to work with since metal is an inexpensive and excellent conductor of heat. Several prefabricated metal heat shields are available for purchase and assembly with minimum effort. Additionally, you may purchase 29-gauge sheet metal and fabricate your heat shield. 

Stainless steel is the most often used material in this area, and it, like stainless steel in the kitchen, is simple to clean. Ensure, however, that you use ceramic spacers to safeguard your walls.

A classic example of metal wall protection for a wood-burning stove is the fireback. A metal fireback protects a wood-burning stove’s wall. Because cast iron transmits and radiates heat slowly, a fireback works as a heat screen. 

Some old firebacks have a crack after decades of use. You may still use a fractured fireback as a wood stove heat barrier. The fracture will not reopen, and the fireback will continue to serve as a protective barrier.

The 29-gauge sheet metal is the most straightforward heat shield and covers all wall areas within 36 inches of the wood-burning stove. You can have the following air space using a metal heat shield:

  • 67 percent reduction on the side and rear clearances
  • Reduce the clearance distance at the top by 50%

Pro Tip: At least one inch of air space must exist between the sheet metal and the wall, and the substance used as a spacer between the metal and the wall must be non-combustible. Suppliers of woodstoves provide packs of ceramic spacers specifically for this purpose.

2. Heat Barrier Made of Brick and Stone

Exposed brick and stone are attractive, stylish, and adequate heat barriers. These are strong, environmentally friendly materials, but they may be more costly and time-consuming to install than metal. While metal absorbs heat rapidly and keeps it, masonry absorbs heat slowly. It slowly releases it, keeping your home’s temperature safe.

A brick wall shield has a warm, rustic appearance; but, cleaning soot and dust off bricks requires a little more effort. Brick wall shields may be constructed entirely of genuine brick or with a veneer of cultured brick. Additionally, the veneer is available in various other stone varieties, including slate, fieldstone, and ledge stone. 

Home improvement professionals use mortar to apply both the brick and veneer. Typically, the brick veneer must adhere to a metal lathe-covered backing board.

Pro Tip: Using a brick and stone shield may significantly minimize side and rear clearances. Construction professionals recommend that your wall(s) should have an air space of 7/8 inch thick from the brick heat shield. There should be an air gap between the heat shield and the wall.

3. Ceramic Tile and Equivalent Noncombustible Heat Shield

Tile shields function similarly to brick and stone. Still, installation is as easy as covering a cement board with ceramic floor tiles and gluing them down with a heat-resistant epoxy resin. As with other heat shields, use ceramic spacers to separate the board from the wall. A ceramic tile or similar is an example of this.

Utilizing ceramic tile enables you to create a colorful wall barrier. Additionally, ceramic tiles are simple to clean. You must have a minimum of 1″ and optional air space as indicated below:

  • Reduce clearances on the sides and rear by 50%
  • Reduce the clearance distance at the top by 33%

Pro Tip:

  1. Place the ceramic tiles on a cement backer board fastened to the wall spacers.
  2. Utilize tile spacers between tiles to allow for grouting.
  3. Utilize mastic with latex adhesive to adhere to ceramic tiles. If desired, create patterns by using more than one tile color.

4. Combined Non-combustible Heat Shield With Tile and Metal Backing

Combining the two materials results in more durable wall protection than either element alone. The tile will provide an additional layer of protection for the metal, preventing rusting or bending.

The combination of tiles and metal provides superior insulation over either material alone. The metal will assist reflect heat into the room, reduce heat loss due to convection, and ease installation and maintenance. At the same time, the tile makes color possibilities available.

Its classification indicates a composite of components similar to ceramic tile, put on a sheet metal base. This form of heat shield allows for the creation of air space as mentioned below:

  • 67 percent reduction on the side and rear clearances
  • Reduce the clearance distance at the top by 50%

5. Combined Non-combustible Heat Shield with Metal Backing:

Using these materials within a home can give it a beautiful look! Combining metal and brick heat shields protects your home from high wood-burning stove wall temperatures. The backing sheet quickly transfers heat from burners while reflecting it away. On the other hand, bricks absorb more than they emit, assuring the safety of interior regions.

Your walls may have a 7/8 inch thickness with this form of protection. You can save up to 67 percent on the side and rear clearances using this method.

Residential Spaces Pro Tip:

Most small stoves are not UL certified. UL stands for Underwriter Laboratories, a safety organization. So you may need to follow the standards for unlisted burners in your local building code. If you use a heat shield to lower clearances in a project that must adhere to building requirements, remember that the heat shield cannot reduce clearances to less than 12 inches.

The five ideas for wood-burning stove wall protection we’ve shared in this blog post are just a few of the many ways you can protect your walls from becoming blackened and charred. Share these tips with friends, family members, or colleagues looking for some help protecting their home while enjoying the benefits of having a wood-burning fireplace. 

Do any of these methods seem especially helpful? Which do you think is going to work best for your needs? Comment below and like our page if you found this article informative and helpful!

Editorial Contributors
Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield is an experienced writer specializing in home improvement topics. He has a passion for educating and empowering homeowners to make informed decisions about their properties. Matt's writing focuses on a range of topics, including windows, flooring, HVAC, and construction materials. With a background in construction and home renovation, Matt is well-versed in the latest trends and techniques in the industry. His articles offer practical advice and expert insights that help readers tackle their home improvement projects with confidence. Whether you're a DIY enthusiast or a seasoned professional, Matt's writing is sure to provide valuable guidance and inspiration.

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