The Wood Stove

There are few things I enjoy as much as sitting near a fire. The day we bought our house, I grabbed some stones and set up a fire pit in the backyard. That evening, we admired the stars, how quiet it was, and how happy we were to be home. The home had almost everything set up for a wood stove – the chimney was there, but we needed to put in the hearth and find a stove.

Before starting anything, we called out a chimney inspector to look at the chimneys in the house – one of them was being used for the oil based heating and the other would be used for the stove. We hadn’t used the heating system yet – it hadn’t gotten cold enough and there was water damage near some of the baseboards. The heating system looked pretty old and we knew it needed to be replaced or serviced.

Both chimneys were lined with clay tile. The chimney inspector told us the chimney for the wood stove had never been used, and the one for the heating system was cracked and should not be used. So we had the oil system removed (which freed up a lot of space in the basement) and replaced it with a cold climate air-to-air electric heat pump.

I think we put down the hearth before buying our stove, which is not the way we should have done that- each stove has different requirements for clearance and spacing. We just happened to make the hearth large enough to accommodate the stove we picked. It’s very important to protect the floor under the stove, and you can find these guidelines on the NPFA (National Fire Protection Association) website.

Initially, I looked for an antique wood stove on craigslist. I really wanted something with character, but ultimately we went for efficiency and bought a Vermont Castings Defiant  wood stove. It is really amazing how much it heats two floors of the house.

We decided to use the leftover slate tile from the kitchen floor to go under the wood stove. We cut out the pine floor in a 4′ x 4′ area by the chimney and put down backer board:

Note the wood paneling in the bathroom in the background! That had to go

And then completed our fastest tiling job ever:


Then, we went to pick up our stove. The men at the warehouse loaded it on with a forklift, gave the two of us a look and said – ‘Do you have a group of people to help you unload this?’ ‘No’ we said, thinking ‘how bad can it be?’

I still am not quite sure how we did it. Luckily it was on a fairly sturdy pallet and we used two 2″ x 4″ as rails, and another as a lever to slide it from the trailer on to our porch and into the house. One of us pushed the stove with the lever and the other pulled it in the right direction – we felt so accomplished when we got it over the threshold and into the house, using an ancient technique!

The brick chimney was flanked by two wood paneled walls, which I primed and painted white (inspired by the TV show Fixer Upper and all the shiplap they use), and finally, the stove was complete. I am still searching for ‘before’ photos, and as soon as I find those, will update!



3 thoughts on “The Wood Stove

  1. You guys are intrepid DIYers! Hard to believe this is your first foray into this world. Your stove looks awesome and they are SO cozy and warm. I wish I had one. 🙂


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