Hearth pads are often found used with fireplaces and stoves in situations where it wouldn’t be feasible to construct a full hearth and certain safety requirements need to be met, or to help improve the aesthetics and overall experience of the fireplace or stove.
We own and use a hearth pad with our electric fireplaces and pellet stove.
We’ve explained throughout this article what hearth pads for fireplace and stoves are, what they’re made of, whether you need one, the types of hearth pad, their requirements and more.
This article covers hearth pads.
We have another article that also covers traditional hearths.
What Is A Hearth Pad?
A hearth pad is a platform of non-combustible material on which wood, pellet and gas stoves can sit and the floor underneath can be protected from the heat. Hearth pads may also be used for decoration purposes with electric fireplaces.
Hearth pads can be considered as a portable form of hearth and used under stove installations that sit on the floor of a room where not already protected by a suitable hearth, such as it would typically be in existing open fireplaces.
A hearth pad can be bought separate to a stove and placed underneath before it’s installed.
They’re typically square or rectangular in shape and often come with tapered edges. Hearth pads can also be made for corners, but we discuss the different types of hearth pads in more detail later in this article.
As an example, the hearth pad we use for our electric fireplaces is shown below.
It’s a slate design rectangular hearth pad designed for electric fires only, meaning that it doesn’t provide the same heat resistant properties you would need if using with any form of wood, pellet or gas stove that uses a real fire instead of a fake one.
What Is A Hearth Pad Made Of?
Hearth pads can be made from a range of materials including steel, micro fiber, ceramic tile, granite, stone, brick, concrete, slate, particle board, plywood and resin. The material(s) used can depend on the type of fireplace or stove the hearth pad is designed for and its thermal R-value requirements.
Our electric fireplace hearth pad is made of a resin material but designed to have a slate effect.
As this hearth pad is for electric fireplaces only it’s not designed to have the same level of thermal protection as other types of hearth pad, such as ones for solid fuel burning stoves.
The materials used can depend on the type of hearth pad you need for your specific fireplace or stove. Check the owner’s manual of your appliance for any guidance on the thermal protection requirements of a hearth.
Do I Need A Hearth Pad?
A hearth pad is typically required for solid fuel burning appliances such as wood and pellet stoves, where the appliance won’t be installed on an existing hearth of sufficient size and depth, or where the floor won’t provide sufficient thermal protection.
Our pellet stove required a hearth pad because otherwise it would have been sitting on a combustible floor.
On the other hand, our electric fireplaces don’t need a hearth pad because they’re not solid fuel burning appliances, but we bought a hearth pad anyway to help them look more like the real thing.
If you’re looking to install a solid fuel burning appliance in an existing fireplace such as a wood burning stove, then you won’t need a hearth pad if the existing hearth is of sufficient size and depth.
For example, we installed both a multi fuel stove and wood burning stove in existing open fireplaces and a hearth pad wasn’t required because of the existing hearths already providing sufficient thermal protection.
Check the manufacturer’s guidelines and local building codes or regulations for advice on whether a hearth pad is required in your particular situation.
Types Of Hearth Pads
The main types of hearth pads include:
- Hearth pads for wood burning stoves
- Hearth pads for pellet stoves
- Hearth pads for electric fires
- Square and rectangle hearth pads
- Corner hearth pads
- Type 1 and Type 2 hearth pads
You’ll typically find hearth pads cater for all the different types of solid fuel burning appliances such as wood, pellet and gas stoves, meaning that a single hearth pad could be used with any of these appliances.
You’ll just need to ensure that you’re buying the right size and specification of hearth pad required for your particular appliance.
To suit the shape of these solid fuel burning appliances, the majority of hearth pads can be found as a square, often with tapered front edges for styling purposes, but can also be found as rectangles like our one below.
Hearth pads can also be found in corner versions for installation of appliances in corners of a room.
A hearth pad for solid fuel burning appliances will need to match the specification outlined by the manufacturer of the appliance, such as in terms of Type (Type 1 or Type 2), size, thickness and/or R value.
Type 1 Hearth Pads typically provide protection from embers only but won’t provide thermal protection from the heat of the appliance.
Type 2 Hearth Pads will typically provide both ember and thermal protection, and the R-value rating of a particular type 2 hearth pad will need to meet or exceed the R-value rating outlined by the manufacturer of the solid fuel burning appliance for safety purposes.
Other types of heath pads can also be for electric fireplaces only.
Electric fireplaces don’t contain a real fire and so the hearth pads don’t need to meet the same stringent safety requirements.
Hearth pads for electric fires can therefore be for aesthetics only.
We use a hearth pad with our electric stove or electric logs to improve the experience, but this particular hearth pad couldn’t be used with our pellet stove because it’s designed for electric fireplaces only.
Hearth Pad Requirements
The size, depth, specification and thermal protection requirements of a hearth pad will need to meet what is required by the manufacturer of a solid fuel burning appliance and any local building codes and regulations.
For more in-depth information on hearths for different types of fireplaces and stoves see our articles on:
- Wood burning stove hearth requirements
- Pellet stove hearth requirements
- Gas fireplace hearth requirements
- Electric fireplace hearth requirements
What Size Hearth Pad Do I Need?
The size of a hearth pad will need to meet the stove manufacturer’s specifications, but in general hearth pads for wood burning stoves need to be 48” or larger.
How Thick Does A Hearth Pad Need To Be?
The thickness of a hearth pad will need to meet the stove manufacturer’s specifications, but an appliance requiring a Type 2 hearth pad may be thicker than a Type 1 hearth pad.
Best Hearth Pad
See all of the hearth pads available for solid fuel burning appliances here.