Multi Fuel Stove

What To Put Behind A Wood Burning Stove

In Wood Burning Stoves by James O'Kelly

Wood burning stoves work by using the metal body of the stove to absorb the heat from the fire inside and radiate that heat out into the room.

As a result, sufficient distance must be provided to any nearby objects, and more clearance must be provided to combustible objects than non-combustible objects.

Protection can come in form of decorative features such as stone effect to help create a backdrop to a stove.

Wood stoves are commonly placed up against a wall in home, and so what should be put behind a wood burning stove?

Any materials placed behind a wood burning stove should be fire resistant and must meet offset distances in line with your local and/or national building regulations. Brick and stone are a common materials to use behind a wood stove, while many stoves can be purchased with optional heat shields to help reduce clearances.

Our own wood burning stoves were installed within existing masonry open fireplaces and so we’ve explained in more detail below why brick is a great material to put behind a wood stove, as well as discussing what other materials can be a good choice.

We’ve also discussed what other options there when it comes to helping protect the wall behind a stove, including buying stoves that can come with optional heat shields, and using products such as a fireback.

What To Put Behind A Wood Burning Stove?

Wood burning stoves are commonly installed within existing open fireplaces because, not only can a stove help to improve the heat output compared to open fires, but a chimney provides a suitable pathway for installation of a flue, and a suitably sized hearth fit for a stove is often provided.

In many cases an existing open fireplace will be able to accommodate a wood stove without the need for any structural changes.

Open fireplaces will also have fire-resistant materials lining the firebox.

Many traditional fireplaces (like ours) will have a brick back and surround for the firebox.

Our living room fireplace has a brick firebox (albeit painted black) and would be a great place to have a stove installed because nothing would need to be put behind it

Along with stone, brick is a very common material to be used behind a wood burning stove. Its heat-resistant properties means that it won’t combust or be damaged as a result of the heat from a stove.

Brick can also retain some of the heat generated by a stove and can continue to radiate out that heat long after a fire in a stove has gone out.

As brick is a fire-retardant material, a stove can typically be placed closer to brick walls compared to combustible materials, meaning that a stove won’t stick as far out into a room.

Even if brick if put behind a wood burning stove, sufficient clearances must be provided to nearby materials in line with your local and/or national building regulations.

We’ve had two stoves in the family installed within existing open fireplaces.

The material lining the fireboxes of the open fireplaces was brick.

Wood Burning Stove & Multi Fuel Stove
Both of the stoves in our family were installed within open fireplaces with bricks behind the stove

The use of brick allowed for both of the stoves to be installed without any changes required to the existing fireplaces.

However, not all homes will have an existing fireplace to install a wood stove into and so must be placed elsewhere.

Up against a wall on the first floor of a home is a common location for a stove, but in many cases something will have to be put behind a wood burning stove to accommodate it.

Common things to put behind a wood burning stove include:

  • Faux panels, such as stone
  • Firebacks

Faux Panels

A common way to help protect the wall behind a wood stove and create a backdrop for your stove includes using masonry veneer faux panels.

Stone or brick is a common material to use behind a wood burning stove.

These panels help create more of a focal point for a room.

Wood Burning Stove Ideas
Panels put behind a wood stove can help create a nice backdrop

The NASD explains that any area within 36 inches of the stove in all directions should be covered.

The NASD also states that using such protection behind a wood stove won’t allow you to provide reduced clearances from the stove to the wall. Sufficient distance to combustible material must still be provided.


A fireback is a cast iron object that can be placed behind a stove to help protect a wall.

Firebacks are also very decorative features that can help to enhance the look of your stove.

You can find the list of firebacks available here.

Fireproof Wall Behind Wood Stove

In many situations when installing a wood stove there may be combustible materials used within the wall behind the stove.

For safety reasons, much like how a wood stove should be placed on a suitably sized hearth, any surrounding wall behind a stove should also be protected.

Drywall is a combustible material and should be removed from a wall behind a stove.

This includes removing it from behind any wall shield used to protect the wall from the heat of the stove, as wall shields can still get as hot on the back of them as they do on the front.

Wall protection ideas for wood stoves include:

  • Stone or brick
  • Tiles

The NASD website provides information on clearances to walls from wood stoves as well as how far any fireproofing behind a stove should reach from a stove.

Heat Shield Behind Wood Stove

Certain models of wood stove can be bought with heat shields that can help reduce the distance to combustible materials to the rear of the stove.

One of our stoves, made by Clearview, could have been purchased alongside an optional rear heat shield, which would have allowed us to reduce the clearance between the back of the stove and any combustible materials behind it.

As this stove was installed within an existing open fireplace with a brick firebox there was no need for a heat shield, as there are no combustible materials located within the firebox of the open fireplace.

Multi Fuel Stove Hot Coals
Our multi fuel stove could have been bought with an optional heat shield to help reduce distances to combustible objects to the rear, but in our case one wasn’t needed

Heat shields aren’t typically too expensive but can be worth it if it helps push back a stove further against a wall. As an example, a heat shield for our stove would have cost around $150.


The wall behind a wood burning stove must be sufficiently protected from the heat generated by stoves.

Certain clearances must be provided between the back of the stove and a wall in line with local and/or national building regulations. Required distances to nearby combustible materials such as dry wall will typically be more than distances to non-combustible materials such as brick or stone.

Many wood stoves are installed inside existing open fireplaces and a traditional fireplace may already provide suitable protection in the form of a masonry firebox.

Common fireproof wall ideas for behind a stove include stone, brick and tiles.

The look of a wood burning stove can be enhanced by using a faux panel (such as a stone veneer look) or using a fireback.

A heat shield can be installed on the back of a stove to help reduce the distances between the stove and any combustible materials. Heat shields are typically specific to each stove and so must be bought as an optional extra when buying a stove, or can potentially be retrofitted at a later date.

Further Reading

Things To Consider When Buying A Wood Stove

What To Look For In A Wood Burning Stove

Can A Wood Stove Heat A Whole House?

Does A Wood Stove Need A Damper?

Do Wood Stoves Need Electricity?