What Is A Wood Stove Gasket?
A gasket on a wood burning stove is the seal located around the inside of the stove door.
A wood stove door gasket typically looks like a piece of rope stuck to the stove.
When the stove door is closed the gasket helps to provide an airtight seal so that all of the air coming into the stove is through the air vents, and therefore controllable. If wood stoves didn’t have this seal on the door then they wouldn’t be able to burn firewood as efficiently.
Both of our own stoves have gaskets around the door.
There’s discoloration between the two because of age and how often one stove is used compared to the other. A discolored gasket doesn’t mean that it needs replacing however, and we’ve discussed why further in this article.
A gasket may also be found behind the glass panel on the door, but typically only need to be replaced if you need to replace the glass.
What Is A Wood Stove Gasket Made Of?
A wood stove door gasket is typically made of fibreglass material.
This fibreglass is woven and braided to look much like a piece of rope.
A form of adhesive is used to cement a gasket to the inside of a wood stove door.
Fibreglass is a very heat resistant material, which makes it perfect for use in wood stoves. It’s also fairly soft and so can help stoves to provide an airtight seal when the door is closed.
When And How Often To Replace A Wood Stove Gasket
The gasket on a wood stove only needs to be replaced when it is unable to provide an airtight seal between the door and the body of the stove. A gasket may not need to be changed simply when any discoloration occurs.
For some stoves, like our own wood burning stove, any glass gasket will need to be replaced if the glass is changed.
The aim of a wood burning stove gasket is to provide an airtight seal when the door to the stove is closed.
A wood stove gasket can wear out over time through usen and may become damaged to a point where the gasket is unable to provide this airtight seal.
At this point the door gasket will need to be replaced so that:
- An airtight seal can be maintained between the stove door and the body of the stove.
- All of the air coming into the stove remains through the air vents, and is therefore controllable, so that the efficiency and heat output of the wood stove fires can be maximized.
- Your fires can burn for longer as a result of increased airflow control.
- No byproducts from the fire inside the stove such as smoke can enter the room.
As an example of how often a wood stove gasket should be replaced, one of the stoves we own and use is a Clearview multi fuel stove. The manufacturer of this stove states in the instruction manual that the door gasket should be checked as part of an annual maintenance.
‘The glass-fibre door and window seals will need replacing when they are worn and no longer able to maintain an airtight seal’.Clearview Stoves
For our wood burning stove, the manufacturer recommends:
‘If the gasket is torn or damaged, we recommend that is replaced to ensure that no products of combustion enters the room when the appliance is used.’Hunter Stoves
Over time, a wood stove gasket can lose its ‘clean’ white color and start to blacken.
This has occurred with our wood stove (which we use more often) but the gasket on our multi fuel stove has also started to look used.
Even though the gasket has lost its ‘as new’ look it’s still working perfectly fine and we won’t need to change it any time soon. Any discoloration on your wood gasket may not be a reason to have it changed.
The manufacturer for our wood burning stove explains that when it comes to gasket discoloration:
‘Over time you may also find that the gasket changes colour. This is due to a reduction in the pigment used in the manufacture of the product and no cause for concern.’Hunter Stoves
A sign that a wood stove gasket needs replacing can be when it starts to harden or become brittle.
A hardened gasket won’t provide such a tight seal.
To tell whether a gasket needs replacing you can light a match around the outside of the gasket when the stove door is closed and see if any air is being sucked in through the gasket by watching where the smoke goes.
The time is takes for a wood gasket to need replacing can range from every burning season to ten years plus, as it can depend on the model of stove, how often you use your stove and how hot you burn your fires.
How To Determine Wood Stove Gasket Size
In order to determine the size of the gasket required for your wood stove you’ll need to either:
- Look at the instruction manual for your particular model of wood stove for a replacement part number.
- Contact the manufacturer of your stove.
- Measure the gasket channel to determine the size of the gasket required for your particular stove.
- Measure the length of the rope.
For our own wood burning stove, we have an electronic version of the instruction manual that we can refer to.
Within this instruction manual is a spare parts reference number for a rope repair kit that includes the door gasket, the glass gasket and glue for the rope. We can simply look up this reference number of the manufacturers website and order a replacement gasket for our wood burning stove when the time comes.
You can also cut off a small section of your existing gasket and take it to a local store that stocks gaskets, and they should be able to provide you with the right size replacement gasket.
Wood Stove Gasket Sizes
Depending on where you live, you’ll typically either need to look for gasket that is measured in millimeters or inches.
The instruction manual for our wood stoves states that a 12mm rope gasket is used, and so we can find a matching sized rope from the manufacturer, or a third party seller if we wanted.
A 12mm gasket is equal to about half an inch.
Common wood stove gasket sizes in inches include 3/16”, 1/4″, 5/16”, 3/8”, 7/16”, 1/2”, 5/8”, 3/4”, 7/8”, and 1”.
Common wood stove gasket sizes in millimeters include between 3mm and 10mm in 1mm increments, 12mm, 15mm and 20mm.
How To Measure A Wood Stove Gasket
If you don’t have the instruction manual for your stove or anyway to contact the manufacturer, in order to determine what size wood stove gasket you need you’ll need to measure the gasket channel in which your current stove gasket sits.
To measure a wood stove gasket:
- Pry away some of the old gasket on your wood stove and measure the width of the channel that it sits within.
- Measure the depth of the channel.
- Depending on where you live you’ll typically either need to measure this distance in mm or inches, and choose a new gasket size accordingly.
- You can also measure the width of the gasket rope itself to check its diameter, but this may not be so accurate if the gasket has deformed due to use.
- Measure the approximate length of the rope.
You’ll need to choose a gasket rope size that matches the largest size of the two measurements (depth and width of channel).
This is to ensure that the new gasket fits your stove properly and ensures a tight seal.
You’ll also need to get a gasket that is the right length. If ordering an official replacement from the manufacturer of your stove the gasket rope may come as the right length. If ordering rope from a third-party seller it’s wise to order gasket that is longer than needed so that you can cut it down to the right length.
Wood Stove Door Gasket Replacement
Replacing the door gasket for your wood burning stove will help to bring the stove back to fully operational efficiency and help to ensure that no air is getting into the stove through the door.
In order to replace the gasket on your stove door you’ll need the following:
- Replacement gasket (of right size and length).
- Glue/adhesive/cement to be able to stick the new gasket to your stove.
- Tools for prying away the old gasket from the stove, such as a flat heat screwdriver and pliers.
- A tool for cutting the end of the rope to the right length (if required), such as sharp scissors
- A tool for removing any excess cement from the stove that was used with the old gasket, such as a flat head screwdriver.
If you’re able to remove the door from your stove it can make replacing the gasket more manageable, but it isn’t necessary.
Wood Stove Gasket Removal
The current gasket on your wood burning stove will be stuck onto the door of your stove using some sort of cement adhesive.
To remove the existing door gasket from your wood stove:
- Ply away the rope from the stove door using a tool such as a flat head screwdriver to get underneath the rope.
- Pull the rope away from stove door using either your hands or a tool such as pliers.
How To Remove Wood Stove Gasket Cement
Some cement may remain on the stove once you have removed the old gasket all together.
You can use tools such as a screwdriver or knife to scrape away at the remaining adhesive, or use a screwdriver in combination with a hammer for any areas that are more difficult to remove.
All of the existing cement should be removed so that new adhesive can be added to the groove on the stove door in which the new gasket will be placed.
A tool such as a wire brush (attached to a drill if required) should then be used to clean out any remining bits of cement so that the gasket groove is left with a smooth surface.
How To Cut A Wood Stove Gasket
In many cases when you buy a new door gasket for your wood burning stove it will be too long and you’ll need to cut it down to the right size.
As a wood stove gasket is much like a piece of rope and when cut it can lead to a messy, fraying end with strands unravelling, and so ensuring that the end of the gasket has a clean cut helps to keep the gasket tidy and help it do its job at providing an airtight seal.
In order to make sure that the gasket is cut to length before gluing it in:
- With the old gasket and cement removed, lay the new gasket within the stove door groove.
- Start the gasket in the middle of the door on the side which has the hinges on.
- Lay the gasket around the stove door (without pulling at it).
- Cut the end of the gasket where it meets the start.
- Leave a small amount of extra rope at the end so that it can be squashed up against the start to provide a good seal.
You can either choose to provide a straight cut or an angled cut.
For a straight cut, the ends of the rope will butt up against each other.
For an angled cut, the gasket ends will fit over each other and can provide a better seal, but you’ll need to account for additional lengths of rope at each end to be able to do this.
When it comes to actually cutting the rope, you can use any form of tool such as a knife or scissors. The sharper the scissors the cleaner the cut can be.
You can wrap some tape around the rope where you intend to cut it to help provide a cleaner cut.
How To Glue Gasket In Wood Stove Door
In order to stick the new gasket to your wood burning stove you’ll need the right type of adhesive.
If your gasket came with cement, use that, or you’ll need to have some other cement ready to use if it didn’t.
To apply wood stove cement:
- Drop beads of gasket cement along the bottom of the gasket channel on the stove door.
- Rub the glue over all of the channel including the sides.
Check the instructions for your particular type of adhesive or gasket to confirm how it should be glued to the stove.
Wood Stove Gasket Installation
Once the cement has been rubbed into the stove door channel in which the gasket sits, you’ll need to install the new gasket onto the stove.
To install a gasket on a wood stove:
- Lay the start of the gasket at the middle of one side of the door.
- Gently lay the remaining length of the gasket into the channel around the stove.
- Press the rope gently into the door as it is laid.
- Don’t pull at or push on the rope as it is laid on the stove.
- Once the end of the gasket meets the start, lightly squash the end up against the start of the rope so that a tight seal is provided.
At this point you can also apply some cement to the ends of the gasket to help keep them stuck together and help prevent them from fraying through use.
Leave the new gasket a while to allow it to set.
Testing The Replacement Gasket
One of the best ways to test whether a replacement wood stove gasket is providing a tight enough seal is to use a piece of paper.
Close the door with a single sheet of paper in between the door and the stove. If you struggle to pull out the paper, then it’s a sign that a good seal is being provided.
If the paper is falling out easily then the gasket may need to be replaced with a larger sized one or more cement needs to be added to below the gasket.
On many stoves the hinges on the door can also be adjusted to provide a tighter seal.
You should leave the stove for at least 24 hours after replacing the gasket before starting another fire to allow the adhesive to fully set, but check the instructions for your gasket and cement to confirm what is required.
Where To Buy Wood Stove Door Gaskets
The best wood stove gasket will be one that is a direct replacement for your particular model of stove from the manufacturer.
Check the instruction manual for your stove, or contact your stove’s manufacturer, for information on whether there is a replacement gasket available for your stove. The manual for our wood burning stove gives a product reference number for a replacement gasket that is a perfect fit, which we can buy directly from the manufacturer’s website.
However, replacement gaskets for your wood burning stove can be purchased from many sellers including:
- The manufacturer of your stove as replacement gasket kits (if available)
- Other third party sellers
You’ll also need cement if the replacement gasket doesn’t come with one, which you’ll find here.