Question: I am building a hearth for my new V.C. Acclaim.(with heat shield on bottom and back)I am going to cut away carpet and expose plywood floor.On top of that sheet metal,dura rock, and two layers of red brick, in that order. Is that sufficient? The dealer said 40 inches from wall. Our hearth will measure 34" wide by 40" long. I am worried about the 16" front clearance I have heard about. I have been told the 16" doesn't matter because the stove is top loading. ????? I am also going to run brick up the wall behind the stove. It will be real brick but the decorative thin kind. is that ok? Answer: If you are using the bottom heat shield, the floor clearance can be greatly reduced. Your hearth is more than adequate... you do need the 16" in front since the front door of that stove can be opened to view or set the fire and remove the ashes. The rear shield reduced the wall clearance, but make certain you follow the specs for the pipe clearances. The decorative red brick mounted direct to the wall does not reduce the wall clearances at all. 11/2007 In addition to spark protection hearths also offer protection from radiant heat projected from the stove. That is why even though this stove is top loading maintaining manufacturer listed hearth clearances is vital to safe operation of these appliances.