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Hearth rug or hearth extender?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by amazer, Nov 29, 2005.

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  1. amazer

    amazer New Member

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    Well, I have finally bit the bullet and ordered a Jotul Castine wood stove, which will be installed next week. No more big fires in our fireplace, but at least the house should be cozy rather than drafty on those cold winter evenings. We're putting the stove into our existing fireplace and will add a steel liner, as the dealer recommended. I'd like to have the stove located on the brick hearth as far into our family room as possible, as opposed to recessed away directly under the flue.

    I'm thinking about asking the installer to put the stove with the ash lip located maybe 3 or 4 inches back from the front edge of the hearth-- this will mean that the stove's main body is 6 or 7 inches back from the carpeting (putting the hot part of the stove perhaps 14"above and back from the carpeting). I know that this is considered too close, but thought I might be OK by using a hearth extender or fiberglass hearth rug.

    Am I insane? I called the fire chief of our NH town, and he said that there are no formal fire codes regarding wood stoves in our town, which struck me as surprising. I know that the generic wood stove guidelines recommend 18" of clearance from combustible floor coverings, so that's what gave me the idea that either a rigid hearth extender or a fibreglass rug (resistant to 1500 degrees F) would be safe. After all, heat rises more than it radiates downward, and as I recall from our last wood stove the floor in front of it didn't get especially warm. Plus, with the new Jotuls there's no obvious way that sparks or embers could tumble out of the stove during normal operation (except during wood loading, in which case I would notice and dispose of the embers).

    For asthetic reasons, I'd prefer to go with the rug rather than the hearth extender. Any advice?

    Thanks,
    Andy
    Hollis, NH

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  2. Sundeep Arole

    Sundeep Arole New Member

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    You cannot use a hearth rug for this. You absolutely will need a hearth extender. There may not be a formal fire code, but I'm sure the stove manual says a hearth is required in front of the stove. If there is a fire, it is your house and your life at stake. Not worth the risk, IMHO.

    Don't put too much stock in those hearth rugs you see online. They look nicer in the pictures than they do when you look at them. I went to a local store that stocks those (they are all sold through copperfield, I think). After seeing them I realized they are nothing more than the cheap $10 rugs which you can buy at linens and things. Nothing special about them at all, as far as I can tell. Save the seventy bucks the chimney store wants for those.
  3. amazer

    amazer New Member

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    Thanks for the feedback, Hotflame. I wasn't considering a wool or poly hearth rug. If I got a rug, it would be a fibreglass one designed for this kind of thing-- supposedly they are good to 1500 degrees F, which has got to put them in a different league from the Linens n Things rugs... doesn't it?
  4. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Hot air rises. Radiant heat travels in a straight line. Put a hearth extender in front of that wonderful stove. I have the F3 and can tell you that it will get hot down there in front of it. No worries with mine because it is on a concrete floor.

    As to embers popping out, your flooring will be shot a lot faster than you can react. And do not think a burning split won't slip off the top of a fully loaded firebox. Been there etc. Want to buy a ruined new pair of water buffalo western boots?

    The only "hearth rugs" I have seen kind of disgust me. When you read the fine print on the label on the back it says they are tested to carpet flamiblity standards. In other words no more fire resistent than your carpet. I imagine a fiberglass rug would be better I have just never found one to look at.
  5. amazer

    amazer New Member

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    OK, thanks Brother Bart. That's two votes to zero in favor of the hearth extender. Can't seem to drum up much support for those hearth rugs. Any recommendations for a nice extender?-- the websites I've seen so far have black steel ones embossed with a pebble design for around $50... but those look way ugly. My stove shop can order me something more attractive in "natural stone" finish, for $175, but that seems steep.

    Is there a middle ground?
  6. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    There is that inflation thing again. The imitation stone extender in front of my big insert pained me when I had to pay $49 for it. Of course that was twenty-one years ago and it still looks great so I guess the money was well spent. I tried one of those hearth rugs on top of it one year but it go a hole burned in it and went in the trash.
  7. Sundeep Arole

    Sundeep Arole New Member

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    You can make your own, if you are handy with that sort of thing. Otherwise, $175 is cheap. I've gotten figures like $279.
  8. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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