I am interested in information and PICS of fireplace inserts where the surrounds were not used. I know there are a few in here, drdoct has one in his signature and there was another that I saw recently and can't re-find. We installed our stove today with a full liner. It's a Lopi Republic 1750 insert. Decent looking, fairly plain. I had to go down to get the surround as it just came in (though we got stove last week.) Because my fireplace is quite large, I had to get the largest surround, 12" on all sides. THat means that although it will come nearly to touch the wood trim on the sides of the mantel surround, it still isn't quite tall enough to reach the top of the fireplace opening. So I will have to seal that with something (maybe the mantel shield) and there will still be brick showing above on top, but not on the sides. I'm not minding the way the stove looks in the fireplace without the surround at all right now and I am thinking of just skipping the surround altogether (too late to get my hundred bucks back on the surround though - oh well.) We did not build a block off plate for the bottom of the chimney (YET) but would using or not using the surround make any difference with heat retention or loss or draftiness from the chimney? We should probably do the block off plate regardless, but the installation manual does not show one in this type of installation so the guy installing it for me didn't do one. If I do one I am figuring I might do it in two pieces so I don't have to take the liner off the top of the stove to get it in. If anyone has any pics or advice for me on this let me know. I would definitely need to make a curved black thing to block the bright silver flex liner as a foot or more of it is showing at present.