Question: I'm in the process of having a home built and I'm considering having a Vermont castings stove built into a brick alcove. Our builder is not very supportive and I want to make sure that this is done right. Most of the information that I have found regarding an alcove refer to a Durarock- type heat shield that is spaced 1" off of a combustible surface. If a brick alcove is built does the brick have to be spaced 1" of the wood studs? What are the ventilation requirements for a brick alcove? Are air gaps required a the top and bottom? Thanks for your help Answer: Here's the scoop on Alcove design: Unless a stove is tested and approved - then you are sort of on your own as to the design. For instance- most stoves require a minimum ceiling height..it's usually 4 feet above the stove. Your alcove design will be subject to the approval of the local building official since it's probably not addressed in the owners manual. So: 1. Call the tech guys at Vermont Castings and have them address your needs. 2. Usually- an 8 inch thick masonry wall is considered non-combustible- so the stove could be very close. I've just completed a project where I used steel studs- with cement board (wonderboard) facing and then one layer of face brick. Ventilated air spaces are important...usually- a non-combustible wall spaced one inch from the original wall will reduce clearances by 50% to 67%.