1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

VC Replacement with PH - pic heavy

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Jimxj2000, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. Jimxj2000

    Jimxj2000 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Messages:
    52
    Loc:
    SE NH
    Due to several issues with the stove last fall i decided to rebuild – tear down all the way to the legs – my VC Defiant Encore 2140. It took two attempts to get it back together and running well. I had hoped this was the end of something breaking every year on the stove. Unfortunately, I tried the first fire of the year a couple months ago and the cat bypass door wasn’t working….again. I had spent a couple hours on the second re-assembly last year getting the door to work perfectly. This year it would only close if slammed hard. That wouldn’t work for having a real fire.

    So we decided to replace the stove. We had thought about this last year, but decided to rebuild. I had looked at new stoves last year and really didn’t like any of the options. We wanted to keep top loading and keep the flue height the same as we have a nice flexible SS liner in an old central fireplace. We looked a little at the PH but the flue height was way too high.

    Well this year I decided the old VC was done – something broke every year. It was pain to crawl back and clean the cat, the refractory was falling apart again, etc. We decided we are going to use the stove for years so we might as well do it right. Took a trip up to look at the WS PH and very much liked it. But it would be six weeks before pickup.

    So all we had to do was lower the hearth by about 4 inches and expand it a bit. The way the hearth was built it was bricks laid about floor height so it was a few inches too height, but it the hearth was ¾ inch below the floor height the flue heights would match up.

    Simple enough….we have an old (1740’s) house, so there are no simple projects…all we needed to do was, remove the old bricks that made up the hearth from outside of the fireplace (my 5 and 7 year old sons did most of this with a cold chisel and hammer), this was followed by a layer of cement that was easy to remove, and about 8 inches of cement and old bricks. These were not easy to remove and ended up replacing the chisel and 2 lb hammer with the 8 lb sledge hammer and a 6 foot crow bar.

    Next we had to expand the hearth area. To do this we had to cut some of the floor joists, so we needed to make some supports off the masonry work in the basement to act as headers before cutting the joists. Before we could do that we had to move – extend and re-route – 4 120V lines. Since I can’t tell what this lines power and none of the breaks are labeled. It was easier today this by turning off the main power and using the generator for lights/tools. The generator needed a run before winter anyways. The only lights I was able to find were the low energy bulbs, so after moving 4 lights to the basement I only had about 50 watts of load on the generator and it wanted to hunt the whole time. Ended up using a couple space heaters to provide some load, but the basement got warm very fast. But the wiring was all moved in a few hours.

    The next issue was both (yes both – I don’t know why) of the cold water supplies for house had to be moved. That was my first time using PEX and first time I turned the water on every fitting leaking. I realized they were not pushed in all the way so that was fixed quickly. About 8 PM that night my wife told me we had not cold water upstairs in the house. Quick review of the plumbing changes and realized I missed reconnecting one of the lines, but I had left a capped T so that was easy to fix.

    Once that was done we were able to expand the 3 foot square hearth into a 4 by 7 ft opening, put down new floor joists for the hearth. Some trim work, a layer of plywood, layer of concrete block, two layers of durarock, layer of mortar to level everything (old house again – nothings is really level, but adjust to make it look level with the floor), three large pieces of bluestone to make the hearth were put into place before getting the stove.

    Since we were at it, we decided to remove the cement coating on some of the old brick – not sure why someone put a skim coat of cement on some of the bricks. But we chipped that away and tried to remove some of the paint. That mostly worked, but we could not get all the paint out. We liked the darker color of the mostly removed paint, so my wife made a thin mix of paint and stained the rest of the bricks to match the ones with the removed paint. It looked much better.

    A second trip up to Woodstock (2 hours away) to pick up the stove – all the kids wanted to go because they were not happy with oil heat we used so far this winter. Some disassembly of a stone wall in the front of the house to allow room to back up the trailer, building a ramp from the trailer to house and using a friend and his heavy duty dolly (plus a couple small inside ramps – none of the rooms are at the same height inside) – and the stove was in place – assembly still took a while. And much to my relief the flue heights fit perfectly.

    All in all it probably only took 2 dozen trips to Lowes to get it done.

    The stove works great- but we haven’t needed a hot fire yet. Had a couple medium heat, but haven’t been to 500F yet on the stove top. We burn 24/7, except when the house is too warm to keep the fire going.
    Old VC.jpg Old Hearth Removed Better Pic.jpg Big Hole in Floor.jpg Basement Supports.jpg
    Child Labor Violations.jpg Child Labor Violations 2.jpg Bluestone Installed.jpg Stove Installed.jpg



    Oh, the fence around the stove also had to be replaced to fit the newer hearth and bigger stove.
    I will try to attach pictures of the old VC setup, the old hearth removal, hole in the floor, some child labor violations, and final installation.

    Some of the red paint near the beehive ovens shows up in the pictures. In real life, it is hard to see the difference in color.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. Todd 2

    Todd 2 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2012
    Messages:
    418
    Loc:
    NE Ohio
    Hi Jim2000, Nice lookin set up you got there, just got mine installed last weekend, and wow do I like it.
    700# of beauty and performance. Todd 2
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  3. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    7,607
    Loc:
    Doylestown, PA
    As a VC Encore and old house owner I am interested in hearing how the stove works out for you. Burn times, how quickly it comes up to temp, heat output. Congrats on finishing the project.
    jharkin likes this.
  4. Blue2ndaries

    Blue2ndaries Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    Messages:
    697
    Loc:
    Oregon
    Wow...another Woodstock soapstone stove....Double drooled today. :p Very nice set-up and great write-up.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  5. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    29,089
    Loc:
    Northern Virginia
    I am worn out and broke just reading your OP. <> Lotta work.

    Beautiful stove and install. Enjoy. I have to go rest now.
    Todd 2 likes this.
  6. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    49,707
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Nice house and installation. It finished out great. I like that the kids were there to help you along with the project. Enjoy the warmth of that new stove.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  7. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2009
    Messages:
    1,330
    Loc:
    Central Va
    +1. ;lol

    One of the big selling points for me was that my hearth required zero modification to accommodate the Fireview. Big props for going through all of that to get the stove you wanted.
  8. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,329
    Loc:
    Holliston, MA USA
    Same here.. My Encore still has a lot of life in it but i envy all the reports I see on these stoves. Progress might be a bit to much for my small 1400ft2 space though.
  9. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,815
    Loc:
    Michigan
    For others benefit, an option with the Progress is also to use shorter legs.

    Jim, that is beautiful. Congratulations.
  10. Jimxj2000

    Jimxj2000 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Messages:
    52
    Loc:
    SE NH
    Thanks.

    We did think about the short leg kit - the heights were still off a bit and I wanted the ash pan. Wife liked the looks of the short leg slightly better.

    Over the summer we discovered we had 1 and half first floor walls on our cape style house with no insulation. Going through the crawl spaces and everywhere we have had open in the past we found lots of pink fiberglass. This summer we replaced a sill and looked up and saw a nice big gap in the wall. Ended up haveing a spray foam injection which turned the coldest room into the second warmest.

    But that added insulation makes it hard to compare the PH to the old VC for heat output. We are now looking to find ways to move the air around the house better so we are definitely warmer, but I know that isn't all the stove. As so far this season has not that cold. Last week we had the room with stove at 83 and three adjacent rooms in the upper 70's with out trying, so the stove can put out some heat.

    We have found we can get longer burn times than with the VC. A couple days ago we put a medium size load in at 10PM, still had hot cools and a too warm to touch stove at 5PM the next day.

    The start up from a cold stove is easier to control than VC which had to be watched closely to adjust the air and bypass. The PH is just smoother to operate and seems more forgiving.

    I do wish the front glass was a door to open from time to time.

    For time to get up to temperature, this might be a bit more than the VC. I learned to plan an hour to start up from cold stove to being able to go to bed or work with the VC.

    PH seems to like staring with a medium load of wood and getting to a good base of burnt wood before filling. I would say it takes a bit longer to get to the point of leaving a full load in the stove. Might just be the time for the stone to heat up. It does take longer to start to heat a cold room.

    We have found it is easy to keep a hot stove - and nice flames - going - by adding a couple splits to a hot bed of coals. I forgot to open the bypass one time when I opened the door and put a few pieces in. No smoke or smell into the house. New splits started burning right away. I know that is not how it should be done, but it does work. The VC had big change in air flow and fire in stove when the bypass was adjusted, this does not change much - so there is no reason not to open and then close the bypass.

    Overall it is much easier to operate than the VC was. We are getting longer burn times and, so far, using less wood - but I know some of that is from the insulation.
    Todd 2 likes this.
  11. mfglickman

    mfglickman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    Messages:
    676
    Loc:
    NW CT
    Looks great!

    Is there a heat shield between the stove and mantel/surround? I just checked the clearances from the manual and it says 31 inches to combustibles off the top of the stove - it might be the pic but your wood surround looks closer than that...?
  12. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Messages:
    2,052
    Loc:
    Merrimack Valley, MA
    Nice work. I too have had that big hole in the living room floor re-doing the hearth tiles. I was a piece of mind for me to do the work and remove the old tile with the cracked mortar.

    All we need is some cold weather.

Share This Page