The tile makes a protected surface as I already meet all clearances to combustibles, and is right on the wall over a layer of Durock. The hatch idea is something I'll need to look into, I like the concept. Don't second guess yourself on the install cost. the stove will pay that back over and over, and i bet if you hired someone to do the whole job it would have been $$$$ especially with the copper, and I doubt it would have been as good of a job. Stove is a Pacific Energy Summit.