Hearth guidance appreciated

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New Member
Nov 7, 2023
We are building a small cabin and working on our hearth/install for a wood stove. My husband installed our old one using prefab protection plates for last winter which was temporary as we were building. We are removing and replacing that old wood stove as it is not a listed model and we will need to have too large clearances for our generic state fire code (Maine). Our town doesn't have any local fire code requirements.

We now have a Vermont Casting Vigilant but it's way too big for the space so I am designing the hearth pad for that stove's clearances but I plan to get an Aspen or something small this winter. None of the local stores will talk installation unless we purchase a stove from them and it's out of budget for us to hire it out.

For the walls, we plan to use 1/4" mineral board and then cover it with a decorative 24 gauge sheetmetal with spacers for an air gap from our local metal shop. If I'm reading the Aspen install manual properly, as long as we are 8" away from combustibles, we don't even need this but it seems like a good idea to have.

Floor protection for the Vigilant states: two sheets of 1/4" mineral board covered by 24 gauge sheet metal or the Vermont Castings bottom heat shield with 1" of stone/concrete mortared. Aspen states 1/4" non asbestos mineral board or 24 gauge sheet metal. We can get the sheet metal from a local shop but seems like it would get hot with kids, pets, etc.

We are planning to use two sheets of James Hardie HardieBacker 3-ft x 5-ft x 1/4-in Water Resistant Fiber Cement Backer Board from Lowes covered with 1.7" cement paving stones. From reading reviews of it online, the HardieBacker looks like it does not have a fire rating/does not provide insulation. Is there a better easier to purchase option? How do you recommend adhering the tiles/is there an easy to DIY mortar option? My husband wanted to use adhesive but I worry that it could get hot and off gas. He also wanted to use firepit caulking type adhesive but the ones I can find require to be heated to 500F which won't work.

Thank you for your help and guidance. I found a lot of great resources reading through the threads but I find the manuals to be the most helpful but also most confusing!!
If the stove clearances are honored, there is no need for wall shielding. If the stove only requires ember protection then a sheet of metal will suffice. If using the cement pavers use cement board like Durock for the underlayment. Latex modified thinnest will work with the bricks, not an adhesive.

If you want to self install, a Drolet Nano will work.
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