Help designing insert surround

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New Member
Aug 22, 2021
Just registered here, after a few years lurking and hunting answers. Thanks to all here for maintaining such an informative forum. I'm having a hard time finding answers to my current problems, so I'm posting my first post!

Photos are attached for clarity. The insert is a Stuv 16-78. Installation required cutting out the existing fireplace's damper and a hole big enough to fit the 7" diameter flue liner (still have several feet of that left over, if anyone is interested). The primary problem is we need to design a surround. We don't like the black sheet metal surrounds that come standard with most inserts/installers, in part because it would be fit over the brick and not flush with the brick. We want flush. We're not opposed to metal either (the stove came with a small spray can of paint that matches the stove - for touch-ups presumably), but I'm not a metal worker so.... One important piece of info: we can't find matching brick, though we have tried.

Here are my questions:
  • If we were to tile over the space, is there a backer board that could handle that much heat so close to the stove? The temperature ratings I saw at the hardiebacker website seemed too low for this application (100 degrees Celsius).
  • If backer board is available for this application, how should I attach it? There's nothing behind onto which to screw/nail it, so I assume I would have to install something. What could I install, and how would I attach it to the brick/iron?
    • Is there a material available in the US that I could work like wood? I noticed that vermiculite is available in the UK, but I'm not sure about here.
  • If backer board is an option, would I need to install extra support for the horizontal space above the stove, or is the backer board strong enough to hold up the tile (if the backer board is only attached at the sides)?
  • If I was to have a metal surround made to fit the space (47" x 30"), what's a fair price?
    • What specs should I be looking for in the primer and paint?
  • Is there a rating I need to look for in tile that makes it suitable for this high heat application?
  • Bonus question: We have some old end irons in the shape of owls, with yellow glass eyes. If I was to have a metal surround built, and the owls cut and welded onto the surround, is there a way for the heat from the stove to power LEDs behind the eyes, so they glow?
The vents you see above and flanking the stove were put in there when the fireplace was installed with the house construction. One of the air intakes is in the first photo on the bottom left. The motors at the intakes are switched, so air is heated by the firebox and blown into the room when the switch is turned on. The vents stopped working when the stove was inserted. It is my assumption that the hole cut to allow the flue liner has something to do with it. Is it ok to line the hole with Rock Wool? I know that Rock Wool wouldn't be air tight, but I assume it would help. I don't think there is enough room for me to work with any other solution (I'm not gonna remove the insert), but suggestions are welcome.

Thank you for any answers you might have!
PXL_20210822_234912172.jpg PXL_20210822_234921490.jpg PXL_20210822_234929826.jpg


Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
SE North Carolina
I would make a cardboard cutout and find a metal shop to get an estimate. You can add some type of bracket (threaded) at top and sides that a bolt or thumb screw could be used to secure the surround. It really needs to be removable to service the unit and liner in the future.


New Member
Aug 22, 2021
Thank you EbS-P! I hadn't thought of needing to get in there for service. To keep the clean look, I think I would prefer to use rare-earth magnets to hold up the surround, but that would be hard with metal brackets (for me, at least). I've used magnets in other projects, and they work well, though the weight of the surround might be prohibitive. Cardboard cutout is a great idea!
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Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
South Puget Sound, WA
Yes, make a template and take it to a metal shop. You could mount 1" angle iron on the side walls of the fireplace to provide attachment points.
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