Q&A I would like to build my own hearth

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New Member
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Nov 27, 2012

I just bought a used Arrow 1800A woodstove, and I would like to build my own hearth. The stove sits on its own integrated stand, kind of a pedestal, and I will be installing it on a hardwood floor. The info I have on the hearth is to start with 3/4" plywood, add sheet metal, then an approved non-combustible insulation board (???) and then my tile top. Someone at a fireplace shop told me to just glue tiles to Wonderboard, and add wood trim. That sounds a whole lot less complicated than the first option, but is it safe? Any info would be greatly appreciated.


It is very common, when constructing a hearth pad, to use cement board (Wonderboard, Duroc, Hardyboard) and ceramic tile. If you want to maintain a portability factor, you will need to back the cement board with at least 3/8" plywood or particle board. I prefer to use 1/2" or 5/8". It is much lighter 3/4" and when coupled with 1/2" cement board, provides all the strength needed while moving the pad around. Make sure that you adequately secure the cement board to the wood base with screws. When applying the tiles to the cement board, use acrylic fortified thin set mortar. It will hold very well, is easier to use than latex tile adhesive and dries much faster. You can trim the outside edge with standard wood molding.

If you are going to construct the pad directly on the floor, you can eliminate the plywood base. Whatever you decide upon, make sure that it meets the requirements as specified in your owners manual. On some stoves there is a minimum insulating factor that must be met. A common mistake that a lot of DIYers make is to take advice from anyone without making sure that it coincides with what the manufacturer recommends. Again, keep in mind that different stoves may have different requirements.
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