options to renovate surround of Heatilator Mark 123 surround

  • Active since 1995, Hearth.com is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.


New Member
Aug 18, 2020
Hello all. I'm here looking for ideas and some high level guidance.

I have this fireplace, a Heatilator Mark 123 3138EP. We don't use it much anymore but it should remain usable.

I would like to remove all the ghastly wood paneling definitely, and ideally all the tile and improve the look somewhat.

Improve it how though, I'm not far along with that process.
What will I likely find under that paneling?
What prep typically has to be done before you can apply tile or ?
I assume I need to preserve the vents but are there ways people make them less noticeable?
I'm not sure why it's elevated 12 inches like that. Is that likely just part of the installation and can't / shouldn't be changed? (to flat to the ground hearth for instance.)

Any feedback/opinions on any of these topics would be much appreciated.




  • options to renovate surround of Heatilator Mark 123 surround
    Heatinator Mark 123 3138EP.jpg
    79.8 KB · Views: 437
Doesn't look too bad. A mantel would change the character a bit. Maybe the hearth was raised to make it easier to load the wood and provide a nice sitting place when the fire is going.
options to renovate surround of Heatilator Mark 123 surround

Currently updating the face of our mark123 - 3128EP Heatilator also. I have only been able to find the installation manual which was some help. Search mark123 fireplace manual. It gives the ins-outs of why things are where (how far up for the vents and how many inches a mantle has to be and with this model, 20” extended hearth ) and their purpose. We purchased hardy back/cement board and we still have to purchase the proper installation which the manual calls for wool or something else starts with a V. Thin set is what we plan on using to stick the new stones to the hardy back. We haven’t decided on product for hearth yet.
What we found during the demo of the face: drywall under the fake rocks/molded cement, chicken wire, black paper/tar paper this was all that was on top of the black framing of the heatilator unit itself. Our bottom vents are at the base on sides of hearth (draw-in) and the vents for this unit at the top are for the heated air to exit and heat room. Ours doesn’t seem to heat to well, although our glass doors don’t close tightly. We also have the fresh air intake. We don’t usually use it because black widows love to nest in there yikes! But I have read the fireplace will work better with them open. Also, per the manual it says only the bottom vents should have the fans. Not the top. Even though some diagrams will show fans at bottom and top. (Not saying what model they are referencing with the fans in both places) we are going to open up the hearth and enclose the walls so we have a place to put wood so no more trucking around the house to the wood shed while snowing in the middle of the night. :)
If you are able to find a Owners Manual on this model (not just the installation manual) please share. I have been searching.
warm regards