Do you need a wood stove hearth pad? what is the wood stove hearth pad requirement specified in fire codes?

In this article, I will help you understand if you need hearth protection for your wood stove, and if you already have one we will look into whether your hearth pad is large enough for your wood-burning stove.

We will also look at fire codes when installing a hearth pad, what kind of materials it can be made of and I’ll give you some tips when installing an old one or replacing a hearth pad with a new one, and lastly, we will talk about how to make a DIY wood stove hearth pad.

So we are going to get started talking about all of the sizes and dimensions that your wood stove hearth pad size needs to be, especially if you live in Canada or the USA.


This post should not be construed as a definite guideline for installation. Installation requirements are not exhaustively detailed. The lack of description of a requirement does not indicate a lack of that requirement. As this is merely an overview, many details and requirements are omitted. Every installation is unique with a different structure, layout, and components to take into consideration. As mentioned above, it’s best to contact a Certified professional prior to installation in order to ensure proper installation. I assume no liability for any actions taken based on what is written in this post.

Wood stove hearth pad requirements

You may be thinking why do I need a wood stove hearth pad, well fire codes state that one is needed over any combustible surface, like wood floors for example, and most people have one under their stove but some questions we will answer during this post are, do I have the right hearth pad for my stove size and is it made of the right materials to be code compliant.

Asian Slate Hearth PadPin

Click on the picture to see this Asian slate hearth pad “Ad”

If wood stove floor protection is not coded compliant it could void your fire insurance at the time of a claim, no one wants that, also having the right size and proper hearth pad materials makes your wood-burning stove safer for your family.


so continue reading if you or anyone you know has a wood stove and needs a solution to this problem, and feel free to share our content with others with the social buttons at the top of the page.

Let’s get into the nitty-gritty and talk about wood stove hearth pad requirements and all the sizes and details you need to follow to have a code-compliant wood stove

Wood Stove Hearth Pad Size

Wood-burning appliance test standards started in the 1970s and have evolved drastically since then, and modern-day stoves are very safe to use when installed correctly.

Floor pads have been an important part of that testing over the years, to know what to expect for clearances to combustibles with your wood-burning stove you should first take a look at the certification label on the back of it.

Pilgrim hearth fireproof rugPin

Click on the picture to see this fireproof hearth rug “Ad”

Generally, to find it you just need to look for a label that is usually black with gold or silver lettering and you will see indications on it that show the clearances to combustibles, you should always use these clearances because your wood stove was tested by them.

Also, the clearances for distances to a wall or anything combustible like a ceiling are also on your stove label and in your user manual and they are different from the standard wood stove hearth pad requirements.

Pay attention to your wood stove certification label

Always follow the indications for clearances to combustibles specified on your wood stove certification label or owner’s manual, if your wood stove doesn’t have a label it will be considered an uncertified appliance, and your wood stove floor pad clearances change considerably.

Wood Stove Hearth Pad Size

These are standard measurements according to the W.E.T.T certification (standard in Canada)

and the NFI National Fire Institute being the (standard in the USA)

As a disclaimer, make sure you always do your own investigating on these authority websites that set the standards, and always take into consideration what your wood-burning appliance owner’s manual says because every stove is different in size and specs.

So with that said let’s take a look at some information and ideas so you can decide what you need for floor protection under your wood stove.

Regular Wood Stove Hearth Pad Size

Remember these measurements are only showing you how much space your minimum floor protection needs to be, note that this can be larger than what is shown in the diagrams, and remember this is not showing clearances to a combustible wall or ceiling it is only showing where to situate a wood-burning stove on floor protection.

Wood burning stove hearth pad sizePin

Hearth Pad Size For a Wood Stove With a Side Door

Wood burning stove hearth pad size with side doorPin

With a side door

The standard distance extended from the back of the wood-burning appliance is 8″.

The standard distance extended from the sides of the wood-burning appliance is 8″.

The standard distance extended out of the front of the wood-burning appliance is 18″.

Now if you have a side door or second door you also need to leave an 18″ distance for your hearth pad on that side.

Corner Hearth Pad For a Wood Stove

Wood burning stove hearth pad size cornerPin

Corner installation

The standard distance extended from the back of the wood-burning appliance is 8″.

The standard distance extended from the back corners of the wood stove to the edge of the sidewall of the hearth pad needs to be 8″.

The standard distance extended out of the front of the wood-burning appliance is 18″.

This distance is larger because the front of the stove is where the doors open and hot coals need an ember pad to fall onto.

Now if you have a side door or second door you also need to leave an 18″ distance for your hearth pad on that side.

It’s important to note that these measurements can sometimes be slightly different on the certification label of your wood-burning stove, some may say 8″ on the sides and 16″ on the front or side door, generally being the standard in the USA.

How Thick Does a Hearth Pad Need to Be?

The standard for a hearth pad thickness is a minimum of 3/8″ or 8mm, and this can be thicker depending on the noncombustible material used, something that is important and not always stated on stove labels is that the hearth pad should be a continuous surface.

If your wood stove manual requires type 2 ember protection for your hearth pad and you need to calculate your hearth pad R-Values then take a look at my post HOW TO CALCULATE WOOD STOVE HEARTH PAD R VALUES

Imperial Hearth PadPin

Click on the picture to see this economical metal hearth pad “Ad”

Floor Protection Continuous Surface

You may be asking why should wood stove floor protection be a continuous surface. well, the answer is simple, think about a hearth pad made of bricks or ceramic tiles, if they are laid directly on a combustible wood floor, for example, there will be gaps between each brick or tile and if by chance an ember falls out onto the floor and between those cracks, you could have a serious fire on your hands, you may not even notice that an ember fill out and it could smolder there for hours or even days till it catches fire.

Rustic wood stove hearth padPin
As you can see this rustic wood stove floor pad is not fancy but it is one continuous surface (no gaps)

The solution is always a continuous surface like a piece of sheet metal or cement board below the tile or brick that has gaps

Wood Stove Hearth Pad Material and Shapes

Here are some of the most common materials to protect your floor from fallen embers, there are a variety of shapes you can choose from, or you can buy a pre-made pad to your liking.

Hearth Pad Materials

Hearth pads can be made with many different materials to suit your preference and needs, some of the most popular are listed below:

  • Steel
  • Granite
  • Slate
  • Glass
  • Brick (or brick faces)
  • Stone
  • Ceramic tile

Just remember if you use any of these materials make sure they are stuck to a continuous non-combustible surface like cement board or sheet metal.

In the section below I talk a little more about this subject.

Hearth pad shapes

Hearth pads also come in a variety of shapes, such as the ones below:

  • Rectangular
  • Square
  • Circular (middle of a room)
  • Triamgle (for a corner instalation)
  • Octagon
  • DIY size and shape (this can be done when following the indications stated on the certification label of your stove

Check out some different hearth pad sizes and shapes at American Panel and Hearth Products

Under Your Hearth Pad

You will need protection under any materials that have gaps like tiles, bricks, or anything that is not a continuous surface as I have mentioned above, so under any of these materials you need a continuous piece of metal or cement board that is the total dimensions of your calculated hearth pad size, this is to prevent any embers from falling between the cracks or gaps possibly causing a fire, and this also makes the surface ridged and stronger.

Wood stove ember padPin
This pad is cut into the wood floor so it sits flush, this is a great way to add ember protection and you won’t stub your toe on it.

This is a useful point if you are building your DIY hearth pad, but if you buy one pre-made from a manufacturer you don’t need to worry about this because it will be built to code.

Hearth Pad Trim

Some people call this a wood stove ember pad and the name makes sense because the reasoning behind it is to stop embers from falling on your wood floor and so on, some people ask if this is an ember pad can I use a wood trim around the outside edge to finish it, and the answer is yes you can as long as you are 18″ distance from the front or any secondary door, and 8 on each side and back, but id you van finish yours with a metal edge it can be a little safer, and most store-bought ember pads or hearth pads come with a finished metal edge.

Wood stove hearth pad Ideas

There are so many choices and ideas when buying a wood stove hearth pad si below I thought I’d give you a few ideas if you want to make your own as a DIY project then the video below is a great place to start and you can also follow the guidelines I have given you in this post.

Hearth Pad Materials

There are many ideas for wood stove hearth pads, depending on your style and preferences.

Here are a few:

  1. Ceramic tiles: Ceramic tiles are a popular choice for wood stove hearth pads because they are fire-resistant and come in a variety of colors and patterns. You can create a mosaic pattern or use solid-colored tiles for a clean, modern look.
  2. Natural stone: Natural stone, such as slate or granite, is another popular choice for hearth pads. These materials are durable and heat-resistant, and they add a natural, earthy feel to your space.
  3. Brick: If you want a rustic look, consider using bricks to create your hearth pad. This material is fire-resistant and adds a cozy, warm feel to your space.
  4. Concrete: Concrete is a versatile material that can be stained or painted to match your decor. It is also durable and fire-resistant, making it a great choice for a hearth pad.
  5. Metal: For a modern, industrial look, consider using metal for your hearth pad. Materials like stainless steel or copper are heat-resistant and add a sleek, contemporary feel to your space.

Hearth Pad Design

Here are some wood stove hearth pad ideas that take into consideration:

  1. Herringbone slate: A herringbone pattern made with slate tiles can add a classic, elegant touch to your wood stove area. The natural texture and color variations of the slate can add depth and interest to the space.
  2. Recessed hearth: A recessed hearth can be a great option if you have limited space or want to create a sleek, modern look. You can use a variety of materials, such as stone, brick, or tile, to create the perfect look for your space.
  3. Geometric tiles: Using geometric tiles, such as hexagons or diamonds, can add a modern, geometric feel to your wood stove area. You can choose tiles in a variety of colors and patterns to create a custom look.
  4. Mosaic: A mosaic hearth pad can add a pop of color and interest to your wood stove area. You can use a variety of materials, such as glass, ceramic, or stone, to create a unique, artistic design.

Build a wood stove hearth pad DIY

Building your pad can be very cost-effective, generally costing between $150 to $250 depending on the materials you use.

To build a wood stove hearth pad DIY, here are the general steps you can follow:

  1. Determine the wood stove hearth pad size and shape based on the size of your wood stove and the clearance requirements. The hearth pad should extend at least 18 inches beyond the front of the stove and 8 inches beyond the sides and back.
  2. Choose your materials based on your design preference and the heat resistance requirements. Common materials include ceramic tiles, natural stone, brick, concrete, or metal.
  3. Build a frame for your hearth pad using 2×4 wood or metal studs. The frame should be the same size as your hearth pad and should be securely attached to the floor.
  4. Install a layer of cement backer board or other heat-resistant material on top of the frame. Attach the backer board to the frame using screws.
  5. Lay out your tiles or other materials in the desired pattern on top of the backer board, and use a tile saw or other cutting tool to cut the tiles to fit around the edges.
  6. Apply a layer of thin-set mortar to the backer board using a trowel. Press the tiles into the mortar, leaving a small gap between each tile.
  7. Allow the mortar to dry overnight, then apply the grout to the gaps between the tiles, and wipe away excess grout with a damp sponge.
  8. Allow the grout to dry overnight, then apply a sealant to the tiles to protect them from stains and moisture.
  9. Install trim around the edges of the hearth pad to cover any gaps and create a finished look.

Remember to follow all safety guidelines and building codes when building a wood stove hearth pad DIY. It may also be helpful to consult with a professional if you are unsure about any aspect of the process.

If you go this route and want to build your wood stove floor protection just make sure you measure correctly and take into consideration the points mentioned above to build it correctly.

YouTube video

Lisa’s video is a great introduction for anyone wanting to make their own DIY wood stove floor pad so check it out.

How do you build a raised hearth pad?

This video is for those of you who would like to build a raised hearth pad, but don’t have the experience that’s needed to frame it, this video takes out the guesswork so you can feel comfortable trying a DIY project like building a raised hearth pad.

YouTube video
This video is really good if you decide to build a raised hearth pad

Buy a wood stove hearth pad

If you decide to buy a premanufactured hearth pad you can expect to pay around $400 to $700+ depending on what you are looking for.

There are some great ones on Amazon, or you can also buy one directly through your local fireplace store

If you do decide to buy a premanufactured hearth pad, make sure you take into account your wood stove size and take into consideration the size of floor protection you need.

Wood Stove Floor Protection FAQs

What is a Wood Stove Hearth Pad?

A hearth pad is a platform of non-combustible material on which a wood stove can sit and the floor underneath can be protected from the heat.

When is a Hearth Pad Needed?

A hearth pad is typically required for wood stoves when the appliance won’t be installed on an existing hearth of sufficient size and depth, or when the floor won’t provide sufficient thermal protection.

Where Do I Find The Size of The Hearth Pad That I Need?

The size and shape of the hearth pad on the type and model of the wood stove, as well as the local fire codes and regulations. You should consult your stove dealer or stove manual for your stove’s specific requirements.

What Can A Hearth Pad Be Made With?

The material of the hearth pad should have a high thermal R-value, which measures how well it resists heat transfer. Some common materials used for hearth pads are steel, ceramic tile, natural stone, brick, concrete, slate, particle board, plywood, and resin.

What Is The Thickness of a Hearth Pad?

The thickness of the hearth pad also affects its thermal performance. Thicker pads provide more insulation and protection than thinner ones. However, thicker pads also raise the height of the stove, which may affect its draft and clearance to combustibles.

Thank you for reading, I hope this information was useful, please feel free to share this post with friends who might need it, and also leave a comment below if you found this post interesting.


  1. A little talk about R value would be helpful in the “Build your Hearth pad” section. I only mentioned this because this sight is great ! Thx, (:D)

  2. if i purchase a wood stove that is 22.5 wide by 21.5 deep, how large of a floor heat shield do i need to buy?

    • Hello, Mary thank you for sending me this question and for taking the time to read my blog.

      36×48 should be fine for a stove 22.5 wide by 21.5 deep if you are living in the USA because the requirements are 6″ past each side and 16″ at the front, the measurements stated in the post are for Canada and are slightly different but I will be updating that soon to also show the USA dimensions, To be sure you should always consult the owners manual online and you will be able to see the exact dimensions to be sure.

      have a wonderful day

    • Hello, Mary thank you for your comment, it would be best to look at the owner’s manual of the stove to get the exact measurements of the hearth pad needed, and also make sure it is a certified wood stove with a certification label on the back of it if it doesn’t have this label it will fall into a different category.

  3. We’re installing our first wood stove in a cabin we built. We want to use quartz for the hearth. We have quarts panels (tiles) we plan to use. We want to put 1/2” cement board on top of the plywood flooring, and top it with the quarts. How thick would the quarts need to be? thanks so much!!

    • Hello Marcy, thank you for sending me this question, if you look at your wood stove owner manual it should mention what type of ember protection is required for your hearth pad this may say type 1 or type 2 and if it is type 2 it may also state what is called R-Values, to understand this better and make your calculations I have made a post based on your question to hopefully help you and other homeowners that have the same question.

      You can find this article in the link and a chart to understand and calculate your R-values

  4. I am installing a Drolet Pyropak woodstove on top of a concrete slab containing in-floor hydronic heating loops. I plan to use a 1/2″ thickness hearth pad containing Micore with a 1.03 R factor. Since the concrete has been tinted and epoxy coated I will most likely go over-sized on the hearth pad dimensions but I still have concerns about the possibility of either radiant or conductive heat effecting the floor (or worse the in-floor pex loops) beneath the wood stove. There doesn’t seem to be a lot out there regarding this topic. Thanks

  5. Hello, we have a Nectre 65 stove and will place it in a corner. Because the sides and front are curved and the back is straight I can measure for a hearth pad in 3 different ways! The smallest pad would be best but following different methods of measuring I get a 39” square pad, or a 48” or a 51”. Any helpful hints on measuring a stove this shape, Thanks

  6. If I use 3/16 or 1/8 steel plate and use 1” square tubing to raise it off the ground. It’s going into a mobile home. Can I leave it open underneath the plate of does it have to be inclosed along the edge. Is 18” the same for mobile home.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share to...