Requirements of Hearths in Modern Installations

Do I need a hearth?

The short and simple answer to this is yes! To avoid having your wood burning or multifuel stove illegally and dangerously installed, please read through this blog and the HETAS approved documents.

When having any combustion appliance installed, we want to feel safe in knowing it was done so correctly and complying with the safety standards of current day regulations.

We have read through the HETAS Approved Document J for England and picked out the important points for hearth installation, listing them here for you.

Hearths should be constructed from suitable, robust materials and to the appropriate dimensions. General materials used for stove hearths include granite, slate, glass, and stainless steel, each with its own positive result. It’s all down to personal taste, as well as what is appropriate for your appliance!

A hearth will prevent any embers or fallout from burning or setting alight to the surrounding areas within your home. Furthermore, it is suggested within the regulations, that your hearth should be ‘visibly apparent’ to anyone who might pass by your wood burning/multifuel appliance. This is so they can keep aware of the safe distance they must recognise, to prevent any accidental harm.

Another way to achieve this safe boundary would be to provide different levels from your flooring and the hearth. This also discourages combustible floor finishes, such as carpet, being laid too close to the appliance.

Provide a hearth appropriate to the temperatures that your chosen appliance will create around it. The hearth should accommodate the weight of the stove as well as its chimney (if the chimney is not independently supported).

Appliances must stand above hearths made from non-combustible board/sheet material or tiling, at least 12mm thick.

Constructional hearths must have the correct plan dimensions (see page 39 of the Approved Document J for England, on HETAS website) and be made of a solid, non-combustible material i.e. concrete or masonry. It must be at least 125mm thick, including the thickness of any non-combustible floor and/or decorative surface.

Combustible material should not be placed beneath constructional hearths unless there is an airspace of at least 50mm between the underside of the hearth and the combustible material. Alternatively, the combustible material must be at least 250mm below the top of the hearth.

A solid fuel stove should be installed onto a hearth so that it is surrounded by a clear surface, free of any combustible materials. This could be part of the surface of the hearth provided or the surface of a superimposed hearth laid wholly (or partly) upon a constructional hearth.

Combustible material placed on or beside a constructional hearth should not extend under a superimposed hearth by more than 25mm. Alternatively, it should not be closer than 150mm, measuring horizontally to the appliance.


Acknowledging and complying with these regulations will help to ensure you receive your installation in the best and safest state you can. We want you to enjoy your stoves but not before safety measurements are complied with!

It is usually best to ensure a qualified HETAS engineer fits your stove and certifies it to be compliant with current day regulations.


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