What beautiful weather we’re having – in typical fashion now that our wood-burning stove is finally in there’s a heatwave. Not that I was really expecting to use it at this time of year of course but seriously!
So, the next part of our living room renovation is pretty much complete but this has been a valuable learning curve for us both in how to approach future projects. I broke my own rules of quotes and didn’t get any comparisons and whilst I was so careful with the windows to document every little step on paper, we had a couple of issues with the stove which means that we’ve had to dispose of all the rubbish since that wasn’t factored into the cost and the internal section of the fireplace has not been finished properly since apparently I didn’t specify that I wanted it plastered. Well who knew there was any alternative?!
It’s fine, it’s rendered, and that’s enough for me to be able to work with but this was not a cheap operation and I can’t help thinking that where we thought we’d be saving loads in going directly with the contractor instead of via the company he works for, we haven’t really saved anything at all and had a little bit of aggravation in the process. Pete spent most of yesterday carrying all the rubble that was left on our drive, down the passageway at the side of our house, into the back garden and up to the top so he could pop it all in the sheds which back on to the garage. This sounds like nothing but when you have the equivalent of a ton of material to shift and our garden slopes upwards and is 100ft long, it’s a nightmare.
That said, I have been known to love a challenge and so once the plaster on the front of the fireplace and the render inside is dried, I’ll set about repainting. In the meantime, here are my tips if you’re thinking about getting a wood-burning stove.
- Most importantly, check you live in an area where you can burn fuel and if there are any restrictions to the type of fuel. We live in London and some areas are different, on our current road it’s fine but where we used to live just 4 miles away it was not possible to use wood-burners.
- Do you have a chimney? Obvious one right, but you will need some kind of air vent for the stove to expel air to. It’s not impossible if you don’t have a chimney, either you can have one built or there are now some very clever designs on the market (mainly Scandinavian because chimneys aren’t common over there) which aren’t chimney reliant
- Multi vs. single fuel – we’re only interested in burning wood but as the burner we went for is a multi-fuel one, we’ve had the appropriate lining fitted in case we move on so the next occupiers have the choice
- Design – there are SO many to choose from. We went to Westcombes Fireplaces near to where we live which was a positive treasure trove and got some really good advice. You definitely need to see them in the flesh, don’t think that internet shopping is enough for this one. You’ll need to know the size of the space you have (both width and depth) and whether you want something traditional or modern, do you want clear branding, what size of window? We went for the Heta Inspire 45. It’s a Danish design, quite stream-lined and minimalist. I love the simplicity and the large clear glass – the beauty of woodburners for me is to look at the flame rather than all the surround. I also like the fact that there is no obvious branding.
- Strength/output – you’ll need to know the dimensions of your room or the area you want to heat, this has a bearing on the choices available also
- The work – if you’re having a hearth replaced or added, what material would you like? Mantel or not? And make sure to clarify the internal structure of your fireplace, we had a gas one which needed to be stripped out and the fireplace opened up back to it’s original 1930’s dimensions. Depending on the style of the look you’re going for, you could leave the original brickwork exposed or have it plastered over.
- The mess – depending how much excavation you need doing, it’s a messy, messy business. Make sure you determine who is responsible for getting rid of all the debris and packaging!
Needless to say despite the trials and tribulations we’ve encountered, we really do love how the fireplace looks now and it’s such a huge improvement on what was there before. Hopefully a much warmer winter awaits.
Do you have a wood burning stove? Have you encountered any problems with certain projects?