Designing your wood burners look

There is lots of information online regarding wood burning stoves. Some good, some bad. This can make your decision harder than needs be. To simplify things there are four choices to consider. Squared opening, oak beam, surrounds or if your property was not built with a chimney suitable to accommodate a wood burning stove, this is still possible using a twin wall flue. All of the options are explained below. Please see our gallery page for more examples of each look.

Squared opening

Squared off opening is a clean minimal contemporary look; the wood burning stove simply sits inside the chimney opening with no beam or mantle above.

Oak beam

Nothing compliments a wood burning stove more than a beautiful natural oak beam. As well as being practical, they also add character to the room. They can be shaped and waxed to a finish of your choice, from the clean sharp edges of our contemporary beams all the way to our distressed beams for a more rustic look. We shape and stain our beams on site, thus allowing us to match the shade to floors or furniture in the room.

Mantles and surrounds

A mantelpiece whether an original antique wood or marble, or a modern contemporary limestone surround is a great way to keep a traditional look and feel to the room whilst still benefiting from the high efficiency of a modern wood burning stove.

twin wall flues

Twin wall flues allow stoves to be installed in properties that don’t have flues suitable for solid fuel – whether in an extension or in houses without chimneys, or in some cases where the original chimney breast has been removed. Installing a stove is still possible using a twin wall flue.


The hearth is the base that extends out in to the room, the stove stands on the hearth and its there to stop hot ashes and embers from damaging the floor. There are many different materials used for hearths such as slate, stone, granite and tiles. however some materials work better than others when serving a solid fuel fireplace. My recommendations and the reasons for them can be read below.


Riven slate is created by splitting along the natural fault lines of the slate to produce an unpolished rustic look and reveal the natural blue, green and grey tints of the stone. It’s popular for fireplace construction due to its beautiful deep, muted finish. We stock slate in large slabs which enable us to cut the whole hearth from a single piece, this eliminates any unsightly mortar joints that hearths laid in numerous sections create.

When slate is unoiled it has a natural colour of matt grey / blue. When slate is oiled using teek, linseed or baby oil it gives the slate a darker appearance of blue / black. The oil puts a protective layer over the slate surface, eventually the oil will soak in and the slate will return to its lighter natural grey colour, although if you prefer the darker tone, a regular coat of oil will retain its wet look.

Slate slabs are 20mm & 30mm in thickness. All of the images for the slate slider are of the same slate material yet the darker slate has recently been oiled.

Yorkshire Sandstone

Sandstone has a timeless look, Sandstone is an extremely versatile natural material and has been used for thousands of years. Its uses provide a variety of products such as paving, walling, roofing and masonry. Sandstone can be seen throughout the UK in many prestigious structures and grand landscape surroundings which form part of our heritage.

Quarried in West Yorkshire, This Buff/Yellow Sandstone has a uniform close grain with dark flecks which are black iron oxide. The honed finish is smooth but without any traces of a shine.The surface is however fairly porous and in a “dirty” environment such as an open fire, treatment is essential to prevent it absorbing soot and ash.

Quarry tiles

Quarry tiles are made from clay and once fired become very hard. They come as 6″ tiles in black, terracotta and cream but can be cut in to smaller tiles to make diamond patterns. They are very hard wearing and perfect for a fireplace hearth.

The diamond pattern hearths are hand made and look great with a fireplace surround stood on them. Perfect for people wanting to keep some of the houses original styles and features.

Openings walls – Boarded or Brick

The inside of the opening that the stove sits in is referred to as the chamber, There are two options when it comes to the walls of the chamber, Lining the walls with a heat resistant fireboard gives a neat, clean and smooth finish. the boards can be left white or painted afterwards using any water based emulsion.

For people wanting a more rustic look, occasionally the original brickwork can be cleaned and repointed, I say occasionally because the brickwork was never intended to be seen and poor quality bricks were used, also due to staining from soot it’s usually more cosmetically pleasing to board over the old stained and chipped bricks. Although some chambers are in surprisingly good condition. Keeping the original brickwork is just a case of opening up the chamber to reveal the condition of the walls and deciding which option would work best.

For people who are really stuck on having brickwork, There is now the option to have brick board panels that are slithers of real brick laid on to a fireboard and fixed over the old brickwork. However some manufacturers of these boards make panels that look completely fake, I use a company that only cuts the two faces from a real brick, then hand points the mortar joints afterwards which gives them a more natural look. (see images below)

Fireboarded chamber

Special heat resistant fireboard is used when lining the chambers walls, It gives a clean and contemporary look and is the most popular choice for chambers. Fireboard is designed with one smooth face that does not require plastering afterwards unlike regular plasterboard, many customers leave the boards unpainted as it has a neutral off white colour. Although if you would like to paint the boards, using regular water based emulsion is fine.

Original brickwork chamber

Cleaning and repointing the original brickwork of the chambers walls can be a worthy task, whether rustic or contemporary it can look great in both settings. Unfortunately opening up a chamber which reveals nice enough brickwork to restore is few and far between. Although the brick boards panels are an option to solve this.

Brickboard panel chamber

Brick boards are a composite cladding panel made from real brick & 0 rated cement particle board specially designed for fireplace openings, indistinguishable from traditional brickwork, unlike some of the faux brick alternatives they are made from real bricks. They are then hand pointed with real mortar for a truly authentic finish.

A complete set is one back panel and two side panels that can be made to size to suit every chamber possible, The bricks can also be laid in different patterns such as herringbone and basketweave.

mantelpieces  & Surrounds

The mantelpiece is the decorative statement and focal point to a room that holds everything together. Made from either wood, stone or marble. Surrounds retain a  traditional aspect of a home. Whether the properties original surround is to be removed and put back, or a new surround is to be added. Its a grand focal point to any room, and the off white tones of limestone are perfectly suited in modern contemporary settings.

Wooden mantles

Recent interior design trends have shown a rise in popularity in bringing the outdoors in, by incorporating elements of nature into the home. From sophisticated oak to antique-style wood, there is a wide range of surround finishes available to suit any living space. Wooden fire surrounds are available in a wide range of shades so can easily be matched to existing decor.

Stone mantles

Natural stone has a unique texture and the character of these fireplaces make a bold and lasting statement in any home. Limestone`s creamy whites are consistent in colour and fit perfectly with both period homes and modern, contemporary interiors. A perfect combination when standing on a slate hearth and housing a modern wood burning stove.

Marble mantels

It’s not surprising marble has been used for surrounds for many centuries. Usually made from carrara this stunning timeless material has darker vein patterns entangled over a lighter grey background. Its high polished finish gives it a smooth feel. Traditionally used with cast iron inserts but now very popular to frame a wood burning stove.

Twin Wall flue systems

Twin wall flues allows wood burning stoves to be installed where a chimney breast is not present, an example would be in a new extension or in properties built after the 1960″s which only have flues suitable for gas. Generally available in silver (reflective chrome-like) and black (satin/matt finish). Twin wall flue is a metal tube (flue) insulated with approx an inch of insulation (two layers of stainless steel with insulation between).  This allows the flue to pass internally through walls or ceilings or externally on an outside wall. A 6 inch flue usually has an outer diameter of around 8 inch and a 5 inch flue has an outer of around 7inch.

Twin wall flues are usually paired with ‘freestanding’ style stoves. Most models of this type allow the hearth to sit directly on top of wooden floors, Traditional slate can be used or contemporary glass hearths with a minimum thickness of 12mm which are available in many different shapes and colours.

Twin wall flues can be installed in two ways, either through the roof of the building or through the wall at a 45 degree angle and then up the side of the building. If the stove is to be installed a single storey extension for example, through the roof would be the preferred method, if two storeys and there are rooms above the stove it is best to fit the flue on the outside of the property. This keeps costs down and saves space in the bedrooms above, however flues can pass through floors and bedrooms should they need to.