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DIY Tips for Building a Rock Wall behind a Wood Heater

DIY Tips for Building a Rock Wall behind a Wood Heater

The wall behind a wood heater can get very hot when you build a fire. You can discolor the drywall, cause paint to blister and flake, cause wall paper to turn loose, and even catch paneling and some wood wall coverings on fire. You need a heat shield behind your wood burning stove, and beneath your wood burning stove to protect your home and family.

Rocks are heat resistant and no matter how hot the wood stove is burning the rocks are not going to catch on fire. The rock wall is a natural beauty that needs no paint or varnish so you will not hurt this substance with the heat of a fire. You will be protecting your home from a fire accident and keeping the home insulated so that it is cheaper to heat and cool.

The first thing you need to do is remove the wall covering behind the area between the two studs directly behind the heater. If there are electrical wires running through the wall, you will need to route them through the top of the wall before beginning your project.

You need to assemble a large amount of rocks to place in your wall. You can use any size of rocks that you think are attractive. When I built mine, I used natural stones that I collected from the river bank near my home. 

You need to buy mortar and mix it just like you were going to be laying brick. You start by placing a generous amount of mortar on your bottom plate and the setting a line of rocks on top of the mortar. You then place mortar on top of the rocks and continue to build the section up one row of rocks at a time until you reach about two feet in height. When you have reached two feet place a board across the front of the rocks you have placed and screw it in place to the studs on either side. 

You may continue working up about two feet and then placing a board in front of your work to help hold the rocks in position until the mortar sets, or you can allow each section to dry and set and then start putting more rocks in place the next day. Either way works out just fine.

When you have finished putting all of the rocks in place, you will need to cut trim boards and place them on either side of the rock formation to create a finished look. You can paint the trim boards to match your other baseboards and trim in your house.

You can clean the rock section by dusting it frequently and periodically you can take good soapy water and wash this wall portion. You will have an easy to care for fire-proof section of the wall to set your wood burning stove in front of.

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