Every wood stove needs a hearth. Doesn’t that sound like a song? Wood stoves are a very cost effective way to heat your home, especially if you have your own wood source. And nothing beats a fire on a cold winter night. Here’s our guide for a diy concrete hearth pad.
A hearth is the floor for the fireplace or wood stove, made of a non-combustible material. We poured a concrete slab for our wood stove hearth.
Build the Concrete Hearth Form
We built the form for our concrete hearth by cutting wood to the height, width, and length of the hearth pad. We wanted our hearth pad to extend down the wall to have space for stacking wood. You’ll need to research the requirements for your wood stove as far as the height and depth of your hearth. For our hearth we have 2 different levels — the alcove is 7″ deep and the front hearth pad is 4″ deep.
We nailed the wood form together and reinforced the form with more wood for extra support. You could use whatever you have on hand, it’s just more support to keep the form from bowing during the concrete pour.
Calculate for concrete needed
To determine how much concrete we needed we measured in inches the length, width, and height of the area to pour. Here’s the math: in inches, length x width x height divided by 1,728 ( which is 12 cubed equalling 1 cubic foot).
At first just by sight we were thinking we’d need about 10 bags of concrete. Then we bought 5 bags, and then another 5 bags just to be sure we had enough. After adding up the math we realized we needed 32 bags! So off to the hardware store we went to get an additional 12 bags of concrete. So make sure to do the math for your project so you’ll have enough concrete on hand.
Pour concrete in place
If we had to do it over we would have rented a concrete mixer because this was a back breaking job on my poor husband. We got that black tub to mix the concrete in but we ended up just pouring and mixing in place.
We poured a few bags of concrete, hosed it down with water and mixed it together with a garden rake. And slowly but surely, and a lot of sweat, we, well he, got the cement all mixed.
After all the concrete was in we smoothed it out with a mag float til it was all nice and pretty.
Then the fans were brought out to help evaporate the water so that Kenney could do the finishing work on the concrete without it being soupy.
We had the fans on for a few hours and once the concrete surface looked similar to an orange peel, Kenney used the mag float again to move the concrete around to get a flat, smooth finish.
How to cure concrete
The forms were removed sometime during the night (I went to bed) and curing the concrete began the next day. Don’t skip the step of curing. Curing is important to make new concrete strong and stable. The easiest way to cure concrete is by spraying with water several times a day for the first 7 days. We wrapped towels around to soak up overspray. Just don’t do like we did and forget to put dry towels down throughout the day. Our flooring is buckled now in this area.
This is how we poured a concrete hearth pad for our wood stove fireplace. We poured the concrete and mixed it in place. It takes a lot of work but we got it done and it’s curing nicely. Now we just need to finish the rest of the fireplace box and we’ll be ready for winter!