Installing a wood burning stove can be an excellent way to add stylish ambiance and reliable heat to your home. However, like most major home improvements, installing a wood stove is a significant investment. In this guide, we’ll break down the key factors that influence the cost of installing a wood burning stove so you can budget appropriately for this project.
Key Factors That Influence Installation Costs
The total cost to install a wood burning stove can range from $2,000 to $5,000 on average, with the national average coming in around $3,500 according to HomeAdvisor. The wide range in price depends on several key factors:
- Stove type: The type of wood stove you select, including size, efficiency, and features, has a significant impact on the installation cost. More advanced stoves with catalytic combustors or larger fireboxes cost more.
- Venting: Running the stovepipe chimney venting through an existing chimney flue is simpler and costs less than installing exterior venting. Exterior vents require more materials and labor.
- Permits: Your location will determine if you need a permit from the city to install a stove. Permits typically add $200-$500 to the total cost.
- Accessibility: The ease of accessing installation areas impacts time and difficulty. Installations in cramped spaces or requiring structural modifications cost more in labor.
- Additional materials: Special hearth pads, decorative surrounds, fans, and other enhancements raise the bottom line.
With these factors in mind, let’s take a detailed look at typical installation costs.
The wood stove unit itself represents a significant portion of the total installation cost. Stove prices can vary dramatically based on size, efficiency, and extra features. Basic models start around $500, while high-end stoves with catalytic combustion and large fireboxes can cost up to $4,000 just for the unit itself.
Some average stove costs include:
- Basic non-catalytic stove: $500 – $1,000
- Mid-range catalytic stove: $1,200 – $2,000
- Premium large firebox catalytic stove: $2,500 – $4,000
Spending more upfront on an efficient, durable stove from a reputable brand will save you money over time through lower wood consumption and maintenance costs.
One of the essential steps in installing a wood burning stove is properly venting the flue gases outside. This usually represents 15-30% of the total installation price.
Stovepipe venting into an existing chimney liner is the simplest option and costs around $300-500 in materials and labor for an average 20 foot run. This route minimizes construction and avoids exterior work.
Direct venting that routes the exhaust through an exterior wall is more complex. The venting components alone can cost $500-1,500 depending on the stove location, vent route, termination cap style, and material (stainless steel, galvanized steel, or pellet vent). Add another $200-500 for weatherproofing and the labor for installation.
Hearth Pad Costs
Wood stoves get extremely hot and require an insulating base to protect the floor. Hearth pads are usually made from stone, tile, or specialty materials like ThermalBlocks designed for high heat. Basic hearth pad installation costs around $500-800 including materials and labor. More expensive options with decorative stone or tile can cost up to $2,000 with installation.
Installation Labor Costs
The stove purchase and venting materials represent fixed costs, while labor makes up the majority of the variable installation costs. The expertise and time required to properly install the stove, venting, and hearth pad costs $50-$150 per hour.
The labor time ranges from 10-30 hours for typical installations. At $100 per hour for labor, you can expect to pay $1,000 to $3,000 for installation work. The higher end would be for complex jobs requiring chimney repairs, accessibility considerations, or exterior venting.
Most municipalities require an installation permit for wood and pellet stoves to ensure proper clearances and venting. The permit costs vary by location but typically run $100 to $500. Verify with your city whether a permit is necessary and factor it into your budget.
Several optional upgrades can enhance the functionality and appearance of your new wood stove installation. These include:
- Blower fan kits – Improve heat circulation at $150-$300 installed
- Surrounds/mantels – Customizable decorative accents for $500-$1,500
- Chimney damper – Avoid heat loss up the chimney for $150-$250
- Outside air kit – Dedicated outside air feed for the stove at $150-$200
DIY Installation Savings
One way to cut down on the installation costs is to tackle parts of the project yourself if you have the skills and time. The stove unit purchase and permit will still apply, but you can save significantly on labor. DIY venting, hearth construction, and finish work can reduce installation fees $1,000 or more. However, take on DIY work at your own risk and comply with building codes.
Installation Price Summary
Based on average costs for materials and professional labor, you can expect to spend $2,500 to $4,500 to have a wood stove installed in most cases. Here is a recap of typical price ranges for each major installation component:
- Stove unit: $500 – $4,000
- Venting: $500 – $1,500
- Hearth pad: $500 – $2,000
- Labor: $1,000 – $3,000
- Permit fee: $100 – $500
- Enhancements: $150 – $1,500
Total installation cost range: $2,500 – $5,000
The specific stove model, venting method, materials, permit requirements, and labor complexity for your installation will determine where you fall within that range. Carefully considering each cost element will help you create an accurate budget.
Can I Install a Wood Stove Myself?
While hiring a professional for the entire installation is recommended for safety and building code compliance, there are some elements a handy homeowner can complete themselves to save on labor fees. If you are very experienced with construction projects and understand your stove’s installation manual thoroughly, the following tasks could potentially be DIY:
- Rearranging furniture for stove clearances
- Assembling chimney pipe sections
- Installing interior venting in accessible areas
- Constructing a basic hearth pad
- Finish trims/surrounds
However, even if doing portions yourself, having a certified chimney sweep connect the stovepipe to your chimney is strongly advised. You would also still need to purchase the permit and have inspections done. And any modifications to roofing or exterior walls should be left to the professionals. Know your limits and ensure safety.
Finding Professional Installers
Seeking estimates from multiple local professionals is the best way to find competitive pricing and experienced installers. Look for these key credentials and services when selecting a pro:
- Certified wood stove specialists: NFI (National Fireplace Institute) certification demonstrates proper training.
- Chimney expertise: Look for CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) certified chimney sweeps.
- Good standing: Check state license status and read online customer reviews.
- Full-service: Firms that handle the entire process from permits to installation offer convenience.
- Upfront pricing: Get clearly defined quotes accounting for all expected costs.
- Reputable fireplace shops: Showrooms that sell wood stoves also offer installation services.
With an understanding of the factors that influence costs, you can budget wisely and find the right pro for your wood stove installation. A properly installed stove will provide cozy, beautiful heat for years to come. Reach out with any other questions!
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some common questions about installing wood burning stoves:
How long does it take to install a wood burning stove?
The installation time can take 20-40 hours over 3-5 days from start to finish. The stove and venting usually goes up in 1-2 days, followed by 1-2 days for the masonry work on the hearth pad. Any additional finish work adds time as well.
Can I install a stove in a mobile home?
Yes, wood stoves can be installed in mobile homes but it is crucial to follow the manufacturer guidelines to maintain proper clearances and use components approved for manufactured housing.
What are the clearance requirements around wood stoves?
Wood stoves need clearance from combustible surfaces of at least 36 inches around the sides and 48 inches in the front. Refer to the manufacturer specifications for exact requirements.
Should I get a Class A stove or catalytic stove?
Catalytic stoves burn more efficiently and cost less to operate, but also have higher upfront costs. A basic Class A stove may suit occasional use, while catalytic models are ideal for regular heating.
How high off the floor should a wood stove be installed?
Wood stoves should be elevated at least 8 inches off the ground, with 12-18 inches being optimal. This allows better heat radiation and reduces safety risks.
Can a wood stove be installed in a bedroom?
No, the fire code does not allow solid-fuel burning appliances like wood stoves to be installed in sleeping quarters due to risks from smoke and fire.
Do I need an inspection for my wood stove installation?
Yes, you will need to have the completed installation inspected and approved before operating a new wood stove. Your local building department oversees the permitting and inspection process.