What is the difference between a stove board and a hearth pad? Absolutely nothing! They are the same product, the names are used interchangeably, and we will therefore be using the name interchangeably in this article.
2. What is the difference between a hearth pad and a hearth extension? A hearth pad is used to protect the floor under a free standing wood stove, pellet stove or gas stove. A hearth extension is a rectangular hearth pad that sits in front of an existing fireplace hearth where the fireplace has been converted to accept a wood, pellet, or gas insert.
3. What is your overall goal: floor protection, appearance, or maintenance? Firstly, you must understand why you are buying floor protection. You may need temperature protection for a large wood stove or may need only minimal thermal protection for a gas or pellet stove. Also, if you already have a non-combustible floor you may be considering the stove board for its decorative purposes only.
4. What is the size of the area you need to cover? Many stoves or inserts have a specific area requirement to be protected. Be sure that you know the size requirements, and then buy a hearth pad that will cover this area plus more; your installation manual will have this information.
5. Are there special requirements that the stove manufacturer requires for use of their product? Yes, many stoves are designed and sold with a specific size AND insulating value requirement for the stove board. The installation manual will point this out. Be sure you understand the appliance you have and what its installation requirements are.
6. Are any structural changes required before you install the stove and stove board? Your installer may suggest you modify the area in which you are placing your stove or insert in order to provide better or safer operation. It is best to make these changes before you install the stove board and stove.
7. What is the construction of the hearth pad, and are any combustible materials used? As amazing as it may sound, many hearth pads are made with combustible fiber or chip board as their core material. This is then covered with ceramic tile or metal. All Hearth-Safe hearth pads are made of 100% noncombustible materials. The base for a Hearth-Safe stove board is cement board. This provides not only a non-combustible base material, but also provides extreme rigidity reducing the possibility of cracking the tile or grout.
8. What is the “R” Value of the hearth pad? The “R” value is a measure of the insulating value of the floor protection. You may be familiar with this from your home insulation. The higher the “R” value the more thermal protection your floor will receive. The minimum “R” value for a stove board is 1.0, Hearth-Safe hearth pads have an “R” value of 2.4; over twice the minimum.
9. Do I want a corner or wall pad, and what is the difference? A corner pad is designed to fit tightly into a corner; a wall pad sits flat against a wall. You can use a wall pad in the corner but it will not fit the cornet tightly. A corner pad in a corner installation will allow for a stove installation closer to the wall assuming your stove design allows for that.
10. Does the hearth pad come with a warranty? A simple question but important question. With shipping being very rough and then walking on the stove board daily, you want to be sure that you have protection against any cracked tile or grout joint.
11. And finally, number 11. I know Ive titled this the 10 things to consider before buying a hearth pad, however there appears to be 11 pieces of wisdom to impart. Thus, always consider whether you like the design of the stove board and its installed appearance. Item 11 of 10 may, in fact, be the most important. Do you like the frame and tile style/color of the hearth pad? Be sure to look at the many tile styles and colors as well as the edge treatment of the overall hearth pad. One line of Hearth-Safe hearth pads has a decorative extruded aluminum edge for a unique finished look. As long as youre going with a Hearth-Safe hearth pad, you cant go wrong, so definitely make sure that youre happy with the overall look.