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Wood Burning Stoves in Cabins and Small Spaces

We were recently asked to install a wood burning stove into the most stunning cabin designed and built by Life Space Cabins in the rolling coastal hills of South Devon.  The owners had chosen a small Salamander Range wood burning stove to give them the flexibility to boil a kettle and even cook up a bit of food!


Stoves for Cabins

Salamander Stove

Wood burning stoves in cabins and small spaces are a fantastic option, particularly if  you are planning on using them all year round.  A stove will see you through the chilly months from autumn to spring and the cooler summer evenings too, providing warmth and even some cooking facilities, without the need for any electricity. Perfect if your hideaway is in a remote spot, which all great hideaways are!

But before you choose your stove, make any alterations to a build, or even plans there are a few considerations to think through to ensure your installation is safe.

Which Stove?

Choosing the right stove is really going to be a key and we would always suggest taking professional advice from HETAS qualified suppliers/installers like West Country Stoves. With small cabins it is always important to get the right stove output for your space.  You don't want to have a large kW stove and then not be able to enjoy your cabin because it is too hot!

Timber Buildings - Distances to Combustibles

Stoves can be installed into timber framed buildings but you do need to consider the positioning of your stove.  For each stove, the manufacturer will state the safe distances the stove can be positioned to combustible materials. This includes distances to the rear and sides of the stove.  Distances to combustible materials can be reduced with the use of:

  • a heat shield, designed with an air gap to prevent heat transfer
  • a manufacturer supplied heat shield, which is fixed to the back of the stove.
  • choosing a stove which has been designed with minimal distances to combustibles.
  • creating a masonry or stone section behind the stove.

Flue Systems For Cabins

Flue height is also an important consideration when selecting a stove.  Manufacturers will state the required flue height for each stove.  Most stoves will operate on a 4.5m flue as standard, however, there are some which have been tested down to 3.5m which is more suitable for single storey buildings.

There are two choices of flue - single wall or twin wall insulated flue.  The choice of flue can be purely down to aesthetics. However, if choosing 'single wall', the flue will need to be a least 3 times the diameter away from any combustible materials (depending on the manufacturer).

In comparison, twin wall flue reduces the distances to combustibles greatly.  When the flue goes through the roof it must still have a clearance to any combustible materials such as rafters, but this can be reduced to a minimum of 50mm (depending on the manufacturer).


For cabins and other small buildings it is likely that your floor is going to be constructed from timber and this can impact on your choice of stove as well, unless planned into the build.  Some stoves require a 125mm constructional concrete hearth (due to heat transfer from the stove) which can then be overlayed with a more decorative hearth (eg. slate). Whilst other stoves just require a 12mm decorative hearth.  Generally with all installations your hearth must be 300mm in front of the stove and 150mm to the sides, this is to protect your floor from any heat transfer and hot ash.

Air Vents

HETAS regulations for new buildings state that any wood burning stoves installed into new structures (post 2008) should have an air vent.  This is usually floor or wall mounted. Some wood burning stoves can be fitted with a direct air kit allowing the intake of air solely for the stove.

HETAS Installations

With any project where a stove is going to be installed it worth getting advice and guidance from a HETAS registered retailer like West Country Stoves. Our team will ensure that all the elements of installing a wood burning stoves in cabins or small spaces from planning to choosing your stove and installing, are designed into your build from the outset.

So as you can see there are a few considerations which are well worth thinking about at the planning stage.  This way you can create that cosy space which you will be able to escape to all year round, whatever the weather.  For more information or any questions you might have, please contact us today - we are always happy to talk stoves!

And finally, if you are looking for some assistance with designing and building a cabin or small space contact the team at Life Space Cabins. Whether you are looking for an eco-friendly hut, luxury tree house, garden room or studio, they can design you the perfect small space to escape to!