Log Burner Installation Guide 2024 | Complete Cost & Process Overview

Log Burner Installation Guide 2024 | Complete Cost & Process Overview

Log burners and multi-fuel stoves are becoming an increasingly popular choice among UK households. Being the UK’s highest-rated supplier of Ready to Burn logs and briquettes, we know this better than anyone else. The sales of wood-burning stoves are breaking records, and the same is true for wood fuels. Hence, there is an increased interest in the costs of buying and installing a wood burner.

How much does log burner installation actually cost in 2024? What is the overall process like? And what are the preparations involved? And how much can you expect to pay for heating with wood when compared to gas or electric heating? If you’re wondering this, then you've landed in the perfect spot. This expert-written guide was created to demystify the setup of your new wood-burning stove, incorporating the latest insights and cost considerations.

Why Are People Getting Wood Burners?

So, are log burners actually worth it? Why are so many people in Britain turning back to traditional wood heating? Here are the main reasons:

    • Natural fires reduce stress and improve life quality. Natural fires are scientifically proven to lower your levels of stress, anxiety, and arterial blood pressure. While people have known this intuitively for centuries, scientists at the University of Alabama have proven this effect in a landmark 2014 study.
    • Having a log burner increases the value of your property. Being seen as both a practical and luxurious addition to a home, wood burners are a surefire way to raise the value of your property. In fact, prospective buyers have been shown to be willing to pay up to 5% more for a home with a log burner than an identical home without a log burner
    • Wood burners harken back to simpler times. Traditions matter. We in Britain know this like no one else. Our forefathers have relied on natural fire heat for centuries. In an ever-changing, fast-paced world, the meditative ritual of starting a fire can help us reconnect with our roots in a physical and authentic way
    • Heating with wood fuel is far cheaper than using gas or electricity. Despite all of the points mentioned above, the main reason most people these days get log burners is because heating your home with a log burner is much, much more affordable than relying on mains gas or electric heat. What’s more, smart shoppers can even save an additional 25%-40% by taking advantage of seasonal pricing and purchasing wood fuels in the summer when prices are at their lowest.

Wood Burner Installation Process Overview

The installation of a new wood-burning stove involves several key steps, from selecting the perfect location and choosing the right stove for the job to ensuring proper ventilation and doing all the required prep work. Here’s a brief run-down of the main aspects. If you’re relying on a certified professional, they should be able to guide you through the entire process. On the other hand, if this is a DIY project, you’ll have to tackle all of these steps yourself.

How to Select the Perfect Log Burner Location

Choosing the right spot for your stove is a crucial step of the process. It plays a key role in how safe, efficient, and aesthetically pleasing your wood burner setup will be.

  1. Assess the Size and Layout of the Room. Before you do anything else, evaluate the space where you plan to install the wood burner. The bigger the room, the more heat you’ll need to keep it warm, hence the need for a stove designed to handle a larger heat output (measured in kW). If your stove cannot handle the amount of heat you’ll be subjecting it to, it can quickly break due to overheating. Ideally, the stove should be positioned as close to the centre of your living space to allow for even heat distribution.
  2. Be Mindful of Ventilation Requirements. Proper ventilation is crucial for the safe and efficient operation of a wood burner. The location you choose should allow for ample airflow that meets all of the stove’s ventilation requirements. For example, larger stoves with a heat output of 5.0kW and over require an air vent.
  3. Ensure Compliance with Safety Clearances. Identify a location that allows you to maintain appropriate safety clearances from combustible materials, including walls, furniture, and curtains. Clearances vary from stove to stove and are specified by the manufacturer.
  4. Consider the Hearth and Flooring. In order to be safe to use, a wood burner must sit on a non-combustible hearth that extends a certain distance in front of and around the stove. Ensure the chosen location allows for the installation of an appropriate hearth to protect your flooring from heat and any stray sparks and embers that might come flying out.
  5. Plan for Flue System Installation. The location you choose must facilitate the installation of a properly functioning flue system to safely vent out the combustion gases created during the burning process. If your home does not have an existing chimney, you will need to create one that’s up to your region’s safety standards.

Checklist: Essential Components for Wood Burner Installation

Here’s an updated 2024 checklist for everything you’ll need to have for a successful log burner installation in the UK. Each component plays a vital role in the safe and efficient operation of your stove.

  1. The Log Burning Stove Itself. Being the central component of your installation, the stove itself needs to be chosen first, with all the other components being bought to fit around it (and not the other way around). The most important things about a stove are its physical size, heat output (measured in kW), design, and efficiency (read more about standard Ecodesign stoves and high-efficiency clearSkies stoves).
  2. Flue Pipe. An essential component for safely venting out combustion gases from your stove. A high-quality flue pipe is crucial because it must withstand high temperatures and corrosive gases without deteriorating over time. Choosing a durable, well-designed flue pipe minimizes the risk of leaks and ensures efficient operation of your wood burner. NB! No matter how high-quality your flue pipe is and how dry your wood fuels, it’s still recommended you hire a chimney sweep at least once a year.
  3. Chimney Cap. The purpose of this element is to protect the chimney or flue system from external elements like rain, debris, and even small birds (who might be attracted by the warmth of your chimney during the colder months). A quality chimney cap will also help combat downdrafts that can actually push smoke back into your home (which, it goes without saying, is an extremely unpleasant experience).
  4. Stove Hearth. The hearth is a protective barrier between your stove and the flooring it sits on. Its purpose is to shield the floor from heat and stray sparks. A high-quality hearth should be made from durable, non-combustible materials like stone or tile. A hearth not only enhances safety but also contributes to the overall aesthetic of your stove setup, so make sure you choose one you like.
  5. Chimney Liner. This is the material that protects your chimney's masonry from corrosive combustion byproducts and heat damage. Choosing a high-quality, durable liner suited to your specific heating system reduces the risk of chimney fires and difficult-to-repair structural damage, ensuring a safer home environment and lower repair bills.
  6. Register Plate. This component seals the chimney base, preventing heat loss, smoke leakage, and debris from falling inside the burner. A well-fitted, durable register plate improves the efficiency of your wood burner by ensuring that all smoke is directed upwards into the flue and also helps make sure the air in your rooms stays clean.
  7. Sealants. This is where a lot of people like to skimp on, but we would urge against that. High-temperature sealants are used to secure joints between the stove, flue pipe, and chimney liner. Quality sealants ensure a smoke-tight seal, preventing harmful fumes from leaking into your living space and maximizing the efficiency of your stove by maintaining proper airflow in the flue system. Lower-quality sealants might work at first but quickly develop cracks and lose their qualities.
  8. Carbon Monoxide Detector. While you most likely already have one or two smoke detectors in your home already, you’ll need to get an extra one for your log burner. Carbon monoxide detectors alert you to the presence of this dangerous, odourless gas, which can be emitted by poorly functioning or improperly vented stoves. Investing in a reliable detector ensures early warning in the event of unsafe operating conditions, safeguarding the health and safety of your household.

Pre-Installation Prep Work For Log Buner Installation

Foresight pays dividends. Before embarking on the installation of a wood-burning stove, it is imperative that you conduct thorough pre-installation preparation. This Step 0 is crucial to ensure the safety and efficiency of your heating system. Here is a checklist of the basics that you need to cover.

  1. Chimney Cleaning and Inspection. If your building already comes with a chimney, it's essential to have it professionally inspected and cleaned by a certified chimney sweep. The inspection should be carried out to identify and repair any existing structural damage or wear. After that, a thorough cleaning is needed to remove any existing soot, creosote, and other possible blockages. This step ensures the chimney can safely expel smoke and reduces the risk of fire and combustion hazards. Read our expert-written article on the subject: How to Hire a Chimney Sweep.
  2. Flooring Assessment for Fireproof Foundation. Evaluate your flooring to ensure it can provide a fireproof foundation for the wood burner. If your current flooring is combustible, installing a non-combustible hearth made from materials like stone or tile is a must. This protective barrier helps prevent heat damage to your floors and ensures the fire safety of your home.
  3. Ventilation Check for Efficient Burning. Proper ventilation is crucial for the efficient and safe operation of your wood burner. Installing additional vents or adjusting the current ventilation system may be required to comply with building regulations and the stove’s specifications.
  4. Ensuring Compliance with Building Regulations. The installation of a wood burner must meet local building codes and regulations related to chimney standards, hearth dimensions, and ventilation. This compliance ensures the installation is safe and legal, shielding you from hefty fines. Read our article on new fines: New £300 Log Burner Fire.
  5. Preparation of the Installation Area. Creating a safe installation environment involves clearing the area around the stove site of any flammable materials, furniture, or decor to maintain the required safety clearances. Additionally, consider the placement of fireproof mats or wall shields if the stove will be situated close to walls or in a confined space, offering further protection against heat exposure and sparks.

UK Log Burner Installation Cost in 2024

Expect to pay between £700 to £3,500 to have your log burner installed. The costs will vary significantly based on which part of the UK you live in, the specialist you go with, the type of stove you choose, whether your home already has a chimney, and whether a hearth needs to be installed. This wide range reflects the diversity in stoves, installation complexities, and additional requirements such as chimney lining or creating a new chimney with a twin-wall flue system. This estimate does not include the cost of the wood burner itself.

Log Burner Installation Costs: Labour and Additional Costs

The labour cost for installation will vary significantly based on the complexity of the job and your location. Local businesses and independent operators may often provide better prices than larger ones, but make sure the specialist you are trusting is fully certified. If you lack an existing chimney, expect higher costs due to the need for a twin-wall flue system. Additional costs may include chimney sweeping, a chimney cowl, and a carbon monoxide detector, among others.

Ongoing Log Burner Maintenance and Fuel Costs

Once your stove is installed, it’s important to budget for ongoing costs, such as the costs of your annual chimney maintenance and wood fuel costs. There exist dozens of different wood fuels to choose from, each suited to a particular scenario, namely:

  • Traditional Ready to Burn kiln-dried logs. The most basic and easy-to-understand type of wood fuel. Lekto’s kiln-dried logs are dried to extra low moisture levels, come in convenient plastic-free packaging, and are widely considered to be the best logs in the UK. Choose birch logs if you’re on a budget or oak fire wood if you value longer burn time and high heat output.
  • Traditional Sawdust Briquettes. The most basic type of wood briquette. Being made of compressed hardwood sawdust (a sawmill byproduct), they are eco-friendly and much more energy-dense than any type of firewood can ever hope to be. Choose these if you want a beginner-friendly introduction to wood briquettes.
  • Hot-Burning Hardwood Heat Logs. Thanks to their ultra-high energy density and chimney-effect-creating shape, Hardwood Heat Logs burn hotter than any other products on the UK market and can heat up any room in just 5 minutes. They’re perfect for colder days. Nestro Heat Logs are very similar to Hardwood Heat Logs, but they are more affordable due to being made of a less expensive material, namely softwood sawdust.
  • Long-Burning 8-Hour Night Briquettes. The absolute favourite of smart shoppers all over the UK. Night Briquettes burn 4 times longer than conventional briquettes and 8 times longer than kiln-dried logs, helping you save money by lowering your overall wood fuel consumption. Perfect for milder weather and for use in tandem with traditional firewood.
  • Universal Fire Logs. Can’t choose between the high heat output of Hardwood Heat Logs and the long burn time of Night Briquettes? Fire Logs offer the perfect middle ground, giving off a lot of heat for up to 3 hours. Despite being the new kid on the block, they are already one of our best-selling products.
  • Pini Kay Eco Logs. A premium product for special occasions, romantic dinners, or just because you feel like it. Pini Kay Eco Logs look great, burn beautifully, and have a roll-preventing shape that allows them to burn without the need to be monitored.

Fire Starting Products

Starting a fire can be a tedious and frustrating process, but it doesn’t have to be. If you choose the right tool for the job, starting any fire will become an absolute breeze. We recommend the top-down fire starting method and the following fire-starting products.

  • Natural Firelighters. By far the UK’s best-rated chemical-free firelighters. Made of premium wood wool and a thin coating of natural wax, they burn twice as long as kerosene firelighters and produce much more heat. As a result, you need only one firelighter to effortlessly light almost any fire. A box contains 250 firelighters, which should be more than enough to last you an entire year.
  • Quality Wood Kindling. Often overlooked by novice log burner owners, kindling is the all-important interface between your firelighters and your logs/briquettes. Made of easy-to-light, fast-heating kiln-dried softwood, they help amplify the heat created by your firelighters to light your main wood fuel with zero fuss.

Professional Log Burner Installation Benefits

Everyone’s situation is different, especially when it comes to budget. This being said, if you have the necessary funds, opting for a HETAS-registered installer is highly recommended. It helps ensure expertise, compliance with regulations, and peace of mind through a guarantee. While a DIY approach may seem appealing, it should really be your last resort. The complexity and safety considerations of stove installation necessitate professional involvement. Learning these skills, while possible, can take a very long time.

How Soon Can I Light My Log Burner After Installation?

24 hours. In most cases, you’ll need to wait at least a day. before lighting your stove for the first time. This wait time is necessary to make sure that the sealants and mortar used in the installation process have adequately cured and set. However, your specific situation may be different, so it's essential to follow any specific guidance or recommendations provided by the installer, as some materials or specific installation conditions may require a longer curing period.

How Much For Log Burner and Installation?

£1,000 at the very low end. Log burners start at around £500, and the most basic installation will cost you around £700, but you can get this work done for £500 if you shop around. The sky is the limit when it comes to log burner prices. At the high end, expect to pay around £3,500 for a luxury-level installation with the creation of a new chimney, hearth, etc.