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Old 01-10-2012, 02:53 PM   #1
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Weight Support beneath brick hearth

I need help determining what materials and placement would be best suited for supporting the weight of a wood stove and masonry hearth on the first floor of my ranch house. I have a basement. See the bold print to skip the description and see my main concern if you wish.

I am planning on building a brick hearth for a new wood stove. I want to minimize clearances to the stove and intrusion into the room, because we have a small house. Therefore my plan is to recess both the wall and floor sections of the hearth into the walls. To maintain lax clearances I want get combustibles as as far away from the hearth brick as possible. The outer edges of the hearth can be supported by combustible framing, but not beneath it.

For brick to be mounted near combustibles it has to be set off the studs by 1 inch, as wells as providing open clearance for air ventilation behind it, which would sap much of the living space in our room.

Below are some pictures. I have captioned them with descriptions and their purpose. They are not to scale at all, but rough interpretations.

In the image above, the main carrying beam is seen in the picture, running horizontally. The blue bars represent columns in the basement, supporting the beam. On the first floor, the wall the hearth will go on, is a load bearing wall that sits upon the main carrying beam and above supports the rafters. I want to chop 3 studs on the hearth wall down to 1/3 their length and header it off to recapture support with the adjacent studs. Is my plan sound?

Next I want to build up a brick wall that rests on the main carrying beam and ends at the header I will construct. I do not intend for it to bear weight, it will serve as the non combustible wall piece for the wood stove. The rear side will be exposed and ventilated in the stairwell behind it.

This is a side view of the previous image. In the basement below, I am representing where the floor will be made completely of brick and mortar set on 24 gauge sheet metal. I believe for the hearth section on the floor, the code does not require ventilation from combustibles, but it does require the masonry to be 3.5" thick. This picture represents my main concern. How should I support beneath this section of floor, where that it will be quite heavy. The stove itself will weigh 250 pounds unloaded, + 65 bricks + mortar.

The arrows in the picture above represent the perspective of the image below.

I will need to cut two floor joists off short and header off the space to make room for the hearth. Would tripling the adjacent joints and running a header maintain the load bearing for the floor above?

Thanks in advance for all those who can advise on the matter!


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Old 01-10-2012, 08:21 PM   #2
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I think that no one has answered so far because there's no way we can tell you with a good consciense whether what you are proposing is safe or not.

I hear that our in-house engineer doesn't do structural designs over the internet for free.

That extra load is not massive, and generally speaking, your proposed solution doesn't sound foolish to me.


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Old 01-10-2012, 08:30 PM   #3
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I havn't answered because I don't have anything constructive to say.

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