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Small Cabin Forum / Cabin Construction / Adding a fireplace to a cabin (external wall?)
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# Posted: 14 Jan 2019 17:20

Any thoughts on adding a fireplace to an external wall?

I do mean fireplace, not a wood burning stove.

I have searched, but not really found any pre fab thing for the DIYer.

There are the fancy hanging fireplaces you can buy pre fab, but they are crazy time expensive.

I was hoping to put it on an external wall to save space.

# Posted: 14 Jan 2019 19:20 - Edited by: Just

I did that in a cabin i built 25 years ago . It was simple ,the cabin was built with a cement pad . I made a 4x4 opening with a header on top in the west wall . Then using a4x4 steal plate we fashioned a 2x4 cantonlevere base plate to sit the fire place on . I bought a zero clearance fire box and installed it on the steal pad running the prefab chimney up the outside wall .l then covered the outside and built a mantle using the materials and setbacks true to the manufacturer's directions.

Worked well , sorry no pics , before digital cameras, I my have a photo somewhere I 'll look. We sold that cabin years ago . I think the brand name was Acorn but not sure .

# Posted: 14 Jan 2019 21:53


I'll look into that.

When you say fire box, do you mean like an insert?

# Posted: 14 Jan 2019 22:19

Yes they are made like the metal chimney three layers of metal with insulation in between I think I had to leave 2 in.of space to a combustibles .most inserts require a masonry backing but not a zero clearance.

# Posted: 15 Jan 2019 13:48

There are prefab outdoor fireplaces, not sure if they would work for a indoor/wall fireplace....they are expensive as I would imagine any interior fireplaces would be.....I'm looking at a double sided fireplace....set in an outside wall...that way I can enjoy the outside fireplace also....I have the perfect spot for it...Money,materials and time will dictate...

Eddy G
# Posted: 15 Jan 2019 15:04

Just my 2 cents, I'm in no way an expert
Fireplaces are beautiful to look at and can add a lot of ambience to a cabin but are a terribly inefficient heat source. A typical old school fireplace draws the heat from all corners of a space, causing a draft affect and then sends most of its energy strait up the chimney. It wastes a lot of wood.

I know once doors are attached and vents are used efficiency increases a little bit more but its still an energy hog...

It's a fairly large investment for very little return.

Done right a foundation has to be dug and poured to support the weight of the chimney....That and the brick/block work is a pretty big undertaking...

I know you said "not a wood burning stove" but a decent quality wood stove with a BIG view window would be a world more efficient, practical and give you the ambiance you seek....Again, just my 2 cents

SE Ohio
# Posted: 16 Jan 2019 07:31

Quoting: Eddy G
a decent quality wood stove with a BIG view window would be a world more efficient, practical and give you the ambiance you seek...


If you can watch "Alone In The Wilderness", a documentary of a guy who builds an Alaska cabin, you can see him add a fireplace to his hand-built cabin. In winter, fireplace kept his cabin at 45 degrees f (!). In the sequel, you can see he added a woodstove... Woodstove is much more efficient and warmer, might consider if wood is your main heat source.

If you are sleeping in same room as the fireplace/glass door woodstove, one's sleep may suffer from excess light until fire burns down. Our one room cabin stove has tiny creosote-stained window so not a problem.

# Posted: 16 Jan 2019 10:26

Quoting: SE Ohio
If you can watch "Alone In The Wilderness",

Dick Proenneke. Alone in the Wilderness was my inspiration while building my cabin, watched it a thousand times. Anyone that hasn't seen it, should.

Agree on the woodstove, plus it's handy to warm things up on. My big glass door is also mostly black, just enough left to see what's going on inside.

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