Before & After: Fitting a woodburning stove

Getting a wood burning stove fitted: Before + After photos

Not long ago I shared the plans for Neil and I to have our chimney opened up again and a shiny new wood burning stove fitted inside. Well, weeks and weeks have passed now, we're a little behind schedule because of the downpours Brighton has been getting recently, but finally the work is all completed and I want to share updates with you. 

In part 1 of my "Getting a wood burning stove fitted" series (I know, catchy title) I shared from experience the things to consider before you pay for a wood burner installation and the small things you need to be sure about before you get a fitting, to prevent problems later on. 

Read Getting a wood burning stove fitted: what to consider | Part 1 for the logistics of the fitting and a guide to getting one installed. Otherwise, come meet our new friend...

Getting a wood burning stove fitted: Before + After photos

We opted for theDimplex Westcott 5kw multifuel burning stove for several reasons:

1. It had the highest output of heat we needed for the size of our living room and was within the right dimensions for our fireplace opening

2. It burns both wood, coal and wood pellets as opposed to just wood. It's multi fuel you see, giving us flexibility

3. It had that traditional look we wanted for the Victorian flat we live in

So far I am delighted with our choice on every level, aside from being only very slightly disappointed by its heat output. It takes a long time to heat up, I mean a long time. I expect every wood burner might be similar as it's such a chunk of iron to heat, so it could be partly down to us needing to become more practiced in controlling the air flow at the bottom and top of the stove (see those little brass levers? they control the burn of the fuel and the more the top is open, the more heat flies up the chimney). I think I'll save a more robust review of the stove itself for anyone who wants to ask questions about it (tweet or email me).

Feel free to get in touch any time if you have Qs, I'd love to help. 

Getting a wood burning stove fitted: Before + After photos

The arrival

We ordered the stove from Glowing Embers website online which arrived about 2-3 days after we placed the order.

True story. The day it arrived, the delivery man was greeted by a very sleepy eyed, still in my pjs Fifi, and he laughed at me. He actually burst out laughing at me when I answered the door. I looked dog rough, it was the vote of confidence every woman needs at 8am.

He wasn't laughing at the ridiculousness of my cookie monster pyjamas though, but the fact I was stupid enough to think he was going to carry the stove down the stairs and into my flat for me.

Yep, the stove weighed about 20 stone, arrived on a pallet and the delivery man was about to leave it on the public footpath for me to carry down on my own.

The look on my face left him feeling sorry for me so he carried it down for me anyway - but that's besides my point.

My point is, if you're waiting for a stove delivery, have TWO men in your house awaiting the arrival so they can bring it inside safely. The delivery guy asked me to help him but I was more of a hinderance to the operation!

Getting a wood burning stove fitted: Before + After photos

The installation

As mentioned in Part 1, we had to have scaffolding put on the house for the flue installation. We were having work done to the roof anyway so synced both jobs to save money on the scaffolding.

Scaffolding went up a breeze. Roof work completed well on time.

Then the rain came.

We initially had an installation date booked in for the 16th December 2015, but rain and some of the strongest gales we'd seen in years meant the roof was a very unsafe place to be, so we rescheduled for the 23rd December, just in time for Christmas.

The installation took about 3 hours from start to finish. I was initially worried it would be a dusty job, like when you have plaster work done and everything is covered in a film of dust for 6 weeks after, but it was pretty much dust free apart from debris from the chimney falling on the hearth as the flue was fed down.

A couple of cups of tea later and the place looked a bit like this:

Getting a wood burning stove fitted: Before + After photos

See the enamel pipe feeding up the chimney? The installation man had to spray paint that black for us. I'm pretty sure the lining and all other parts to the stove like the enamel pipe there doesn't arrive with the stove unless you purchase a pack that includes everything.

Anyway, a quick whizz around with the hoover and everything was all done. Not bad for 3 hours work or less.

We were advised to burn 3 or 4 very small fires before heating her up full blast, I think this was to ensure the paint work didn't crack and the pipe didn't contract too powerfully, but of course this information went in one ear and out the other. I was too excited to listen.

Getting a wood burning stove fitted: Before + After photos

Christmas eve my twin bro gave the fire its maiden voyage and it was roaring first time. Oops.

It was really atmospheric having all of my family around with the Christmas lights twinkling in the background though - I was delighted to have it in time for festivities and highly recommend the company we hired in for installation -Sussex Flue Systems. Fantastic chaps, very tidy, provided great advice for us in the run up and upon installation and they were adamant to get the stove in for us before Christmas :)

As you can see from the photos, there's a few things I want to do following the work, like removing that horrible plug point, and repainting or wallpapering the breast (lots of black marks on the inner chimney breast walls) but I have big plans for a new Farrow & Ball colour scheme throughout the room.

A break down of costs if you're interested

These costs are based on us not needing to widen the fireplace, already having an adequate slate hearth to withstand the heat of the stove, just a fit and no structural issues to fix:

Labour costs (installation + materials) £1350

Scaffolding £250

The stove £600

In total it came to a lot less than I budgeted for.

Overall I feel like this has been the biggest, best investment we've ever made to our property. I recently read that installing a wood burner or fireplace can add up to 5% to the value of your home (source here) so for just over £2K, we could be adding a potential £11K to our property value. Regardless of this though, I love it and would install one anyway just for those cosy crimbos.

I hope this post has been of some help if you're thinking about installing one yourself, and if you're still deliberating, just do it! You won't regret.

Read the full series - Getting a wood burning stove fitted

Photography all by Neil W Shaw