Installing a Woodstove in a Caravan

Our wood stove is finally in the caravan: whoop – but it nearly wasn’t put in this weekend as I couldn’t find anywhere to get some decent steel sheeting from!

I managed to find a metal works place in a village a few miles away and ordered some at the beginning of this week, thankfully they could cut it to the sizes I wanted – which saved me a lot of time!

So I picked up the metal sheeting on Friday evening, and went ahead with the wood stove installation this Saturday morning.

I started off by putting some small bits of battening on each side and the back of the hearth so that it would create about a half-inch gap behind the steel sheeting which will act as a coolant pocket.

Once I had put the wood battening on each side and the back of the hearth I then nailed on the steel sheeting and it created a nice sealed in recess…

On the bottom of the hearth I decided to protect the caravan floor by first of all putting down some squares pieces of half-inch thick fireboard, and then on top of this I placed four square one inch thick stone tiles.

This should be enough of a base to protect the caravan floor from the heat of the stove.

I chose four stone tiles as opposed to one complete tile so that the weight is more evenly distributed over the four tiles rather than sat on one big tile and it running the risk of cracking from the heat and weight of the stove – which is actually quite light really, I think it’s about a 25kg, but with the flue it’s probably adding about 40kg in total.

Once I had completed the hearth I put up some more battening, but this time behind where the flue of the stove will go, and on top of this I put a length of fireboard – this is to protect the caravan wall behind the flue as it is a single skin flue and will get very hot once the stove is going…

Again the battening was to create a half-inch gap behind the fireboard, so as to create a cooling pocket – in theory it will allow cooler air to flow behind the shield which should cool down the hot air before it hits the caravan wall behind it.

Just doing those few bits took me most of the morning and afternoon – mainly because I had never done it before but also because I was watching the footy at the same time!!

I then had to cut through the ceiling of the caravan and then through the roof of the caravan so that I could put the stove flue through it…

Cutting through the ceiling of the caravan took longer than I thought it would, mainly because I had an extra thick piece of wood to cut through as there was a floor to ceiling cabinet in the area where the stove now is – and I didn’t want to take off this thicker piece of wood as it’s a strange shape and looks nice!

To start with I measured up from where the stove would be sat and made a mark on the ceiling as to where the flue would go, then I drilled several holes so that I knew where to cut.

I then cut through the wood of the caravan ceiling in a square shape leaving about 3-5 inches around the area where the flue would go, then I had to take out the insulation which in this case was polystyrene – which then left me with the metal of the caravan roof.

Through this I then drilled several more holes and then cut a circle shape out of it so that I could put the flue up through it.

I was going to leave a bit more of a gap between the flue and the roof metal but it was quite hard to cut so I made do with about a 1 centimeter gap.

I pushed up the flue through the hole and then on the outside on top of the roof I put a Dektite flue flashing over the flue to create a rain proof seal over the hole I had cut and also to hold the flue steady – I screwed this tight to the roof and when I buy some I will also put some heat/waterproof sealant over it just to make sure the seal is water tight too.

And that was me done – one wood stove installed in a caravan, and all in a day too: I just need to clean up the steel sheets behind the stove as they are a bit dirty from the metal works where I got them from.

As you can see from the picture above – we had the stove pumping out heat on the first night, not that we needed it as it was not particularly cold outside, but I just wanted to see if it was all ok.

And bloody hell does it pump out some heat, which makes me think it is too big for the 27ft caravan, but I’d rather have a too big stove than too small and be cold when the winter kicks in!

So a quick over view of what I have learnt from this and what I might change at a later date…

  • Get the correct drill bits to drill through 2mm steel – using a center punch and the wrong drill bits takes a lot longer!!
  • Get more fireboard to cover behind the flue of the stove as the walls are hotter than I thought they would be – but having had it on for 2 nights now and getting it as hot as I want it (could go hotter but don’t want it like a sauna in the caravan) I think the walls will be ok, but I will keep an eye on this.
  • Get the correct tool to cut through the metal caravan roof – using a small pair of wire cutters may do the job, but it takes a lot longer!
  • Keep an eye on the metal roof around the flue to make sure it doesn’t get too hot.
  • Use a smaller stove in the future as it gets really hot in a small space with a big stove! :o)

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SAFETY WARNING:

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Something I’ve just thought of is that I’d mention some safety tips that I have followed just to be on the safe side.

I’ve purchased a small fire extinguisher incase things get too hot and decide to spontaneously combust, and I’ve also got a carbon monoxide alarm.

Both are just to be on the safe side, as living in a caravan which is a small space the fumes would build up quickly and if anything did catch fire there wouldn’t be much time to get out.

And one last thing is that I won’t be overfiring the stove either – meaning that I won’t be chucking in a load of wood and getting it roaring .. so far I’ve kept it below 450c which has been more than hot enough in the little space of the caravan – anything hotter and things would start to get too hot for comfort.

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So they we have it – our wood stove is now installed in the caravan and we just need to get some decent wood ordered – we got a couple of bags from a local store but I’m buggered if I am paying their high prices for a winters supply!

Just need to build a log store outside the caravan now, cover it with some tarp and load it up with the wood and we’ll be all set.

I hope by putting up this post showing the installation of the wood stove in the caravan that it can help someone else doing a similar thing – and if you have any questions or in fact any advice for me, then feel free to get in touch!

Until next time…

WeeMike

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