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Stûv lifestyle

How to Restore an Old Masonry Hearth to Its Former Glory

Stûv 6 – How to Restore an Old Masonry Hearth to Its Former Glory
Does your house have a masonry hearth that leaves something to be desired, seeming like a gaping hole to the outdoors that drains the energy from your home and the money from your wallet? Are you torn between your enjoyment of wood fires and feeling duty-bound to condemn the fireplace that is part of your home’s history? Rest assured, there are several ways to add style to an old masonry hearth while making it more energy-efficient.

The origin of masonry hearths
Why does restoring a masonry hearth seem so complicated? First, it’s important to understand their history. Many years ago, masonry fireplaces in living and dining rooms were the sole means of heating the house and cooking food. Several ancestral houses have this type of fireplace in the kitchen, made with stones and fitted with a wood beam, to look like they are part of the house’s foundation. Which is true in a way. The hearths were built at the same time as the home, which is why they were made of brick or stone. They were built to last, by a master mason using specific know-how. Over time, with the emergence of other heating methods, these masonry fireplaces became an architectural element often placed in the living room to enhance the decor.
In the 1980s, prefabricated fireplaces replaced masonry hearths in newly built homes. These new appliances recreated the look and ambiance of a hearth without the complexity or cost.
Knowing this, it is worth exploring the possible ways of preserving the priceless heritage of these hearths, which would be nearly impossible to build today.

The solution: a wood-burning insert that will stand the test of time
Due to their old construction technique, masonry hearths have never been adapted to current standards. These fireplaces are in no way airtight and emit fine particles at a rate well above the requirements for North America. However, there is a simple solution within everyone’s reach: installing a wood-burning insert. This type of appliance has been designed specifically to make any masonry hearth energy-efficient. It consists of a combustion chamber made mainly of steel and materials with heat-accumulation capacities (like cast iron or vermiculite), which is inserted into an old hearth and connected to a flue pipe placed in the existing stone or brick chimney. It’s a simple solution and a reasonable investment. A professional working in the stove and fireplace industry will be able to help you choose an insert that is both efficient and in compliance with the standards in effect in your municipality. Also, if you’re a wood fire enthusiast and your hearth was converted to gas at some point, it can be reconverted to wood by installing such an insert.

There is a wide variety of wood-burning inserts on the market that can easily be installed in old hearths, including the Stûv 6, which boasts a sleek design that perfectly suits the look of authentic masonry fireplaces. It stands out from its counterparts due to its streamlined door frame offering a generous view of the fire and its small size, which makes it easy to insert in a masonry hearth.
A wood-burning insert like the Stûv 6 makes the fire the focus again, giving your old masonry hearth new life. Many new memories will be formed around this appliance, which offers a heating capacity adapted to the energy needs of today’s homes while creating an atmosphere reminiscent of the wood fires of the past.

This article is for information purposes only. We invite you to call a structural specialist or certified installer if you have any doubts about the solidity of your hearth or if you wish to make changes to it. They can tell you if the work would be feasible. In any case, by consulting a specialist, you will ensure that your fireplace is compliant with the applicable by-laws.

Stûv lifestyle


Wood heating: the City of Québec adopts a fair and responsible by-law
A new by-law regulating the use of wood-burning heating appliances (R.V.Q. 2954) will come into effect in the Québec City area in September of 2026.

What will it entail?
The new by-law aims to limit fine particle emissions as a way to ensure better air quality. To achieve this, the City has decided to require that all wood-burning appliances on its territory have EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) or CSA (Canadian Standards Association) certification. This is a wise decision as certified appliances have a small environmental footprint compared to older-generation models.

Who is subject to this by-law?
All owners of a wood-burning stove or fireplace located in the Québec City area must comply with the by-law and have a certified appliance by September of 2026. It is important to note that the installation and use of all fireplaces (including decorative fireplaces), as well as pellet stoves, is still permitted. However, starting on September 1, 2021, whenever a smog warning is issued, it will be forbidden to use any solid fuel-burning heating appliances, including all types of fireplaces, even certified ones.

The different types of authorized appliances
Wood-burning stoves
Slow combustion wood stoves are an interesting option as they provide efficient heating. Also, some models, like the Stûv 16-cube and 16-H and the Stûv 30, have a contemporary look that suits all decors. These are just some of the EPA-certified wood stoves available on the market.

Decorative and performance wood-burning fireplaces
Wood-burning fireplace enthusiasts in the Québec City area will be happy to know that they can continue enjoying this type of appliance.
Fireplaces categorized as decorative will still be permitted. These fireplaces, which generally have a guillotine glass pane to gain access to the open fire if needed, are not legislated by the new by-law since their use is considered occasional.
Wood-burning fireplaces like the Stûv 21 and Stûv 21-clad create a wonderful ambiance, offer remarkable heating power and striking architectural integration. These models, which truly enhance the look of a space, are ideal to have during very cold weather or a power outage.

There are also other models to choose from. The Stûv 16-Z or combo, a zero-clearance fireplace that can be installed during construction or renovation, is the ideal solution for both efficient heating and a commitment to the environment since it meets the EPA standard’s requirements.

Wood-burning inserts
Wood-burning inserts are perfect for installing in masonry hearths. Some models, like the Stûv 16-in, feature a timeless look that suits all home decoration styles, while others, like the Stûv 6, offer reduced insert dimensions for installation in smaller spaces. These two inserts meet EPA and CSA requirements. Both offer an easy way to breathe new life into an old masonry hearth!

In closing, there are now many products on the market that optimize the wood heating experience while respecting the environment. Québec City’s new by-law gives wood fire lovers a world of possibilities for replacing their older-generation appliance.

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