Can I Install A Wood Burner In My Timber Garden Office?

By Guest Contributor Dakota Murphey

Can I Install A Wood Burner In My Timber Garden Office?

(Image: iStock)

If you’re lucky enough to have a log cabin garden office, there may be one thing missing to complete your home working idyll. Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a wood burning stove to keep you nice and toasty while you’re working?

Of course, as you’re using the new timber building on a daily basis, the office will have been constructed using the Twinskin method – a second, fully-interlocking cabin inside, complete with insulation. This is the latest high performance building system used for light commercial construction. Twinskin has insulation in the walls as well as in the roof and floor, and the walls perform like a solid wall that’s 5 times thicker, which means you save materials, space, and most importantly, cost.

To assess whether you can install a wood burning stove in your garden office, there are 2 major things you need to address:

The Floor

Wood burners are typically made form cast iron – they’re very heavy! Add to that the stone hearth (granite or slate are popular materials) and you need to make sure the floor of the building is strong enough to support the weight of the stove and the hearth.

The Roof

In order to accommodate a chimney flue, the ceiling and roofing materials have to be constructed and finished in a way that will lessen the risk of fire and heat damage. The type of roof you have dictates how high the chimney must extend above the level of the roof. The exact specifications are governed by the building regulations.

Should the roof be finished with fireproof materials such as bitumen tiles, or slate, the chimney can be lower. If the roof is constructed from untreated shingles, then the chimney will need to extend higher above the roof level. The height of the chimney must also take into the account the construction of any roof windows (skylights) in the office.

It’s important to make sure the company who installs the garden office calculates the correct chimney height, so that it complies fully with the building regulations and requirements.

What Size Wood Burner Is Best?

Obviously, it depends on the size of the building you’re trying to heat. But if the construction of your log cabin office is Twinskin, which already has insulation, you’ll only need a small wood burner to heat it. For a reasonably sized wooden garden office, you’ll only need a burner that produces no more than 5KW of heat. Most wood burning stove manufacturers produce small ones like this … they’re the kind used for canal boats.

If you’re thinking of installing a wood burner in a garden office that has not been well insulated, then you’ll obviously need a larger and more powerful burner. In this case, a 7-8 KW burner should be more than enough.

Will You Need Planning Permission To Install A Wood Burner?

Before buying a wood burning stove, there are a few things you need to consider:

  • Installing a wood burning stove in a garden office may require planning permission. Although you’re allowed to install a wood burner in your house without planning permission, this does not necessarily apply to an ancillary building like a garden office. If you live in a conservation area, or in a listed building, you’ll most certainly need to obtain planning permission. It’s always best to check with your local planning officer before any installation arrangements are made.
  • If you live in a smoke controlled area, you’ll need to purchase an approved ‘clean burn’ wood burner. There are a few different makes on the market.
  • Smoke from the flue of your garden office may affect your neighbours, so you’ll need to make sure that the chimney is high enough and positioned in such a way that smoke does not blow into their gardens and homes. If smoke continually blows in their direction, it wouldn’t be unreasonable for them to complain.  
  • As all wood burning stoves are required to meet Part J of the Building Regulations, you need to make sure your burner comes from a HETAS-registered retailer.
  • You are required to install a carbon monoxide alarm.

What Type Of Wood Should I Use In A Wood Burner?

As a rule, hardwoods are the best option for fuelling a wood burning stove. A cubic metre of a hard wood can weigh up to 50% more than that of a soft wood. Hardwoods such as oak, ash, and beech give a longer lasting burn and are therefore far more economical.

Make sure you have enough space around your office to store your wood. Logs also need to be seasoned which takes time. Do some homework and find a reliable local supplier of good quality logs who charges reasonable prices and will deliver them to you.

This article was written by independent content writer Dakota Murphey, alongside UK Log Cabin suppliers, Hortons UK Log Cabins, who were consulted for some of the information provided in the post.

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