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topic 27029

Sheet Metal Heat Shield for a Wood Stove

A discussion started in 2004 but continuing through 2018


Q. Hi,

I have a 40"x60" 26 gauge piece of sheet metal that I purchased from a machine shop in town. I've installed it behind my new wood stove to 1) protect the wall behind it and 2) reflect the heat back into the room.

I really don't like the look of it and wish to "antique" it. The shop told me that I had to wash it down with vinegar first. Then I could do "whatever" to it. I was thinking maybe to take a broken brick and scrape the sheet metal. Then, I'd spray a base coat of red heat resistant paint and then wipe the excess off making sure to get the grooves. Then, I figured on painting a top coat of black heat resistant paint and wiping the excess, too.

Before I go hog wild on this project. Does anyone know if this'll work or will I ruin the sheet metal? If it won't work, does anyone know another way without having to get acid as I'm not really comfortable working with that.

Thank you for your help.

Maria A. Hayda
hobbyist - Ossining, New York, USA


Q. I wonder if you ever found a solution to your problem. My situation is identical to yours.

Michael Zobel
- Buffalo, New York

August 30, 2014

A. The vinegar wash does a minor etching of the zinc coating on galvanized sheetmetal. The sheet will then bond better with paint to resist flaking off prematurely. Although vinegar is a weak acid, it is not at all dangerous to work with. So your idea of scratching and painting it sounds good after a rub down with some vinegar and a rinse.

David Aldrich
- Cumberland, Rhode Island, USA

Insulating the wall behind a woodstove

September 17, 2016

Q. What is the best insulation on the surrounding a restored old cast iron wood burning stove? Our stove is in a small cabin. It is placed in a corner and we would like to use it for wood burning / heat purposes only.

Kathy Manning
- Victoria , Texas USA

September 2016

A. Hi Kathy. This is a metal finishing site rather than a home heating site, so it may not be the best place to get such questions answered. Nonetheless, my take on it is that you don't want insulation between the stove and the flammable walls, you want to block radiant heat from landing on the walls, and provide good air flow for cooling them …

I'd say get a good sized sheet of galvanized metal, bend it to a 90° angle at the middle so it follows the shape of the corner, and secure it about an inch away from the wall on metal standoffs of some sort. Leave an air gap of a couple of inches from the floor to the bottom of the sheet so air can freely flow under it. The sheet will get hot from the radiant heat but the walls won't, and air will flow upwards over both the inside and outside of the sheet, cooling it, and keeping the walls cool. Good luck.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"

Painting metal to go on wall behind woodstove

May 1, 2018

Q. I would like to put metal, perhaps galvanized roofing on the wall behind my wood burning stove. I plan to put concrete board between the metal and the wall. My question is, how do I paint the metal without it peeling or bubbling from the heat? I've seen several high heat paints, but cannot find what would work on galvanized.

Gail Byrd
Homeowner - Burnsville North Carolina USA

May 2018

Latex Self-Etching Primer

A. Hi Gail. I suppose you can put concrete board behind the metal sheet to make it more rigid if you wish, but per my previous posting I think the right idea is to promote air cooling of the metal between the stove and wall rather to try to insulate hot metal from a wall with wallboard.

Galvanized metal can be difficult to reliably paint, despite the previously mentioned vinegar wash, so if you find some bare steel sheet instead it will be easier. I suspect, but don't know, that a primer made for galvanized metal will hold up. If you have good air flow over both sides of the metal sheet, I don't think it will get hot enough to make paint bubble;


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"

May 15, 2018 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. I was thinking of putting galvanized metal, (the sheeting metal that is used for roofing), as a liner in a sauna. I would like to use it between the stove and wall. (deflect heat away from the wood adjacent to stove). Does Galvanized metal give off harmful vapours?

Terry Dubois
- Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario Canada

May 2018

A. Hi Terry. Although the white hot heat of welding can fill the air around a welder with white zinc oxide fumes and make a welder sick, galvanizing (zinc) is not toxic, it's a necessary micronutrient. I see no problem with this. The ductwork on my furnace and water heater are galvanized, as is the ashtray in my woodstove.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"

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