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Let’s make purchasing wood stove chimney components easy

I have had a few people ask me for a list of all the components needed for installing a wood stove.  Home Depot doesn’t stock the chimney gear.  Selkerk website is pretty lame. 

For purchasing all the chimney and stove pipe components for your wood stove, I suggest:

  1. Visiting a fireplace supply center in your area. Or
  2. Go to Menards, if you have one in your area.

Menards stocks all the Selkerk “Super Vent” line of products.

I have built a bunch of saunas and have purchased many sets of wood burning stove components. Here is my list of what you need (not official names) from the stove up:

  1. A deep breath.
  2. Stove pipe.  black. Hard to assemble but you put it on soft ground and snap together with your knee. Tricky but good news is that sections of this black metal pipe are not expensive. 2 sections should get you from the stove to the ceiling.
  3. Damper. (optional but recommended depending on stove).
  4. Stove pipe adapter. Transitions from black to silver, drops down with gravity onto the ceiling flange kit.
  5. Ceiling flange kit.  A big round circle piece with four flanges that get screwed to your 12″ x 12″ rafter boxed opening.
  6. Chimney pipe.  Comes in 1′, 2′, 3′ lengths.  Expensive.
  7. Boot.  Two pitches, either 1/12 – 6/12 or a steeper one, 6/12 – 12/12.  nail or screw under shingles. Seal with Lexall or similar.
  8. Storm collar.  Secures around the chimney pipe above the boot, with a screw. Seal with a bead of Lexall or similar around chimney pipe.
  9. Chimney cap.  The cherry on top.
Ben’s sauna stove with free range organic sauna rocks


UPDATE : 3/14/19

Thanks Tony for link below. It looks complicated, but after #1 above (a deep breath) we can work through the brochure found alongside the products for sale at Menards. Those with no access to Menards, I encourage you visit a fireplace supply company in your area.

Here is a screen shot of a page in the Selkirk brochure which guides shoppers to purchasing all the stove components available:

Daunting, but with a deep breath, we can work our way through adding the chimney components for your wood stove to your “shopping cart.”

Update 10/1/20:

Thanks to Matt, who took 10 deep Wim Hof breaths and navigated through the Menards website shopping cart builder, we have a great visual on exactly what is needed to go from – in order – the wood fired sauna stove to above where birds fly atop your chimney outside. On behalf of future DIY sauna builders far and wide, I look forward to thanking you, Matt, with a nICE mug and a Fulton 300 between sauna rounds.

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36 thoughts on “Let’s make purchasing wood stove chimney components easy”

  1. * When I sell my Finnish Sauna stoves to folks building their own Sauna, I guide them to a local Selkirk supplier-a hardware store-operated by a fellow who knows the code,and the Selkirk product line, and stocks all of the pieces and parts… (I don’t sell these kits as a rule)
    I see several details in the photo that look non-compliant…the one I’d like to mention is the connector pipe-from the stove to the insulated Stainless sections above.
    I recommend using the painted stainless double wall pipe that Selkirk sells for this purpose, the clearance to combustibles is critical – and the double-wall is excellent for this reason.
    The rule here is: when in doubt, ask qualified people to help.
    Saunas burn down all the time,I like to avoid that outcome!
    Thanks Glenn

  2. Thanks for this. I’m in the process of building a mobile sauna, and the chimney setup is one of the last things I’m thinking through. Quick question: you mentioned damper depends on the stove. I have a Harvia M3 and a 6×7.5 hot room…any thoughts on damper vs. no damper? What do I need to consider to make that decision?

  3. Nils: Absolutely and thanks for the input. A side story about saunas burning down. In the ’70s and ’80s Canada must have had a good salesman for expanded polystyrene. It was sold everywhere. Expanded polystyrene was big here in Minnesota also, where it was used, at the time, as the preferred choice for rigid insulation.

    The product is still for sale everywhere. I avoid its gaze and push my shopping cart faster when I pass by it at Home Depot.

    Many sauna builders, amateur and otherwise, used this product in walls and ceiling rafters. You know the stuff. It’s white and when you break it, it breaks down into little white marbles. Anyhow, expanded polystyrene is super dangerous. It is flammable and has a low ignition temp. And once ignited it burns like gasoline. This is the worst stuff to use for sauna. I know of 4 former sauna owners that, at the time, became non sauna owners because their saunas burned down to the cement blocks, and in all cases expanded polystyrene was the direct culprit.

    Batting, on the other hand, doesn’t want to burn. You don’t want to, but you could put batting directly against chimney pipe (not stove pipe) and after many saunas, go back and look at the batting and it may not even show signs of wanting to combust.

    All this chatter may be best as a separate post “how not to burn down your sauna” but I wanted to acknowledge and appreciate your sentiment, Nils, as it triggered a thought not so much about proper wood stove pipe installation, but distances to combustibles. In this case that awful stuff that we should run far away from.

  4. I have built saunas with and without chimney damper. Many stove companies spec a damper, as mentioned. I don’t think they are too expensive. I use a friend’s sauna that I built and installed a damper and 95% of the time, the damper is in the “open” position. There is some tuning that can be had once a large base of coals is established, but in my experience, I have been able to tune the burn rate by the damper within the sauna stove. Dampers do provide a safety feature. If there’s every a chimney fire, from creosote build up, one can cut the oxygen in the chamber by closing the chimney damper. The sauna stoves I own and use are super efficient burning. I’ve opened and inspected the inside of chimney pipe after 20 years and have noted 0/no creosote build up. Anyhow, there’s a rabbit hole for you.

  5. Go to Lowes or better yet, Ace Hardware. I ordered all of my chimney stuff from Ace Hardware. As a matter of fact, the store owner gave me access to his distributor supply, ordering system, allowing me to make the order, then charged me a few bucks to throw him some profit, and I picked up a few days later. The company that supplies, Ace Hardwares (at least in my area, DC metro) had all of the items in stock. In my area, some, Ace Hardwares have a very robust fireplace department, others not so great. Fireplace shops are so crazy expensive, the market up is nuts! Sadly, I have a cousin who owns one. They’d rather sell stoves and fireplace eq, then wood burning stove chimney’s. Margin must be low for them.

  6. The proper Sauna stoves-(the ones available in the US and Canada from Finland : Harvia, Helo, Karhu, and so on) have to comply with current clean air rules in the EU, and are very efficient, but intentionally not airtight.
    According to the Mfr’s guide that comes with my Helo stoves,flue dampers are not required.I do not use them, and expect that people that do are slowing flue gas exhaust rate, flue gas temperature, and encouraging creosote build up…not good.
    I would ask Glenn D to clarify this with the dealer he bought the Harvia wood burner from, and follow chimney and stove install guides to the letter…
    Trust me, you never want to hear ” Hey, what’s that funny orange glow in the back yard”
    *It is very tempting to cheat and jury rig chimney and heat shield details in order to save time and $…and it is never ever ( did I say never ?) worth it.
    * Many people use or adapt commonly available air tight wood stoves for use in Sauna-as a cost saving measure, or because they believe them to be more efficient…
    And no, it is not so…The Finns have a pretty good track record with this stuff; spend the money on a proper stove…And as always: Thx Glenn!

  7. Nils: I could play sauna stove conversation tennis with you, as I enjoy the volley back and forth.

    I like where you’re coming from on many levels.

    We pay for our sauna stoves one time, and we get to enjoy good heat for the rest of our lives.

    Same goes for proper chimney installation. We install it right once, and can sleep soundly every night for the rest of our lives. (safety first).

  8. I’m likely going to build a small sauna up at our cabin on Big Lake, about an hour from where we live in Anchorage, Alaska. I’m just starting to read about constructing one. Can you please describe the primary reasons I should buy a sauna wood burning stove specifically rather than a standard, heavy, good quality wood stove and weld some braces on top to hold rocks ? I’m ignorant so be easy on me boss 🙂

  9. Jim: Fair question. Wood stoves with after market cages to hold rocks, in my experience, just don’t create the kind of Loyly (steam) that decent wood fired sauna stove create. Others reading this with different experiences, please chime in.

    If you have a standard, heavy, good quality wood stove hanging around and are hankering to try it, then please do and let us know how it rolls for you. If you find it takes way too long to heat rocks or just is too clunky, well, you can remove it from your sauna, sell it as a stove, and apply funds towards purchasing a wood fired sauna stove as “done it, tried it, and onto Phase II.”

  10. Re: Jim M.’s query: yard sale /conventional stove verses Finnish Sauna wood burning stove…
    Hi Jim-
    This is a chapter in the book! ( still writing it…),but here are the high spots:
    The Finnish stoves I’ve been using in my work all of these years is steel firebox inside of a ventilated shell, this means that they heat more via convection than your yard sale version , which heats primarily via radiation; the former is much more comfy to be around, does not produce the radiant blast, and if one leans up against it, the surface temp. is much lower, so that the resulting skin burn is much less severe. It will also heat the room much quicker, and use less fuel…so far, so good!
    And unlike the cast iron stoves in our living room-they are lighter and come to temp. much quicker.
    And by design, they can be placed much closer to the wall/corner of your room.
    It also heats rocks very efficiently, as the rock compartment encircles more than half of the firebox…so good steam!
    The ship weight of the one I use is about 110 lbs…The Jotul in my living room weighs in at ~ 375 lbs…another plus, eh? I’m not signing up to Portage my Jotul,no thanks !
    And the standard issue item comes with a glass door and ash drawer-features that many of the ‘converted’ stoves will not have.
    I tell folks on a budget to cut costs elsewhere, but buy a proper stove!
    and thanks Glenn!

  11. Many of the stoves have an EU spec exhaust of 4” and require a 6” adaptor for North American sizing.

    Is it possible to use 4” pellet stove pipe instead of 6”?

  12. Steve:

    Yes! I think you will have good luck with this. The 4″ stove pipe is not at all expensive. If you incur drafting problems or other limitations with the more narrow stove pipe, you can come back and convert to 6″. Please let us know how it shakes out for you.

  13. I have built a sauna that is about 380 cf. I want to find the best wood stove for this size space. Can anyone offer any suggestions on how to find the correct size of firebox/stove?

  14. Hey Glenn,

    Asking this question here in case it benefits others. Do I gather correctly that you’re basing your chimney height from where it meets the adapter in the ceiling to the peak of the roof +2′ (for most small structures)? So, in my case, an 8′ wide building with a 5/12 roof gives me a 20″ rise. My hot room ceiling is 6″ below my sidewalls so that means total required height is 50″. If I did a 36″ section and an 18″ section, I’d be good, right?

  15. Tom: I think you’d be good. What I’ve done most times, in the spirit of “field verification,” is to install the ceiling adapter while on a stool in the hot room, then head up a ladder onto the roof with jig saw and tape measurer. After cutting out my plumb bob oval, I run the tape measurer down from the roof to the hot room ceiling, then measure to the ridge, all the while whispering Hail Mary’s while standing up there with jittery ankles.

    Some municipal codes require chimney stack to be height or ridge, minimum, other say 2′ above the ridge. Either way, this gets me a real number, then I go procure the expensive double wall silver chimney pipe from there. The 6″ chimney pipe comes in 1′, 2′, and 3′ lengths and should include a 2nd mortgage application form.

    https://www.saunatimes.com/sauna-culture/sauna-philosophy/are-you-field-verifying-your-work/

  16. Glenn, this is a super helpful post, thanks. I’m mid-build on a sauna & am calculating sauna location. I’d like a corner install like in the top image, but the kuuma documentation is unclear on distances to non combustibles. Can we chat about that?

  17. Hi Brian: For sure! There are two ways to approach setback requirements to non combustibles.
    1) 10″ from stove to wall using the Kuuma heat shields.
    2) None if using all combustible materials (metal studs, stone surround, etc.).

    There is ongoing developments regarding optimal surround. I am actually testing different surround solutions and am working with Daryl Lamppa as well as Dale at Lamppa Manufacturing to develop the best recommended wall treatment.*

    On the short list (and what I’ve done with great success).
    1. stud wall, insulation, foil vapor barrier.
    2. Durarock screwed to wall.
    3. 1″ spacers.
    4. Durarock 1′ from floor, 1′ from ceiling. (to allow air flow).
    5. Face durarock with really cool looking rock.

    *lampomassa is a key factor in stove surround. On the one hand, we have the opportunity for our stove surround to add heat mass to complement that beautiful dense heat so special with the 400# Kuuma sauna stove, yet if we take this to extreme, we’d be creating too much stone density such that our hot room heat up time becomes compromised.

    Another way to consider this: Stone is a conductor. Too much stone is like an iceberg: lots of time to heat. But once hot… wow, awesome. So we want to balance the amount of stone.

    I am testing all this stuff, right now.

    Also, mortar breaks down with excessive heat, so we are mindful of this as well.

  18. I have three (?) wood burning saunas currently and for 64 yeasts have had at least one available. I’m 64 by the way.
    Sauna at home has Kumma stove. So many reasons to use them but major one is only EPA approved one. Great wood use and fire management.
    Two up at the cabins. Both homemade stoves that get lots of seasonal use. A few years ago, replaced the black pipe with SS stove pipe. Had too many situations where the black pipe corroded and didn’t notice until it was dangerous. Cheap investment.
    Also replaced the exterior stuff to Class A.
    Much easier than rebuilding. Did that once.

  19. Hi Glenn,

    You wrote: “4. Durarock 1′ from floor, 1′ from ceiling. (to allow air flow).”

    Just to clarify, the heat shield should be 1 foot from the floor and 1 foot from the ceiling?

    Thanks in advance for the reply.

    Joel

  20. Glenn, I have boxed out a 12”x12” square in the hot room ceiling directly above my stove pipe outlet . My chimney specialist is telling me that the box will require some trimming which sounds weird to me. I never read it in your book. I did tell him what parts we need including ceiling support. I just want to make sure we are going wright directions

  21. Slava,

    You’re right on. Have him read this post, and review the Silkerk material manual. No trimming needed. It’s weird to me too. These components work great, and happy you’re following along. The ceiling support requires no trim.

  22. Hi
    I want to build a wooden stove , can I buy diagrams or do you have any recommendations
    Thank you in advance
    Bernardo

  23. Hello Glenn.
    I can get a Selkirk chimney kit # 0544706. ( Or #0545206 Is what there is locally in stock). Plus I would need to add a few more chimney pipes to each ket.
    thanks DC

  24. Hello Everyone,

    I’m in the process of converting my shed into a sauna, and if I follow the kuuma stove setback recommendation of 11″, I don’t have enough clearance to run my 10″ circumference stove pipe straight vertical because of rafter location . If using kuuma heat shields, is it okay to shift the stove 3 inches closer to the durarock wall? This would give me an 8″ setback from stove to wall.

    Thanks
    Dylan

  25. Hi Dylan:

    Yes, you’re right there. The Kuuma clearances from heat shield to non combustibles is 7″.

  26. Hi Glenn, I’m interested in purchasing a wood burning sauna stove from KIVI in Helsinki, Finland. My issue is converting the metric stove pipe to our imperial sizes. Do you know where I can find an adapter to make this transition?

    Thank you! John

  27. Hi John..

    Hmmm… Have you checked “Oh, Canada?” That home and native land, I think, is metric-ized. The Kuuma is built for a 6″ pipe, and Selkirk (Canadian company) has black stove pipe that works off that dimension. But, that’s imperial, as you mention.

    Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful! I’m sure there’s an adapter out there.

  28. I’m getting to that point where I need to buy chimney components for my backyard sauna. This page has been super helpful. I am in eastern PA and hours away from the nearest Menards. I’ve looked at several online sellers like Amazon, Ace, and Northline Express and they all have a random smattering of Selkirk components, but nowhere close to the whole package. The only place I’ve found that does have it all is Menards.com. When I price it out, it comes to $600 for everything from black stove pipe to deluxe rain cap. $40 to ship it. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I can’t imagine a local stove store is going to be able to touch that price; I think it’d be a waste of time to even call and ask.

    Has anyone ordered chimney parts from Menards online, and if so did they arrive in good shape? Does anyone have suggestions for other online options I should consider in addition to Menards.com?

  29. Glenn–in your ebook, it seems that you have a couple of different approaches to combustibles around the chimney (in some pictures, you use durock around where the chimney enters the ceiling, while in others you don’t.)

    The selkirk kit that I have comes with a chimney support kit. Do I need to durock around it anyway? The instructions seem to indicate that I can just run the T&G right up to the ceiling support decorator.

  30. Hi Ben:

    When I build/built saunas for others, I install a 3′ square piece durarock around the Selkirk chimney support kit.

    In the saunas i’ve built for myself or for less litigious buddies, I run the t&g right up to the ceiling support and flush to the 12″ box around the ceiling.

    I prefer a 7′ ceiling, maybe 7′ 6″. If going with a taller ceiling, you don’t need the cement board ceiling, as distance from top of stove to ceiling is enough for mfr. setback requirements.

    PS.. my cabin sauna 1996 and backyard sauna 2003 are all t&g ceiling. And still very much standing. But this is not an endorsement of or instruction to.. nod nod wink wink.

  31. Great thread everyone. I’ve done a lot of reading, but have not seen anything on dangers of combustibles at the exhaust point/rain cap. In my 12×8 design ideally the stove would be in the back against the change room wall (so back middle of the shed). The shed will be built up against some European beech trees which are leafy. Any concerns with the exhaust right against the hedge?

    Alternatively I could put the stove in the front corner of both exterior walls but that would eat into the width of the transom window I could put on the front of the shed. I think the stove (Kuuma S or Harvia Greenflame) would require about 3′ lengthwise across the front of the shed before I could place a window, which makes the window much smaller than I want.

  32. Hi Steve:

    Re: distance from Chimney on the roof to trees: I get this question a fair bit! And my response may meet with an eye roll from some, because it’s not OSHA compliant for sure. My cabin sauna has trees kind of close. My backyard sauna has trees kind of close. I built a sauna by the shores of Lake Superior with trees close by. (Click here to see this sauna in action). I have had thousands of sauna sessions in these three saunas.

    There are three things to keep things safe, (and none involve the obvious: trimming back the trees).
    1. Stick around.
    The first several times you fire up your sauna stove. Stick around and watch the chimney. This is a great lesson in zen and the art of sauna burning maintenance. Do you see any sparks? If yes, attention to:

    2. Decent firewood & burning practices.
    Once you get to know your sauna stove, you will get to know how to fire it up, and get it tuned. Ignition is as simple as
    – match lights tinder
    – tinder lights kindling
    – kindling lights firewood
    With the upside down fire, you will achieve fast and safe transitions. Once firewood is rocking, and you tune your damper, the firebox should be less roaring, less air flow up the chimney, and way lower chance of sparks. All this is best achieved with:

    3. A well designed sauna stove.
    Just because Harvia is the largest sauna stove company in the world, doesn’t mean that it’s the safest (by a mile). What IS safest (in my 30 plus year experience) is the Kuuma. (and by a mile). The Kuuma kicks ass. It burns less wood, extracts the most BTU out of the wood, and combusts in the safest manner. When you burn any stove wide open, the chances of sparks going up the chimney increases. The Kuuma is designed to hum along at idle speed with less airflow up the chimney and complete combustion inside the firebox. That’s “safety first” at its best. More here.

  33. Hey Glenn:

    Quick question, I have an outdoor Barrel Sauna, and am enjoying it, yet my neighbour who came to visit, was with a retired chimney person, and he had stated that the black pipe from my Harvia Wood burning stove, to the top of my sauna, was not WETT certified, or even insulated properly. I had a chap build me the sauna, yet the chimney person said that the chimney needed to be properly installed, insulated, and with clearance as well from the roof of the sauna.

    My question to you is, that can I still use my sauna, which I enjoy, even though the chimney does not appear to be rightly fitted properly for certification, yet is working, and as long as I have the creosote cleaned every few months, or, so, it should hopefully be okay. Or, for the sake of the Insurance company, and risk of chimney fire, get the chimney redone again, with proper insulation, and perhaps with a stainless steel connection, rather then the current black pipe configuration.

    Thanks Glenn

  34. Hi Lawrence,

    Now if I come across as too cavalier with my thinking/logic, well, have you insurance man issue me a yellow card. My logic is as follows:
    1. Your neighbor, as a retired chimney person, probably has good intentions to cause attention to your setup.
    2. Your combustibles (wood) will tell you if it’s getting too hot.. like it will start to blacken.
    3. The only time you fire up your sauna stove is when you’re hanging around waiting for it to heat up, or sitting on the bench.
    4. If things get weird, you’ll be right there (with fire extinguisher).
    5. If things get weird and you’re not there, hopefully you have just dashed off to the kitchen to grab a beverage.

    Over time, you should know whether your non compliance is a fire hazard. If things start to show heat stress, yes, replace the single wall black pipe with double wall silver.

    That’s how I’d deal with it.

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