Anyone built up hearth before installing wood insert?
Anyone built up their old hearth and shrank their firebox before putting in an insert? I have ordered a Hampton H1300 wood burning insert to be installed in our 1st floor foyer fireplace (big 100 y/o center hall colonial).
We've got a large fireplace (box is 35x34x24) with the old marble/soapstone hearth level with the floor. I just figured out that I need the oversize surround (3' high by 5' wide) because of my large fireplace (no thanks to the dealer-good thing I checked the specs).
The top of H1300's firebox when sitting on the blower is only 21" high! This means that with a 3 foot high fireplace opening that the view of the center of the fire is going to be a 12-15 inches off the ground at best and that when standing in front of it most people will see ~ 2 feet of cast iron and not much fire!
The balance seems like it will be off - I worried that the insert will seem too low to the ground and dwarfed by the huge surround.
I'm considering raising the bottom of the existing firebox and having a stone hearth built on top of the old marble one (sob!) so that the insert will sit higher.
I'm worried about design and aesthetic balance - with 75K btus I'm sure it will heat the 1st floor fine either place (and maybe more efficiently at the floor).
We have spent a small fortune restoring this creaky but elegant old lady. The foyer is an intricately wood paneled and a knockout and I don't want this thing to look crazy. I really don't want to mess with the original design at all but another $1400 gas bill and my 6 year old will have to get a job!
Wood-burning design conscious restorers, I need your help! Thanks!