Pizza Oven Build – The Bricks and Dome Floor

Hello for the third time.  I am now going to try and explain my pizza oven dome build.  I say try as although I remember it very well I appear to have forgotten to take photo’s of the floor build and the first few layers.  However I shall try and use words and descriptions to describe those bits and, to be perfectly honest, I don’t think the floor of the oven is very hard.

The first part of building the floor of the dome and the dome itself is what construction I was going to use.  I had researched all types of materials and settled on wanting to use fire bricks.  I’m no builder, as you all know, and therefore I was looking for the simplest way to construct with minimal mess.  I had to roughly pick a size and my pizza oven dome is roughly an oval shape which has a front to back distance of 800mm and left to right diameter of 900mm.  This is purely to maximise my 1200mm x 1200mm plinth and leave room for thickness of bricks (115mm), insulation (30mm) and weatherproof render (20mm).

Once decided on my construction method I had to calculate my quantities and order my materials.  I got a rough idea for the number of bricks required from Forno Bravo who have a set of resources online that are very informative.  For an oven slightly bigger than mine they suggested ~230 brick of dimensions (230x114x64mm), so I decided to buy that many knowing I would need less.  Turns out 200 would have been enough.  For the oven build you make it from half bricks (115x114x64mm) so a lot of time was spent chopping bricks.  You could possibly have this done for you or buy\borrow a brick cutter.  (I’d recommend it if you don’t like hitting your hand with the hammer)

Once I’d decided on brick numbers I thought I would probably need 5 x 20kg of special fire cement.  The fire cement allows you to build the oven and stick the bricks together.  When you put the very last stone in (Keystone) you stress the whole dome against itself but until then it want to fall down and therefore the cement allows you to create the structure.  The cement also blocks a lot of the cracks in your oven.  Again I did over order as used 4 complete tubs.

The total order I placed with Vitcas from their online shop was as follows:

  1. 230x Firebricks (230x114x64mm)
  2. 5x 20kg Vitcas Outdoor Oven Cement
  3. 1x Flue and chimney
  4. 5mx Ceramic Fibre Blanket 25mm-Vitcas Ceramic Insulation (for insulating the dome)
  5. 1x Ceramic Fibre Board 1260 C/50mm-VITCAS Insulating Board (for the floor insulation)

So a few days after ordering the following pallet arrived:

Bricks
Pallet of Bricks…all 700kg

With all the other items the total weight was about 900kg so unless you have a large van or pickup truck you would not be able to pick your order up using a family car.

 The Floor

The floor was simple to do and involves no cement.

The first thing I did was place the Vitcas 50mm insulating board on top of my plinth.  This board insulates the bricks from concrete and therefore prevents too much of your precious heat leaving the oven.  As the board is easy to cut I used a Stanley Knife to cut to the shape I required.  Once finished the bricks and the whole oven go on top.  It is very strong but don’t drop things on it as it will dent and yield…but once the bricks are laid on it the weight is transferred nicely

Then to lay the floor cover the board in firebricks in the style you wish for your floor.  I personally wanted the herringbone shape. To do this the top of the board must be perfectly clean and you need no other materials, just push the bricks together.  If you have any bricks with knocks save them for the dome, use the most perfect bricks you have for the floor to keep the geometry.  Most of the shape you can do with whole brick but to finish you will need to cut some half bricks to finish your rectangle.

Herringbone Pattern of floor
Herringbone

Also as you all know I like it to be level, I painstakingly picked the bricks so that if you pushed a pizza peel into the front of the oven there would never be a vertical rise in height.  Basically stopping my pizza peel catching as you push it in.  So far I’m glad I did it as my peel never catches.  Basically all your bricks are slightly different heights and you just cycle through them finding the height you need.

And that’s it your floor is done.

I’ll publish this and come back for the dome….