Building an Outdoor Brick Oven
An outdoor brick oven is a home addition that will pay for itself in no time in the form of a comforting fire hearth, delicious home-cooked meals, and an impressive showcase in your yard if you ever decide to sell your home. Constructing your own brick pizza oven isn’t an easy task, however. We get asked all the time how to build an outdoor brick oven.
Before setting out on the challenge, here’s a bit of a reference guide on the steps you need to take before breaking ground, and a short summary of what the construction process looks like.
What to consider when building a brick oven
Choosing the right location
Any information on how to build a brick oven would be incomplete if it didn’t include some consideration of location. After all, a brick pizza oven is a permanent fixture; it’s not an easy task to pick up a structure weighing hundreds of pounds and attached by concrete to the ground.
The task of finding the right place for your new brick pizza oven can be made simpler by considering a few factors. Who will be using it? Do you want it to be nearby the patio, so serving is easier, or maybe closer to another feature like a pond or garden? You should also think about the overall appearance of your oven, and how well it will fit into its surroundings like the color or material of your home.
Materials and time
Speaking of materials, you won’t know how to make a pizza oven outside if you don’t have an idea about which materials to pick up. Depending on the type of oven you are building, the most common materials include gravel, concrete, rebar, ceramic fiber blanket, high temperature mortar, refractory fire brick or other masonry.
The tools you’ll need also include woodworking tools like circular saw, basic construction tools like a spirit level and shovels, and those needed for concrete construction like a mobile mixer and some kind of straight level.
It’s important to remember that the actual construction process of a brick oven is very time-consuming. Even if you can afford to devote all of your time and energy to the project for a while, parts of the project involve curing concrete which takes days at a minimum. It’s also a realistic assumption that you can’t spend every day of the week working on the oven, so your time to build is limited as well.
The construction process
Once you’ve assembled your materials and made a plan to get working, don’t forget to apply for a permit in your jurisdiction if one is necessary. In some cases, your county or city may not have a category for a pizza oven; it’s not a common addition, after all. In these cases, a permit for an outdoor fireplace usually works fine.
Building the Base
When you’re ready to break ground, you’ll start with digging out a base for your concrete foundation. How deep this foundation must be depends on a number of factors, including the area’s climate, and the softness of your soil.
It may be tempting to pour concrete directly into your dig, but a dreaded cracked foundation is best avoided by putting down a level layer of gravel and a grid of rebar before pouring. This will help keep your foundation intact for years, and able to support a heavy brick oven on top of it.
For more in depth base information, check out our blog post on Building a Pizza Oven Base. After the foundation is set, you’ll be spending the remainder of your time adding bricks layer by layer.
Building the oven dome
You can finally start adding a domed oven to the top of your brick base. If you've never built a brick pizza oven from scratch before, this will be the most daunting task. If any part of this process goes wrong, the consequences could range from cracks in your oven, poor circulation resulting in undercooked or burnt pizza (and a lot of smoke in your yard), or worst of all: A collapsed oven.
We recommend using a pizza oven kit to help you build your DIY pizza oven. By starting with a kit, you'll have the perfectly engineered oven dome for the final pizza oven’s design. Each kit will come with the exact instructions to build your oven so you can take the guesswork out of your DIY project.
Even when using a kit to build your pizza oven, there are factors to consider. We recommend reading the "Where to Start When Building a DIY Pizza Oven"
When you are ready, there are several options to choose from at Patio and Pizza’s Oven Kit Collection page. We carry many oven kits in varying shapes and sizes, so finding one that suits your needs and budget won’t be a struggle!
Sounds like a lot…
To be honest, it definitely is. Handling the construction of a brick pizza oven with nobody to rely on but yourself and an internet guide may be a recipe for disaster; or at minimum, some disappointing pizza. Don’t let this discourage you from a pizza oven, though! There’s always...
Installing a prefabricated brick oven
A handmade, brick pizza oven can be installed with a fraction of the labor involved in building it yourself and comes with a fraction of potential pitfalls. Don't worry, you are definitely not cheating by not making on yourself! You’ll still need to site your new oven, build a sturdy foundation, and make customizations so that it will fit your home and yard.
Patio and Pizza also offers prefabricated, handmade pizza ovens in addition to their DIY kits. We have a large eclectic selection of ovens to match your taste, needs, and budget.
At the end of the process, you’ll have an awesome new centerpiece to your yard, delicious pizza, and an un-broken back.
As the Italians might say, benissimo!