Introduction: Outdoor Pizza Oven
This step by step article is about outdoor pizza oven plans, pointing out the main bricklaying techniques and materials required for this project. Generally speaking, building a brick oven is a complex process, as it involves many steps and it requires proper planning, coordination and attention to details. Nevertheless, you can get the job done by yourself and save a significant amount of money, if you follow the instructions and pay attention to our tips. All you have to do is to use quality materials and to practice the bricklaying techniques before starting the actual project.
In order to obtain a professional result, we recommend you to glue the bricks together using a mix of clay and fine sand (6:4 ratio). If you use a cement-based mortar, it won’t resist to the high temperatures developed in the brick dome. Therefore, you should replace this mortar with a traditional compound, made of sand and clay. On the other hand, you need to plumb the courses of concrete blocks and bricks, by using a spirit level, in order to obtain a professional result.
List of Materials
- reinforcing net – REBARS35
- concrete blocks – 8x8x16” – CONCRETE BLOCKS
- cement, sand, gravel – CONCRETE
- 150 fire bricks 4 1/2x9x3” – BRICKS
- fire clay and fine sand – CLAY MORTAR
- 2×6 lumber and 4×4 posts – FORM
- Hammer, Tape measure, Framing square, Level
- Miter saw, Drill machinery, Screwdriver, Sander
- Safety Gloves, Safety Glasses
Step 1: STEP 1: Build a Sturdy Foundation
First of all, you have to build a sturdy foundation for the outdoor pizza oven. Therefore, you should select a level surface and excavate about 10” in the ground. Next, build a basic form from 2×10 lumber and install it into place with 2×4 takes. Use a spirit level to make sure the form is perfectly level.
Install a reinforcing net in the form, making sure you place it on several 5” spacers. Secure the form with 3” screws, to remove the form easily.
Step 2: STEP 2
Mix a small quantity of concrete (2 parts cement, 3 parts sand, 4 parts gravel and water) in a power mixer or in a wheelbarrow. After you fill the form with concrete, you should level the foundation with a straight edge, moving it along the sides of the form.
Top Tip: Vibrate the concrete with a vibrator or hit the form with a hammer. In this manner you will remove the pockets of air that might damage the foundation, over time. Let the concrete to dry out for at least 72 hours, before laying the concrete blocks. Place a block at the beginning of the course and another one at the end. Tie a string to their exterior and lay the rest of the concrete blocks. Top Tip: Mix a small quantity of mortar in a bucket, using the following recipe: 3 parts of cement with 5 parts of fine sand. The mortar should have the consistency of cream.
Step 3: STEP 3
Continue laying the concrete blocks in the same manner described above (use the stretcher bond). Use safety gloves when spreading the mortar, as the cement-based compound might damage your skin. Remove the excess material before it hardens, in order to obtain a neat look.
Top Tip: Plumb the blocks with a spirit level and adjust their position if necessary. In addition, make sure the courses are level, by tapping them gently with a mallet.
Step 4: STEP 4
After laying four block courses, build the form for the concrete counter-top. Therefore, use 2×6 slats and 4×4 posts to build a basic form. Work with attention and good judgement, making sure you don’t leave gaps between the slats.
Use a spirit level to check if the surface of the form is horizontal. Moreover, do not secure the components together with screws or nails, otherwise it would be difficult to remove the form.
Step 5: STEP 5
After you install the rest of the form into place, you should place a reinforcing net on several 2” spacers. Work with great attention, ensuring the sides of the form are perfectly horizontal. Prepare a small quantity of concrete (2 parts cement, 3 parts sand, 4 parts gravel and water) and pour it in the form.
Use a straight edge to level the concrete, by moving it along the edges of the form. Hit the sides of the form with a hammer, to remove the air pockets.
Step 6: STEP 6
Let the concrete counter-top to dry out for at least 72 hours, before building the brick oven. The first step is to lay the fire bricks and build the cooking floor of the outdoor pizza oven. Therefore, use the pattern that can be seen in the image to obtain a proper result.
Mix a small quantity of mortar (4 parts fine sand with 6 parts fire clay) to glue the bricks together. Don’t use a cement-based mortar, as it won’t resist to the temperatures developed inside the oven
Step 7: STEP 7
Next, build the walls of the brick oven by laying fire bricks along the edges of the cooking floor. As you should notice in our free plans, you have to lay the fire brick in the stretcher bond, using a clay mortar (4 parts fine sand, 6 parts fire clay).
Top Tip: Use a spirit level to plumb the walls of the brick pizza oven, in order to obtain a professional result. Lay three courses of fire bricks, making sure they are level.
Step 8: STEP 8
Build the back with the same brick size...
Step 9: STEP 9
Continue the project by laying a few more bricks on the back wall of the outdoor pizza oven, before building the arched top. In order to obtain a professional result, we recommend you to build an arched template from 1/2” plywood. Place the template on a few bricks, to lock it into place. Top Tip: You can adjust the height of the arch, according to your needs ,but you have to make sure it harmonize with the rest of the outdoor pizza oven
Step 10: STEP 10
Lay the fire bricks, one by one, and glue them together with a mix of sand and fire clay (4:6 ratio). Work with great care and good judgement, ensuring the bricks are aligned at both ends.
Apply the fire clay mortar between the bricks and remove the excess material with a wet sponge. If you let the compound to dry out, you won’t be able to remove it and to get a neat appearance. Don’t remove the template before the mortar dries out.
Step 11: STEP 11
Continue the project by building the rest of the arched top, in the same manner described above. As you can notice in the image, the arched top is made of three rows, therefore this should be a straight forward process.
Top Tip: After building the top of the brick oven, you should build the top of the entrance. Pay attention to this step, if you want to get the job done like a pro.
Step 12: STEP 12
Place the bricks on top of the small template and fill the gap till the arched top with small pieces of fire bricks. Fill the small gaps with a mix of sand and fire clay, as a cement-based mortar won’t resist to the high temperatures developed inside the brick oven.
Top Tip: Every time you lay an extra brick, you need to use a spirit level, to make sure they are plumb and level. Adjust the size of the bricks with a wet saw, every time is necessary.
Next, you need to build the base of the chimney and leave a hole to leave the smoke out of the dome. Work with great care, making sure you leave enough space to leave the smoke out. Taking into account that the base has to support the weight of the chimney, you should reinforce it properly.
Top Tip: If you consider this a complex task, you could build a rectangular base, which is much easier to build.
Step 14: STEP 14
The chimney of the outdoor pizza oven is an essential component, therefore you should tackle this step with great care. On one hand, you could install a stainless steel chimney, while on the other hand you could build a brick chimney.
Top Tip: If you want to save money and materials, lay the bricks on shiner. You don’t have to build a large chimney, as we don’t speak of a professional pizza oven.
Last but not least, after you have build the brick oven in your backyard, you could increase its thermal efficiency by applying an insulating layer. Nevertheless, if you like the traditional look of the bricks, you could leave it in this state, making sure you protecting it from rain and snow.
Thanks for Socialcheap for helping us building this instructable (image editing and writing)