This page will show the high level steps on building your own Pizza Oven. I managed this project in 3 months working part time at weekends and evenings. I am not a trained builder as you will see from the pictures! I used basic skills and taught myself as I went along. If you have basic DIY skills and dont mind trying new things you maybe able to do the same as I did.
Alternatively if this is too much of a challenge you could always employ a local builder to make this for you. Or several ready made kits are now available click here for some in UK.
All details of materials are included on a different page.
Chose a suitable location in your garden for the pizza oven to live. Choose wisely as you will not be able to move it!
Make a wooden former to contain the base, I used some rubble on the base to start things off.
Half fill the base with concrete, then place some reinforcing mesh onto the wet concrete.
Continue to pour the concrete to fill the space allocated. Level the top coat to make a smooth and level surface.
It is recommended that the base is a minimum of 6 inches / 150mm deep, depending on your ground. Consult a builder or structural engineer for exact calculations.
The base will be supporting a lot of weight, its very important this part is strong enough for your location. Soft ground may require a much deeper base than I needed. My ground is compressed chalk which is very hard to start with.
Finished base, ready for the Pizza oven build. Leave the concrete base to dry for at least 48 hours.
Building the Wood Store
The wood store serves two main purposes; 1). To store wood in a dry location so it can dry out. 2). Raise the level so they you do not need to bend down to cook pizza. The oven could be build on an already existing table/platform, we didnt have this option.
The wood store is made from hollow concrete blocks, 3x3x3 in total 9.5 blocks per level, and 4 levels high. This piece will require 38 double blocks.
For added strength fill the blocks with concrete as you go, this will make a very solid concrete wall for your oven to sit upon.
Keep going until you have built the wall all the way around.
Leave this at least 24 hours to set solid.
The next step is to build a decorative front, I decided on a basic arch.
I decided to make a template from wood and ply, as that is what I had spare.
Continue to build out the front to your own design, I am not the best brick layer as you can see. However it turned ok once it was all finished off and painted.
Not perfect, maybe you could do a much better job than me.
Building the Oven Floor
This serves two main purposes
1). Support the cooking base of the oven
2). Act as an insulating layer. to maintain heat in the fire bricks.
The basic technique is to make a wooden frame that will support a piece of ply wood, once the concrete is set the ply wood can be removed from underneath. The wood must fit snugly against the concrete walls and not overlap the edges, otherwise you wont be able to remove it!
Here you can see the wooden board encased by wooden frame. The area where you see the steel mesh is to be filled with soft crete (a mixture of vermiculite, concrete and water). This is light weight and has very good insulting qualities.
Fill the space and level it down.
Once dry remove the outer wood to leave the insulated square still sitting on the ply wood floor.
Now the whole area can be filled with normal strength concrete to provide a smooth strong base for the oven to sit.
Add more steel mesh to give the whole structure added strength
Finish with a nice smooth layer of concrete.
Leave to dry fully for at least 48 hours
Once its completely dry, it is safe to remove the supports and ply wood from the wood store.
This is the view from wood store looking up at newly created floor. You can see the insulating square in the middle, surrounded by strong concrete.
We are now ready for the main build of the actual oven.
I found it useful to lay the base out dry 1st to understand where all the brick would go. Once you are happy then these are cemented in place with a thin layer of cement (fine sane and cement only, no lumps)
Lightly place the fire bricks, tap down with masonry hammer. Make sure the floor is 100% level with no raised edges.
** If you have raised edges at this point the cooking experience will be worse as the pizza peel will not glide smoothly over the floor. Take your time and make sure this step is perfect. (Yes I learnt by my mistakes!)
Lay the bricks out following diagram, or above image.
** No gaps, fire bricks lay face to face, no mortar is needed on inside of oven. When placed like this the oven is efficient and strong as no week points are visible.
Once in the correct place, a former can be build around the bricks which will filled with concrete, this acts as a large thermal mass for absorbing and maintaining heat.
Cover the cooking floor with thick plastic to protect it from concrete spills. Remember this is where you will be cooking your pizza so take care of it!
I also added Steel mesh (rebar) for adding strength. This whole concrete layer will keep all of the firebricks in the correct place, they are unable to move.
Leave this to set for at least 24/48 hours.
The picture for the wooden former I made is missing.. place this on bricks and make one arch at a time until the barrel roof is completed.
On the inside fire bricks are touching side by side. On the outside we will have a small gap that must be filled with fire cement.
Once the barrel is in place allow to dry for at least 24/48 hours. Another former must be built around this so that the top can be filled with concrete.
As the barrel roof will expand and contract, place a layer of metal foil on top of the firebricks before pouring the concrete.
Leave concrete for 24/48 hours, then remove the wooden former. The basic cooking chamber is now complete, at this point the oven is fully functional and you could cook at this point.
View from inside the cooking chamber. No or minimal gaps, fire bricks should be face to face on all inside facing bricks.
The chimney was my most tricky bit, I didnt plan this out 100%, I kept building up until it looking about right. The chimney does work as expected although I do have a couple of leaks when it warms up and expands, this does not effect the cooking at all.
Keep building up….. almost time for the 3rd arch.
Let this dry fully before building higher.
This is where you can use coloured bricks, tiles, or other covering to make it look different.
I decided to insulate the oven to maintain heat for longer periods of time.
Wrap the oven with insulating blanket, keep in place with wire mesh. Then another layer of Soft crete before rendering.
Rendered outside, ready for painting. A normal layer of concrete render was placed on top of the soft crete layer.
Making wooden door.
I made a wooden door to fit the oven, I covered the inside face with metal to provide heat protection to the wood.