How to insulate a pizza oven

This step by step diy article is about how to insulate a pizza oven. Insulating the brick oven will not only make it more efficient (it will store the head better), but also enhance the look of the construction. In this project we show you how to cover the brick dome with stone, as well as how to prepare the insulating layer. After building the pizza oven, you should leave the  clay mortar to dry out properly, before installing the insulating layer.

 

 

Materials

  • Sharp sand, cement – CONCRETE
  • Vermiculite – INSULATION
  • Chicken wire or wire netting – WIRE
  • Wall stone – STONE

 

Tools

  • Safety gloves, glasses
  • Chisel, hammer
  • Putty knife, bucket

 

Tips

  • Mix the insulation material thoroughly
  • Let the concrete dry out properly, before filling the holes

 

Time

  • One weekend

 

Related

 

 

How to insulate a pizza oven

Mixing concrete

Mixing concrete

 

The first step of the project is to mix a small quantity of insulation in a bucket or in a wheelbarrow. Therefore, you could either prepare regular concrete (2 parts cement, 3 parts sharp sand) and install the stone pieces. Alternatively, you could mix 6 parts vermiculite to 1 part cement and cover the dome with a 2-3” thick layer.

If you want to add the vermiculite concrete insulation, you should wrap chicken wire around the oven, leaving 3″-4″ of space for mortar layer.

 

Preparing the insulation

Preparing the insulation

 

We recommend you to mix the vermiculite and the cement, or the sand with the cement, without pouring the water. In this manner, you can mix the components properly and afterwards add the water gradually.

Use a margin trowel to mix the compound, making sure it’s not too thin. In order to check if the concrete has the right consistency, it should not fall off the trowel. Otherwise you should add a little more cement and mix it properly.

 

Adding concrete to the stone

Adding concrete to the stone

 

If you go for the vermiculite insulation, you should pour it in the space between the dome and the chicken wire. The layer should have about 2-3” and has to be even on the whole surface. Afterwards, mix regular concrete (2 parts cement, 3 parts sand) and attach the stone pieces.

Smart Tip: If you want to save time and money, you could attach the stone directly to the brick done, using regular concrete as mortar. Spread the compound to the stone pieces and secure it to the brick oven.

 

Covering the pizza oven with stone

Covering the pizza oven with stone

 

Start fitting the stone pieces from the bottom to the top of the dome. Make sure the  gaps between the stones are no larger than 1/2” inches, otherwise the pizza oven won’t have a neat look. Choose the stone pieces with good judgement and attention, if you want to obtain a nice-looking pattern.

Pay also attention to the thickness of the stones, as they can vary extensively. Therefore choose only the pieces that have a similar thickness, otherwise the surface of the oven won’t be uniform.

 

Splitting the stone

Splitting the stone

 

In most of the cases you need to adjust the size and the shape of the stone, as to match the existing pattern. The easiest techniques to get the job done accurately, is to use a chisel and a hammer. Just place the chisel on the marked line and hit it gently with a hammer.

Move the chisel several inches and repeat the process, until the stone splits in two pieces. You should exercise a little on a few spare pieces, just to get accustomed to the technique.

 

Stone

Stone

 

This is what you should obtain after splitting the stone. Make sure the halves are in a good condition, before securing them to the brick dome.

 

Attaching the stone

Attaching the stone

 

In order to secure the stone pieces to the brick pizza oven, you should apply mortar both to the back of the stone as well as to the bricks. Make sure the mortar has the right consistency and mix it every 5 minutes, as it tends to dry out quickly. Place the stone to the oven and set it properly, by hitting it several times with a rubber hammer.

Remember that the stone pieces shouldn’t be too large, otherwise they won’t wrap properly to the brick dome. We strongly recommend you to clean the surface with a putty knife and a brush.

 

Close up with the insulating layer

Close up with the insulating layer

 

As you can see in the image, you should fill the gaps between the stone pieces and the pizza oven. Make sure the edges of the stones are aligned one with another, otherwise set them properly with a rubber hammer.

 

Covering the dome with stone

Covering the dome with stone

 

Continue installing the stone, suing the same techniques described above. If you want to obtain a professional result, we recommend you to clean the dome’s surface with a putty knife and a brush. In addition, sprinkle water to the dome, before spreading the mortar.

Smart Tip: Once you begin installing the stone pieces to dome, you should continue until completing the task, especially that we speak of a small surface. Mix more concrete if needed (2 parts cement, 3 parts sand).

 

Cleaning the gaps between the stones

Cleaning the gaps between the stones

 

After fitting stone to the whole surface of the brick oven, you should clean the gaps between them, with a small scrapper. Work with great attention, otherwise you might move the stone pieces from position. Use the edges of the knife to remove the concrete.

Smart Tip: Next, use a brush to clean the residues between the stones. The gaps should be about 3/4” deep, otherwise you won’t be able to fill them properly with mortar.

 

Cleaning the stone

Cleaning the stone

 

On the other hand, we recommend you to clean the stone pieces with a damp sponge and water, otherwise it will be very hard to remove the residues off the stones. In this manner, you can save a significant amount of time.

If necessary, you should repeat the operation until the surface is perfectly clean. Continue this step until you clean all the gaps and the whole surface. It would be better to ask someone to assist you, as the concrete gets dried quickly.

 

Insulating the pizza oven

Insulating the pizza oven

 

Let the mortar to dry out overnight, before filling the gaps with mortar. Meanwhile, don’t forget to clean the tools with water, before the concrete dries out.

 

Filling the gaps between the stone

Filling the gaps between the stone

 

The next day, you should mix a small quantity of concrete in a construction bucket, using the following recipe: 1 part cement to 1 part sharp sand. Make sure you buy sharp sand with a small granulation, otherwise the gaps won’t have a neat look. If you want, you could even add pigment to the mix.

Smart Tip: Use a small putty knife to apply the mortar between the stone pieces, as in the image. Make sure you fill the gaps with mortar, as to get the job done properly.

 

Cleaning the pizza oven

Cleaning the pizza oven

 

After filling the gaps between the stone pieces with mortar, you have to thoroughly clean the surface, using a damp sponge. If you postpone this task, it will be almost impossible to remove the concrete off the stones. Work with attention and good judgement, making sure you don’t miss a spot.

In addition, you can make the joints even by removing the excess mortar with a wire brush. Make sure you don’t the gaps concave, if you want to obtain a professional result.

 

How to insulate a pizza oven

How to insulate a pizza oven

 

Last but not least, you have to take care of the finishing touches. Therefore, fill the holes with mortar and even out the gaps between the stone pieces with a small putty knife. Let the concrete dry out for several days, before making the fire inside the pizza oven.

Smart Tip: Clean the stone pieces with a sponge and clean water, to obtain a neat appearance. Continue the project by finishing the base of the pizza oven, as well as to build the wooden shelter.

 

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