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Rain Saturated Oven

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  • Rain Saturated Oven

    I guess it is about time to share my pain.
    Anyone who has lived in FL can attest to the lousy summers (90+ degrees, off the charts humidity, and the infamous DAILY rain/thunderstorms). Winter is another story, it just doesn't get any better, pretty much anywhere.

    Anyway, some of you may remember back 2+ yrs ago when I completed my igloo build. I was asked by a forum member if I was concerned about the heavy summer rains. YES, I said; I plan to make a cover/modified tarp, much like a BBQ cover that will at least keep the horizontal rains from getting into the oven entry. I believe I volunteered my wife (hey, she is good with upholstery, curtains, and such) but failed to ever "officially" ask for her help.
    By now, I'm sure you know where I'm going.....I never got around to my making my cover, too many other projects seemed more important, and besides - I was making pizzas and roasting without a hitch.....maybe the rain won't be an issue. WRONG

    After two summers without water infiltration issues the rain finally bit me in the A#% - TWICE in three weeks. 4 weeks ago I decided I better check the oven after 3-4 days of torrential rain. Removed the doors to find soaked ash from my last fire and every brick looked wet (not just damp). Pissed, I decided that I wasn't going to waste my time going through a curring process and simply proceeded to build a huge fire and drive out the moisture. It worked, with no ill effects that I could see. It took over an hr. to get a fire going that would stay lit, but 8 hrs later (and a LOT of wood) all was dry. I had steam rolling out of the oven for at least an hr, with water actually dripping from the underside of my cantilever support slab on all 4 sides.
    Then, being the idiot that I am, I still did not cover it before the REAL rains started a few days later. Over 11" fell in 7 days (as recorded by the fire station down the street). The worst was one afternoon when it rained over
    4" in 40 minutes - overflowing my pool, back and side yards were 6" deep and I was about 2-3" away from becoming an official flood victim. Back to the oven; as you have guessed, saturated again. So far this week we have lucked out in my neighborhood, no rain since last weekend. I've let the oven air dry all week and will fire the piss out of it again this weekend. YES I finally have a cover, fitted it yesterday, complete with a weather seal around the Duravent pipe.
    My only conclusion to this whole problem is that the entry area acts as a wick durring these heavy continuous rains, and after several hrs of rain each day over several days, the entire oven sucks up water. Other than the reoccuring arch crack the dome and surrounding tile grout is all in tact, so I don't think the water has come from anywhere else. The confusing part is that I made it 2 yrs without the slightest moiture problems (other than damp wood), I know we have had strange weather patterns for the past 2 months with rain coming from different directions than what they say is a "typical summer pattern"......guess that may be it.
    In any case, the space shuttle may be able to see the fires I plan for this weekend.....then the cover goes on. Again, curring fires be damned, I'm going inferno.



  • #2
    Re: Rain Saturated Oven

    Sorry to hear about that, RT! We don't get that much rain in Wisconsin, but my oven getting soaked is a fear that's always in the back of my mind. The cover is a great idea.
    Picasa web album
    Oven-building thread


    • #3
      Re: Rain Saturated Oven

      I think that if you don't live in an actual desert, it's a good idea to build a real roof over your oven. I know it's a bunch of work, but I think it prevents problems such as you describe.
      My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2


      • #4
        Re: Rain Saturated Oven

        Hi RT!

        I have alluded to my problems before elsewhere, but I have had a soaked oven floor (with a bit in the dome but not too much). Mine happens because the ledge around my oven is sandstone and that rock is like a sponge - just lets the water run through. Yes, I have waterproofed it and that helps but...it still gets wet.

        And I fully agree, drying out an oven is no fun (but fortunately not a disaster either!)

        Living in San Antonio I don't have a big rain problem but I have decided to put my igloo under a real roof. I am going to build walls to shield the sides and put a standing seam steel roof on top (to match my house). Th landing below the chimney will still let some water in but...it will be MUCH drier!

        Seems like building a roof is something you only have to do once whereas a tarp is a repeat process!

        Good Luck!


        • #5
          Re: Rain Saturated Oven

          Ain't nuthin' like adversity to enable a man to find find new combinations of cuss words.

          It happened to me when I was in the process of entombing my BFO (Big F$%^$## Oven) No roof, high winds, torrential rain Vs. my crippled A$$ up on a ladder wielding a huge blue plastic tarp. As if I was daring the rain and lightning gods to smite me. You can bet I was issuing a long string of fiery phrases.

          P.M. if you came up with any dandys...hahaha.


          • #6
            Re: Rain Saturated Oven

            dmun, agreed....there is no substitute for a REAL roof. If I were not so anti establishment and would have just gone through the bureaucracy I would have a "house style" oven. My HOA has always been an inept bunch of political wannabes, so I do everything without submitting for approval. As long as they could not see it from the street, they couldn't say anything...so an igloo it is.
            The modified tarp/cover should get me by until winter, after it cools down and the daily rains subside. At that time I think I will proceed with a real enclosure, again without HOA approval (I have added a tree and my fence goes in this Thurs., no chance they can see my "structure" from the street.)

            PP, made me laugh...thanks. I didn't realize anyone was around to hear me when I found things soaked. Suffice to say.....just the basic 4 letter words used in every way imaginable. Amazing how they can become nouns, pronouns, adjectives, prepositions. I didn't realize that I had such a grasp on language.

            Have a great weekend everyone



            • #7
              Re: Rain Saturated Oven

              TheStar.com | Mind & Mood | Cursing is good for you, new study says. Really

              Swear on, my brother...


              • #8
                Re: Rain Saturated Oven

                Uh uh... so Igloos are not ideal for wet climates?

                Sorry to hear about your oven RT. The good news is, you can drive the water out and the oven still works. The mosaics are still ok, you said, so the water all gets in through the entry way?

                I've been finding my oven takes longer to heat up this year than it did last year, and was worried it might be caused by damp getting in. Hmm, I'll check for wet bricks next time, too. Though if that much water gets in, the insulation will be shot, too. What really worries me is that with my mosaics you can't tell if there are any cracks on the outside of the dome or not. Hmmmm, I can't really picture a roof over it either.

                Re swearing, the article mentions giving birth... Well let me tell you, after going through that experience I haven't worried about my swearing so much. Anything I would ever say now (even if faced with a ruined oven) just pales in comparison to what I came up with then. Never knew I had such a large vocabluary.
                "Building a Brick oven is the most fun anyone can have by themselves." (Terry Pratchett... slightly amended)



                • #9
                  Re: Rain Saturated Oven

                  With my igloo, I cover it with a tarp and just go through the curing firings every spring.


                  • #10
                    Re: Rain Saturated Oven

                    Hmmm, it's done nothing BUT rain here for weeks? months?? - so much so that I only used my oven once, about a month ago (and that's a whole other story).
                    I'd better take a closer look tomorrow ...
                    RT, glad to hear your oven is OK in the end.



                    • #11
                      Re: Rain Saturated Oven

                      I guess the ONE good sign since I found things so wet.....I used vermicrete for my hearth insulation and even though I have had water literally dripping out of all four side of my support slab/insulating slab....the oven has NOT sunk down into the vermicrete. This stuff must hold up pretty well. That was my greatest fear at the time (along with the loud cursing my neighbors children might have heard.. I still have another round of all day scarry firing to drive out more water, then I am hoping things will be good again after use of the tarp.

                      Frances, that sounds exactly how my oven reacted all of last yr. - Sluggish to worm up. Now that this has happenend, I'm left wondering if the sluggishness was the start of something worse to come. we had our typical daily rains for the oast two yrs, thistime around the rains/wind were longerperiods, with monsoon like horizontal rains attacking my ove from a different direction each day'.

                      The tarp is the near solution, some type of roofing systm will go up this fall/winter. I plan to try and work around the mosaic, just a simple basic roof structure that extends over the enty. if it looks too tacky, I will turn it into a full "house" style - hiding the month long mosaic job, not what I want, but i gotta keek that rain out.



                      • #12
                        Re: Rain Saturated Oven

                        Hi RT
                        Sorry to hear about your flooding problems. The horizontal rains have been a worry of mine too. How often do you use your oven this time of year? Also do you use it in the rain and have you seen any adverse effects to the structure from this?



                        • #13
                          Re: Rain Saturated Oven

                          I've had the same symptons and issues with my oven this year. I had friends coming over on Saturday, but didn't know what time, so I fired up the oven early. About 3 or so hours into the firing, I noticed moisture where the chimney & concrete roof meet, then another 1/2 hour or so I saw a large wet spot on the side. Looked on the opposite side and the bricks were wet and starting to steam. I have blanket insulation plus the sides are filled with vermicrete, approx 5". I'm thinking of a roof also, just don't know how to incorporate the design.


                          • #14
                            Re: Rain Saturated Oven

                            Larry, I'm down to once a month, probably until Oct. Just too damn hot/humid during the summer, really takes the fun out of using the oven; throw in the threat of rain, and you can't plan on anything.
                            I have used it in light rain with no ill effects, my oven is somewhat shielded (big palm and oak tree and right next to my screen enclosure). but any driving rain coming from the S or SE goes straight into the entry, even with both doors in place. Let water get to one firebrick and they all suck up water faster than a SHAMWOW.

                            The cover works great, covered the oven up last night, then we had serious Tstorms about 4 am this morning (at least 1-2" or rain). not a drop made it into the oven.....not so hard to open it up to check, but it will be a pain removing/folding when I want to use it.



                            • #15
                              Re: Rain Saturated Oven

                              Hi RT - how do you situate your cover? Is it just over the opening or over the entire oven? (I'm trying to figure out how I will cover my igloo, which is still under construction.)

                              Also, you mentioned that the cover was just a temporary solution; is that because it's a hassle, or for aesthetic reasons, or for some other reason?


                              p.s. Your oven is gorgeous. It's one of the most unique on the board. Very, very impressive.