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Two Tricky Questions

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  • Two Tricky Questions least, I think they're tricky, but what do I know? I think the second question is trickier than the first. The reading of this long post alone is a pain, so thanks in advance, but any useful tips anyone can offer will be much appreciated.

    Here is the short version of my question:

    How should I approach building the foundation if my pad has to be sloped/uneven? Or should I just make sure the pad is even and level, regardless of what other issues that causes for my patio/yard?

    And now here is the long version of my question:

    I'm going to be pouring a patio within the next few weeks---still lots of prep work to be done---upon which I will be building an outdoor kitchen, part of which will be a pizza oven using the Forno Bravo plans. The brick oven will form the far end (furthest from the house) of a long kitchen bar/counter top: about six feet for the oven and another nine or ten for the bar (still drawing up plans), so fifteen or sixteen feet long, total, all running perpendicular to my house.

    Here are my questions:

    1) I will be stamping the patio. The stamp I am using is Brickform FM-3125, which is a fairly large Ashlar Slate pattern. So the ground will not be nice and smooth. It will have a fairly textured slate pattern with moderately deep grooves stamped into it. Should I a) not worry about it, stamp the pattern across the entire slab, and then just build on top of the stamp pattern, using mortar to level my first row of blocks? Or should I b) make a footprint of the pizza oven and bar out of wood and work around it, so that section of the patio remains unstamped? (obviously option b) will be a bit of a pain in terms of the stamping, but I'll do it if the stamps are going to mess up my building on top of them.)

    2) This is the trickier question. The pizza oven and bar will run perpendicular to the house, and the slab will slope away from the house. (The pad, all told, will be about 30 ft wide, and run 20 feet away from the house, with the oven and bar only taking up one side.) So, in other words, my pad won't be level to build on (see attached picture).

    Two things further complicate the problem:

    First is that the slope that will work best in terms of my yard is the steeper 1/4" over a foot. If I slope that far, then by the time the pad ends, it is only a nice two or three inches over ground level in my yard. If I decrease the slope to 1/8" over a foot, then the drop-off is a little too high. And if I don't slope at all, in addition to whatever drainage problems, the drop-off is WAY too high, and because the oven/bar is so long, there isn't space to make up much of the slope before the end of the pad.

    Second is that (as you can see from the picture) the patio will come up against a footing/retaining wall on that side. The retaining wall will form the back wall of the pizza oven/bar foundation. So before I can continue building the foundation, I will have to bring the side and front walls of the oven/bar up to level with the already-started back wall, which will have a slight head start at one end, and a much bigger head start down at the other end. (This also raises another question: does it matter that my back wall is built on the footing and the rest of the oven is built on the slab? The footing is very deep/secure. The slab will be a standard, reinforced slab.)

    Obviously, I'm going to have to use smaller blocks to make up the difference for my first row of blocks. But I don't know if I should try to have that section of the pad be level, so the blocks can all be the same---which will create problems in the slope---or just pour the pad with whatever slope and make up the difference with varying-sized blocks and mortar.

    Or if there is some other much easier solution I'm not even thinking about because I don't know much about this stuff.

    Thanks again for any help/advice, and apologies if this topic has already been covered. I'm probably not the first person to try and build one of these things on a patio sloping away from his house.

    The attached picture of the footing/retaining wall that will form the back wall. The top string is level with where the pad has to start (or it will be too far a drop out of the house), the middle string is graded at 1/8" over a foot, and the bottom string is graded at 1/4" over a foot.

  • #2
    Re: Two Tricky Questions

    Sorry to take so long and Welcome.

    You aren't the first with the slope. just a quick answer: make your slab so it will carry the load that you plan for your oven and other items that you plan to include. So don't worry to much about that slope right now in regards to the oven as long as it is enough to keep the water away from the house. Usually an 1/8" a foot is plenty and wouldn't feel like you are leaning. 1/4" will be noticeable to you and seem like to much to me. I understand the appearance problem where the slab ends, but you have a lot of options there. Extend the slab, short retaining wall, backfill with soil, etc.

    The real answer to all this is: you are going to have to cut the first course of your oven base material and other kitchen area material and get that level. Need some mortar there and rebar set in your slab too to support the walls. HTH and let me know if i have misunderstood your ?
    Texman Kitchen