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Pizza Oven Base Advice

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  • Pizza Oven Base Advice

    Hi All,

    First time poster, long time lurker!

    After much deliberation (read: procrastination) I finally got started on my outdoor kitchen project over the xmas break. I'm looking for some advice on best method to get the benchtop finished, complete novice so please go easy on me!

    Basically the issue is my current base is 100mm too low, if I add another course of blocks it becomes too high. I was planning on getting a contractor to form it up and pour 100mm of concrete to get it to the finished height I'm after but he's given me a rough quote of 4-5k AUD to form, reo, pour conc.. almost fell off my chair!

    How would you guys go about it? In my head I have the following options (I should mention that I have 20mm granite slabs that I'm intending to place on top of the slab and the walls will be rendered to hide my ugly brickwork):


    1. Attempt 100mm formwork to sides myself, hardbacker on top of current height, place reo bars, get a small redimix company to deliver concrete, place granite slab on top once dry.

    2. As above, instead of forming the sides source 100mm bricks to create the border.

    3. Is there an easier/more logical option??

    The blocks were free from the demo of an old shed, so it's not entirely poor planning on my part

    Pictures below of the current state, and my MS Paint masterpiece of what I was planning.

  • #2
    Re: Pizza Oven Base Advice


    How much taller do you need to make it to reach your 830mm goal?
    Do you have lots of block left? If so I would be inclined to cut them to the vertical thickness you want with a diamond saw. What about getting some solid patio pavers or something that is not as tall as a standard block?

    What I gather from your drawings is the entrance to the oven and top surface of the oven floor are also at the same height as the granite top? If so, have you allowed enough depth to pour a reinforced slab on top of the block, plus the insulation thickness and then the oven floor thickness on top of that? It doesn't appear to me to be the case as the height of the block where the oven is going is the same height as the rest of the base. What are you planning to use for insulation under the oven hearth and hearth brick thickness? Your reinforced concrete slab should be 4-5" thick. If you went with 2-3" of ceramic board and then another 2.5 for brick oven floor, you are looking at 8-10" roughly for the overall thickness from top of the block to top of the oven floor.
    Last edited by Tonyp; 01-08-2015, 11:04 AM.

    Link to my oven build thread:
    40 inch indoor pompeii in NNY


    • #3
      Re: Pizza Oven Base Advice

      You should be able to buy half-blocks, which should get you where you want to be.

      I have a question, and please excuse my metric conversions.....I think in terms of inches:

      Why do you want your countertop to be 830 mm (32.67 inches)? That seems pretty low to me. Our standard kitchen countertop workheight here in the states is 36" (914 mm). A standing countertop (i.e. bar height) is 42 inches (1066 mm).

      If your oven is sitting too low, you may end up bending over every time to check on your pizzas (depending on your height of course).


      • #4
        Re: Pizza Oven Base Advice

        The cooking surface of my oven is about 1100mm if I remember correctly, and if I were to do it again it would be higher still. Speaking for myself, the issue is I don't like bending my crook neck (motorcycle prang) too much while I'm cooking.

        Looking at your drawing, I think I'm seeing 830 height of the besser blocks (4 blocks at 200mm each plus about 30mm of mortar joints) with a 100mm layer of concrete on top. So counter height of 930 + 20mm granite slabs = finished height 950mm. Good working height, I think.

        Assuming 930 under the oven, plus 100mm of floor insulation, plus say 50 or 75 mm floor bricks, you would end up with about 1080-1105 mm of cooking floor height. That's not tooo bad, I guess, though a little lower than I will build my next oven.

        Counter top is actually straight forward. Could save some bucks if you use corrogated iron under the bits you won't be able to see when its done, cement sheet under the visible bits, form up with timber or 100mm C-Channel, pour slab. Well within the skill-set of someone who has built the walls from Besser block.
        Last edited by wotavidone; 01-08-2015, 03:16 PM.


        • #5
          Re: Pizza Oven Base Advice

          First off thank you for all the comments!

          Apologies my drawing was not very clear, wotavidone is on the money 830 is the besser block height + 100mm conc + 20mm granite = 950mm finished height

          The pizza oven itself will be raised above this so that it wont be flush with the rest of the bench top - should save the back pains a little I hope! I've purchased a DIY kit for the oven itself, their instructions are in the pic below... I believe their Damp Sand layer (2 parts washed sand, 1 part brick sand,1 part cement) is to act as insulation but from what I've read on here I think its better to be safe and will be adding 2" silica board between the sand & oven floor just in case!

          Last edited by evro50; 01-08-2015, 06:01 PM.


          • #6
            Re: Pizza Oven Base Advice

            Good move on the insulation.
            3 parts sand, 1 part cement = ordinary everyday basic mortar - not weak as such, but a bit lacking in large aggregate for a 100mm layer. It's essentially another layer of concrete, and definitely NOT an insulating layer in any way, more of an extra thermal mass layer.

            Assuming you don't put your 20mm granite under the oven itself, you are looking at 930+100+50+50 = 1130mm cooking floor height. I think that is allright.
            Depends how tall you are, I'm about 6 feet 1 inch, whatever that is in cm, and would find it a little low.


            • #7
              Re: Pizza Oven Base Advice

              Convention has the oven floor at the height of your elbow (or forearm parallel to the floor) as you stand next to the oven. I'm with jeeppiper: half blocks is a lot easier than forming and pouring a 4" extension.

              I believe their Damp Sand layer (2 parts washed sand, 1 part brick sand,1 part cement) is to act as insulation
              Would love to see the plans and design of your DIY oven kit. If in fact the manufacturers have recommended sand and cement as insulation they are clearly not keen to the design elements and properties of a properly functioning wood-fired oven.



              • #8
                Re: Pizza Oven Base Advice

                Thanks guys, I'm 6'1 but the wife is 5'6 so sounds like its a good height for a compromise!

                The instructions don't mention it as an insulation fact they don't mention insulation for the base at all, the original kit instructions that I came across online had insulation board underneath (and was originally apart of the kit) but it appears they've substituted it/removed it for whatever reason in the instructions that were sent to me.... which is what led me to these forums in the first place.

                Sounds like half bricks is the way to go just in time for tomorrow