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42" in New England - Question about Freeze/Thaw cycle

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  • 42" in New England - Question about Freeze/Thaw cycle

    This spring I will be building a 42" WFO under a large pavilion as part of an outdoor kitchen. I will build the stand and over on one end of the pavilion, but it will be covered. I'm concerned about the winters and any sideways rain/snow getting to it. Obviously any water the oven soaks up will freeze and crack bricks. My thought is to frame around the over and protect it that way but I really don't want to do that if I don't have to. I'm curious what others have done? Is there a product I could put on the dome that will create a water barrier? I have a solution for the floor so i'm not too worried about that. Basically, other than framing around the WFO what other solutions are out there?

  • #2
    Welcome to the forum community! There are some products that provide some level of water "proofing" but water ALWAYS wins...just a matter of time. Enclosures are your best protection from the elements. To extend enjoyment & use of the oven, many of us have built shelters that are screened to keep the bugs away and allow for guest seating. Lots of great ideas from all over the world are posted here...well worth your time to peruse & develop a design plan for your project. Looking forward to following your progress, ideas, & questions.
    Mike Stansbury - The Traveling Loafer
    Roseburg, Oregon

    FB Forum: The Dragonfly Den build thread
    Available only if you're logged in = FB Photo Albums-Select media tab on profile


    • #3
      Up here in the Pacific Northwest most of our rain comes in from the South or Southwest. We build a two sided enclosure because even though we had a roof when the wind blows and it rains the dome and hearth were getting soaked.
      My build thread


      • #4

        Greetings, welcome to the forum.

        I'm in CT, I built my oven a few years ago so it has been through quite a few New England winters. My oven has an exposed stone dome veneer as the finish surface. My goal is to eventually cover it with a sort of timber-framed roof, but that roof is part of a larger outdoor kitchen project that won't be started for a few more years.

        My dome structure from the inside-out is: Firebrick dome, four inches (four 1" layers) of CF blanket insulation, expanded diamond lathe, stucco render, Thoroseal (cement based waterproof coating that is vapor permeable), and a roughly 3"-4" thick stone veneer.

        The stone gets covered with standing snow in the winter and certainly sees rain year-round. Once my oven was completed I've had zero issues with moisture and winter freeze/thaw damaging the stone, or with moisture penetrating the stone veneer and getting to the insulation. Several years ago while in the middle of the build I did have to move out to the midwest to take care of my in-laws for an extended time. Although the partially built oven was covered with a blanket and double tarped, the winter winds abraded the tarp and the oven suffered water intrusion. It was solved with extensive drying fires after I returned and resumed the build. I've had no water problems since then.

        As to "creating a water barrier", any "waterproofing" you use on the exterior you'd want it to be water proof, but vapor permeable. Meaning, it'll shed liquid water, but any moisture that gets into your insulation (even moisture absorbed through atmospheric moisture) can be driven out through the shell (and through the vapor permeable coating) when you fire up the oven after a period of non-use. With regular use (a fire every couple of weeks) the oven will naturally stay dry, as the regular fires will keep any atmospheric accumulated moisture to a minimum.

        As to how to best waterproof it, It really depends on what the exterior surface of your oven will be. As a safety outlet of sorts, I included a vent at the apex of the dome to help clear moisture vapor from the structure if my oven is not used for several weeks. I'm happy to report that the vent pipe works as intended.

        Since your oven as a whole will be under cover, for interim winter protection how about just having a "roll down" shade attached to a rim beam of the overhead roof? Obviously depends on design, etc. But a shade you can lower as needed in the winter will prevent sideways snow from accumulating on the surface of the dome.

        I attached a photo of the Thoroseal-covered stucco dome partially covered with stone veneer. The Thoroseal did its purpose, as now does the stone veneer.

        The second photo shows the mostly completed oven right next to the existing pool patio pergola. Last year I covered a little over half of the pergola roof (was formerly covered with hardy kiwi vines) with a metal roof, the kiwi vines still provide dappled shade under the other end of the pergola. A "down the road" project is to rebuild the pool pegola completely. A hard roof over the WFO will be incorporated at that time.

        Good luck with your build!

        Attached Files

        My Build: Mongo's 42" CT Stone Dome Build


        • #5
          Originally posted by ncustod View Post
          Basically, other than framing around the WFO what other solutions are out there?
          Try the same solutions as used on home exteriors, acrylic paint or render will work. Some of the concrete/paving/countertop sealants work well, just reapply after each season.Alternitavly get a waterproof cover made.


          • #6
            I built a fortress to protect my oven in MA. So far it's staying happy and dry under a slate shingled roof.
            My build thread:


            • #7
              I too built an enclosure just for this reason I love the dome look but I made a descion not to deal with water issues. I also used fomglas under the calsil board like others have an used a very good commerical sealant around the stud framing before I cement boarded and stoned it. So far so good.

              My Build Pictures