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How bad are cement bricks? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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Forno Bravo Forum Community,

You will notice a new forum at the top of the main page called, "Ask Me Anything". This forum will be used for live one hour "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) sessions hosted by people who are knowledgeable in different areas pertaining to wood fired ovens. How it works:
- Each AMA will have a "sticky" thread where the community can post questions they would like answered during the live session. This will allow everyone to participate even if you can't be online for the live session. These questions will not be answered by the host until the live AMA; if you need an answer quickly, you should post it in the appropriate Forum area for the community to respond.
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To kick off our AMA feature, we have invited author, chef and master bread maker and host of Pizza Quest, Peter Reinhart, to be our first host! Peter will be in the Forum on Monday, February 15th, from 7:00 - 8:00 pm EST. If you are unable to be online during the live session, you can post your questions in the sticky post. Peter will answer those questions during the live session on February 15th. You can view Peter's answers to your questions as well as what happened during the live session in the session thread.

We hope you enjoy this new feature! Please let us know if there is a topic that you'd like to have as an AMA and we'll look for a host!

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How bad are cement bricks?

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  • How bad are cement bricks?

    I've had the dream of making a brick bbq grill and pizza oven combo for a long time and have been gathering pieces to make this a reality. I've now got a large collection of bricks, an extremely heavy steel/cast iron fireplace insert, and what appear to be a couple pieces of flue tile. I'm about to start excavating for the pad and have been surfing looking for inspiration which is how I found the FB site.

    I seem to have picked up a large number of portland cement based bricks, which I was planning on using on the inside (firebox, oven), and I was going to put the red clay bricks on the outside, since I think the red bricks look a lot better. Reading around the FB site suggests that portland cement bricks are not up to the task for a firebox or oven.

    How likely are the cement bricks to spall or crack? Do cement bricks hold heat well or are they good insulating bricks? I don't really have any spare funds to buy fire bricks right now so I'm not really sure what to do if the cement bricks are not up to the task.

    What are good uses for cement bricks -- structure?

  • #2
    Re: How bad are cement bricks?

    Originally posted by zeek View Post

    How likely are the cement bricks to spall or crack?
    Very, they will fail at the lowest of temperature and you will be eating concrete, do you like concrete pizzas?
    The English language was invented by people who couldnt spell.

    My Build.

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    • #3
      Re: How bad are cement bricks?

      Yep, portland cement decays rapidly in direct exposure to heat. If it's a zero budget project, put your clay bricks on the inside, and your concrete bricks on the outside. And no matter how low your budget is, don't skimp on insulation.

      My advice? Keep looking. Scan craigslist and freecycle. Talk to masons. You'll find someone with a pile of firebricks, at least for your floor. With any luck you'll find finish bricks for your exterior that you don't have to chip mortar off of: You're likely to be sore and discouraged before you lay a single brick.
      My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

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      • #4
        Re: How bad are cement bricks?

        For really inexpensive new bricks, visit a local brickyard and see if they have any piles of partial pallets. Our local yard has seconds and leftovers for 50 cents each (USD). There are plenty of matching bricks for small projects.
        Ken H. - Kentucky
        42" Pompeii

        Pompeii Oven Construction Video Updated!

        Oven Thread ... Enclosure Thread
        Cost Spreadsheet ... Picasa Web Album

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        • #5
          Re: How bad are cement bricks?

          If you are going to make a cement brick, i suggest you to not use it because it will not work for a long time, i suggest you to use some coatings to make the fireplace strong or consult some service provider but make sure before consulting him he should have his license, because the only license holder take the responsibility till the warranted time.
          Best of luck
          Regards,
          Elastomeric Roof
          Roof Coatings

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          • #6
            Re: How bad are cement bricks?

            Another place to look for inexpensive firebrick is to visit homebuilding sites and ask around. Many times they have leftovers from building the fireplace. Craigslist and Freecycle are also good alternatives

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            • #7
              Re: How bad are cement bricks?

              Roofcoating is right!! You should not go for cement bricks because it will not last long.it w'd be better idea to do coating for strong fireplace.

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