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Refractory cooking surface - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community



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Refractory cooking surface

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  • Refractory cooking surface

    Hi all, I am new to the forum and building my first oven...

    I am hoping someone out there might be able to give me some advice on the cooking surface....I am considering using castable refractory instead of fire brick...any thoughts? Will it hold the heat and is it good to cook on?

    Appreciate any thoughts you might have...


  • #2
    Re: Refractory cooking surface


    I have used it, but I don't think many others have. Even most opthers who have made cast refractory domes have used firebrick - but i'm not sure why!

    All I can say is that it works for me. Mine is 50mm thick (2"), holds the heat fine (done a 20 pizza session, one after another, max 2 mins each) and has survived OK. One hairline crack from one side of the entrance to the centre but nothing else. Nothing to catch the peel on!

    I don't know if your refractory concrete would be anything like the same as mine though, so you might not get the same results - I don't know.

    Good luck and let us all know how you get on if you go for it.


    • #3
      Re: Refractory cooking surface

      I can think of a couple of good reasons for recommending that you use firebrick.

      Firebricks are compressed and kiln fired, so they are very durable, they do a good job of holding heat and they will last forever. They are also smooth, so you don't have to worry about casting a smooth floor. Do get more seams, which is why the Pompeii Oven kits come with larger firebrick tiles.

      Also, professionally cast floors use a different formulation than the dome.

      Food for thought.
      Pizza Ovens
      Outdoor Fireplaces


      • #4
        Re: Refractory cooking surface

        With a huge amount of respect, those are great reasons why bricks make a good cooking surface, but not great reasons for recommending bricks in preference to castable refractory - because they do not comment on how the castable refractory would measure up to each of the areas.

        From my very very limted experience, the castable I have is *very* hard - definitely harder than the single type of firebrick I have seen, hold heat fine (they are a proper refractory product, just like the brick) and was very easy to smooth out to a surface smoother than the bricks I'd seen.

        There is definitely the disadvantage that if you do damage the floor you can't just pull a chunk out like a brick and replace it. (But I bet you could chisel / grind out a reasonably well keyed hole and cast a patch in).

        These are not recommendations to use the cast refractory in place of bricks, just my experience, as requested.

        The best reason to use bricks is that they are well proven in many builds, in many places with many brick manufacturers and over many years. This is a very strong reason to use them - unless you're the sort who is happy to experiment!

        James - I'm very interested to hear that professional floor materials are different to the domes - do you have any more info on that?


        • #5
          Re: Refractory cooking surface

          I've found that a cast floor needs to be made in a few pieces, because of the uneven heating and resultant expansion some cracking can be expected. This is the same reason that floor bricks are generally laid loose. Either let it crack where it wants to (it's not going anywhere) or create the joins yourself. A number of pieces is definitely easier to handle.
          Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.


          • #6
            Re: Refractory cooking surface

            Thanks all for your feedback...I looked at a few professional ovens using refractory concrete and most had cracks - some fairly large...so I went with bricks..but the bricks were not evenly made so I placed them and then ground them smooth...I placed them over 3" of solid insulating board...got it from a refinery contractor...wished I know how to upload photos so all could see....tried but the upload failed...

            Thanks again all for your feedback....Ciao


            • #7
              Re: Refractory cooking surface

              You might have to resize your pictures to upload them. They may be too big.

              Sure would be nice to see those pics...


              • #8
                Re: Refractory cooking surface

                Tried to reduce the size of the phots but I am a total novice at anything using computers.....can some explain how to reduce the size so I can load the photos?



                • #9
                  Re: Refractory cooking surface

                  I struggle too. But I found that sending the photos to photo bucket (google it) then I could upload them onto a thread. Photos seemed to be able to post to the gallery straight from my computer though.
                  Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.


                  • #10
                    Re: Refractory cooking surface

                    See my thread -


                    It will show resizing pics using windows paint program.

                    Just posted it !!!
                    Columbiana, Alabama WFO Build.