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Question re oven floor--does it have to be some kind of tile? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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Question re oven floor--does it have to be some kind of tile?

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  • Question re oven floor--does it have to be some kind of tile?

    great resource--newbie poster and seems like this question about my oven floor is more appropriate on this sub forum.

    I have a brick oven with a house I recently purchased--seems to be in working order. Been trying to do some slow burns over a week to get any moisture out since I susepct the oven hasnt been used in well over a year. I have a basic question (which might be silly):

    The inside is 40" diameter floor surface, and a 17" across dome opening. *Dome and sides are terra cotta.*

    However, the floor is NOT a tile type of floor--it is some kind of poured concrete. Insulation issues aside (since I don't know if it was insulated as I inherited the oven with the new house I recently bought--pics to follow) will this affect the ability of the floor to reach and retain high temps? Ie, is a tile type floor critical to reaching and retaining high heat temps for cooking pizza? If so, can tiles be installed fairly easily on top of the existing floor? *Is it possible this poured concrete type floor can be some kind of material which retains heat well? *

    I just got an IR thermometer so I plan to test the heat properties of the oven floor since I have no idea how this oven was built.*

    Thanks for any responses as I am trying to understand this as best I can prior to testing it out first hand.*

  • #2
    Re: Question re oven floor--does it have to be some kind of tile?

    Try it, it must work or it would be failing.

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    • #3
      Re: Question re oven floor--does it have to be some kind of tile?

      A mystery oven.

      As Tscarborough says, try it out. The floor does not necessary have to be a refractory brick. It could well be a refractory poured concrete. It will be interesting to see if it retains heat, as this will be an indication of the level (if any) of insulation there is.

      It might be worth your while to try to track down the original builder and ask them a few questions about the build.

      Keep us posted.

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      • #4
        Re: Question re oven floor--does it have to be some kind of tile?

        "Dome and sides are Terra Cotta" and a cast floor. It sounds like a cast Italian modular oven, in which case, provided it was assembled manufacturers specs, it should have insulation and should perform wel. Fire the beast up.
        Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.

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        • #5
          Re: Question re oven floor--does it have to be some kind of tile?

          Thanks for all of the replies so far (this site is great). Will be firing her up this week as I continue to burn some small fires to get any moisture out. I suspect the oven hasn't been used in at least 14 months.

          As for contacting the prior owner....unfortunately, let's just say thats not a viable option. And oven "appears" to be in working order..only have done a few small fires to date. I am learning, after living here approx 9 months, that many of the things in the house were constructed by a subpar contractor by the prior owner.....hoping the oven isn't one of them!

          Thanks everyone!

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          • #6
            Re: Question re oven floor--does it have to be some kind of tile?

            Well, after 1 hour, got floor (40") up to 600 near coal beds and was 350 in coolest areas near opening. Then heard a boom and a fist sized chunk of the floor popped out!!! Disappointed as I did 3 days of prior warming fires as the oven hasn't been used in over 14 months. Plus, with this house I bought last July, the contractor they used for many things was awful...

            Hopefully this won't be an expensive fix bc I am already smitten with the potential of brick oven cooking

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            • #7
              Re: Question re oven floor--does it have to be some kind of tile?

              That sounds like the floor is just concrete. Take a picture of the chunk showing the freshly exposed side please.

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              • #8
                Re: Question re oven floor--does it have to be some kind of tile?

                Sounds like just normal concrete to me too.....
                The English language was invented by people who couldnt spell.

                My Build.

                Books.

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                • #9
                  Re: Question re oven floor--does it have to be some kind of tile?

                  Well, now that a 3.5" chunk blew out towards the center of the floor, Incan say it's not concrete as the top is colored ash grey, but the deeper section of the chunk is a reddish color with whitish granular inclusions. I have a pic but can't load it from my phone--and need to downsize those on my computer as they exceed the jpeg size re forum posting.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Question re oven floor--does it have to be some kind of tile?

                    If your oven is out in the weather and has not been fired for a long time it may have accumulated a lot of water. That turning suddenly to steam can cause your problem. But your dodgy shortcutting builder sounds the more likely cause. Refractory castable should contain fibres which burn away leaving a network of "mini pipes" that steam can escape through. If these were omitted then what you describe would be the likely result. Or possibly as others have suggested the floor has been made using Portland cement.
                    Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Question re oven floor--does it have to be some kind of tile?

                      Dumb question--but is replacement of the floor an expensive proposition? I have a good mason I trust, not sure how familiar he is with brick oven work though...

                      What would be the best materials to use for replacing the floor?

                      Thanks--trying to get this right

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                      • #12
                        Re: Question re oven floor--does it have to be some kind of tile?

                        Don't give up on your hearth floor yet. As David notes, it may have failed because of water build up (=steam) after not being used for a long time.

                        I would consider continuing with curing fires for a bit and see what happens. If it holds up, and retains heat, you may be able to simply patch the floor with some refractory mortar.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Question re oven floor--does it have to be some kind of tile?

                          Originally posted by NJOven View Post
                          the top is colored ash grey, but the deeper section of the chunk is a reddish
                          They could have coloured it with oxides and the top part has worn off or faded.
                          The English language was invented by people who couldnt spell.

                          My Build.

                          Books.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Question re oven floor--does it have to be some kind of tile?

                            Cleaned up the inside--floor is made of a fire brick material--it's a 4 section floor (40" floor). Sections seem to lift out. I have a mason who specializes in brick ovens coming this week to take a look.

                            As an additional issue, there is approx 4-5" of stone underneath the floor tile above the area holding the firewood underneath. Will have him take a look to see if any insulation is needed in the event 5" of concrete is too much to allow for reaching proper floor temps on the 4 section cooking surface.

                            Fingers crossed.
                            Last edited by NJOven; 07-29-2012, 06:13 PM.

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