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Cold climate foundations - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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I'm Peter Reinhart! Ask Me Anything! Monday, February 15, 2016 7:00-8:00 pm EST

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.

Ask Me Anything New Forum Feature

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.
- Another thread will be posted for the live AMA. Registered users who are logged in during the live session can interact with the host by asking questions and receiving responses.
- The live thread will remain in the AMA forum to view after the session.

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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Cold climate foundations

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  • Cold climate foundations

    Just planning to build this year as I'm not sure all our frost is gone yet! Speaking of frost, should I follow recommendations for any other building in colder climates, i.e. the footing or foundation should be below any frost line?
    That would make the project a bit more work, expense and difficult.
    Thank you

  • #2
    Re: Cold climate foundations

    I am just finishing up the base for my 36" oven. It's built from solid limestone on a frost protected shallow foundation. There have been a few posts on this subject. If you follow this link there is a detailed description of how this type of foundation works: ESB: Frost-Protected Shallow Foundations, the last diagram, for an unheated space is the relevant one for an outdoor oven. (originally posted by Ed last year)

    This link: Revised Builder's Guide to Frost Protected Shallow Foundations (FPSFs) has very detailed instructions (download the pdf) and tables that will help you calculate insulation size and placement.

    The tradeoff is going deep versus going wide, I only dug a total of 24 inches deep but for a 5' square oven base dug out an area approximately 11' square. Of course, the shallow foundation uses less concrete versus a deep concrete foundation with footing. I was confident choosing this method since the site has good drainage, which is the key to this type of foundation slab. It looks fine after the first winter, and there's no turning back now!

    Good luck, hopefully others with more time in the ground will weigh in.

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    • #3
      Re: Cold climate foundations

      I did the one foot thick footings below the frost line, but I was building a two story chimney. I think the general rule is that if your oven isn't much taller than it is wide, you can pour a slab on a thick base of well drained crushed rock with confidence.

      I'm glad to hear that someone has had success with the frost protected shallow foundations. The Canadians should know about freezing conditions!
      My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

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      • #4
        Re: Cold climate foundations

        Thanks for such worthwhile assistance. Good luck with the rest of your oven. Please post some pictures.
        James

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        • #5
          Re: Cold climate foundations

          Why do you people live in such conditions !
          Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.

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          • #6
            Re: Cold climate foundations

            We only have to deal with cyclones and flooding
            Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.

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            • #7
              Re: Why do I live in such conditions?

              My wife and I ask that question frequently during January, February, March and sometimes April.
              On the other hand, we rarely see tornados, never earthquakes, no real wild fires to speak of and hurricanes generally don't make it very well in the cold northern Atlantic ocean.
              Mostly its accident of birth. By choice it would be Italy, probably Tuscany. Then you would see quite a pizza oven project!

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              • #8
                Re: Cold climate foundations

                You can put it on piles. Look at my Avatar. The poured concrete piles go down below the frost zone.

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                • #9
                  Re: Cold climate foundations

                  That's an idea worth considering! Thanks.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Cold climate foundations

                    Easy to do. I just dug down 4 feet with an ordinary hand held post hole digger. Put in a couple of 3/8 rebar, filled with concrete to about 6 inches of the surface. A second pour, from there up to the bottom of the structural slab I used 7 inch diameter "sonotube" cardboard tube forms - available at any builder supply.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Cold climate foundations

                      Hi Neil,
                      I'm about to start my "big" project, I live in the Chicagoland area (it's cold in the winter..) and I saw your avatar, quite interesting the use of sonotube. No foundation slab needed as per Pompei plans? Are 7" diameter enough? I'm planning on building a 36" oven. Your insight and advice is appreciated!

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