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Stone ovens in cold weather climates - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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New Forno Bravo Forum Feature

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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:
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Stone ovens in cold weather climates

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  • Stone ovens in cold weather climates

    Hello all,

    I am at the precipice of a stone oven project. One concern that I have is the effect that our cold Nova Scotia winters will have on the stone oven.

    I would hate to finish this project only to have mother nature destroy her in just a few years. As pointed out to me by someone with construction knowledge greater than mine... An Italian winter is not that same as one on the east coast of Canada.

    What precautions would I need to make sure that the stone oven isn't damaged by our harsh winters? Is there special bricks that are resistant to cracking/moisture etc...?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    Re: Stone ovens in cold weather climates


    There are a number of us who live in the northern US and Canada, and the weather has been a topic of some conversations. As far as I know, the main thing you need to concern yourself with is a proper foundation so that you're protected from the effects of frost heave.

    There are two options in this case. One is a deep foundation, where you dig below the frost line, pour a footing, and build a foundation wall up to grade. Your slab rests on that wall. Look for recent photos from mfiore and dbhansen to see some examples of this.

    The other option (which I am considering here in Iowa, where the recommended depth for footings is 48") is what's called a frost-protected shallow foundation. Not a lot of builders on this site have done this, but it is more or less the approach used in the Alan Scott oven plans. A good explanation of the method can be found here; the last diagram is especially relevant to ovens.

    Last edited by Ed_; 05-15-2008, 06:04 AM. Reason: typos


    • #3
      Re: Stone ovens in cold weather climates

      Once you've built the oven it should stay dry inside anyway (unless you get something drastically wrong... ), so the firebrick won't be subject to freeze/thaw cycles - obviously it'll get cold but it won't be absorbing any water beforehand.

      As for the outside, you can build that out of whatever you like, and in your climate it would probably be best to go with what is known to work... Whatever is used for the outside of houses will also protect the oven.
      "Building a Brick oven is the most fun anyone can have by themselves." (Terry Pratchett... slightly amended)