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True Believer 07-05-2008 11:48 AM

Deteriorating Floor
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Hi there,

I've got a wood-burning pizza oven the previous owner of my house built. He's Italian and said it was the third (and best) he'd built to date. It's a great oven and we've used it dozens of times. The pizza is amazing!

That's the good part. The bad news -- the floor of the oven is deteriorating. There are cracks and chips all over and some of the holes are 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch deep. It still heats well, and we made some fantastic pizza just last night, but I'm concerned this is the beginning of bigger problems. It's also slightly harder to cook the pizza as I have to avoid the uneven surface as I'm putting in the pies.

Has this happened to anyone else? Any advice on what (if anything) I should do about this? I didn't build the oven, so I can't say what kind of materials were used or how they were assembled, but it seems well-made in every other way. I've attached photos to illustrate the problem.

Thanks for your feedback and suggestions!

dmun 07-05-2008 01:49 PM

Re: Deteriorating Floor
I'm trying to figure out what that floor material is: it looks like plain terra-cotta floor tile, which would have a tendency to crack and spall.

You might want to consider a layer of thin firebricks (splits) put down over a leveling layer of dry refractory mortar mix, or a sand-fireclay mix.

SpringJim 07-06-2008 04:17 AM

Re: Deteriorating Floor
Are those precast firebrick pieces?

You could also get some pizza stones to use for pizza or maybe a piece of soapstone.....

nissanneill 07-06-2008 04:57 AM

Re: Deteriorating Floor
1 Attachment(s)
Just looking at your pictures, I would first be tem[trd to check to see if those tile/slabs can be lifted if not under the modular refractory sections (I would think they are)! so you will not be able to remove them to replace them. This is one of the disadvantages od building a dome or oven ontop of your hearth.
The other option that I would do is to secure some 2" clay pavers, cut them to the shape and lay then on a thin levelling layer of sand and fireclay. This would raise your hearth but your openning looks as though it will not be limited to use. The picture that I have uploaded is that of a commercially used resaurant pizza oven and been used for almost 5 years without cracking or spallinf at Russell's Pizza restaurant and the author of a populay How to build your own pizza oven. Tis would be a very inexpensive 'fix'.
See the posting on Rusell's Restaurant at:

Russell used 2 layers of 2" fired clay pavers for extra heat soak and extended cooking of his breads.


Ken524 07-06-2008 08:17 AM

Re: Deteriorating Floor

Originally Posted by SpringJim (Post 36707)
Are those precast firebrick pieces?

Yeah, I'm wondering the same thing... I'd love to see some interior pics of the dome. I wonder if that's a kit? (maybe from a FornoBravo competitor?)

True Believer 07-06-2008 03:06 PM

Re: Deteriorating Floor
1 Attachment(s)
Thanks for all the feedback. I just ran out and tried to see how loose the tiles are -- I was able to move one with almost no effort with screwdriver so I imagine they might actually come right out. Is there a 'right' way to pull them out? What kind of tool do you use for that? And, once I get them out, where would I go to get replacement tiles made? I imagine they'd have to be cut extremely carefully to fit well into the existing spots.

Here's a shot of the top of my dome -- it's hard to get the entire thing, but if there's a feature you'd like to see more of let me know and I'll go take a picture.

krosskraft 07-06-2008 04:22 PM

Re: Deteriorating Floor
It sounds to me like what at first seems to be a problem is in the end going to provide you with a better oven. I think you will be able to replace those tiles with a better surface that will enhance your baking. In the meantime, I agree with the person who suggested using baking stones. Just put them in your oven and let them heat up before cooking your pizzas. Good luck

nissanneill 07-06-2008 04:26 PM

Re: Deteriorating Floor
Hey, that dome surface looks pretty coars and ready to spawl. It might not but if my fire bricks had that look, I'd bre a bit woried.
If your hearth tiles do not go under your dome sections, carefully prise one up with a couple of thin flat screw drivers or better still a couple of old kitchen cuttlery knives (thin and flat) and manover it through the openning. If one comes up easily, then the others eill be a breeze. Once out, lay them on a board and run a texta line around them to mark their shape.
If they are only 2" thick and you are happy with the perfomance of the oven to date, check with Forno Bravo for a set of hearth tiles with the same dimensions or I would source either some 2" fired clay pavers or 2" firebricks and cut them to that shape and lay them into your oven in your prefrred pattern, (square, stretcher bond or herringbone, - squarley laid or on a 45˚ angle to the openning). I would get some fireclay and put a thin screed layer over the base and lay your replacement bricks on that. About a half to a days work and you are back in business.


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