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munderseth 01-26-2009 07:00 PM

insulation retrofit for pizza oven
I just recently completed a home built fireplace/pizza oven and need some advice on how to add insulation to my oven. My original design idea was to combine a fireplace/pizza oven and focus more on looks and less on cooking since I thought the pizza oven use would be very limited.

Well big mistake, over this last weekend we had friends over to cook pizza and we had a blast and didn't realize the "experience" of cooking pizza. While my wife gave me platitudes on how beautiful the oven turned out she was surprised why we could only cook three small pizza's, I didn't have the guts to tell her that I didn't add any insulation over the firebricks. I figured this was a small detail that she didn't need to know. To make matters worse she enjoyed herself so much that she is planning another pizza party with a larger audience so I somehow have to correct this problem without a complete tear down

I built a modified barrel shaped(this is another story) oven with firebricks. I have no ability to add insulation to the sides but could add on the bottom and to the top. I am not looking for perfection but definitely would like to significantly improve the heat retaining capabilities of the oven or should I really call this a fireplace?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

dmun 01-27-2009 09:30 AM

Re: insulation retrofit for pizza oven
If you have a space over your oven, you can fill it with loose vermiculite or perlite. Getting insulation under the floor is another problem. Get us some pictures of the oven and maybe we can offer some suggestions. Are your floor bricks mortared in? Do your oven walls sit on top of the floor bricks, or the support slab?

munderseth 01-27-2009 01:01 PM

Re: insulation retrofit for pizza oven
Thank you for the reply. I am on a business trip and will supply pictures when I return(weekend). The bricks on the floor are mortared in and I don't recall how the walls are constructed.
One question I have; is the most important location to have the insulation is on the top then the bottom and somewhat less important on the sides?


arevalo53anos 01-27-2009 01:22 PM

Re: insulation retrofit for pizza oven
Ok, anyone could say that lack of isolation is a problem in a WFO.
However, if you are baking pizzas, you are using wood coals and wood fireflame too. Whereas the fireflame be running, you have almost all that you need to bake pizzas. This, of course, if your oven is perfectly dry. If it is not dry, the inner humidity will limit the temperature, specially the hearth one and this will be your major problem in the next pizza party.
Take a look at this.

And good baking.

nissanneill 01-27-2009 01:59 PM

Re: insulation retrofit for pizza oven
Hi munderseth and welcome aboard.
The ovens are contageous aren't they. You really do get sucked in with their ability.
I agree with Dmun for some pics. It will make a great deal easier to suggest possible solutions.
In the meantime, I would be looking at wrapping it with thermal blanket an then chicken wire and finally a waterproofing render.
This would use less space and probably easier and quicker to achieve without an enclosure build.
You might like to check my build as I have pics and tips for these stages.



munderseth 01-27-2009 05:38 PM

Re: insulation retrofit for pizza oven

Thank you for your comments and I hope to get the pictures posted over the weekend. Your project was very impressive and I am a little embarrassed on the lack of research and planning that I did before commencing with the build. However, I am committed to correct my mistakes and I am encouraged with the depth of knowledge and willingness to help from this forum.


gjbingham 01-27-2009 09:25 PM

Re: insulation retrofit for pizza oven
Great attitude - admit your failures! Share it with your wife. She'll forgive you for not insulating it quite right. I bet she'll love you even though you messed up just this one time. If all else fails, get a new wife! :)

Xabia Jim 01-28-2009 01:41 AM

Re: insulation retrofit for pizza oven
Yes, pictures will be appreciated.

Add what insulation you can.

This may be a good project to share since it get's discussed periodically.

good luck

egalecki 01-28-2009 06:39 AM

Re: insulation retrofit for pizza oven
You said in your first post that you recently completed the project. Is it thoroughly dried out? That also affects your temperatures. I also couldn't tell from your wording whether you're keeping a fire going while you bake the pizzas.

Have you downloaded the wood-fired pizza ebook from Forno Bravo? If you haven't, do so. It has the technique for cooking with the fire in the oven. (and some dandy recipes!)

The others are right about pictures. Not only are we all vicarious oven junkies who all love to look at pictures of ovens, they can really help us to get a sense of where to begin!

(and speaking as a wife, I'd rather know about my husband's mistake. Makes it easier to help fix it... but maybe that's just me!)

munderseth 01-28-2009 09:35 AM

Re: insulation retrofit for pizza oven

After I realized that I had a heat retention problem I came to this forum for help only then did I discover about the other issue of not breaking in my oven properly. The oven sat for a week prior to my first fire, which was about an hour or so, then the next day I had the big pizza party. I am having my wife build some fires throughout this week according to some of the information I gleaned from this site.

For the cooking of the Pizza, I let the fire burn completely down before putting in the pizza.

Thank you for the tip on the book.


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