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Filthymutt 04-18-2013 07:23 AM

The why in Foundations
Ok, after nearly two years away from this site after our house moving plans along with my brick oven ones came to a crashing halt, I'm looking to get re-started.
In about a week we will move to our new place and I've got a green light on oven building!
Now, my question. Which might be totally idiotic but bear with me, I am a Pilot not an Engineer for a reason :rolleyes:
Ok, there is all this serious talk about foundations, and depths of concrete, and all that, BUT at the same time people are building ovens that are portable, or on steel frames, etc. So, what's the deal? Why is it so easy to put an oven on the back of a truck but if I want to build it in the corner of the yard it becomes more difficult?

BTW, I want a 42" dome style for my own. Do I really need to dig down to hard clay? Mind you I am just outside Beijing so if I dig too much I may end up in your backyard! :eek:

Thanks for you patience with my question,


Tscarborough 04-18-2013 07:27 AM

Re: The why in Foundations
It depends upon soil, climate, code, and seismological conditions in your area. Here in sub-tropical Austin, outside city limits and no earthquakes in the last couple of hundred thousand years, a simple 4" lightly reinforced floating slab is all that is required, with nothing tying the stand to the slab and non-reinforced in any way.

10 miles north, the slab would be heavier reinforced, tied to the reinforced stand and hearth slab. In California, even more so. It just depends.

Mobile is another animal altogether, as they are not considered a structure.

Filthymutt 04-18-2013 07:37 AM

Re: The why in Foundations
Thanks T,

Here in Beijing we have fair weather year round. Winters are usually no colder than around 20 Fahrenheit and summers no warmer than 90. No quakes or particularly strong weather of any type.
Since rental cement mixers are out of the question here I'm hoping the foundation will be able to be a fairly simple deal for me. Not too deep, etc.

Faith In Virginia 04-18-2013 08:35 PM

Re: The why in Foundations
1 Attachment(s)
I could not decide where I wanted my oven and I have things going on that I knew that I would build it in the wrong place. I decided NOT to use a footer or foundation and with a large forklift I could move my oven at any time. So I took gravel and put on top of the ground (no digging) on top of that I made a 6x6 pressure treated square to contact the gravel. Then a log frame that holds up the oven. My oven has been there over 2 winters and has not moved. If it does move I'll jack it up like a car and push some gravel under the low spot. Whatever works!!!

Filthymutt 04-18-2013 08:45 PM

Re: The why in Foundations
Whatever works, yes! My motto too.

I think as long as the surface that the oven is resting on will be stable then all should be ok and the oven shouldn't suffer.

Faith In Virginia 04-18-2013 08:54 PM

Re: The why in Foundations
If you look at the picture the log sticking out the side makes a great jacking point...I also have heavy equipment that can move the oven. It could have been a risk building it that way but I had a plan to make adjustments if necessary.

I also think the weight is so evenly distributed that any settling would be equal around the base.

Let us see what you come up with and what works for you.


Filthymutt 04-18-2013 09:05 PM

Re: The why in Foundations
Thanks Faith,
Where I live getting any type of heavy equipment will be next to impossible. Heck, I can not even get my mitts on a cement mixer or any of the normal tools I'll need for laying a foundation.
Bricks, Blocks, Firebricks & mortar should be ok its all the other things that will be difficult. People here don't even normally have regular household ovens in their kitchens so getting things for building a brick one is really stretching it.
As it is we are moving to our new place this coming week and I first need to build an enclosure in the kitchen for our regular electric oven as there was never one installed before.
I hope to get on with it asap

Faith In Virginia 04-19-2013 04:13 AM

Re: The why in Foundations
Good luck with your move...

I have seen some cooking shows that have shown typical kitchens in China. Interesting the difference in cultures and what people consider "normal".

Would love to see some pictures of your new kitchen. I think I have time today to show pictures of my 2ed kitchen (yes two very large kitchens in my house)

Tough thing for me about this site is I see people from all over the world and that really gives me an urge to travel. China is on my list. Hopefully one day, where is my bucket list?

Filthymutt 04-19-2013 05:55 AM

Re: The why in Foundations
Well, calling it a kitchen is being generous. Most kitchen's in Chinese homes are the size of a typical American walk-in closet. I remember studio apartments in the States with Kitchens bigger. And generally they all have doors on them that they keep closed. Oil laden cooking you know, so best kept from going everywhere. Big exhaust fans and Big flames on the stove. I've seen gas stove burners that seem like they have a flame thrower under the counter!
Our kitchen in the new place is basically all against one wall of the dining room. Sink, 2 burner gas stove, no oven, very little work space BUT of course they have the obligatory dish sanitizer. Not a dish washer, but a box that kind of looks like a big microwave with a dish rack inside that does who-knows-what to supposedly sanitize your dishes after you've washed them first of course.
I have had two previous homes with bigger kitchens, and with actual dishwashers, because these places were built with foreigners like me in mind but then the dishwasher was, just like the washing machine, only hooked up to the cold water tap.

Anyway, I thoroughly recommend travel! I've been to most of Asia, Australia & NZ and some of Europe besides about 60 places in China. I've lived here in China now 15 years and the only troubles I have is sometimes buying things I need (like supplies for a Brick Oven).
Ah well, don't wait too long. Just do it!

Faith In Virginia 04-19-2013 09:26 AM

Re: The why in Foundations
Good advice! At this rate I will be touring China with my walker that has those green tennis balls on the feet.

A greasy closet with a flame thrower....Yikes!

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