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felix 08-27-2012 03:17 PM

Cooking Floor Height
More planning questions for all the users out there…this time on hearth height. I know this has been mentioned in a few threads, but I am having a hard time coming back to where it was discussed. Anyway, I am working out my base, and having a hard time deciding on 3 blocks high vs. 4. My situation is a bit different because I poured my foundation before I knew I was going to build the Pompeii style oven, so I am going to need to cantilever the hearth slab which requires it to be thicker than the plans call out. So here are the numbers:

If I go with 3 blocks:
Foundation = 3” above grade
3 Rows of Block = 24”
Hearth Slab = 8” (On the thick side, but remember I need to cantilever…)
Insulation = 4”
Firebrick floor = 2”

Total = 41”

Add a 4th block = 49”

49” would make it nice to see in the oven, but I am afraid of the proportions being way wrong as the oven is in a fairly small space, and I can’t have it look like a tower. (Afraid of family heat…)

Any thoughts on workability of a 41” vs 49” hearth floor height? Thanks!


Les 08-27-2012 03:32 PM

Re: Cooking Floor Height
Go on the high side. It's easier to work the oven than bending over.

Bacterium 08-27-2012 03:37 PM

Re: Cooking Floor Height
Felix my rule of thumb is elbow height
Standing at finished ground level, bend your elbow and the bottom of your top of cooking floor.

Others will chip in but the balance is between not bending over to see in the oven for cooking yet not too high where your bent arms go above a straight plane, reaching up too much

Neil2 08-27-2012 04:30 PM

Re: Cooking Floor Height
I agree with Les. Go higher rather than lower.

It will be easier to raise the patio than to lower the oven.

My cook (Mrs Neil2) if 5'4" and my hearth height, which she says is perfect, is 44 inches.

This is an important dimension. Mock up the opening, entry depth and the height with cardboard or cheap plywood and try it out before you start your build.

8 inch slab !. Seems excessive. How much are you cantilevering out ?

david s 08-27-2012 06:53 PM

Re: Cooking Floor Height
Mine is on the low side ( a couple of inches below elbow level) because it is on a stand off the edge of my deck. I haven't found working the oven difficult being lower, I guess you get used to whatever you've got. However I do like the fact that when seated at the table it is a perfect height to stare into, something our guests always enjoy.

Capt 08-27-2012 07:43 PM

Re: Cooking Floor Height
If you're torn between the two, after the second row, use solid half block. Top that with a course of full 8 inch.

Faz 08-27-2012 10:52 PM

Re: Cooking Floor Height
Don't forget that the 8 inches of slab does not necessarily need to sit completely above the blocks. You could cut the inner face of the blocks and set the base of the slab lower. You can even have the top of the slab level with the top of the blocks if you wished. As long as your rebar extends over in to the block work it will be plenty strong enough.

felix 08-28-2012 04:57 AM

Re: Cooking Floor Height
1 Attachment(s)
Great to hear the different perspectives on the subject. I like the idea of mocking it up, and turn the decision over to the sidewalk bosses.

Neil2 - I appreciate your question on the cantilever distance and the proposed slab thickness. I can't say I have any engineering in this slab design other than, what I hope, is overkill. As I think about it, I wonder about going even thicker, so I would like to hear opinions! I have attached a psuedo cross section sketch (maybe I will learn sketch up during the long, cold winter). I am not worred about the weight of the oven, but more the rock veneer and the roof structure. The rock is a field stone/river rock that is widely available in this area if you are willing to do the picking...


jeeppiper 08-28-2012 08:54 AM

Re: Cooking Floor Height
You could also get some "half-blocks" (16 x 8 x 4) and lay them on their sides for your top course. This will split the difference and you will end up with 45 inch...

The perfect height depends mostly on how tall your cook(s) are. My family is relatively short, our hearth is 42 inches....perfect for us.

I also agree to err on the high side. you can always build a step to raise the Chef as needed. I also think that a 8inch thick overhung hearth sitting only 3 blocks high might look "squatty" and disproportionate...but maybe not.

Neil2 08-28-2012 09:49 AM

Re: Cooking Floor Height
"I can't say I have any engineering in this slab design other than, what I hope, is overkill."

A reasonable approach. Eight inches seemed to be excessive with a typical build but I did not know you were supporting a stone finish as well.

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