start shopping button

Installation Overview

Your oven is comprised of a number of basic components, which we will define here to give you a better understanding of the installation process. Click through to see directions for each step of the installation process.

Click here to see a graphic on the Anatomy of an Oven.

The Foundation
Your oven enclosure rests on a traditional reinforced concrete slab. It can be a stand alone slab build specifically to support your oven, or it can be poured to accommodate other outdoor kitchen items, such as shelves, grills and tables. Your outdoor kitchen can, and probably will, evolve over time.

The Stand and Insulating Hearth
Your oven dome and cooking surface rest on an insulating hearth and stand. The oven cooking floor should be set to a height where you can easily place and remove food -- typically around 45 inches. The insulating hearth serves three purposes, providing:

  • a smooth and rigid platform which spans the opening between the stand's legs;
  • a thermal layer that stores and returns heat to the oven cooking surface;
  • an insulation layer that stops heat from escaping through the rigid platform and down into the stand legs;

Prefabricated insulating hearths and stands are available from Forno Bravo for many of our ovens, and can be special ordered for virtually any oven. Concrete stands are built in place at the installation site, and can accommodate either a custom-poured insulating hearth, or the Forno Bravo prefabricated hearth. Click here to see our recommended stand and hearth sizes.

The Cooking Surface and Oven Landing
Pizza and bread are baked directly on the oven cooking surface, while other foods such as vegetables and roasts are placed in bakeware. The cooking surface is provided in a number of refractory pieces (depending on the oven you have selected), which are laid on a thin layer of refractory mortar, on top of the hearth slab.

The oven landing sits outside the oven, providing a staging area for food that is being placed inside or removed from the oven. The Casa ovens do not include an oven landing, allowing the owner or builder to install a large or narrow landing, using materials such as brick or granite, in front of the oven. The Premio ovens include a terra cotta landing.

The cooking surface is centered left and right on the hearth slab, the oven dome is set around it. The location of the front edge of the oven depends on the depth of the oven landing, as the front of the oven butts up to the landing material.

The Oven Dome
The oven dome is provided in a number of pieces, ranging from a single piece Artigiano brick dome and two pieces for the Casa80 and Casa90, to the four pieces for the Casa100 and Casa110, to six pieces for the Casa160. The dome pieces are fitted together, then sealed using refractory mortar. The mortar is applied to the outside of the joints, not inside them, allowing for thermal expansion of the dome pieces, while still ensuring fully insulated seams.

The Oven Vent
Unlike a fireplace, where the chimney is inside the firebox, the wood fired oven's vent and chimney are outside of the oven -- in the front. A vent is provided with our Casa ovens, which is set on the top of the oven opening -- at the front of the oven, and sealed with refractory mortar. The Premio and Ristorante ovens contain a vent integrated in the decorative terra cotta arch. Our brick ovens are provide with a steel vent, which is attached to the housing which encloses the oven chamber.

Arch and Door
The Casa ovens have an optional brick arch, while the Premio and Ristorante ovens always provide a decorative terra cotta arch. Both are attached to the front of the oven chamber and oven vent. The brick arch is a traditional design, compatible with a wide range of finish materials. Alternatively, the Casa owner can create virtually any decorative finish at the front of the oven, including brick, stone, stucco or steel.

Set flush against the oven opening, a metal or composite material door fits snugly against the oven opening to hold in heat for baking and roasting.

The top of the vent is connected to a modular chimney system. The type of chimney pipe you use depends on whether your installation is outside or inside, and on your local building codes. Typically, outdoor installations use a double wall metal pipe, and Indoor installations use triple wall pipe. Attach a spark arrestor a the top of the chimney. Be sure to check you local building code prior to installation.

Oven Coating
After you have assembled your oven, vent, arch and chimney and sealed all of the joints, coat the outside of the oven with an additional 1" coating of refractory mortar (2" for commercial ovens). This will increase your oven's ability to hold heat for longer periods of time.

Dome Insulation
After the oven elements have been assembled, the oven is covered with insulation. Unlike thermal mass, where too much can be bad, there isn't really such a thing as too much insulation. Because modern insulation materials such as woven ceramics and vermiculite are lightweight, easy to install and inexpensive, you can easily meet your high-end insulation requirements.

For Igloo installations, you wrap your oven with a 1" woven ceramic insulating blanket (provided with your oven). then cover the entire structure with 4 " of vermiculite-based insulating concrete in the shape of an Igloo.

For Gabled House installations, you wrap your oven in one 1" woven ceramic insulating blanket, and fill the housing chamber with 4" or more of loose vermiculite.

Oven Enclosures
There are three basic outdoor oven designs: the Gabled House, the Wall Oven, and the Igloo, each of which give you a virtually limitless range of design options and finish materials. Oven structures can be incorporated with a range of outdoor kitchen elements, such as counters, shelves, storage, and grills.

The top half of the Gabled House can be constructed using either metal studs and concrete board, or half-wide concrete blocks (4x8x16). We recommend metal studs and concrete board because it is light and easy to install.

In the Wall Oven design, the oven sits behind a partition wall, which is covered with a traditional material, such as stone, tile or stucco. Much like an in-door wall kitchen, the wood fired oven share the wall with the other parts of the kitchen, often a grill and sink.

The Igloo is constructed using wire mesh, exterior concrete stucco and waterproof paint.

The lower half of outdoor ovens that use a metal stand can be finished with metal studs and concrete board, and both the metal and concrete block stand can be finished to match to top of the oven.

Indoor ovens can be placed in corners, against walls, and when the oven is part of a larger re-modeling project, can be set back outside a room to make the front of the oven flush with an internal wall. Indoor ovens can easily be set behind a partition wall constructed from metal studs and concrete board.

Finish materials typically include stucco, brick, stone, marble, travertine and granite. You must not place any combustible material within 2" of the oven opening.

To continue, click on Foundation.

Or, jump straight to the Table of Contents.