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Oven Finish: Igloo

The Igloo
The Igloo is a traditional Italian and Mediterranean oven finish that follows the basics lines of the oven dome and chimney — thus the Igloo shape.

There are number of ways to finished the Igloo shape, but we think this is the best approach because of its excellent thermal characteristics, the ability to shape the Igloo to the owners preferences and because this widely used technique can be done by both building professional and home owners.

The Technique
We will give you an overview of the technique, then a more complete description of each step. Overall, you will wrap you oven in a second insulating blanket, the cover the entire structure with a light-weight insulating concrete. When that dries, you will form wire mesh around the oven to the shape of the final Igloo, which is then covered with 3/4″ of stucco, and a final weather-proof finish coat.

Additional Insulation
Wrap the oven in a second insulating blanket, as you did the first blanket. Then, make an insulating concrete mixed of 8 parts vermiculite:1 part portland cement, and cover the oven, roughly following the final Igloo shape. Take care to build up insulating concrete in areas where you will want more material, such as around the base of the vent and chimney. It will make it easy to get a smooth curve later with the mesh and stucco. Don’t worry about making this layer smooth, and it will be completely covered. Allow this material to dry to hold its shape.

Wire Mesh
Using 1/4″ galvanized wire mesh, mold the wire around the oven to the desired shape. Try to not allow it to protrude more than 1″ from the vermiculite concrete layer, and you will want to completely cover it with the stucco layer to hide the wire.

Cover the wire mesh with an external rough concrete stucco mixture, building the material into the final Igloo shape. When it is slightly cured, but still pliable, use a large sponge to smooth out your trowel marks, ridges and low spots to create a smooth finish. Allow this layer to dry.

Cover the rough stucco mixture with a thick coat of finish stucco to the color and texture that you want. The finish can range from fully smooth, to sand-size grains, to larger grains. You can put color in the final stucco coat, or paint the Igloo later. Your final coats must be a sealing coat, to keep water from seeping into our oven.

Proceed to Curing Your Oven.

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traditional igloo design
1. Traditional Igloo design.

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