How to build a pizza oven from bricks – step by step

Build a brick pizza oven

Building a pizza oven from used solid bricks can be a very rewarding project.

This homemade red brick pizza oven building project was started in May 2010.

A lot of work went into exploring different traditional brick pizza oven websites like https://www.traditionaloven.com/ and https://www.fornobravo.com/

Here you will find the step by step pictures of my homemade pizza oven so you can build a workable oven that cooks real pizzas and marvellous bread.

The pizza oven is a traditional dome type whereas the tunnel type of pizza oven is easier to build. If you have any questions feel free to make comments. The oven is designed to be moved by forklift, but not towed on a trailer.

Pizza Oven Plans

DIY pizza oven

When you follow along this thread you will find lots of information on building your own DIY pizza oven. A solid base is a good start and sorting your own solid pizza oven bricks to make a lovely brick pizza oven helps with your pizza oven plans. Mine has been going ten years now, so we are confident that this method will work for you.

Step 1.

The base

First of all, determine what type of base you require. This one is made from delta core concrete, light and strong and transportable. “Deltacore” are in Perth, Western Australia. I got my base home with my 6×4 trailer. This means I can pick the oven up with my forklift and place it anywhere I want. Most people will choose to build theirs in place using concrete or bricks.

oven base
Oven base made by Deltacore a local concrete company.

The base is 1500 x 1200 mm and 150mm deep. You will need to add two tension bars across the base to give tension in that direction.

Bricks

The bricks used on this build are old red solids found lying around the organic farm. Some are very soft and others very hard to cut with the fourteen-inch friction saw.  We found soaking the pizza oven bricks in a bucket of water reduced the amount of dust when cutting them and they were easier to cut too.

Step 2.

Dimensions

Determine the diameter of the brick pizza oven. This brick pizza oven is one metre inside diameter.

Pizza oven base
Brick Pizza oven base

Here I have marked it out and placed the outside base layer of red solids in place. These are glued to the concrete with a mixture of clay, lime and cement. Remember you are building a brick pizza oven, not a mortar pizza oven. To do this keep the gaps between your bricks less than 3mm.

Pizza oven base
Concrete Pizza oven base
Pizza oven base board
The Pizza oven baseboard
Pizza oven base cutoff saw
Pizza oven base saw

To set the base out I drew the one-metre diameter on a 6mm sheet of cement sheet with the entrance of the brick pizza oven door too. Under the sheet went a 25mm layer of high-temperature ceramic insulation. To cut and shape the bricks I used 14-inch friction saw, with a masonry disk. Old bricks are easy to cut and if soaked in a bucket of water have a reduced amount of dust.

Bricks and Mortar

In building a pizza brick oven, mortar should be used in only up to 6mm thick applications.  Mortar should be used to assist in forming the brick walls and shouldn’t be used in plugging large holes as it will burn out.

This is the brick mortar ratio I used:   10 : 6 : 2 : 3 – Sand, Fire Clay, Portland grey cement, and lime.

Pizza oven insulation

Insulating a brick pizza oven

Insulating a pizza oven is most important. Mineral wool is the best as it will withstand 2000C, much more than required. Rockwool is the next best or perlite, depending on whether it is under or on top of the bricks. If the insulation is under the brick floor it needs to be supported to not squash the pizza oven insulation.

How to support the insulation

There is a product on the market, used in foundries called a chaplet. Available in various sizes they will hold solid surfaces apart. Use them to stop the insulation from being squashed.

Pizza oven base insulation
Brick Pizza oven base insulation
Pizza oven base insulation
oven base mineral wool insulation
oven base insulation
The oven base insulation is under the cement sheet.
oven base insulation floor
More oven base floor
oven base floor
oven base floor with mineral wool just showing.
oven base floor insulation
The oven base floor insulation
oven base floor bricks
oven base floor bricks
oven base floor bricks
The oven base floor bricks

Here is the first layer in place, ready for the next layer.

Step 3.

Finish the Pizza oven floor.

oven base floor
The oven base floor bricks
oven base floor tiles
pizza oven base floor bricks

The pizza oven first outside layer of bricks and the floor finished with red floor tiles.

Here I have used clay floor tiles, in hindsight, not a good choice as they crack under heat stress. A later version has ceramic furnace tiles in place of these. NB that under the floor tiles is a layer of 50 mm brick pavers sitting on top of the cement sheet. Next build I will place 50 mm of insulation under the brick pavers, using chaplets to hold the baseboard up from squashing the insulation.

The photographer
Who is the photographer
The builder.
The pizza oven builder.

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Step 4.

Making the oven door and formwork.

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Red Tile floor
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The Tiled floor

You will require two pieces of steel, one for the oven door and the other for the flue entrance. I bent these the hard way with a hammer. In the centre of the photo is the form for building the brick dome. The door is 550mm wide and 260mm high.

Shep watching on.
Shep watching on.
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Pizza oven Tile floor – Planning

The Pizza oven former is a piece of sheet metal angle welded to a steel rod. At the centre is a washer welded to the rod. SDC11232

Can you see the pin in the centre of the Pizza oven floor, next to the cup? It’s a bolt through a piece of plywood and stuck to the floor with masking tape.

pin in the centre of the floor
See the pin in the centre of the floor

Here the second layer is stuck to the first layer. Looks like the last brick need to be cut to finish this Pizza oven layer.

The former
The former
Second layer in place
The second layer in place
third layer in place
The Pizza oven third layer in place

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The third layer in place.

The fourth layer nearly finished.
The fourth layer nearly finished.

Note the small pieces of brick used as wedges.

The fourth layer nearly finished.
The fourth layer nearly finished.

Step 5.

The Pizza oven chimney

A mock up early in the build.
Early in the build.
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A mock-up of the Pizza oven chimney early in the build.
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A tricky bit of brickwork over the door
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Starting another layer

A mock-up early in the build.SDC11257 SDC11258 SDC11259 SDC11260 SDC11261 SDC11262 SDC11264 SDC11265 SDC11267

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Good Pizza oven brickwork
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Halfway there
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The Pizza oven builder – Duncan
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Duncan – the Pizza oven builder
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The builder bricklayer – Duncan
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Another layer finished.

Note the inner top Pizza oven bricks are getting towards being vertical, meaning the mud between the bricks has to dry before moving the former.

Step 5

Finishing the dome

The final part of the brick building. In this step, I have placed a disk of sheet metal inside through the door up under the dome. It is held up with red bricks and wood. On top of the sheet is some sand formed into a dome and the remaining Pizza oven bricks placed onto the sand.

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Build nearly finished
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Nearly finished, just need to add the flue.
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The build nearly finished- looks good where it counts

Once all the Pizza oven bricks are in place the sheet is removed and it all stays together.

The Pizza oven inside finished.

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See the good brickwork
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Good brickwork
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The finished dome before the mortar seals it
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Another cup of tea on the hearth

The first Pizza oven chimney in place. just needs mortar.

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Another view
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Finished Pizza oven
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Picked up with the forklift

Step 6

Firing and drying

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See the first small fire
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Chimney redesigned #2

Chimney No. 2.

The first Pizza oven chimney was OK but smoked on startup. After making the larger chimney #2, which was much better, I found that they all smoke on startup. It is the volume of smoke produced that the Pizza oven chimney can’t cope with even if you have a big fire. The answer is to start small.

Step 7

Finishing outside of pizza oven

Insulating the oven.

Here I have used old fibreglass batts, however, “Rockwool” is recommended to finish the outside of the pizza oven.

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Pizza oven Shotgun chimney

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Step 8

Adding the mortar.

Painful. The lesson with this is to place aluminium foil or some other non-combustible on top of the insulation under the wire mesh. Also, you need to place foundry chaplets in the insulation too so the mortar will not squash the insulation. Then, if the insulation is compressed the chaplets will hold the mortar away from the bricks. In this case, the mortar overhangs the concrete base, which does not help. There is a better way.SDC11300 SDC11301

Mortar layer all finished.

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Duncan, the proud owner

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The finished article. Later, we cut off the daggy bits covering the base and added some sheet metal angle to support the mortar layer.

One hot pizza oven
One hot pizza oven

Then allow some time for the mortar and bricks to dry inside and out and then its pizza time.

Pizza oven running with woofs
Pizza oven running with WWOOF
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Making pizzas
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Just out of the oven