Normal bricks for pizza ovens - The Woodfired Co

Can You Build a Pizza Oven with Normal Bricks? A Complete Guide

You might be more familiar with pizza ovens made with special fire bricks, but did you know you can build a pizza oven with normal bricks, too? Many people think they need expensive materials to create a functional and beautiful wood-fired pizza oven, but that's not always true.

But, of course, there's always a twist. Building a pizza oven with normal bricks comes with its own set of challenges and considerations. It's important to be aware of these potential hurdles so you can plan and prepare accordingly.

Read on as we explain everything you need to know before starting your project. From choosing the right bricks to understanding the potential issues and how to overcome them, we've got you covered. Let's get started on turning your pizza oven dreams into reality!

Wood fired pizza oven - The Wood Fired Co

Can you build a pizza oven with normal bricks?

To answer this question, you can build a pizza oven with normal bricks. But first, you need to understand the differences between normal bricks and fire bricks and how these differences can impact the construction and performance of your pizza oven.

Most Common Materials for Building a Pizza Oven

Several materials are commonly used to achieve optimal results when building a pizza oven. The most popular choices include:

Fire Bricks: Known for their ability to withstand high temperatures, fire bricks are a popular choice for constructing the cooking chamber and oven floor. They are designed to handle a wood-fired pizza oven's intense heat without cracking or deteriorating.

Refractory Cement: This specialized cement is heat-resistant and ideal for creating the mortar that holds the fire bricks together. It helps to form a strong and durable structure that can withstand the thermal stress of repeated heating and cooling cycles.

Insulating Materials: Insulation is crucial for maintaining high temperatures inside the pizza oven and improving efficiency. Materials like ceramic fibre blankets, perlite, or vermiculite mixed with Portland cement are commonly used to insulate the dome and walls of the oven.

Concrete: Reinforced concrete is often used for the oven base or stand, providing a stable foundation for the entire structure. It can also be used with other materials for added strength and durability.

Metal Components: Stainless steel or galvanized metal can be used to construct the pizza oven's chimney, door frame, and other functional components that require durability and resistance to heat.

Each of these materials plays a crucial role in constructing and performing a wood-fired pizza oven. Choosing the right combination of materials will ensure that your oven is functional but also durable and efficient in cooking delicious pizzas.

Fire bricks wood fired pizza ovens - The Wood Fired Co

Brick Pizza Oven vs Steel Pizza Oven

When deciding between a brick pizza oven and a steel pizza oven, it ultimately comes down to your specific needs and preferences. Here are some key considerations to help you make an informed choice:

Brick Pizza Oven

Traditional Appeal: Brick ovens have a classic and rustic look that many people find appealing. They add a sense of authenticity to the cooking experience and can enhance the ambience of your outdoor space.

Excellent Heat Retention: Fire bricks used in brick ovens are excellent at retaining heat, crucial for achieving high cooking temperatures and evenly cooking pizzas with a crispy crust.

Versatility: Brick ovens are versatile and can be used not only for pizzas but also for baking bread, roasting meats, and cooking other dishes that benefit from the radiant heat and even the cooking environment.

Longevity: Brick ovens can last for decades when properly constructed and maintained. They are durable and weather-resistant, making them a long-term investment for your outdoor kitchen.

Steel Pizza Oven

Fast Heating: Steel pizza ovens heat up quickly and reach high temperatures rapidly, which is ideal for making pizzas quickly. This can be advantageous for busy cooks or commercial settings.

Portability: Steel pizza ovens are often lighter and more portable than brick ovens, making them easier to move or transport. They are popular for outdoor events, camping, or temporary setups.

Efficiency: Their design and materials make steel pizza ovens more energy-efficient than brick ovens. They require less fuel to reach and maintain high temperatures, which can save on operating costs over time.

Modern Design Options: Steel pizza ovens come in various sleek and modern designs, offering aesthetic flexibility to match different outdoor decor styles.

Choosing the Right Option

  • Traditional vs Modern: If you value tradition, authenticity, and the ambience of a rustic outdoor kitchen, a brick pizza oven may be the better choice.
  • Speed and Efficiency: If you prioritize fast heating, portability, and energy efficiency, a steel pizza oven better suits your needs.

Ultimately, both brick and steel pizza ovens have their advantages, and the best choice depends on your cooking style, space, and personal preferences.

Outdoor wood fire pizza ovens - The Wood Fired Co

Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Pizza Oven with Normal Bricks

Building a pizza oven with normal bricks can be a rewarding DIY project. Believe me when I say, with hundreds of pizza ovens that we had installed over the past years, we never get tired of the satisfaction we feel each time we Here's a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:

1. Planning and Design:

Determine the Location: Choose a flat, stable surface for your oven. Ensure it's a safe distance from any flammable materials or structures.
Sketch Your Design: Plan the size and shape of your oven. A typical home pizza oven is about 1 meter (3 feet) in diameter.

2. Gathering Materials:

  • Normal Bricks: Ensure they are high-quality and sturdy.
  • Refractory cement or high-temperature mortar is used to bond bricks together.
  • Insulating Materials: Such as vermiculite or perlite.
  • Concrete Blocks or Pavers: For the oven base.
  • Metal Components: Chimney, door frame, etc.
  • Tools: Trowel, level, measuring tape, saw, etc.

3. Building the Base:

  • Lay the Foundation: Use concrete blocks or pavers to create a stable base. Make sure it's level.
  • Pour a Concrete Slab: Mix and pour concrete to create a solid slab for your oven to sit on. Let it cure for at least 24 hours.

4. Constructing the Oven Floor:

  • Lay the Bricks: Arrange the normal bricks on the concrete slab to form the oven floor. Use refractory cement or high-temperature mortar to secure them.
  • Level the Surface: Ensure the brick floor is level and smooth, as this will be your cooking surface.

5. Building the Oven Dome:

  • Create a Sand Form: Shape a dome out of sand on the brick floor. This will act as a mould for your oven dome.
  • Lay the Bricks: Start placing bricks around the sand form, using refractory cement to bond them. Work your way up, gradually slanting the bricks inward to create the dome shape.
  • Leave a Chimney Opening: Ensure you leave an opening at the top for the chimny.

6. Insulating the Oven:

  • Add Insulation: Cover the dome with an insulating layer like vermiculite or perlite once the dome is complete. This helps retain heat and improves the oven's efficiency.
  • Apply a Final Layer: Mix a layer of refractory cement or mortar and apply it over the insulation for added protection and stability.

7. Installing the Chimney:

Attach the Chimney: Secure the chimney to the opening at the top of the dome. This will help vent smoke and regulate airflow.

8. Creating the Oven Door:

  • Build a Door Frame: Use metal or wood to construct a door frame that fits the opening of your oven.
  • Attach the Door: Install a door that can be opened and closed to control the oven's temperature and airflow.

9. Curing the Oven:

Let it Dry: Allow the entire structure to dry and cure for several days. This ensures the mortar and cement harden properly.
Gradual Firing: Start with small fires and gradually increase the temperature over several days. This helps to avoid cracking by allowing the materials to expand slowly.

10. Cooking Your First Pizza:

  • Preheat the Oven: Build a large fire inside the oven and let it burn until the dome turns white-hot. This indicates the oven is at the right temperature.
  • Clear the Coals: Push the coals to the sides and clean the oven floor with a brush.
  • Bake Your Pizza: Place your pizza directly on the hot brick floor and enjoy the delicious results!
Outdoor wood fire pizza ovens - The Wood Fired Co


When to Consider Upgrading from Normal Bricks to Fire Bricks

While normal bricks can be initially used in a pizza oven, certain signs indicate it might be time to consider replacing them with fire bricks for better performance and durability:

Cracking or Deterioration

Normal bricks are more susceptible to cracking or deteriorating when exposed to high temperatures over time. If you notice significant cracks or crumbling in the bricks, especially in areas exposed to direct heat, it's a sign that they may not be suitable for continued use in a pizza oven.

Uneven Heating

Normal bricks may not distribute heat as evenly as fire bricks. If you experience uneven cooking results, such as pizzas with unevenly cooked crusts or toppings, it could indicate that the bricks need to retain and distribute heat effectively.

Difficulty Maintaining High Temperatures

Fire bricks are designed to withstand and retain high temperatures, which is essential for achieving the ideal cooking conditions in a wood-fired pizza oven. If you need help maintaining consistent high temperatures or notice rapid temperature fluctuations, your normal bricks may need improvement.

Increased Fuel Consumption

Using normal bricks that do not retain heat well can increase fuel consumption as you need to burn more wood to achieve and maintain high temperatures. With their superior heat retention properties, fire bricks can help reduce fuel usage and improve energy efficiency.

Safety Concerns

Cracked or deteriorating bricks can create safety hazards. They may compromise the structural integrity of the oven, leading to potential collapses or issues with ventilation and smoke escape. Safety should always be a priority when using a wood-fired pizza oven.

Commercial or Intensive Use

Fire bricks are generally recommended for commercial or frequent use of your pizza oven due to their durability and ability to withstand heavy use without degradation. They ensure consistent performance and reliability over extended periods.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to build a pizza oven with normal bricks?

Building a pizza oven with normal bricks can cost between $200 to $500, depending on the size and materials used.

How long does it take to build a pizza oven?

Building a pizza oven typically takes 2-4 weeks, including planning, gathering materials, construction, and curing time.

Can I use any normal brick for my pizza oven?

Not all normal bricks are suitable. Choose high-quality, dense bricks that withstand heat better than regular building bricks.

Do I need special tools to build a pizza oven?

Basic masonry tools like a trowel, level, and measuring tape are needed. A brick saw can also be useful for cutting bricks to size.


Building a pizza oven with normal bricks is a feasible and rewarding project but comes with challenges and considerations. By understanding the differences between normal bricks and fire bricks, you can make informed decisions about your oven's construction and maintenance.

If you notice signs of wear or inefficiency, consider upgrading to fire bricks for better performance and longevity. Whether you stick with normal or fire bricks, the key is to enjoy the process and savour the delicious pizzas you'll create.

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