Oven Dome

The dome of the pizza oven can be construction in a number of shapes and in a number of different materials. The small, portable ovens are typically made using stainless steel shaped as a barrel vault, as are the less expensive mid-size stainless steel ovens. Higher-end mid-size stainless ovens have an Oven Dome that is curved from side-to-side and from back-to-front. There are also some mid-size stainless ovens where the dome is stamped into a hemispherical shape. In general, a round, curved dome performs better than a barrel vault, as it is more efficient at bouncing heat from the wood and gas burner.

Masonry ovens are produced using a range of materials, including Red Clay Bricks, Firebricks, Refractory Castable and even non-refractory Fireclay Mortar.

Red Clay firebricks are an inexpensive material for a. builder who want to cut bricks and does not want the expensive of buying and cutting firebricks. In general, true clay bricks can withstand the heat of residential pizza oven use.

Firebricks are the traditional material for handmade brick oven domes. They are resistant to high temperatures and spalling caused by rapid heat-up and cool-down cuts, but they are expensive and difficult to cut, which can result in long periods of time to build the oven dome and higher costs due to wearing out many diamond saw blades.

Refractory castable is a very popular choice for both residential and commercial masonry pizza ovens, as it is cost-effect, easy to cast and it can readily be shaped to whatever Dome Shape the builder wants. For example, it can be very challenging building a Naples-Style Pizza Oven with firebricks, due to the technical challenge of building the dome and the lateral thrust against the first course of upright bricks, but cast a Naples dome is no more difficult that cast the more simple Hemisphere Shape. High quality Refractory Castable will last as long and cook as well as a firebrick pizza oven.

Non-refractory Fireclay Mortar using the 3:1:1:1 formula of sand, Portland cement, hydrated lime and fireclay can be used for builders who do not have the budget to use a true Refractory Castable. The resulting oven dome will certainly crack and spall, and it’s longevity is questionable, but in some cases, a less than optimal pizza oven is better than no pizza oven.