The Best Bricks for a Pizza Oven
Building their very own wood-fired pizza oven is a dream of many pizza lovers, and it's a dream that can come true with some planning and a little hard work. Part of the planning process is determining the best materials to use in construction of the oven, and no material is more important in the construction of a brick oven than the bricks themselves.
Firebrick is made with silica and alumina and is designed to withstand high heat and repeated changes in temperature. Medium-duty firebrick is capable of handling temperatures of up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit, which is at the upper range of optimal baking temperature for a pizza oven. Firebrick absorbs heat quickly and conducts heat well, making it ideal for the construction of the oven floor and dome. Because it is able to withstand temperature changes, it is durable in an oven environment and will last longer than other types of brick.
Heavy-duty firebrick is able to withstand higher temperatures than medium-duty firebrick, above 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit, and is more expensive. These bricks are designed to be used in environments where temperatures will consistently be very hot, such as furnaces. These temperatures are much higher than are required in a pizza oven, and heavy-duty firebrick will conduct too much heat and become too hot for oven applications. Although ultimately more durable than medium-duty firebrick, heavy-duty brick is not ideal for use in pizza ovens and is not worth the extra cost.
Common clay brick is much cheaper than firebrick, but it is not designed to withstand high heat or to stand up to repeated temperature cycling over time. It should not be used to construct the oven floor, where temperatures will be the highest, but it can be used in the oven dome if the extra cost of firebrick is not feasible. Clay brick is suitable for the arch outside the oven opening or any other exterior decorative elements.
Concrete Brick and Insulating Firebrick
Unfired concrete bricks are inexpensive but will not tolerate high temperatures. Consequently, they are not suitable for any applications in the interior of the oven. Insulating firebrick is designed to prevent the transmission of heat, and it will not conduct or hold heat. These properties make insulating firebrick unsuitable for use in the oven floor or dome, where bricks need to heat up and transmit their heat to the oven interior and the food. Insulating firebrick can be used for exterior sheathing to prevent heat loss from the oven.