Simple barrel vault pizza oven design

Barrel vault pizza oven and pizza cooking

Pizza oven enhances the outlook of any residence without any confusion. Most of the time, round dome pizza oven is seen besides the residence. But nowadays, barrel vault pizza oven is being made as outside pizza oven. There is no major difference in round dome pizza oven and barrel dome pizza oven. Difference is in shape and amount of pizza baking. Barrel vault pizza oven looks like rectangular shaped oven. Main advantage of making and using barrel vault pizza oven is that you can bake large number of pizza at a time.

Construction work

1. Foundation
2. Hearth
3. Barrel vault
4. Barrel vault top
5. Barrel vault flue
6. Chimney
7. Cladding
8. Insulation


1. Clay brick
2. Red brick
3. Rod
4. Sand
5. Mortar
6. Portland cement
7. Fire clay
8. Aluminum foil
9. Vermiculite


Building of pizza oven starts with selecting and preparing the location. At first, it is necessary to select the right place and it should be outside of residence. As it is wood burning pizza oven, it will create smoke and this smoke may affect the color of your residence. For that reason, place may be your yard of home.

After selecting place, you have to make a strong foundation. As barrel vault and oven will be sited on foundation slab, foundation needs to be strong to support the weight. As barrel vault oven will be nearly a ton after the completion, so it is better to make solid base. Normally, two methods are used to make base of oven: footings and slab. If the weight of oven is not much and oven is little in size, you can make base using slab. Slab foundation is also cheap. Again, if the oven is large in size and heavy weighted, footings will be perfect for foundation.

After finalizing the place for pizza oven, you have to level the place. Then you have to mark out according to the dimension. The dimension depends on size and shape. Then you have to dig using spade and place outside wooden frame to fix and make a better protection of base. After that, you have to lay polyethylene on bottom. It will help to prevent concrete work to be dry out quickly. Then you have to place a form of metal reinforcing rods and fill it with concretes up to height of wooden frame. For better strength, you have to allow fixing for some days. During these days, you have to hydrate foundation sufficiently. When it will be hard, you have to start working for other parts.


Hearth is one of the main parts of pizza oven. It is that place where pizza will be baked. It is a clean and flat surface where pizza dough is placed for baking. Firebricks are usually used in making hearth, which have ability to stable in high temperature. To prevent the debris results between bricks, firebricks are placed closely and fixed with mortar. For making hearth, you can use refractory fire bricks. At first, you have to lay the bricks closely on the foundation. A thin layer of fire clay and sand is placed on the brick layer to cover the gap between bricks. Then you have to make a paste of fire clay and sand using water. This paste is poured on brick layer to make a smooth and flat surface as possible. You have to allow it for 48 hours to be fixed properly. Ideal hearth size for outside pizza oven is 82cm × 92cm.

For ensuring proper temperature you can use vermiculite on hearth surface. Vermiculite is used as insulating material. It helps to prevent temperature loss through hearth layer. On hearth surface, vermiculite layer will be three to four inch. If your budget is sufficient for making pizza oven, you can apply this layer.

Barrel vault

Barrel vault is quite different than round dome. It is rectangular shaped. Normally, three side walls are made on hearth like rectangle. One side is opened for introducing firing materials and pizza dough in pizza hearth. Here, you can use first class red brick, firebrick, or fireclay. In this case, you have to make sure the quality of bricks. Main problem will be maintenance of proper temperature in heart if used bricks for barrel vault will not first class. According to heart size, you have to calculate bricks. Refractory mortar is best to use with fireclay for building barrel vault.

Barrel vault top

After building barrel vault, you have to complete top. For it, you have to use some wooden frame. On wooden frame, you have to place bricks with mortar or cement paste on wooden frame. Wooden frame is used as supporting frame. In the middle of vault top, you have to keep hole for installing chimney for removing smokes and flue.

Flue and flue making factors

Flue of pizza oven is opening for passing away smoke through chimney. It is made on the top of barrel vault. It needs to make at proper place on the top of oven. Otherwise, it will pass more heat with smoke, which will affect the pizza cooking. You have to select fireproof mortar for making to join the flue line with void. You have to consider some factors of making flue as follows:

Design of pizza oven is first factor to make flue. According to design, you have to main flue and it is very important for wood burning pizza oven. Pizza oven flue is made like cone or pyramid structure because this structure helps to prevent rainwater to enter into oven.

Size is second factor because pizza oven may be for personal use or business purpose. If it is for personal use, flue size will be small. For business pizza oven, flue size will be large because huge amount of smoke will be produced in it. If you make a flue small in size for business pizza oven, your pizza will be smoky in taste because of inadequate void to remove smoke.

Pizza oven location is third factor to consider in making flue. Normally, people make pizza oven outside of residence. This is done to get rid of wood burning smoke of pizza oven.

Chimney of barrel vault pizza oven

Chimney is another important part of barrel vault pizza oven. it helps to pass away smoke. Through this smoke 1/4th heat is exhausted from the pizza oven. Chimney also helps to maintain air flow in pizza oven. if there is no chimney in pizza oven, smoke will come out through the door to your face. To remove the wood burning smoke in proper way chimney is important.

This chimney can be made with steel, cast and brick. Each material has different advantage on usage. This chimney is usually outside. Steel and bricks are best material to make chimney for their durability. Cast chimney normally cracked after two to three years of use. If there is internal cracking in cast chimney, it may be dangerous to user. If you make chimney with bricks, you should clad it with mortar. Cladding will prevent brick chimney damage. Best material of making barrel vault pizza oven is steel. It lasts long time because it doesn't react with other substance. It also make pizza oven gorgeous. Standard height of chimney is five to six feet if it is personal pizza oven. If your chimney is very short, smoke will not flow up-word directly. It can affect your residence by discoloring the wall.


Cladding is the outer and final layer of the pizza oven. It may be layer of concrete or bricks. Many people want to have brick layer outside of oven. If you want like them, you can use fire clay inside and regular building bricks on the top of barrel vault. It not only enhances the looking but also helps to keep oven warm for long time. Cladding is not expensive and you can do it for extra insulation layer of your barrel vault pizza oven. there are lots of benefits of having cladding as follows:

  • it keeps constant temperature for long time
  • any item can be cooked after baking pizza because it keeps warm oven nearly three hours after baking
  • it prevents sudden temperature drop
  • it enhances the outlook of pizza oven

Cladding thickness

If you want to clad with concrete, 2inch thickness is enough for barrel vault pizza oven. You can add coloring material with concrete, which will make your oven more attractive. Additionally, you can place aluminum foil under the layer of clad. Aluminum foil stops gas transfer through the barrel vault layer. If the aroma passes through wall, pizza will not be tasty. After placing aluminum foil layer, you can add cladding mixture in two inch of thickness using trowel. For making mixture, you have to add stone, sand, Portland cement and lime in a ratio of 3:1:1:1.


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