DIY an Outdoor Pizza Oven
Buying an outdoor pizza oven, or paying to have one built, can become a pretty extravagant expense. Make your own DIY outdoor pizza oven instead using cement, tile, and other materials that are easy to find at any home improvement store. The oven becomes a permanent feature of the backyard, a focal point for gatherings, and a DIY that saves you potentially thousands of dollars.
Step 1 - Make a Concrete Pad for Support
Place a concrete pad in the exact spot where you want your pizza oven. Use a level to ensure that the ground beneath the pad is flat and even.
Step 2 - Stack Blocks for the Base
Stack 8-inch cinder blocks in an L-shape to the desired height you want. Stagger the blocks to create a sturdy structure, but leave the holes around the edges exposed. This will serve as the base of your pizza oven.
Step 3 - Fill in the Exterior Blocks With Cement
Mix concrete or cement and pour it into the cinderblock holes, all around the edges of the structure. The blocks in the middle do not need to be filled.
Step 4 - Tile the Exterior
Cover the exterior of the base in tile using mortar or cement, whichever works better for the tile you selected. You’ll need a trowel to spread the mortar evenly before you carefully place the tiles. Lay your tile straight, because the exterior of your base will be visible.
Step 5 - Pour a Concrete Counter
Place a plywood frame around the top of the pizza oven base to pour a concrete countertop. Your concrete must cure for at least a day. You'll know it's cured when all the dark spots are gone.
Step 6 - Make a Wood Pallet
Admire your base, and walk away from it for now to focus on building the oven itself. Cut chipboard to the size of a wood pallet, and place the board on top of the pallet.
Step 7 - Make the Oven Base With Concrete
Cover the chipboard and pallet with concrete to make a sturdy oven base. The concrete should be smooth and even. Allow the concrete to cure before moving on.
Step 8 - Arrange Bricks Around the Pallet
Arrange your bricks or stones before you mortar them into place to get a sense of how you will build your oven. Stack the bricks in a square shape on three sides around the pallet. The front of the square will be made into an arch. The top of the oven is an extension of the arch that will create a rough dome shape that slopes down to the side walls.
Step 9 - Spread Sand for Support
Place a tarp inside the floor of the oven and cover it with sand. The sand will help support the bricks while the mortar dries later.
Step 10 - Place the Chimney
Place the chimney at the top of the arch, a few inches away from the edge of the oven opening. The chimney can be any bucket or pot with the bottom cut out, or a thick piece of pipe that's three to four inches long. The chimney is optional, but it will drive smoke up and out of the chimney rather than forcing it to come out of the front. Cover the top of the chimney with thick plastic as you work to prevent cement from getting inside.
Step 11 - Mortar the Dome and Chimney
Use cardboard or foam as needed to support the structure before you apply the mortar. Stack the oven walls and center dome to the desired height and mortar them into their permanent positions using a trowel. If you’re adding a chimney, place the bricks around it to secure it into place.
Step 12 - Cover the Exterior in Concrete
Cover the entire exterior of the oven in concrete. This will insulate the oven so it will be more effective at cooking. The concrete also finalizes the look of the oven. Add tint to the concrete for a prettier final result.
Step 13 - Wait for the Concrete to Dry
Wait for the concrete to dry, which may take two to three days depending on the size of your pizza oven, and remove any remaining supports.
Step 14 - Clean out the Inside
Pull out the plastic tarp with the sand on it from inside the oven, and clean out the oven.
Step 15 - Place the Oven on the Base
Place the oven on top of your base, at the center of the "L." It will be heavy, so don’t be a hero. Get help putting the oven into position on the base, and make sure it’s square and centered so it will stay up there.
Step 16 - Build a Test Fire
Build a small fire inside the oven. Start small to dry out the interior of the oven and to make sure your structure is sound.
Step 17 - Cook a Test Pizza
Cook your pizza on a wire rack or ceramic shelves supported by bricks. Cooking coals will be underneath and around the pizza at the center of the rack or shelving.
It's called a pizza oven, but there are actually lots of things you can cook in an oven like this. Bread, cobbler, and roasted veggies and meats will cook beautifully in here as well. Once your DIY outdoor pizza oven is complete and you’ve test-cooked a pizza inside of it, you’re ready to enjoy an amazing new feature of the yard. When built right, the pizza oven will last for many years and cook many pies.