Non raised base

We are wanting to build our Grande oven on the ground. We have a waist high area that is perfect in our back yard. We are looking for instructions and a supply list for building just the slab that holds the cooking floor and oven without the raised base. Can the base be done as one poured unit instead of a 3 piece unit since we would not have to move it into a raised base?

Want to purchase our kit asap but can’t find a phone # to get questions answered and this is the second time I’ve posted my question. I have two but I can’t find where my questions ever got posted. I’m not willing to purchase anything until I have a better idea of the supply list based on not using a raised base. Thanks in advance. Hope this is actually getting seen.

Hi, Mel!

I don’t see why you couldn’t do that. Are you saying the “waist high area” is basically soil, or is it a structure of some kind?

If you go without the base, the issue will be making sure you have a very stable foundation for your oven. You want to avoid the possibility that it will ever tilt, slant, or slip from wherever it is resting. If you’d like to describe that area in more detail, I can make a couple of suggestions about how to secure it.

In any case, the monolithic slab would be fine, and likely easier to cast in place, for this application.

As to the concern you raised about your messages being seen…this is primarily a user forum. BrickWood is a small business, though they have supplied many, many oven kits to DIY’ers like you and me. They do not have a sales staff, and you are in the right place to get questions answered. Personally I’m a satisfied customer and a volunteer who helps keep questions and discussions moving, but not an employee.

All that being said, I’m glad you’re here and hope we can get your project going.

It’s going on Georgia red clay. I’ve lived here 23 years. The ground is solid. There is no risk of sliding or slipping. I’m looking for information on install and supplies. The list I found included supplies for a raised base so I would be interested in any information or instructions regarding building directly from the existing ground and a list of supplies without the raised base. Do you know if there is a modified set of instructions/Supplies for a build like this?

This is build for my Wife. She’s asking for this as a birthday /Christmas gift. She’s 5’2" and this build site is perfect for her height.

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Thanks for the additional info and photos, Mel!

The positives for clay include, as you say, stability. The negative is drainage.

I think you still want some kind of air-break between your slab and the ground. Otherwise the concrete is going to absorb moisture which will have an effect on heating up the oven.

In my opinion, the simplest way to go would be to look at the instructions for preparing the site under the base, and also at this post about building down to the frostline. You’re not actually going to do that, and you’re not actually worried about frost, I’m assuming. But what you want is the second diagram that shows four footings sunk into the ground.

So, consider this, understanding that some folks here will undoubtedly improve upon it:

  • Dig out about 6 inches of the clay, and allow about 2 inches all around the planned dimensions of your hearth.
  • Sink four Sonotubes (or similar) down to your ground level (the level where you’d stand in front of the oven), and about 4-6 inches above the top of the raised area. I’d use a 6-inch tube, and make sure that the two outer curves of each Sonotube is just inside the footprint of your planned hearth.
  • Use base rock as called for in the plans for the base to do these two things:
  • Fill each of the Sonotubes with about 6 inches of rock.
  • Fill the rest of the dug-out area to level with the top.
  • Add two lengths of rebar as shown in the instructions for the frostproof footings. They should be centered, so they are about 3 inches inside the footprint of your planned hearth.
  • Pour concrete into each of the Sonotubes and make sure the concrete is leveled at the top. The rebar should be sticking out of the concrete, so use safety caps!
  • When dry, construct your monolith form and drill holes just to the diameter and location of the 8 rebars. Follow the instructions to bend each of the rebars 90 degrees inside your form (as though it were a slab). There is enough allowance at the corners so that this tie-in step will not interfere with the insulation void of your hearth.

In my opinion, this will give you a solid, stable base that allows air circulation and drying underneath, and you’ll be assured of a level hearth slab without a lot of fuss.

Hope this helps, Mel, and that sounds like the best Christmas present of all!