Are Pacific Clay Fire Bricks Suitable for Pizza Ovens?

Hi everyone,

New here. My dad and I are building our first pizza oven and we jumped on a deal someone posted saying they had “Insulating Fire Bricks 2300 F Pizza Oven Fire Pit” for 2 dollars apiece.

I’m been looking all over the place for firebrick and haven’t found any at a good price so I jumped at the opportunity and purchased about 150 of them to build the barrel structure of the pizza oven which would then be covered an insulating blanket, chicken wire, and stucco… I started wondering however if these would be good for the pizza oven floor because they felt so light and coarse, which led me to do some research and find out that there are different types of fire bricks, facepalm… I feel so misled, I had no idea!

So… Could I still proceed with the insulating fire brick and just use standard or medium-duty firebreaks for the oven floor? Will that still be okay?

Hello Trumpetz -

I’m sure you’re fine.

Can you attach a few pics of your brick to this post so we can take a gander at the fire brick?

What would you estimate each brick weighs? 3lbs? 7lbs? (yes, that’s important).

Also - What is your location (city / state)? Don’t need contact info - just city / state.

Thx!

Hello,

I’m in Orange Country California in the city of Fullerton.

The insulating bricks weigh about 2lbs each… very light.
I was able to get my hands on some red firebricks that weigh about 8lbs each. I plan on using these for the floor of the oven and around the structure where ever it might be more vulnerable and exposed.
The barrel oven structure will be the white insulating firebrick which will be partially covered in hi temp mortar, an insulating blanket, chicken wire and stucco or however the instructions outline.

I’ve heard that the insulating bricks stop heat but don’t necessarily retain it? Is that an issue?
Or will they just reflect the heat to the heavier firebricks of the floor of the oven?

Those firebrick will be fine for the arch.

They are lightweight and fragile… but when you place them in an arch w/ mortar on 3 of the sides, you’ll be a-okay. They won’t hold the heat as well as a medium or heavy-duty firebrick, but you are correct - they will redirect the heat back into the oven chamber.

I wouldn’t use them for the floor, but you stated you have different fire brick for that… so can we now get a quick pick of those fire brick you want to use on the floor / hearth cooking surface. I want to make sure they aren’t red clay “fire brick” sold at HD.

Great… I haven’t even considered that I didn’t have the right type of firebrick.
I purchased them from resource building materials, they have a location in Stanton. I tried to get more information about them, but the guy at the counter simply said it was a firebrick. I paid about 1.25 for each.

Home Depot used to sell / market these as “fire brick”, but they are just red clay brick and they are not designed for high-temp ovens. Even when you search “fire brick” on HD’s site, this red clay brick pops-up first.

Sure, you can line a fire pit w/ them… but as for cooking - these aren’t the brick you are looking for.

Here is more info: Fire Brick Vs. Red Clay Bricks

clay brick.

when I purchased them they were listed as firebricks… you’re saying they don’t look like it? Is there anyway to check?

If its not do you know of where I could get some in southern California?

Here’s a link to BrickWood’s resource directory for refractory and firebrick suppliers:

Where do I find firebrick?

I think the confusion is because the red clay brick (or “rose” in this case) have been labeled as firebrick by some landscape suppliers and big box landscaping departments. An actual refractory firebrick is designed with some metallic content, and it is meant to be the front facing material for flame and flame-like processes.

While it’s obvious that clay brick is fired as part of its manufacturing process and so can stand some heat, that firing is meant to draw the moisture out of the clay material and set the structure of the brick. You can heat it up again, and that’s fine. It will even retain and radiate that heat for many hours. But, if you use it to line a flaming vessel, you’re in essence continuing the manufacturing process. Eventually it will fail by crumbling and breaking apart in little chunks.

I’ve never heard of a appetizing pizza topped with sauce, cheese, veggies, and brick crumbs.

You will know you are talking about firebrick when you ask about its rating. You want low or medium duty. High duty is for furnaces and industrial refractories.

Good luck, and do look at the interactive map. Let us know how you make out!

Thanks, i’ll take a look at the link.
Here’s some more information about the rose brick I found on their website.

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

Pacific Clay Fire Back Brick offers a classic style that fits any residential fireplace (standard specifications.) Combining a unique blend of clays and high temperature firing process, this clay brick offers superior strength and durability. With three vibrant colors to choose from, Fireback Brick will provide a lifetime of beauty.

– Can withstand temperatures of up to 2700 degrees
– Alumina (A1203) content of 21%
– Pryometric Cone Equivalent (PCE) is 18-19
– Modulus of Rupture (MOR) exceeds 1,000 psi

SPECIFICATIONS

FIREBACK BRICK FULL
SIZE 4-1/2” X 2-1/2” X 9”
WEIGHT 7 LBS
COVERAGE 3 PCS PER SQ. FT.
MEETS ASTM C-1261
SPEC SHEET DOWNLOAD

  • RELATED PRODUCT
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Might be on the right track here. The weight seems correct, and there’s a good ratio of alumina to other materials.

I would want to know what its duty rating is (low, medium, high), and then it’s about price.

Again, you want low or medium duty brick. A high duty rating isn’t better, and in fact works against you for this application. Also, they’re much more expensive!

In the NY metro area somewhere between $2 and $2.25 per brick is about right.

UPDATE: All is well! It worked! I ended up finding some real firebricks and using those for the oven floor. The lightweight bricks are were the arch and they seem to also be doing their job.

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All’s well that ends well, and look at those amazing pies! I can almost smell them from here. :slight_smile:

I’m really glad it all worked out, and that you found the firebrick you needed. I’m also guessing you see now why that was so important. The proof is in the (h)eating.

Great job! And I really like the concrete island behind the oven proper.

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Beautifully Done! I failed to read where you mentioned the bricks were heavy (7lb / 8lbs each). And the Alumina content is right-on-the-money!

You will have many, many years of jealous neighbors with pizzas like those!

Picture Perfect!

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I actually ended up not using the Pacific clay fire bricks and found some medium duty ones that were real firebricks.
So… this is a picture of the final final project! We upgraded the face of it with some left over bricks and a new door, which I still have to weld the handles too… So this is what it looks like now! Wood Fire Oven 2.0

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Nicely Done! The door looks really cool…is it heavy?

Yes its pretty solid and Heavy. My dad had it laser cut at a near by place. I’ts about 1/4 of an inch thick or maybe a bit more.

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So new to the forum and just got my oven kit. In checking around, I find I can get Pacific Clay bricks as described above. So after reading above…
So…are they OK to use?? Or should I keep looking? BTW the vendor has them both in tan (yellow) and red (rose). The weight and alumina is OK in the Pacific Clay fireback bricks??
Thanks in advance for a response- I am eager to start asap!! Going Covid crazy!!

Hi AZDon,
So I used a few Pacific clay bricks on the back wall of the oven you use in the pictures and also on the exterior, the arch you see in the front on the last pictures. I wouldn’t pacific clay bricks for the floor of your oven, (I don’t think you want to cook on that surface, it’s very ruff and porous.) It cook me a while to find actual firebricks but I was able to in the end. Real firebricks are a lot smoother and I think do a better job at retaining heat, at least that’s what I have noticed. The only reason I used any of the pacific clay bricks is because I had some left over.

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Some of the discussion upthread is confusing because we were trying to sort out what these bricks could offer. @trumpetz’s last response, though, is actual experience and The Real Deal.

I think the pacific clay product is meant to be a decorative brick, with a pretty face and firebrick behind it. A low or medium duty firebrick will give you the qualities you need for your oven (where the only firebrick that really shows is in your hearth, which must be smooth and durable). If I recall, it will also be much less expensive, which you’ll appreciate when you purchase 190 of them.

Good luck with your project and let’s keep talking!

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Thank you both - I am looking into other options- I assume if I get a brick with over 25% alumina and smoother than the Pacific, that will be good? Also with a weight of over 7lbs?
Pacific has 21% alumina and a weight close to 7lbs, so…?
And if I were to grade the bricks in terms of the priority- would the floor bricks of the oven take priority over the roof bricks?
Sorry about all ofthe half questions - just not finding what I need in AZ…