On this page I continue my interview with Joe Raboine, President of Harmony Outdoor Living, Inc.
Q. It behooves a homeowner who has made a substantial investment to protect it, and outdoor brick ovens perhaps are no exception. For those building brick ovens, what do they need to know about maintenance? How do you keep outdoor brick ovens in a condition that will, indeed, bring the sort of ROI discussed on the prior page?
A. If the building is done properly, there is very little maintenance required on outdoor brick ovens. Annual inspections of the exterior to look for cracks where water can infiltrate are really the only maintenance required. As in any structure, water entering it can do damage over time, so it’s important to prevent that. Other than that, there is really no maintenance. An occasional power wash to keep it looking beautiful is always recommended!
Q. OK, let’s say someone is sold on the idea. Are outdoor brick ovens something that do-it-yourselfers can build, themselves?
A. Most outdoor brick ovens come in kits from Europe and take several days or weeks to build. As such, they are often a budget-friendly option.
So there are outdoor brick ovens that come in multiple-piece kits that are possible for the DIY'er to build. However, they all require some level of masonry skill to construct. Anyone unfamiliar with general masonry techniques can become frustrated. Outdoor brick ovens can be very time consuming to build. Again, the most important part after building the dome is to create a structure that keeps the elements away from the dome itself. If one is unsure about their abilities, I would recommend hiring a professional or buying a pre-built unit such as ours (where everything is 99% complete already).
Q. What if you, as a do-it-yourselfer, take on the challenge of building an outdoor brick oven, only to find out, afterwards, that you’re not up to the challenge? Are you left with a pile of useless clay bricks in your yard?
A. It is highly recommended to obtain these from a professional company that specializes in the field, so they can offer installation should the need suddenly arise for the would-be do-it-yourselfer.
As long as you are not too far along, the unit can usually be salvaged, although, sometimes it can be more expensive to undo the damage done than it would have been if one had done nothing at all.
Q. That still sounds a bit scary. For homeowners interested in building outdoor brick ovens who don’t wish to go the kit route, what alternatives are there?
A. They can go the prefab route. Entire outdoor brick oven models are built to exact standards and come in limitless styles and sizes to fit any outdoor room. Building with one means the pre-designed piece arrives in its entirety and can thus be affixed. Still a professional should oversee the project to ensure a correct installation that is sound and sturdy.
This is a great option for those unwilling to risk the building of a traditional “stick built” oven. Plus, if they ever decide to move or remodel, the outdoor brick oven is portable and can be relocated.
Q. Any final thoughts on outdoor brick ovens?
A. Accessories and accents made of diverse stone inlay and other materials balance outdoor brick ovens and can be added with the help of a design company.
Outdoor brick ovens are one of the hottest trends, and one of the most exciting features in outdoor living today. Homeowners are looking for unique ways to enjoy their backyards, and outdoor brick ovens can enhance their entertainment and relaxation experience. Outdoor brick ovens can be used year round, even in cold climates, allowing homeowners to put their signature on meals for everyday consumption or for special events.