Building an Outdoor Kitchen in 8 Easy Steps
Building an outdoor kitchen is something you can do on your own as long as you know the steps to follow. In this guide, we are going to tell you how to build an outdoor kitchen in just 8 simple steps.
Step 1: Combustible or Non-Combustible?
The first question you need to ask yourself is if the material of your outdoor kitchen (frame and walls) are combustible or non-combustible.
Combustible material means that the material is essentially flammable or has the potential to catch on fire. The most common combustible material is wood. If any portion of your outdoor kitchen is built with wood, then you are using combustible material, and you need to provide proper protection to ensure the material will not combust in the event of a grill fire.
To do this, you will need to install an insulated grill jacket to surround your grill and keep it cool while also preventing burning. Without an insulated grill jacket surrounding and protecting your grill, you can easily catch the surrounding walls or frame of the outdoor kitchen on fire and destroy your outdoor kitchen and potentially your entire home in just a matter of minutes.
Step 2: Provide Proper Ventilation
The net step in building an outdoor kitchen is to make sure your kitchen will have the proper ventilation. Ventilation is important because it provides gas to escape and keep from building up in the event of a leak. The gas that has built up without proper ventilation can cause serious injury and property damage if it is ignited.
If you are going to use natural gas to fuel your outdoor kitchen, you will need to place vent panels about four to six feet apart and as high as possible on your outdoor kitchen, as natural gas rises.
If you are using propane to fuel your outdoor kitchen, you will need to place vent panels about four to six feet apart and as low as possible as propane is heavy.
Step 3. Will You have Room for Storage?
Before you purchase the first storage cabinet for your outdoor kitchen, think about the grill and the sink. Both of these appliances will need lines (water, gas, etc.) ran to them for them to work. Oftentimes, water or gas lines take up more real estate than is expected, leaving you with an area underneath that cannot be used for storage.
If this is the case, your only option may be access doors that will allow you to access the area underneath.
Step 4. Outdoor Appliances Only
The outdoor kitchen appliances will look like indoor appliances, as they will have the same design and features, but the difference will lie in the grade of the appliance. An indoor appliance will not last in the outdoor elements because it will not be made from materials that are made to withstand the elements. Using an indoor appliance outdoors will lead to deterioration, discoloration, and failure. Only use outdoor appliances for your outdoor kitchen.
Step 5. Plan Your Zones
This part is important. Your outdoor kitchen will need zones assigned to different areas, and these zones are important. For example, you will not want your cooking and cooling zones to be beside each other. Your cooking zone will include the BBQ grill, and your cooling zone will include your refrigerator or ice maker. If these two zones are close to one another, there will be a large amount of heat generated from essentially the same area.
Cooling appliances generate heat because they use a motorized cooling element to provide coolant to the appliance, and this motor puts off heat. Therefore, you will want to keep these zones at least one foot from each other to ensure the zone stays as safe as possible.
Step 6. Measure Your Appliances
When building your outdoor kitchen, you will need to know how big your appliances are so that they fit within the cutouts in the cabinets. You will not want large gaps between the cabinets and the appliances. They will need to fit snug and safe with proper insulation if needed. For this reason, make sure you have the measurements of your appliances before you make the first cut in your kitchen island cabinets.
Step 7. Counter Space, Counter Space, Counter Space
The last thing you will want to do when you walk outside with your tray of food to grill is have no place to set the food before placing it onto your grill. Additionally, if you want to prepare your food outside at your grill, you will need to make sure you have adequate counter space to do so.
So, while you have filled your outdoor kitchen island with all of the appliances you want, make sure you have enough counter space for the job as well.
If not, you can add counter space filler cabinets to add either 6 or 12 inches of additional counter space.
Step 8. Do Your Homework
Getting stuck with an appliance for your outdoor kitchen island all because you didn’t do your homework can be a costly mistake. Before you make your first purchase, research the appliances you are interested in by reading reviews and making sure you understand the specifications of the appliance. Specifications include the material the appliance is made out of, how tall and wide the appliance is, and what type of electrical, gas, or water hookup the appliance will need.
We hope that you understand a little bit more about how to build an outdoor kitchen after reading our step-by-step guide. When you look at each step individually, it makes the process so much simpler.
Think about the design, function, and material your outdoor kitchen will be made out of so that you can make the proper decisions when beginning to build. Last, make sure you read reviews and understand the specifications of any appliance you are considering purchasing.
Knowing what to expect will help you build your outdoor kitchen while facing little to no problems along the way.