Rotten wood, dirt, and rats are a prevalent sight when opening the doors of an outdoor kitchen.
There are several ways to construct an outdoor kitchen. Concrete block construction is a popular method (with rebar & poured concrete). Wood frame work is also popular (yet not recommended). There are also welded steel and welded aluminum frames.
Dimensionally, all the frames should be at least 30 inches in depth and 36 inches in height.. Indoor kitchens have a depth of only 24 inches. This is where many contractors, pool companies, paver companies, and handymen frequently go wrong. 24 inches is not deep enough for the hood of an outdoor grill to open properly. They need more clearance. Also, a height of 36 inches is crucial for under-counter refrigeration. Standard under-counter refrigerators are 34 inches high and 24 inches wide. The 2 inches above the refrigerator are needed in order to level everything properly, since outdoor patios have a sloped grade for rain.
Wood construction is our least favorite way to build an outdoor kitchen. This is especially true in South Florida (where we are based) because of the rain, humidity, and termites. These aren’t the only battles wood frames face…fire! We all know that wood and fire only go well together in a fire place or a pizza oven. Here you will find a picture of a 5 year old wood & concrete block frame in Palm Beach Gardens, FL.
Even so, building out of wood is fairly simple. In states with less humidity and rain, the frame will hold up better. If you do construct the frame out of wood, you must purchase an insulated jacket along with your grill. The insulated jacket acts as a barrier around the body of the grill in order to keep the heat away from the wood. This is very important! Each grill has its own size insulated jacket, so be sure that it matches with the model you have picked.
Concrete block construction is the most substantial, but in our minds overkill. Outdoor kitchens don’t need to be built like Fort Knox! Concrete block is difficult to work with for numerous reasons. Block on a sloped grade deck is challenging to level versus other construction methods.
It is also very heavy. Typically, pool patios are formed out of brick or natural stone pavers. Pavers take years to settle and are always susceptible to movement. This movement cracks the stucco and stone when attached to the home. It also breaks the seams apart on the countertop, resulting in a droopy and damaged outdoor kitchen.
Another negative we see in block construction is that the concrete blocks take up most of the under-counter space. When you pay a lot of money for stainless steel doors, it’s nice to utilize the space below the grill.
Lastly, alterations to a concrete block kitchen are extremely difficult. Diamond tipped blades need to be utilized in order to cut the block, which always results in imperfections. Most qualified professionals aren’t interested in redesigning an existing kitchen. It is easier to completely tear down and rebuild.
Welded steel is a good way to build outdoor kitchens. It only has one downfall…rust! No matter what climate, steel frames rust over time. The positives are that it is wide open inside and that it can be altered if changes need to be made in the future. It is also light weight in comparison to the block construction.
Welded aluminum frames are by far our favorite. This is the construction method that we personally use to build kitchens. It’s the lightest in weight, easiest to make alterations to, has open space inside, and does not rust! It is durable, quick to level, and simple to attach cement board. Once fabricated, welded aluminum framework can be leveled, bolted into place, cement boarded, and have facia installed in a single day.
Furthermore, this framework keeps time on the jobsite to a minimum, which is a win-win for both the construction company and the client.
If you have any questions on what framework you should choose and what appliances would be best suited for your outdoor kitchen, please call us a (561) 254-6701.