An outdoor kitchen is something you’ll never regret, not unless your summers are chilly. That’d mean the kitchen has another function. Well, that’s a debate for another day. An outdoor kitchen can be both a fun and practical addition to your backyard. For those of us who’d rather skip lunch than roast in the kitchen, an outdoor kitchen or grill can be a brilliant idea. An outdoor kitchen is an easy thing to make, with the right tools and average skills. The kitchen can employ a wood, steel, brick, or cinder block frame. In this article, I’m going to take you step by step on how to build an outdoor kitchen with a wood frame.
As mentioned above, there are different frame types you can use for your outdoor kitchen. Whichever frame you choose; you’ll need to know the important aspects of it. Below are some considerations you should make when building with a wood frame.
Factors to Consider When Choosing The Frame.
What do you think will be the best frame material for your DIY project? Well, these considerations will help you know if you have the right option for you.
the material you choose to frame your kitchen should be durable enough. It should last as long as the kitchen itself is in use.
- Difficulty level
The material you use for the frame should be the one that matches your skill level. Steel requires experience at things like riveting and welding.
- Tools needed for the assembly
Whenever you want to do a DIY project, the tools available determine the method you go by. Make sure you have all you need to pull off the project seamlessly.
- Level of your skill
You may have done a project involving welding before, but can you make proper welds that do not crumble under the weight? Make sure you can make a quality structure, else, hire someone with the skills.
- Cost of the project
The cost of a given project is the main determinant of how extensive the project will be. Ensure you have the cash before embarking on the project.
Benefits of Using Wood Frame
Different materials have different requirements to work with. One material may prove efficient than the other in some aspects. Below are the reasons you should consider wood.
Of all the frame materials, wood is the most cost-effective to work with. The best wood to frame the kitchen should be the likes of pressure-treated pine. Depending on your geographical location, a square foot of wood can cost you anywhere between $3 and $10.
Of all the framing options, wood is the easiest to work with. You may even make a very attractive wooden structure with little or no experience.
Wood is easy to stick backing on. Accent designs and finishes can easily be added on wood, to give you the look you want.
Disadvantages of Using Wood
Even with the above benefits, wood faces some challenges. These include:
Wood is quite combustible. This means you have to apply a fire retardant coating. An insulated jacket is also necessary to reduce the risk of fire.
- Costly upkeep
Wood is easily destroyed by the forces of nature. Bugs and insects as well as exposure to moisture will bring a wooden structure within no time. You need to apply a protective coating regularly for best performance.
How to Build a Wood Frame Outdoor Kitchen
To make a good structure, the right tools and procedures are necessary to stick by. Below are the requirements and the steps you need to follow.
- Staple gun
- Construction adhesive
- Tin snips
- Mortar (1 bag)
- Builder’s felt
- Tape measure
- Wood (as per your kitchen requirements)
Procedure of Wood Frame Outdoor Kitchen Building
Building the frame
Cut the corner posts for each box by cutting eight pieces of 2×4”, for the length you need the counter to be. Subtract the width of the countertop and the metal standoffs from the length.
With the drill, attach the posts together using a 2.5” deck screws.
For each post make 1.5” deep by 3.5” high notches on the top and bottom of each post. You’ll need a circular saw for this step.
Use stretchers to separate the posts and then cut four 2×4” for the depth of the box. Line up the posts (4), then screw the four 2×4”s to the top and bottom of the posts. The sides are now tied together.
Cut another 2×4”s to the width of the box. Remember to subtract three inches. These are to be run between the top and bottom of the posts on the front and back of the box.
Reinforce the parts where you will have cabinets with 2×4”s in the middle of the bottom framing.
Sheathe the frame
you have three boxes that you should screw together (side by side)
screw metal standoffs at the bottom of each post.
Measure the dimensions of the frame and use a circular saw to cut plywood panels to those dimensions. Apply construction adhesive along the outer edges of the posts and stretchers.
Place the plywood panels on the frame and screw them onto the 2×4”s and secure them with 2” screws.
Leave openings on the sheathing to correspond with the places you’ll install the cabinets.
Building the cabinets
Mae plywood boxes that fit within the frame’s depth.
Secure them together with the construction adhesive and 1.25” screws.
Make a flange around the front of each box measuring 1” wide and 1.25” deep.
Attaching the lath
Lay the builder felt over the entire exposed plywood and secure it with staples (using the staple gun). Apply overlapping sheets of the felt, working from the bottom upwards. Ensure the wires face upwards as you overlay every sheet of wire.
Nail the lath on the plywood. Use stainless steel nails for this step. Ensure you space the nails by 6” vertically and 12” horizontally along the framing.
Overlay the lath at the edges by to inches.
Trim the top of the lath to flush it at the top of the frame. Use tin snips to trim the lath.
Applying the scratch coat
Use a mason’s hoe to mix a bag of mortar with water to the appropriate thickness. The mortar should cling to the top of the trowel when the trowel is flipped upside down.
Make a ring of 1” against the bottom edge of the island. You can use plywood for this step. Apply a 1” thick layer of mortar down the ring and 0.5” over the lath.
The mesh should be seen after the mortar is well laid, leave it to cure for one hour for the scratch coat to get firm.
Using a 0.5” notched trowel, make horizontal scores on the scratch coat surface around the entire mortar surface. Ensure the lines are as parallel to the ground as possible as they’ll guide when placing the stones.
Let the mortar cure further for 24 hours.
Install the cabinet boxes by pushing them through their openings until the back of each box butts against the mortar face. Secure the cabinet boxes into the base frame. You’ll need to access the base and fix the boxes with 2” deck screws.
Fixing the stones
Separate your stones to facilitate making patterns.
Starting with corner pieces, apply a 1” layer of mortar on the L-shaped stones (buttering). Scrap excess mortar on the stones and make V-shaped recessions on the wet mortar.
Start with the bottom course by applying the first cornerstone on the scratch coat. The stone should rest on the bottom board. Push the stone to affix it to the scratch coat and wipe off excess mortar.
Place other stones in a similar manner around the structure, fitting the stone each time, before applying the mortar.
Use a diamond-bladed angle grinder to cut each stone to proper dimensions so that it fits well.
Do not fix any stones over the flanges of the cabinet box(es).
Allow the stones to cure further for 24 hours. You can then add other fixtures like the cabinet doors by screwing them on the cabinet boxes’ flanges.
Install the countertop and the grill as the last.
The finishing is usually a matter of the owner’s preference. You have various options to choose from. Tile, granite, and concrete finishes are the most common for outdoor kitchen countertop.
You also have options for firing your kitchen. The most ideal fuels are natural gas and propane, although propane is better for a few reasons.
- Propane is a cost-effective fuel with a calorific value twice as that of natural gas.
- Propane gas can easily be tapped from a tank to the outdoor kitchen.
Your summer evenings can still be enjoyable in the kitchen- an outdoor kitchen. It is also a great place to hang out with a beer in an afternoon when working on another project outdoors. The steps outlined in this article, plus a little bit of research will have you enjoying a new level of ambiance in your outdoor kitchen.
Jennifer D. Simon has spent the last 26 years studying and practicing nutrition science. She has used a larger part of this time in improving people’s livelihoods. She has done so by coming up with unquestionable ideas on how to tackle food problems in her community. Read More