ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Building outdoor kitchen bbq having fun and saving thousands

Updated on May 8, 2008

BBQ Island for $500: step-by-step


Years after years we've been looking at expensive BBQ islands in the showrooms. Shiny and poorly built with plastic tops and sides spray-painted to create illusion of stucco finish they were falling apart on my friends' backyards after one season in the Northwest.

We really wanted summer kitchen, considering time we normally spent cooking outside using our grills and smoker. Deck was built already, but we've decided to add one more level for kitchen island only.

Step 1: Estimate how big of an island you need, which shape, and which BBQ you will be buying. We've decided on Vermont brand after reading about it at Amazon and checking quality at local Home Depot. Try to get one with straight corners, side burner, and with hidden underneath wheels. It made sense to buy complete unit instead of going for "separate head and separate side burner" sets. Top quality Vermont (made in Canada) with side burner was $649, while head itself (made in China) was around $800 plus $400 for extra burner. We've bought couple 20% OFF coupons on eBay and got BBQ for $519 (get your construction materials at the same time, so coupon would work for 20% OFF TOTAL PURCHASE).

Step 2: Decide which stainless steel doors you want and how many. Measure them on Weber grill you like at the store. Call Weber and order them for about $40 each. So-called "Door Kit for Built-in BBQ" costs about $400 from the same manufacturer. Complete framing with 2x4 PT boards, calculating walls' lengths and hights so less cutting will be required during installation of 12"x12" stone slates (they are actually 11 3/4"x11 3/4"). Considering 1/4" spacing you might want to make top 24" wide (2 slates). Frame opening(s) for door(s). REMEMBER to make openings 1/2" larger then you'll need them considering thickness of beckerboard+adhesive+slate. So for 20"x20" door you will need opening framed at 20 1/2" by 20 1/2". Make sure while framing top, that it has to be at slight angle backward (outside) to allow rainwater to run off, but not inside your island.

Step 3: Run conduit for outlet, lights and water pipes during framing process.

Step 4: Install beckerboard. Use 1/2" thick. Do not use Wonderboards: they are for floors and not as tough as Hardibeckers. You will need special blade to cut them: one that marked for cutting Hardiplank siding.

Step 5: Start installing natural stone slates. They only cost (with coupon) 90 cents each, got beautiful colors and can withstand any weather without compromising quality. I bought a simple 12" chop saw on eBay for $30 delivered price with "diamond" blade. It is still good after finishing this project.

Step 6: Use synthetic blend (polymer) as a mortar and for grout I went with Keracolor S Sanded type, since spaces were about 1/4". Upon washing off excess grout and letting stones dry, "Impregnator 511" sealer was applied to all slated surfaces.

Step 6: Because Vermont grill is a "stand-alone" model and did not have rear heat-resisting panel, one sheet of galvanized steel was installed behind it prior to rolling BBQ in place. Refrigirator was added for summer months.

Total cost was around $1200 (with grill and refrigerator). Materials alone: under $500





    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Michael 3 months ago

      I want to drop a Weber kettle into the top of the island worried about the heat if there would be a fire

    • profile image

      Yev 15 months ago

      I would never ever use a wooden frame in a bbq island. Why even risk fire, and what burns better then anything? Wood. You can buy metal studs at Home Depot, it's a bit more work to make a frame out of it, but at least it's fire proof. The rest of the steps are the same, you can still attach backer board to it. Also if you in the northern states extra precautions need to be taken to waterproof hardibacker.

    • profile image

      Mara Leach 2 years ago

      Did you allow for space for the vents on the sides and back of grill? If not, have you had an issues? We are trying to do this with a Kitchenaid stand alone grill, but are concerned about covering the vents.

    • Kelsey Farrell profile image

      Kelsey Elise Farrell 2 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Nice hub, I'll have to pass this onto my family who are in the middle of redoing their backyard.

    • profile image

      Rick 2 years ago

      Nice job looks great.

    • profile image

      Betty 7 years ago

      Thanks for sharing Robert. Betty

    • profile image

      altanet 7 years ago


      This is as step-by-step as I did it few years ago. Still looks good, but I don't have any plans, since everything was tied up to the size of the deck, tile pieces and BBQ' dimensions.

    • profile image

      Robert Ramirez 7 years ago

      By any chance you happen to have a step by step guide? if you do can you publish them or you want some $$ so I can use it to build mine?

    • profile image

      cagie 9 years ago

      Nice design idea. I think I might have used 2" thick concrete block in the grill area to ensure no flamables are in contact.