Can I Build an Outdoor Kitchen on My Deck?

Posted by Emily Park on Oct 19, 2017 7:42:46 AM

Outdoor kitchen on a deckAs you’re in the brainstorming phases of designing your outdoor kitchen, you’ve got many aspects to consider. One of the most basic questions is where you’re going to put it. Many of our clients choose to put their new kitchens on a patio—but what if the best space you have available is an elevated wooden deck? Can you build an outdoor kitchen on a deck?

The answer is yes—but proceed carefully. Here are some of the important questions you’ll need to answer before starting this project.

How much weight can my deck handle?

Your deck has been crafted with a particular amount of weight support in mind. If you have documentation from your builder or contractor, check to see its weight limits. Then plan the size, features, and building materials of your kitchen accordingly—keeping the weight far below the maximum. Remember that your deck will also have to support the weight of the people gathering around the kitchen as well!

Not sure how much weight your deck can handle? Get a professional to assess it. (Getting someone to check your deck’s soundness is probably a good idea in any case!)

If you’re not sure your deck is quite strong enough, you can have a professional contractor additional structural supports for safety.

Which utilities will I need?

You’ll also want to consider how you’re going to run plumbing, electricity, and/or a gas line to and from your kitchen. In some cases, it may be easy to run the utility lines along the support beams or beneath the deck floor.

But if there’s no safe place to do this, or you can’t incorporate these lines without creating an eyesore, reconsider your use of certain less-essential equipment (such as a sink or refrigerator) that require these utilities. A simple charcoal or propane-tank grill may be the only major appliance you need. It’s much better to figure this out before you’ve started building your kitchen rather than after!

What about fire safety?

For decks made of aluminum, steel, PVC, or other less-combustible materials, the risk of a fire is somewhat lower—but what if your deck is made of wood?

While grill fire safety is important for any outdoor kitchen setup, it’s especially of concern for wooden decks. Not only do you have the risk of occasional live sparks, you should also keep in mind that a grill puts out a lot of dry heat, which can dry out nearby wood and make it more susceptible to burning. (This is the same reason we won’t build outdoor kitchens with wood.)

Granted, the bottom of your grill should not be getting too hot, but you should be careful not to put the grill too close to a wooden railing.

Consider applying a flame-retardant seal on your deck, and keeping up with regular re-applications.

Need more tips?

Check out our other blog posts about outdoor kitchen design:

Want to talk to a professional about your plans? If you’re in the San Jose area, our expert designers would be happy to work with you and give you a free consultation. Call us at 888-7-GRILL-IT, or contact us online.

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Topics: Kitchens