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Outdoor Kitchen Build

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An outdoor kitchen adds tremendous enjoyment to al fresco dining and entertainment. It can be as simple as a built-in grill & counter space, or as lavish as you desire.  Follow along as we take you through a typical construction project. This particular kitchen is under a roofed portal, but it could just as easily be built in the open or under a shaded ramada.

Your kitchen can be constructed using wood or steel framing, masonry block, brick, or stone. Brick & stone can serve as both structure & finish sides, while masonry block and steel/wood framing will require finishing on the sides. Steel/wood framing results in more interior space which eases installation of drawers, shelves, and other under counter items.

Regardless of the construction materials you choose, the planning, design, & building steps are similar. Whether you do the work or you use a licensed contractor, be sure to adhere to applicable building codes, and in particular, be sure to follow the manufacturer instructions for products you install.

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Ready To Finish Outdoor Kitchen Systems offers all the components to build the kitchen of your dreams.  They assemble quickly and then are ready to cutout for your grill & accessories, and finish.

Left: Each RTF module comes complete with all panels, pre-attached steel framing, adjustable supports, & hardware. All four corners have levelling legs to accomodate uneven surfaces.
Middle: The four sides screw together. The bottom panel drops in, while the top panel gets screwed to the framing. Each module is a complete box with tops & bottoms.
Right: An assembled module, top not installed yet.  Tabs are used for attaching to adjacent modules.  Notice the masking tape on the concrete. Masking tape and large pieces of cardboard can help you plan out and visualize your counter design.

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Left: Two modules attached, with tops temporarily in place. A section of backsplash module is also installed.
Middle: Grill modules include adjustable support bars to accomodate most barbeque grills. The front panel & it's top rail have been cut out for the grill.
Right: Modules are all assembled. There are two counter sections on the left, a corner section, and on the right a small section and a grill section. If you use a corner layout, be sure you plan so that opening drawers or swinging out doors don't interfere with nearby items on the other leg of the counter.

Most patios have a slight slope for drainage, and they are often somewhat uneven. Levelling legs make it easy to get the counters all straight & level. This is important in order to avoid problems when installing the finish counter top.
Note that access to the side burner on the left of the grill is less than ideal.  Careful planning helps to best utilize the available space, and to insure that compromises are ones you can live with.

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Left: The drawer assembly is circled. The three drawers were enclosed in a box to help keep the contents clean. The rectangular opening on the back of the counter is to vent the grill; it will be covered with a louvered panel.  Venting is required for gas items such as grills and side burners, as well as refrigerators and other heat producing items.
Middle: Rear of the drawer assembly is attached to top bars of the counter module. Top support bars provide a solid base for the finish counter top.
Right: The drawer assembly sits on a simple wood frame that positions the drawers at the desired height.

It is important to critter proof your outdoor kitchen. Minimize all gaps & openings, but make sure grills, refrigerators, and the like can still be removed for service.  Expanding foam sealant works well, especially for irregular gaps.


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Left: Refrigerator opening.  Bottom boards provide a smooth surface for sliding the refrigerator in & out, and the top boards serve as a backstop. Mini fridges are available in various sizes; the 4.4 cu. ft. model used here is about the largest that will fit under a counter. 
Middle: Modular counters provide plenty of room for electrical items, in this case various switches and outlets. Not visible here is an outlet below for plugging in the refrigerator.
Right: Lath has been applied for the stucco. A furring strip has been attached along the counter top edges for tile trim. Scraps from the module cutouts were used. Note the electrical outlet to the right of the drawers for a blender, coffee pot etc.

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Left: Counter top tile has been installed.  Solid granite or composite tops are also popular.  Your supplier can recommend choices that are suitable for exposure to rain and snow.
Middle: Base stucco coat applied over the lath.  Doors under the grill provide access to the gas line & other service items, and can supply additional storage if desired.
Right: Color stucco has been applied. The relatively protected setting here allowed for use of wood fronts.  For more exposed locations stainless steel items are a good choice.

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Left: Finished outdoor kitchen. The television is brought out & set on the counter for use; door left of the fridge conceals the cable TV box. Be sure to plan for adequate task lighting over your counters. 
Right: Multiple dimmable LED ceiling lights serve the kitchen counters & other living areas of this portal. Additional amenities include remote control ceiling fan, and electric infrared heater over the dining table.

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