HOW TO BUILD AN
STEP BY STEP
by Ryan Marko, ATBBQ.com Outdoor Kitchen Expert
STEP BY STEP
If you've got some basic skills and a couple of handy friends, you too can build a grill island or outdoor kitchen. Here is the step-by-step instructions to simplify even the most complex project. The key to your success is the frame, get that right and you'll get the results of your dreams. At All Things Barbecue, we design and construct custom-built steel frames for your unique design. The welded construction delivers strength and precision, speeds installation, and produces an unequalled finished product. We can ship the frame to your doorstep or our team can complete the project within days of setting the frame.
SETTING AND LEVELING THE FRAME:
- Tape Measure
- Level (6' long is recommended)
- Adjustable Crescent Wrench
- 9/16" Crescent or Socket Wrench (bolting frame sections together)
- 3/4" Crescent or Socket Wrench (tightening leveling feet)
- Impact Driver or Drill
- 1/2" Cement Board
- 1" Self Drilling Lath Screws
- Utility Knife
- Something to Cut Cement Board (Angle Grinder with 4.5" Diamond Wheel)
- 1" Self Drilling Lath Screws
- 24" Level
- Composite Shims
SET AND LEVEL THE FRAMES:
- Move the frames into position.
- Insert the connecting bolts into the frames and loosely install the nuts.
- Adjust the leveling feet. Start with the frame set 1/2" off the ground and begin the leveling process from there. This minimum height creates enough clearance under the doors and drawers to allow room for finish materials. This also creates space for drainage paths when necessary.
- Level the frame. Using a 6' level, assess the grade. Start in the center of the frame and establish a 1/2" off the ground minimum height and begin the leveling process from there. This minimum height creates enough clearance under the doors and drawers to allow room for finish materials. This also creates space for drainage paths when necessary. Adjusting the leveling feet as you go, work your way toward the ends. Snug the connecting bolts joining the frames as you go. Once the frame is level, fully tighten the backup bolts on the leveling feet and the connecting bolts that join the frames.
Rough in electrical and plumbing
Rough-in and complete the electrical, gas, and integrated lighting as needed for your project.
APPLY CONCRETE BACKER BOARD:
NOTE: If your project has corbels and a bar top, do not apply backer board to the backsplash first. Set Corbels to determine where to drill holes in the frame for the corbel mounts. Pre-drill holes and test fit corbels. Remove Corbels before applying Concrete Backer Board. For further instructions on installing corbels, see: Installing corbels to support a bar top.
- Skin the sides of the frame (that finish materials will be applied to) with 1/2" Durock or Permabase.
- Trace and cut the openings for the undercounter components, such as doors, drawers, and appliances.
- Secure the concrete backer board to the frame with 1" self-drilling screws.
INSTALL THE UNDERCOUNTER DOORS AND DRAWERS:
- Start by removing the laser film at the edges of the stainless steel components where the finish materials will meet the frames. Leave the rest of the laser film in place for protection during the construction process.
- Set the door into the frame and insert composite shims to square in the opening, use a level to confirm plumb and level. Use 1" self-tappers to secure the door on all four sides. This will insure a properly aligned installation.
ADDITIONAL INSTALLATION DETAIL FOR SETTING UNDERCOUTNER COMPONENTS THAT HAVE A FULL OR PARTIAL ENCLOSURE, SUCH AS A PANTRY OR TRASH ROLLOUT:
In openings that will receive a component with an enclosure, you will notice a 1 1/4" horizontal member toward the rear of the enclosure. Use composite shims to level the component. This will distribute the weight of the enclosure and provide smooth operation.
INSTALLING CORBELS TO SUPPORT A BAR TOP:
Once the frame has been leveled and skinned, the corbels will be bolted to the frame, flush to the concrete board. The tabs/fins of the corbels will bolt intermittently to the uprights of the bar frame. This will require cutting slices in the cement board where the fins will slide in, and drilling holes in the frame uprights to run bolts through.
Begin at one end, using a level to ensure the top of the corbel is flush with the top of the bar frame. Repeat the process at the opposite end of the bar, using a string line to maintain level as you install the remainder of the corbels.
TEMPLATE AND INSTALL THE COUNTERTOP.
Your granite company will template and install the countertop. They’ll measure the unit, taking into consideration any overhang, and make cutouts for cookers, power burners, sinks and other features according to appliance manual specifications.
INSTALL THE APPLIANCES:
This may seem a little counterintuitive, however, by installing the appliances before setting the finish material (stone, brick, tile or other) you know exactly where to stop the finish material around the appliances. This allows you to set the finish material up to the bottom of the granite (countertop material) without having big gaps to caulk between the it and the granite. Granite does not sit perfectly flat, so it's common to get up to 1/2" gap between the granite and the stone or other finish material. This is even more helpful when your design has changes in counter heights to accommodate ceramic grills and Power Burners that are set below 36" and when dealing with a 42" bar height. This approach lets the stone mason or tile setter plan and execute the installation with increased accuracy. In the end, we have found that this results in the best finished product.