If you have a deck in your yard, you probably love to kick back and relax with a drink and some food. Enjoying a quiet evening on your deck, or hosting a family fun day in the summer in your yard space are some of the most rewarding experiences ever, and adding an outdoor kitchen to the area can take things to a whole new level.
However, designing one is no small feat, and each outdoor kitchen is different, meaning you’ll have to put in a lot of work to get the right result. If you’re thinking of sprucing up your space, here’s everything you need to consider before installing an outdoor kitchen.
Can You Install An Outdoor Kitchen On A Deck?
The simple answer is yes, you can install an outdoor kitchen on your deck, but to pull it off, you’ll need to plan the process carefully from start to finish. We’ll dive into these points in depth a little later, but your most important considerations should be…
- Your deck’s loading capacity
- The materials of your deck
- How electricity and drainage will be arranged and connected
- What appliances you need to install
Before you think of all these things, the simplest way to start the process is to imagine yourself using the kitchen. Think of yourself cooking and preparing food in the kitchen, and ask yourself…
What movements will I be making, and what’s the most efficient layout? Of course, these are some pretty big questions to tackle, so if you’re struggling, a professional kitchen designer can help you integrate your appliances and arrange your kitchen in the most practical way.
Your Deck’s Weight Loading Capacity
Before you start thinking about all the mod cons in your kitchen, you’ll need to answer the most important question of them all – how much weight can my deck handle? Thankfully, the formula for determining your decks’ weight loading capacity is pretty simple: calculate the total area in square feet. The load on top of your deck should be calculated in pounds per square foot (PSF).
The total load required will be made up of two things: the dead and the live load. The dead load is the amount of weight on the deck, and the live load is all of the extras you’ll be adding on the top, including the appliances, furniture, planters, and accessories. So, you should multiply the square foot by 50 PSF to get your answer. If you’ve never done these calculations before, we’d recommend consulting a contractor for a more accurate estimate.
Water, Gas, And Electricity
If you’ve established the weight-loading capacity of your deck, congratulations… you’re over the first hurdle! However, your shiny new kitchen will be meaningless if your utilities aren’t connected correctly. Here are a few things to consider:
If you’re adding a sink to your outdoor kitchen, you’ll need to hook it up with water. This means running a water line from the kitchen to your house, which can get complicated if your kitchen is far away from the house.
If you live in a colder climate, you’ll also need to ensure your water line is insulated and buried well below frost level to prevent freezing. Don’t forget to test your water and improve its quality when required.
Another important consideration is gas. If you’re using a gas grill in your kitchen, this will require either propane or natural gas. Whatever option you choose, it should be piped from your line or main tank.
It’s also possible that your grill will have a separate propane canister, and a natural gas grill will need to be hooked up by a professional.
What’s one of the most important things in a kitchen? Electricity. Without electricity, you probably won’t be able to use many of the appliances on your decking, so consider this carefully.
If you’re using appliances such as a bar fridge or a blender, these will require individual outlets. An electric grill is a popular addition to outdoor kitchens, and it will also require an accessible and convenient outlet.
Working with electricity always comes with big risks, so ensure you’re taking extra precautions. Your circuits will need to be grounded and secure, so we’d recommend contacting a licensed professional to do the work for you. This will eliminate the risk of electrical fires or shocks.
Outdoor Kitchen Solutions For Decks
So…. How exactly do you build an outdoor kitchen on a deck, and what do you need to consider? Thankfully, there are far more outdoor kitchen and bar solutions available today than ever before. Whatever your budget or skills, you can find the right solution for you.
Work With A Contractor
The simplest solution by far is to work with a contractor. You can hire a contractor to build your outdoor kitchen entirely from scratch. Although this is far easier than other methods, it doesn’t come without its challenges.
Contractors will do most of the masonry on your outdoor decking, however, many prefer to use stone masonry. Although this is an extremely versatile option, stone masonry is extremely weighty, and your decking may be unable to handle the weight. This could lead to a damaged deck or injuries on the job. Talk to your contractor in-depth before starting work.
Prefabricated Outdoor Kitchen
If you want to make things easier, you could also opt for a prefabricated outdoor kitchen. These kitchens are completely pre-built, so aside from checking the dimensions and the weight loading capacity, you’ll have very little to think about!
Prefabricated outdoor kitchens are an appealing option, but they also come in limited designs. Depending on the dimensions of your decking, you may struggle to find a prefab kitchen that fits.
Prefab kitchens can also be challenging to maneuver into small spaces, which may make it difficult to install properly. They also require heavy machinery, and you may be advised to reconfigure your decking to make it fit… this can be a lot of compromise.
Ready-To-Assemble Outdoor Kitchen Kits For Decks
If you’re looking for a simpler option, we’d recommend a ready-to-assemble outdoor kitchen unit. These are one of the best options for decking; they’re high-quality, customizable, and easy to install, making it one of the most versatile and robust options for outdoor decking.
So, how do these mystical kitchens work?
Well, your outdoor kitchen will be manufactured as individual panels with countertops. The panels and countertops are then delivered to you, and all you need to do is assemble them! Some systems also come with built-in grills and appliances, depending on your preferences.
The Bottom Line
Yes, it’s entirely possible to build an outdoor kitchen on your decking, and regardless of your dimensions and weight loading capacity, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. However hooking up your appliances to water, gas, and electricity may be your biggest challenge.
Whether you’re working with a contractor, using a prefab kitchen, or a ready-to-assemble kit, you’ll have a lot to consider. Consult a professional for more advice before beginning your project.