7 things you must know when building an outdoor kitchen

More and more people are adding outdoor kitchens to their homes these days. An outdoor kitchen can be an excellent addition to your property because it gives you the freedom to host those summer barbecues with your friends and family, provides your guests more room to mingle and relax, and can expand the overall size of your living space.

By enlarging your living space, there’s a good chance you’ll also raise your home’s value as well. There are many factors that can increase your home’s price such as the overall design of the outdoor kitchen and the materials incorporated into it. For instance, an outdoor kitchen with marble, granite, or quartz countertops will typically raise the value of a home much more than one composed of laminate countertops. The more you choose to invest in this modern luxury, the more your property will be worth on the market.

Other reasons why outdoor kitchens have gained popularity is because they use less electricity, they’re a great place to host Sunday brunch, and they keep unpleasant cooking odors outdoors.

Outdoor kitchens are definitely a great investment, but before you make a decision, here are 7 things you must know.

1) Figure out what you want before you ask for an estimate

Before you can even start asking local home improvement companies for estimates, it’s best to figure out what kind of design you’re looking for, the type of materials you want to use, and the specific appliances you want to be incorporated in the kitchen. Neglecting to plan this out early will typically result in problems down the line, or worse, an outdoor kitchen you’re not completely satisfied with.

When deciding on all the specifics, the most important thing to consider is how you’ll be utilizing the kitchen. For example, if you’re planning on using your outdoor kitchen to primarily host casual parties, a mini bar and a wine rack would be excellent additions. On the other hand, if you know you’re going to be cooking a lot of the time outside, decide on what kind of specialized grill would suit your needs best. Charcoal grills are wonderful for cooking burgers, steaks, and barbecuing meat, while wood-burning ovens do well in cooking pizzas and other tasty entrees.

Other features you may want to consider are a grill station, a kitchen island, sky lighting, a fireplace or a fire pit, or an awning to block the sun. These features have the potential to greatly contribute to the overall beauty and design of your outdoor kitchen.

The last thing that you’ll want to consider is the placement! Unless you’re planning on building your outdoor kitchen with a running faucet, a sink, and a refrigerator, it’s best to build it near your house. This will keep you from having to walk long distances with leftovers, dirty dishes, condiments, and other items that have to be put away inside the house.

2) Get an honest estimate and know what your budget is

Now that you’ve decided on a specific design and chosen both the materials and features of your kitchen, you can start asking local home improvement companies for an estimate on your project. Firstly, make sure to establish a budget and request an estimate from a variety of different companies. Don’t go with the first quote you receive, but ask around. It’s also important to read a company’s customer reviews, as well as ask for references, before hiring them.

According to This Old House, an online site that posts articles relating to home improvement projects, outdoor kitchens can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $15,000 and sometimes even more! This price is really dependent on the overall design, the materials used, and the number of appliances integrated into the project. For instance, a sink, a microwave, and a refrigerator are facets that aren’t integral to an outdoor kitchen, yet they’re definitely convenient. By adding these luxuries to your plan, you’ll drive the overall cost of the project up by quite a lot.

It’s important to have a ballpark estimate in regards to what your project’s cost is before you officially hire a company to get started on your outdoor kitchen. This will help smooth out any pressing issues and ensure that you don’t spend more than you anticipated. Lastly, always save yourself a little extra cash for unexpected problems. Things like electrical and plumbing issues can spring up suddenly and having a slush fund set aside can save your project.

3) Electrical and plumbing work will require permits

Most simple home construction work will not require a permit to complete. However, if your project consists of electrical or plumbing work, then permits will definitely be necessary. If you aren’t fully confident about whether or not a work permit is required, be sure to check with your local jurisdiction. Failure to have a permit can result in hundreds of dollars in unnecessary fines. This can all be easily avoided.

4) Incorporate a reliable heat source

outdoor living space with a fire pit to be use as a heating source for the cols day

Summer and fall nights can be cool occasionally and when entertaining company, it’s best to assure their comfort. Portable furnaces, firepits, and fireplaces work wonderfully with outdoor kitchens. For example, a brick furnace is a snazzy feature that can be used as a social vehicle for laughter and stories. The furnace keeps everyone warm, and the brick design adds a special pop to the overall design of the outdoor kitchen. Fire pits are also eye-catching features that give you the ability to roast hotdogs and cook smores. There are many options to choose from, so get creative!

5) How much can an outdoor kitchen raise the overall value of your home?

One of the benefits of building an outdoor kitchen is that it’ll raise the overall worth of your property. As mentioned earlier, the amount your home will increase in value varies based on the kinds of materials and appliances utilized in your project. However, Home Advisor, a company that provides readers with advice on buying homes, states that an outdoor kitchen can raise the value of a home anywhere from $10,670 to $50,000. This is quite impressive and can turn out to be a nice return if you ever decide to sell.

Absolute Outdoor Kitchens, an online home improvement site, also encourages homeowners who want to make a serious profit to incorporate a large, gorgeous countertop. High-quality countertops are one of the most desired features amongst interested buyers today. Another suggestion they have is building an outdoor kitchen around a grill. Homes that have an outdoor kitchen like this tend to sell quicker and for more.

6) Properly caring for your outdoor kitchen is important

Since it is a large investment, you’ll want to make sure to properly take care of your outdoor kitchen. This will help extend the life of it, while also keeping it sanitary and clean for guests. First, after each use, clean the inside of the grill. By doing this, your food will cook better, you’ll prevent the need for a deep cleaning down the road, and you’ll extend the life of your grill as well.

In addition to this, you’ll also want to wipe down the countertops regularly with warm water, soft soap, and a soft cloth or sponge. Keeping your countertops clean is a great way to prevent cross-contamination or the spread of harmful bacteria.

Finally, if your outdoor kitchen is not covered by an overhead roof, you’ll want to make sure that you protect your outdoor countertops, stove, grill, and anything else that can be damaged by moisture with a waterproof tarp. Consistent exposure to moisture can stimulate the growth of mold, so make sure to wipe down all surfaces after every storm or rain shower. You might also consider protecting your countertops with a tough sealer.

7) Make sure you winterize your outdoor kitchen

Anyone who lives in a geographical area that receives heavy snow and/or cold temperatures should winterize their outdoor kitchen. By doing this, you’ll keep this area of your home looking great and running well for many years to come. So, how do you winterize your home?

  • Shut off all the waterlines: Any waterline leading to your outdoor kitchen should be turned off by using the inside water shutoff valve.
  • Make sure all water lines are drained: This includes lines running into ice makers, sinks, refrigerators, and anything else connected to a waterline.
  • Open up your drain lines: All drain lines should remain open during the winter months (what you’re trying to do here is protect the lines from freezing water).
  • Clean your grill well: It’s important that the grill receives a deep clean before the winter months.
  • Protect your cabinets: If your outdoor kitchen has cabinets, you’ll want to winterize them. For stainless steel cabinets, use a stainless steel polish. Wood cabinets should be sealed with an oil or a varnish of some sort.

Final Thoughts

Investing in an outdoor kitchen is not only a big decision, but it’s also an expensive one, too. However, by choosing the right design, appropriate materials, and the best appliances for your needs, you’ll enjoy your outdoor kitchen for years to come. The important thing is to take your time, research local home improvement companies, and establish a budget. This will ensure you’re still getting what you want at a price that’s right for you.

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