What better way to make your neighbors jealous than converting your deck into an outdoor kitchen? Outdoor living spaces have been a trending topic in recent years. Homeowners are taking better advantage of their under-utilized deck space by converting it into an outdoor kitchen area with the right consideration for safety and functionality.
Not only do these spaces provide a great outdoor option for entertaining and gatherings, they will also help you build equity in your home. If you’re not sure where to start, then you’re in the right place. There are some important considerations to think about when converting your outdoor deck into a kitchen.
Regarding safety for outdoor kitchens, there are two main considerations: the physical and electrical components of the kitchen setup itself, and how they interact with other parts of your home, such as wiring or plumbing.
Components of an Outdoor Kitchen
When adding weight to an existing deck, you will need to consult a contractor or structural engineer. They will ensure your deck is able to shoulder the extra weight or instruct you on what to do if it can’t.
Also consider the fact that you will be adding at least one heat source to a likely combustible surface. Grills, ovens, stoves, and spits all pose a risk of potential fires. If you’re not sure about your existing deck’s ability to handle an additional heat source or need help determining the best placement for it, then talk with a qualified contractor.
Planning for Additional Electrical and Plumbing Infrastructure
Having running water and electricity for your outdoor kitchen can be a game changer. It can turn your otherwise bland deck with a grill on it into a full-fledged hosting and entertainment area.
For safety reasons, you will need to have outlets and a GFCI receptacle installed. If your deck is not close enough to any main electrical lines or natural gas piping, then you may want to install the necessary plumbing as well. The costs of this are usually assessed by size of project.
Whatever type of outdoor kitchen space that you are looking to create, there’s a lot more than just installing fixtures. Plan out what utilities you’ll need ahead before beginning construction so that it runs smoothly once finished!
Functionality of your Outdoor Kitchen
As with all other spaces of your home, layout is important here. Considering the type of entertaining you plan to do, along with your own ergonomics, will help you design the layout.
For example, if you plan to use an outdoor cooking station for some of your entertaining then the layout will be different than someone who intends on using it primarily as a prep and storage space.
Once you have decided what sort of functionality is right for you – or at least narrowed down your options – focus on how much workspace and storage area there should be. The more frequently used items in this type of setup are usually stored nearby so that they can be accessed quickly without having to search through other parts of the kitchen when preparing food.
The Finishing Touches for your Outdoor Kitchen
No outdoor kitchen deck would be complete without the proper lighting, railing, seating, or accessories. Working with a designer for this too would be a good move. They can help you determine:
- how much seating you’ll need
- where lighting should be installed
- how much electrical work you’ll need for the project
- and what style railings and accessories best match the design and feel of your space