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DIY Outdoor Kitchen: 6 Things to Remember
1. Don't Go Indoor With Your Outdoor
Only use outdoor approved products and appliances for your backyard kitchen. Indoor appliances simply are not designed to be exposed to the outside elements. Discoloration and warping from sun exposure are just the start of a string of issues. And if the internal workings are exposed to the weather, the products will fail and all warranties voided.
And visa-versa. Don't use outdoor products indoors as they won't have the proper ventilation to be burned in an in-closed space and risk starting a fire with so much open exposure to combustible items. (Double check the product descriptions and specs as select products are available for both indoor and outdoor use.)
2. Beat the Heat With A Grill Jacket
An insulated grill jacket is a metal insert that surrounds your grill that will not only keep your outdoor kitchen from bursting to flames, but also acts as additional support for your grill.
3. Know Your Numbers
Always double check the dimensions of your appliances before making that first cut. If you don't have the product on hand, call up the manufacturer or a representative in sales to get the exact specs that you need. Nothing makes you want to rip out your hair more than finding out the space you cut is too big, and now you either have to start over or try to cover it up. Not fun. So double, even triple check everything before bringing out the power tools.
4. Location, Location, and Ventilation.
Just because your kitchen is set up outdoors doesn't mean that a vent isn't needed. And location is important. If your outdoor kitchen uses the heavier, liquid propane that sinks, the vents need to be placed as low as possible. If you're using the lighter, natural gas that rises, the vents need to be installed up high.
As always when dealing with gas, we recommend a licensed contractor installs the vents to assure that it's done properly. It will give you a piece of mind in the long run as the alternative could lead to serious injuries and the loss of the kitchen or even your home.
5. All About That Space
Counter space is just as important in your outdoor kitchen as it is in your indoor kitchen. Make sure to leave plenty of space for the hot dog and hamburger plate while the chef of the house grills them up, room to prep food, a buffet area, and/ or even a bar at the counter to eat and entertain at.
6. Fire and Ice Don't Mix
When planning out your outdoor kitchen area, keep cooking and cooling appliances separate. It might be tempting to put that mini fridge within easy reach of your grill for easy access to your favorite beverage. However, this is a safety issue and both of these units put off heat, and the fridge has to work harder to keep itself cool if it's up against or underneath the grill. This can shorten the life of your refrigerator.
If you're limited on space, a good rule of thumb is one foot distance. And add a barrier inside the structure of the island between the hot and cold appliances.