If you enjoy spending time outside and love to barbecue, you may be considering building an outdoor grill. There are many beautiful examples on the internet, but be aware that builds like these are usually done by professionals. If you are thinking of constructing an outdoor kitchen or of extending a gas line from the house, you will almost certainly need planning approval and designing expertise; this is not a do-it-yourself kind of project. Before doing anything, check with the local government planning office in the county where you live (Morgan, DeKalb, Gwinnett, or Cobb).
However, if you want a simple structure for your grill that’s fueled by a propane tank, you can probably manage this (with help!) in a couple of weekends. Please note that the US Consumer Product Safety Commission warns never to use “a grill indoors due to carbon monoxide (CO) and fire hazards. And use the grill at least 10 feet away from your house or any building. Do not use the grill in a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, or under a surface that will burn.”
- Gas grill and propane tank
- Large tile saw
- ½” hammer drill
- 2 CF Electric concrete mixer
- Concrete and mortar trowels
- String level
- Plumb bob
- Ear and eye protection
- Close-toed shoes
- ½” rebar
- Building bricks (wall blocks) of your choice (whatever matches your aesthetic)
- Capstones or tiles for the countertops
- Dry mortar mix
- Garden hose
- Begin with a level concrete pad in a safe location. At this point, lay out the size of your grill structure (two large square posts on either side of the grill) and mark the boundaries.
- You will be building the brick structure around your existing gas grill, so trace around it (or measure carefully), making sure to leave ½” on either side. You will need that small space between the grill and the bricks so that you can push the grill in after the structure is built. By the way, if your grill has trays or “wings” on either side, remove those. Simply folding them down will leave too much space between the grill and the brick and won’t look very attractive. With proper maintenance, a gas grill can last over 10 years, but the average American replaces his or her gas grill every 3 years. This means that you will want to be able to easily extricate and replace your grill when the time inevitably comes for an upgrade or replacement.
- For permanent brick structures, it is suggested that you anchor the bricks to the concrete pad. This is where the hammer drill will come in handy – for drilling the holes you need for rebar support.
- Drill the holes every 12” along the center of the pad along where the base of your surround will go. These will support the rebar that the bricks will fit onto and around.
- Mix the brick mortar in the concrete mixer according to manufacturer instructions.
- Now fill in where the rebar is and begin placing the blocks and joining them together with the mortar mixture. Make sure to keep the mortar an inch or so away from the outside of each block so that it doesn’t ooze out. Use a string level to ensure that each layer of bricks remains level horizontally. The plumb bob can be used to ensure the vertical level.
- Build each column (do this one at a time) to a height 2-3 inches below the grilling surface of your grill.
- You can cap off the bricks with cap bricks (these don’t have holes) or with ceramic tile or another surface that you have measured and cut with the tile saw. It’s okay for the “counters” to hang over the edges of the columns you have built. They will be firmly anchored in place, and you will want the extra room to put those platters of enormous ribeyes.
- One final note: It is possible to build a back to your surround – a narrow wall connecting your two columns that goes behind your grill. However, whether you should do this or not depends on the type of grill you have. You need space for ventilation. You may also need an open back so that you can easily access the propane tank. If you do build a back to your surround, when you decide on the height, make sure to leave space for your grill’s hood to open.
Please do your research before beginning a grill project. There are many options open to you. For example, the directions above are for a freestanding grill with a built-in surround, but many actual built-in grills are available for more ambitious outdoor kitchen projects. These grills are long-lasting, but expensive, costing $2,200-$4,500 or even more. There are plenty of procedurals and YouTube videos showing wooden frame constructions paired with metal internal frames and fire retardant insulation for drop-in grills.
Whichever type of project you decide to go with, Northside Tool Rental has everything you need for the job. Contact one of our experts today to discuss what tools you need and how we can fully equip you to get the job done. We have convenient locations in Marietta, Gwinnett, Doraville, and Buckhead. Call us at 404-233-6722 to get your project started.