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Outdoor Kitchen NJ: 7 Shocking Factors that Affect Cost

By James King

August 9, 2022

You’re looking for a way to upgrade your outdoor living space…

And you’re interested in an outdoor kitchen.

Being in New Jersey, that’s an excellent (and popular) choice!

It’s no secret why outdoor kitchens are a fan-favorite in New Jersey.

With 141 miles worth of shoreline… There’s no better way to enjoy that beautiful backdrop.

Even if your house isn’t on the Shore…

The Garden State offers comfortable temperatures most months of the year. So you can easily enjoy your outdoor kitchen as much as you want!

But before you embark on such a project…

You need to know what outdoor kitchen NJ cost truly is.

Let’s start with a baseline.

A postcard from new jersey with an rta outdoor kitchen on it

Nationwide Averages

In order to understand what impacts outdoor kitchen cost in New Jersey… It’s key to know what the nationwide averages are.

This will give us a template with which to compare.

Currently, nationwide average cost for an outdoor kitchen is around $12,000-$13,000.

In most cases… You can get a large straight island or modest L-shaped grill island for this price.

But in New Jersey?

The averages may look a little different.

Let’s see why.

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Aspects that Affect Outdoor Kitchen Cost in NJ

As with any consumer good… There are multiple factors that affect the final price.

With high-ticket items such as outdoor kitchens… These factors can cause wide swings in cost!

First and foremost, quality is king.

BBQ Island Material Quality

a metal frame outdoor kitchen falling apart after a few winters

It’s no secret that you want your outdoor kitchen to last as long as possible.

At the end of the day… The longevity of your grill island depends on materials.

Especially when you live in New Jersey.

Why?

Well, the winters get cold! The months of December through February regularly see low temperatures below freezing.

The constant freezing and thawing is a huge stress on your outdoor kitchen. Not all BBQ island materials can handle it!

Wood will swell, warp, rot, and even get moldy… Not to mention, it’s a fire hazard with a hot grill!

Metal found in outdoor kitchen frames are also problematic. In cold climates… The constant temperature fluctuation causes damage from the outside in.

Whether it’s finished with outdoor tile, stucco, brick or stone… These components can easily crack or pop off. This leaves the interior cement board and metal frames vulnerable to damage.

And we all know what happens when metal comes into contact with moisture. Over a period of months, you’ll end up with rusting and/or corrosion!

Eventually, the structure of your island will be compromised.

It’s even worse if you live on the shore. Salty ocean air will further compound the problem!

So while wood or metal frame outdoor kitchens will be cheaper at first… You won’t be saving long-term.

recommended grill island material for NJ climate

So… What material for an outdoor grill station is recommended?

In New Jersey, there’s no better choice than concrete.

It’s immune to all the problems that wood and metal encounter. No rotting, swelling, warping, molding, rust, or corrosion.

And no matter how harsh the winter months may get… Concrete will handle it effortlessly.

However, this means you will pay more at first!

Concrete is a more expensive material in general… And due to the weight, it costs more to transport.

But this means your outdoor kitchen will be made to last the long haul. And isn’t that really what you’re after?

Another factor of outdoor kitchen island in NJ cost is appliance quality.

Grill & Appliance Quality

mike pyle at his rta outdoor living grill station equipped with a pizza oven

You want your indoor kitchen appliances to be quality… So why not your outdoor kitchen appliances as well?

In a similar vein to the island, the quality of your outdoor appliances matters!

And while that’s true no matter where you live… It’s particularly important in New Jersey.

Again, the reason is due to climate.

Not all grill materials can withstand harsh winters and ocean air.

As a general rule, we recommend buying outdoor appliances made with 304 stainless steel.

In New Jersey?

It’s pretty much a requirement!

Built-in grills made from 304 stainless steel are your best bet against rust and corrosion.

They’ll require little maintenance… And look pristine for years to come.

But of course… You will pay more for the quality!

Let’s briefly break it down.

Grill and appliance classes

Outdoor grills and appliances fall into three categories: economy, premium, and luxury.

Economy appliances are your most affordable option. However, you aren’t getting high quality materials. Of course, this means the longevity tends to be lacking. These options often come with a short warranty as well. (Weber grills are an example in the economy class.)

In current prices… An economy built-in grill could cost anywhere from $500-$1,500 depending on size and brand.

Premium appliances sit at the middle of the market. This is what we recommend for most homeowners! You’ll find the highest quality materials (304 stainless steel) and the grills will often have a lifetime warranty. (Coyote grills is an example for this class.)

In today’s prices, a premium built-in grill sits around $1,500-$3,500.

Luxury appliances are your top-of-the-line offering. They’ll be the same great quality as premium… But with tons of bells and whistles. (Twin Eagles is an example of a luxury brand.)

Currently, a luxury grill will start at around $3,500 and go up from there. If you have an unrestricted budget for luxury outdoor kitchens… A matching luxury grill may suit your desires best.

Point is… You’re going to be spending at least $1,500 for a high quality built in grill. Other appliances (such as an outdoor refrigerator or charcoal smoker) will start at around $1,300.

This may be more than you were expecting to pay! So of course… This will factor into overall NJ outdoor kitchen cost.

Especially since you can’t get away with skimping on materials.

Even still, the costs will rack up before you even build your island!

custom outdoor kitchen shipped to Nj

Use our free 3D design tool to design your dream outdoor kitchen and have it shipped directly to your home!

Outdoor Kitchen NJ Site Prep

sand base for a paver patio in the backyard being completed

Before you have your outdoor kitchen… You’ll need a place to put it!

For most homeowners, this means installing a deck or patio in their outdoor space.

As with the island and appliances… Materials will vary in cost.

Thankfully, in the case of patio materials… Most will be perfectly suited to the New Jersey climate.

Opting for a concrete patio will save you money over bluestone or granite, for example.

It’s a similar concept when installing an outdoor kitchen on a deck. Although, material quality will matter a bit more here.

You can save some cash by using pure wood… But composite decking will give you added longevity and less maintenance. (At a higher cost, of course!)

You will also have to consider the weight of your outdoor kitchen. Heavier islands will require structural footings to support it. This will result in higher material and labor costs.

Whether you install a deck or patio for your island… This will bring the total up a few grand on your backyard project.

Same goes for utilities!

NJ Grill Island Utilities

utility lines coming out of patio for outdoor kitchen

Depending on the appliances you choose… You’ll have to run outdoor utility lines through your outdoor living space.

A natural gas grill or outdoor flat top grill will require gas lines… Outdoor refrigerators or ice makers will require electricity… And a sink will require water.

If you need all three utilities… The nationwide average for each will run you about $500-$2,000.

And being in New Jersey, this will cost you even more!

Why?

Well, it’s due to the labor market. But we’ll get to that later.

Point is, these tasks will add a hefty sum to your final project cost.

To make the price tag less of a blow… You can consider avoiding utilities.

For a gas grill, it couldn’t be easier. Just use a liquid propane tank!

You can avoid installing a refrigerator by using a drop-in cooler. It’s an analog way to keep beverages cool.

When it comes to an outdoor sink… Unfortunately, you’ll just have to do without.

Ultimately, if you’re okay with paying a little extra… The convenience you get is more than worth it.

But before you do any of this work… You need permission to build in your outdoor space first.

Local Ordinances & Permits in New Jersey

No matter where you live… You’ll be subject to local ordinances.

But in New Jersey, ordinances for outdoor kitchens can be quite extensive!

To help us understand the concept more… We asked contractor Bart Bakelaar for his perspective.

Bart is a contractor working out of Hoboken, NJ. With 15 years of experience in the general field, and 6 years of experience with constructing outdoor kitchens (both scratch-built and RTA)… He was the perfect person to speak with on the topic!

When it comes to local ordinances… Bakelaar shared that New Jersey is a bit of a mixed bag.

In western regions of the state, you may not need permitting at all to start your project.

But in highly populated areas like Hoboken… The permitting can be a serious task!

“Everything we do in Hoboken compared to other areas requires permits and zoning. It’s not like we get hired and boom, we can start tomorrow. Electrical and plumbing permits are standard. Some areas require zoning and building department approval just for these systems”, Bakelaar shares.

Sound expensive?

It certainly can be!

“In some cases, it can cost up to $1,000 for approval. I’d put together a sketch for the building and zoning department, then I have to inform the neighbors that we’re doing the work”, he continues.

That’s a bill you probably weren’t expecting!

But again… Depending on where in NJ you are, you may not be subject to as many requirements. Check with your town hall to see what is needed.

Yet another factor you’ll have to contend with is taxes.

New Jersey Sales Tax

Just uttering the word “taxes” can make just about anyone wince.

And unfortunately for New Jersey residents… You’re subject to some of the highest tax rates in the nation.

Sales tax is the big one. In fact, New Jersey has the 8th highest sales tax in the country… Sitting at 6.63%.

Of course, that tax transfers to your outdoor kitchen cabinets as well. Every single thing you purchase for the project will be taxed.

And that’s in addition to everything being more expensive in general.

Let’s do a quick calculation to demonstrate.

For the sake of simplicity… Let’s say your outdoor kitchen costs $12,000. (It will probably cost more!)

When you factor in that 6.63% sales tax… You’re paying an additional $795.60.

Just in sales tax!

Although that’s painful for your wallet… Labor costs will be the biggest bill for an outdoor kitchen in NJ.

Labor Cost for an Outdoor Kitchen in NJ

two contractors finishing an outdoor kitchen with natural stone veneer

“Now since the pandemic, labor is definitely hard to find”, Bakelaar says.

You can probably relate. The current labor market is tighter than ever.

Unfortunately… That also means that the contractors you do find will be more expensive.

Not everyone can build outdoor kitchens, after all.

Bakelaar has been feeling the labor squeeze as well. “Along with everything else, labor costs have skyrocketed. Labor costs have increased for me 30-40% over the course of the past 2-3 years. The right person is harder to come by.”

Ouch.

Just the thought might have you running the other direction on your outdoor living project… future outdoor living blog link

But don’t fret!

There’s an outdoor kitchen solution in New Jersey that can save you a boatload on labor.

Let’s talk about that.

The Most Cost-Effective Outdoor Kitchen in NJ

new jersey outdoor kitchen by rta at night with lighting

For New Jersey residents… RTA outdoor kitchens give you the best bang for your buck.

In fact, that’s a large reason why Bart Bakelaar joined the RTA contractor network!

“The labor cost to install an RTA outdoor kitchen is $1,200-2,000 total. Whereas if I were to do a scratch-built, the labor costs are $1,200-$1,500 for a single day. Scratch-built kitchens could take us 5-6 days whereas we can get the RTA system done in just a couple hours. That’s the reason why I do a lot of these systems”, Bakelaar explains.

That’s a huge price difference!

If you do the math… Normally, you would be paying anywhere from $6,000-$9,000 just for labor on a scratch-built option. Whereas RTA is a single day… And the most you’ll pay is $2,000 for installation.

Seems like a no-brainer to us.

As Bakelaar says, “I’d say there’s a 30-40% savings overall with RTA.”

But don’t just take it from us.

RTA customers in New Jersey share the same experience!

High Praise from an RTA Customer in NJ

rta outdoor kitchen in new jersey with grill and pizza oven

Recently, Avalon, NJ residents Chris and Becky Kearon were looking to buy an outdoor kitchen.

Before stumbling on RTA… They thought they would hire their contractor to handle the job. But unfortunately, the numbers just didn’t add up.

“Working with a contractor would have been more expensive. I don’t remember the exact numbers, but it would be about 50% more for the contractor. Cost was a big factor in choosing RTA”, Chris shares.

And while saving money was a huge bonus… It wasn’t the only thing that drew the Kearons to RTA.

“We loved the high end appliances, being able to design the kitchen the way we wanted, figure out the dimensions, what would fit, and knowing what the exact cost would be. It’s all attractive, with a stacked stone veneer and granite countertops”, Chris continues.

And for the Kearons, the last-minue addition of an outdoor pizza oven took their setup to the next level.

“It’s really been the hit of the backyard because it gets everyone down there. The backyard wasn’t really a social gathering place, but the pizza oven makes it a real event. My wife just said last week, ‘Every time we have guests over to make pizza it feels like a little party.’ We’ve actually used the pizza oven more than the grill”, Chris says.

We love to hear it!

And since you’re probably wondering… Chris was kind enough to share a photo of his beautiful island.

Before we wrap up, there’s one more NJ resident we’d like for you to hear from.

You’re probably familiar with her, too!

Dolores Catania's RTA Outdoor Kitchen

Ringing a bell yet?

If not… Dolores Catania is a main cast member of Bravo’s Real Housewives of New Jersey.

Recently, we worked with her to create her perfect outdoor kitchen.

Recalling the design experience, Catania says, “I was able to pick out all my own stuff, my own design, exactly the way I wanted. It is so custom to me and it’s so efficient.”

Beyond being able to have a custom outdoor kitchen… The assembly was a breeze!

“You know, with a lot of the other contractors, you’re not getting the supplies in, they’re too busy, no one’s showing up, or they show up and finish half of it, then they go do ten other jobs and come back, and you’re calling chasing them down. This was put together in a couple of hours”, Catania continues.

If you’re looking for a no-fuss solution… There’s no better option than RTA.

Catania showers us with yet more praise, “If you want your outdoor kitchen to be exactly the way you want it, with no stress of having someone there and taking weeks to get it done, and everything else, RTA and Coyote is who I used for my kitchen. They are absolutely amazing. Professional, you trust them, it’s efficient, it’s everything you can want.”

Before we start to blush from all the compliments… Let’s look at Catania’s design.

dolores catanias outdoor kitchen in new jersey by rta outdoor living

It’s stunning, right?

This one-of-a-kind design fits Catania’s cooking style perfectly. There’s plenty of room for and the entire family to be seated at the island… And of course, she’s got the ideal setup for making Sunday sauce!

“I wanted to be able to cook my Italian Sunday meal and watch everyone enjoy being outside. There’s a huge burner next to my grill that I cook my sauce on, then it smells through the whole neighborhood. I mean, I love it so much”, Catania shares.

We’re wondering when we’ll get invited over for Sunday dinner!

So… Are you ready to kick off your outdoor kitchen project?

Get Started with Your Outdoor Kitchen Project in NJ

Not only is RTA Outdoor Living the most cost-effective solution in New Jersey…

It’s the easiest.

The design, delivery, and assembly couldn’t be simpler.

Right from the jump… You’ll be assigned a Design Expert from our Design Team to guide you through the whole process.

They’re your primary point of contact for all aspects of your outdoor living project.

And once your layout is designed to a T… You just have to wait for delivery of your package.

Speaking of packages…

A custom rta outdoor kitchen with coyote appliances showing the lifetime warranties offered

Our outdoor kitchen packages come complete with premium appliances from Coyote Outdoor Living. These 304 stainless steel built-in grills and appliances are perfectly suited to the NJ climate.

Our structural outdoor kitchen panels are no slouch, either.

Made from high performance concrete rated for 100 years… RTA islands have serious staying power.

When it comes time to assemble, only a few hours of your time are required. The panels, countertop, and appliances come together like a piece of furniture.

And if you’re still unsure about assembling yourself… You can always hire a contractor like Bart Bakelaar to handle the task.

Point is, we are eager to make your vision a reality!

Whenever you’re ready… We’re here to help.

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