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Outdoor Kitchen on a Deck? The #1 Solution & How to Approach

By Daniel Cdebaca

January 25, 2024

If you’re reading this, you are: 

  1. Researching an outdoor kitchen project
  2. And want to put it on a deck

That’s great! You’re well on your way to making your vision happen.

Just imagine how amazing your future outdoor kitchen on deck will look.

Grilling, listening to your favorite music, chatting with family and friends, enjoying the weather… It’s the height of outdoor entertainment.

But let’s not get carried away…

outdoor kitchen on deck with mountain views

We’re far from done on the research portion.

You’re here to learn how to make this happen, not daydream about how awesome the result will be. (And we promise you, it will be awesome.)

While the ultimate purpose of this article is to teach you how to build an outdoor kitchen on a deck in one day… There are many other considerations before you reach this step.

Let’s talk about that.

Quick Links:

CAN YOU BUILD AN OUTDOOR KITCHEN ON A DECK?

It may seem like a silly question since this article is all about building an outdoor kitchen on a deck… But there’s no such thing as silly questions. (Just like your grade school teacher said.)

There’s a reason why “Can I Build an Outdoor Kitchen on my Deck?” is a suggested search on google.

And the answer?

Absolutely!

…Depending on the option you choose.

We do have a preferred option we will discuss later.

But first, let’s understand all the considerations involved. There’s a lot to know about installing an outdoor kitchen on a deck… Whether you’re doing a backyard remodel, or starting from scratch.

WHAT ARE THE BEST MATERIALS FOR AN OUTDOOR KITCHEN ON A DECK?

outdoor kitchen and dining table on deck

Depending on the outdoor kitchen solution you choose… The actual material of your deck doesn’t matter too much.

The main concern people have is combustibility. Wood decks are clearly made from a combustible material – wood.

For that reason, many people shy away from building an outdoor kitchen on wood deck. Instead, they opt for a composite material (Trex as an example). However, when exposed to high heat… Composite decks can still melt and catch fire too.

So what do you do about this?

The best option is to ensure your outdoor kitchen materials are non-combustible. This will provide you the most peace of mind when installing an outdoor kitchen on your deck.

These materials won’t combust if a grill fire gets started, preventing the flames from spreading to surrounding structures. (Like your deck.)

Good examples of non-combustible outdoor kitchen materials are concrete, brick, and stone.

2 Key Considerations for Installing Outdoor Kitchens on Decks

There are two other main considerations for building your BBQ kitchen space on a deck. Weight and utilities.

LET'S START WITH WEIGHT.

deck collapsed from outdoor kitchen

You’re probably wondering, “How much weight can my deck handle?”

It simply won’t be possible to install an outdoor kitchen on a deck that can’t handle the weight of it. Whether you’ve built your deck already or not… Talk to your builder about the load rating of your deck.

This point is especially important if you are considering building a traditional masonry outdoor kitchen. The materials used are extremely heavy and can be problematic if your deck isn’t strong enough.

If you have an existing deck, you may have to add more support beams to handle the extra burden of your backyard kitchen. And if you’re planning a deck, your builder may have to add more support beams than initially intended.

Or if you don’t want to add more support to your deck… You may have to scale down and settle for a small outdoor kitchen.

Either way, this is a crucial area to pay attention to. Be sure to consult with your contractor before going full steam ahead on your installation.

NEXT ARE UTILITIES.

utility line

When planning an outdoor kitchen, you have to consider which utilities you will need. This can sometimes be complicated when building on your deck.

Depending on your setup, you may be limited in your ability to run electricity, water, or gas. If so, you may have to reconsider the sink or refrigerator you originally planned for.

If you don’t have a deck yet, this process will be easier. You’ll be able to plan ahead and know how to run your utility lines without hindrances.

The type of outdoor kitchen solution you decide on also plays a factor. Depending on what you choose, it may be extremely difficult… Or even impossible to run utility lines through the deck to your island.

Outdoor kitchens aside… This is also important to keep in mind if you’re considering installing a hot tub or gas fire pit on your deck as well.

Alright.

Now that we’ve outlined all our considerations… It is finally time to discuss solutions for building an outdoor kitchen deck.

HAVE YOUR OWN OUTDOOR KITCHEN IDEAS?

Use our 3D design tool for free and bring your outdoor kitchen idea to life.

WHAT SOLUTION IS BEST FOR A DECK GRILLING STATION?

So now you’ve read all the considerations. That’s all fine and good… But how do you build an outdoor kitchen on a deck?

Lucky for you, there are many more outdoor bar area and kitchen solutions than in the past!

There are both DIY and non-DIY solutions you can add to your deck kitchen area.

For now, let’s give you a brief overview. 

WORK WITH A CONTRACTOR

As with most home improvement projects… Your first call is generally going to be to your local contractor.

Most contractors can build an outdoor kitchen, which sounds great… But there are a few caveats.

For one, many contractors will default to using combustible materials for an outdoor kitchen. If you hear even a whisper about wood frames, steer clear!

But even if your contractor can build a traditional masonry or concrete block outdoor kitchen… This still comes with its own set of challenges.

As mentioned before, weight is a concern.

Your decking simply may be unable to handle the weight of a stone masonry or concrete block kitchen. These materials can also lead to accidents when transporting them, due to sheer burden. This can severely damage your deck… Or worse, someone could get injured on the job.

contractors installing a concrete countertop on an rta outdoor kitchen

Masonry is also quite messy. There’s a lot of cutting, dust, etc. involved that isn’t just bothersome… It can ruin the finish of your decking if not protected.

As you’re aware, decks provide limited working space. Materials have to be moved up stairs, around railings, etc… In some cases, it may not be possible to build a kitchen island according to the traditional method.

Looking at the longevity of your outdoor kitchen… At some point, you may have to replace a section of your deck. With masonry, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be able to move your deck outdoor kitchen to a different location. You’ll most likely have to demolish it, which would be an absolute shame!

Further, most contractors are not deeply knowledgeable about outdoor kitchens. This lack of specialization and know-how can end up costing you a lot of money. Scratch-built kitchens also take a long time and can disrupt your backyard and home for months.

We don’t know about you, but having your home and outdoor space disturbed for months doesn’t sound too appealing. Especially on your deck. All that disturbance hits a little too close to home, if you know what we mean.

Let’s look to the next option for an outdoor kitchen on deck.

PREFABRICATED OUTDOOR KITCHEN

You could also add a prefab outdoor kitchen to your outdoor living space. This style of kitchen island is pre-built, which does have a convenience factor.

The problem with that?

Oftentimes, prefab outdoor kitchens are poor quality. If you want your built-in grill island on a deck to last for years to come, this may not be your best bet.

They are also limited in design. So depending on your deck setup, you may not be able to order the outdoor kitchen you want… Or you may not be able to order one that works for your outdoor space at all.

Sounds like a lot of compromise to us.

Like masonry, prefabricated outdoor kitchens are difficult to maneuver in a small space. Depending on your deck, it may not be possible to install properly.

Furthermore, prefab outdoor kitchens often require heavy machinery, like cranes, to install. You may have to uninstall railings… Or even reconfigure your deck in order to place the deck kitchen properly. Using heavy machinery is also intrusive and inconvenient.

Additionally, weight is a downside here. Depending on the materials used, the weight can be too heavy a burden for your deck. So be sure to double-check the math ahead of time!

Finally, you’ll also have to consider the ease of installing utility lines. Both masonry and prefab outdoor kitchens can prove a challenge in this way. Especially when installing an outdoor kitchen on a deck.

Often, these methods use a frame or cabinet system that shuts off easy access to the interior cavity. This means it’s incredibly difficult to run utility lines to the kitchen on your deck.

You may even have to drill through the outdoor kitchen cabinetry itself, likely voiding your warranty.

That’s no fun.

So, what outdoor kitchen do we recommend for decks?

DESIGN AN OUTDOOR KITCHEN THAT IS DECK READY

Use our 3D design tool for free and create the perfect outdoor kitchen for your deck.

READY-TO-ASSEMBLE OUTDOOR KITCHEN CABINETS

linear stacked stone chalk grill island on a deck with dining table 1

We personally feel ready-to-assemble outdoor kitchen kits are the best option available on the market currently.

Why?

It’s the best of both worlds. It’s customizable, made with high quality materials, and quick to install.

Plus, you can install it on a trex or wood deck with no safety concerns. Our grill islands are made from fully non-combustible materials. (It’s high performance concrete, rated for 100 years!)

So, how does it work?

Ready-to-assemble outdoor kitchens are exactly as they sound.

You work with a Design Expert to create your ideal layout… We make finished concrete panels and countertops to your exact specifications… Ship the components to your door (complete with premium Coyote appliances)

Then, assembly is all that’s left. This process usually only takes a couple hours. And just like that, your outdoor kitchen is ready to use.

Although RTA is undoubtedly the most streamlined option for a deck grill station… Even we can’t fully toe around the problem of weight.

Depending on the finish, our concrete mixture weighs from 10.5 lbs – 15 lbs per square foot. And if you upgrade your countertops to granite… This comes in at a hefty 18 lbs per square foot.

This is quite weighty! So as you build out your outdoor kitchen design… We’ll help you communicate this to your contractor to ensure your deck can handle the load.

That said, RTA is lighter weight in comparison to traditional masonry solutions.

As you know, concrete block outdoor kitchens are extremely dense and full of, well, concrete.

And that’s where RTA differs.

You get the non-combustibility and durability of concrete… But we use a panelized system. The interior cavity of our islands are empty, reducing a significant amount of the overall weight load.

But that’s just the beginning of the ever-growing list of benefits with RTA.

BENEFITS OF RTA OUTDOOR KITCHEN DESIGN

There are a ton of benefits to the RTA system. Especially when planning an outdoor kitchen for your deck.

Let’s discuss.

1. CUSTOMIZABLE TO YOUR NEEDS

Want a fully customized outdoor kitchen?

Not a problem.

Due to the nature of our product, our kitchens are highly customizable. Whatever outdoor kitchen ideas and designs you have… Be sure we can make it happen.

You’ve even got options on how customized you want your outdoor kitchen to be. We have a line of pre-designed, Quick Ship kitchens… And the option for a more detailed personalization process.

Let’s take a look.

PRE-DESIGNED OUTDOOR KITCHENS

Our pre-designed (Quick Ship) solution is excellent for people who want a high-quality outdoor kitchen, but aren’t interested in a fully custom design.

Over the years, we’ve sifted through a lot of outdoor kitchen design ideas. Thousands, even!

And experience has shown us time and time again that certain designs are more popular than others.

Enter the Quick Ship RTA outdoor kitchen. This is a collection of tried and true outdoor kitchen designs that are sure to please.

But what if you want more?

CUSTOM OUTDOOR GRILLING STATION FOR YOUR DECK

tamara at rta outdoor kitchen with family

Want a bar seating area for your friends and family? Want a gas or propane grill and a charcoal grill? What about a refrigerator or pizza oven?

You got it. No custom outdoor kitchen ideas are too outlandish for us.

We have a team of outdoor kitchen Design Experts that will work tirelessly to make sure your needs are met.

We know how frustrating design can be, especially when placing an outdoor kitchen on a deck. That’s why we’ve created this system. It’s painless and you make no compromises.

Even better, we have a free online design tool. This is an excellent way to play around and see how your kitchen ideas would look without any commitment. (And it only takes a few clicks!)

When you’re done, our Design Experts will reach out to discuss your project. Plus, it’s fun to play around with various outdoor kitchen ideas. You can try that here.

Next, let’s talk about quality.

2. HIGHEST QUALITY MATERIAL FOR OUTDOOR KITCHEN ISLANDS

Outdoor kitchens are a big investment. The last thing you want is to spend a bunch of time and money… Only to have your outdoor kitchen break down in a couple years.

That’s frustrating.

We avoid this problem by using the highest quality materials possible. Our concrete surrounds are covered by a limited lifetime warranty. That’s how confident we are in our product!

And as we mentioned before… We use only non-combustible materials. So you don’t have to worry that your deck with outdoor kitchen will be unsafe to use.

Plus, RTA islands are designed to withstand the elements. Whether you live on the coast or in a northern climate, our kitchens stand the test of time.

We can prove it too.

Can you tell the difference between these two pictures? 

We can’t either.

These pictures were taken three years apart. This particular homeowner’s outdoor kitchen is located in Michigan. As you know, they have harsh winters!

The quality doesn’t stop at our cabinetry, either.

3. BEST-IN-CLASS APPLIANCES

We’ve partnered with Coyote Outdoor Living for their outstanding stainless steel outdoor kitchen appliances.

Coyote has a wide variety of premium outdoor appliances… Ranging from gas grills, to charcoal grills, to sinks, to refrigerators, to doors, to drawers, to power burners, and more. Their entire line comes standard in rust and corrosion resistant 304 stainless steel.

Coyote’s grills also employ cutting edge technology that makes outdoor cooking an incredible experience.

Getting back to quality, it’s the stainless steel that effectively makes Coyote’s appliances nearly weather-proof. Rain, hail, ice, or snow… It won’t harm that stainless steel one bit.

Just imagine all the unforgettable moments you’ll make with your guests!

EASY DESIGN, EASY INSTALLATION

Use our 3D design tool for free and bring your outdoor kitchen idea to life.

4. Easy, Seamless Outdoor Deck Kitchen Assembly

Like we mentioned earlier, traditionally an outdoor kitchen takes a long time to build. Your backyard space can be disturbed for weeks or months, depending on the route you choose.

Unlike masonry or prefab, our assembly process is streamlined and simple.

Our outdoor kitchen kits arrive to you in pieces. This makes it easy to carry the panels up the stairs or in tight areas.

We also make it easy to install utilities as well. Since the island cavity is wide open… It’s effortless to connect utilities when they’re stubbed up from the deck.

Best of all, our single day assembly doesn’t disturb your backyard.

5. The Leader in Non-Invasive Installation

Traditional island construction methods can be extremely invasive. It’s loud, it’s messy, it requires heavy machinery… And it can take months to complete the project.

Who wants their backyard disturbed for months… And not even have an outdoor kitchen to show for it at the end of the summer?

We sure don’t.

And once again, that’s where RTA comes in.

From start to finish, you can be enjoying your outdoor kitchen in as little as 2-4 weeks. (more for custom.)

Installation only takes a few hours with minimal disruption of your backyard space. And for those that are handy, this is a completely DIY system.

How satisfying is it to have your BBQ island ready to use in a few hours? It’s a dream!

You know summer goes by way too fast. You don’t have to miss out on a single day with RTA.

And while we have many customers who’ve installed our product on decks… We want to highlight one customer in particular.

You may even have heard of him!

WATCH CHARLIE MOORE DIY AN OUTDOOR KITCHEN FOR HIS DECK

Charlie Moore, also known as the Mad Fisherman, is a well-known personality on NBC, NESN, and ESPN.

If you’re familiar, you probably know him for his fun loving, larger-than-life personality. That’s why when he decided to get an outdoor kitchen… Charlie needed a solution that would match his style.

He needed a high-quality, functional kitchen that grills the day’s catch with ease al fresco. And the cooking area had to fit on a deck.

Through working with RTA, Charlie was able to design an outdoor kitchen to his exact specifications. And you’ll see in the video just how much he loves this kitchen!

Let’s walk through it.

First, Charlie demonstrates how to use the design tool. A few minutes later, you have your design ready to send off to one of our experts.

Then, he runs through the assembly process which is lightning-fast. Even for an outdoor kitchen on a composite deck! Panels are lightweight and easy to carry up the steps.

Charlie also takes time to highlight the stellar quality of Coyote appliances. You can see he opted for a 42″ grill and the Asado smoker for the best of both worlds.

Point is, Charlie was able to order the outdoor kitchen of his dreams. It was easy, it was fast, it was perfect. He didn’t have to sacrifice on any part.

No compromises.

Now that you’ve seen what the fuss is all about with RTA… You may be wondering how to add a DIY outdoor kitchen to your backyard.

Well, let’s get started!

GET STARTED WITH AN OUTDOOR KITCHEN ISLAND FOR YOUR DECK

small linear outdoor kitchen on deck by dining table

We pride ourselves on being the frustration-free solution, so believe us when we say this is easy!

LET'S BREAK IT DOWN:

  1.  View our Quick Ship options or start designing a custom kitchen.
  2. Decide on the best design for you. Our Design Experts will help guide you to outdoor kitchen perfection.
  3. We get to work on your kitchen.
  4. Your kitchen is packed and delivered to you, ready to assemble.
  5. By the end of the afternoon, you’re ready to grill a meal!
  6. Entertain away!

And that’s it. Yes, my friends, it really is that simple!

A process that would ordinarily take weeks, or even years… Is condensed down into a few weeks. And you hardly have to lift a finger.

Now that’s what we call no frustration.

Well, what are you waiting for?

Get started with your new grill area!

We can’t wait to help you host the moments that matter.

Need Help With Your Plans?

Talk to one of our expert designers and they will guide you from planning to installation. Schedule a call today.

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