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Pavers Outdoor Kitchen: 6 Reasons Why Building Your BBQ Island With Pavers May Not Be The Best Idea, & A Better DIY Solution

By James King

July 7, 2023

There are so many ways to get an outdoor grill station up and running… Truly, the options are endless!

And if you’re looking for an easy and reliable route for your outdoor kitchen design… You may have heard that a pavers outdoor kitchen is a simple, durable solution.

But while paver blocks are a popular construction material for patios… Are they really the best option for building an outdoor kitchen? 

In this article, we’ll do a deep dive on pavers outdoor kitchens, to reveal whether or not they’re the right choice for your backyard. 

Let’s get started! 

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pavers outdoor kitchen

What Are Pavers?

man laying pavers for a patio

Before we get to the nitty gritty of pavers outdoor kitchens… Let’s start on a smaller scale.

What are pavers?

Pavers (also known as paving stones) are construction blocks or brick-shaped units… Typically used for building pool decks, patios, walkways, fire pits, retaining walls, or outdoor fireplaces.

These units are made from a variety of materials… Though concrete pavers, natural stone pavers, or brick pavers are the most common. 

Generally, pavers measure anywhere from 4” x 8” to 24” x 24.”

While the larger pavers are better suited for patio designs… The smaller sizes are what’s typically used in more refined outdoor projects (and yes, that includes pavers outdoor kitchens!).

Now, you should take this with a grain of salt.

Though you certainly can build an outdoor kitchen made with pavers… That doesn’t necessarily mean you should.

We’ll get to why that is shortly… But for now, let’s quickly run through the history of paver block outdoor kitchens.

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A Quick History on Pavers Outdoor Kitchens

Years back, pavers outdoor kitchens had a fleeting moment in the spotlight.

But over the years, they’ve lost popularity!

So, how did pavers outdoor kitchens initially come to be… And why did they fail to make a lasting impression?

Simply put… Paver block outdoor kitchens were the go-to method for contractors and hardscape workers looking for an easier way to build durable grill islands for their customers.

Since paver blocks were sold in kits… Contractors could then use these kits to build the structure of an outdoor kitchen.

This allowed general outdoor contractors to quickly source materials, stay in their wheelhouse by working with familiar building blocks, and whip up a custom grill area for homeowners.

But while pavers outdoor kitchens used to be a go-to solution for contractors… They quickly fell out of favor as more and more methods for building an outdoor kitchen took off. (Outdoor kitchen kits come to mind!)

Today, paver blocks remain a durable choice for building a patio…

But they were truly never an optimal material for an outdoor kitchen area.

Let’s talk about why.

The Downsides of a Pavers Outdoor Kitchen

While pavers are a great choice for building a patio or retaining wall… They aren’t the best solution for constructing a BBQ island.

Let’s run through what makes an outdoor kitchen using pavers less-than-ideal.

Pavers are Heavy... So You’ll Need a Footing To Support That Weight

The first step of any successful outdoor kitchen project is prepping a surface.

And for outdoor paver kitchens… This step is even more crucial.

Why?

Well, it all comes down to weight. A paver outdoor cooking setup can get quite heavy!

Of course, the weight of a paver will vary depending on its materials and size… But to give you a general idea, the average paver weighs between 10 and 20 pounds.

And to support a hefty brick, concrete, or stone paver outdoor kitchen… You’ll want to pour a concrete footing before you start building!

This will ensure your site is properly prepped to handle your new kitchen.

This applies even if you already have a paver patio or deck setup… You’ll still want to add that footing!

It’ll keep your surface level, as well as prevent paving stones from sinking into the ground over time… So your pavers outdoor kitchen won’t settle, and the structure will remain sound.

Though it’ll be an added expense… You certainly won’t want to skip this step when building an outdoor kitchen with pavers.

And it’s definitely not something you’ll want to DIY. Even with an experienced contractor doing the job, this process will be quite involved!

Speaking of involved projects… Let’s get back to the kitchen itself.

A Pavers Outdoor Kitchen Requires a High Skill Cap To Build

While building an outdoor kitchen with pavers may be manageable for experienced contractors… You should steer away from a DIY paver outdoor kitchen.

No matter how handy you are with a set of tools… The reality is that this project is better left to the pros.

There’s virtually no room for error when building any type of outdoor kitchen from scratch, especially if you’re expecting the finished product to last for the long haul.

We won’t get into all the long-winded details of how to build an outdoor kitchen with pavers… But, just know that each and every individual paver has to be placed thoughtfully and carefully, the first time.

And there’s no point in sugar coating it… Laying pavers is both time and labor-intensive!

The structure will come together, one paver at a time… Which would surely be a daunting task for even the savviest DIYer.

Point is, if you’re wondering how to build a paver outdoor kitchen… Your best course of action will be hiring a contractor to do the work for you!

A Pavers Kitchen May Have a Bigger Price Tag

budgeting to save money on outdoor kitchen

So, you’ll need to hire a contractor to build a pavers kitchen in your outdoor living space…

A professional needs to pour a concrete footing for you before you can get started on your project…

And on top of that… You’ll need to source materials to have your kitchen built.

Not to mention… Your budget should account for any appliances and accessories you want to include in your design (as well as the countertops)!

When you add it all up… It’s clear to see that the price of your pavers outdoor kitchen project can quickly skyrocket.

And when compared to other scratch-built options (like brick, stone, or cinder block kitchens)… Paver blocks may actually end up being on the more expensive side!

Before you put a major dent in your wallet… You should seriously consider if a pavers outdoor kitchen is right for you.

But for now… Read on to learn why they may not be worth the cost.

Outdoor Kitchen Pavers Don’t Have The Prettiest Aesthetic

pavers outdoor kitchen half completed

It’s safe to say that the average homeowner wants their outdoor kitchen to mesh beautifully with their backyard design.

When it comes to your outdoor living space… Aesthetics are nearly as important as functionality!

So, perhaps another reason why pavers kitchens fell out of favor is their admittedly lackluster appearance.

The industrial, blocky look of paving stones may work for patios or pool decks… But truth be told, a pavers outdoor kitchen isn’t the most attractive thing in the world.

Especially if you’re looking to complement a natural, rustic, or modern area… A pavers outdoor kitchen may stick out like a sore thumb.

Unless that blocky aesthetic meshes with your design ideas… You certainly shouldn’t settle for less.

When You Build an Outdoor Kitchen With Pavers... Say Goodbye to Extra Island Space!

Not only does the blocky nature of pavers affect aesthetic value… But thick paver blocks will also significantly limit interior cavity space in your BBQ island.

What does this mean for your outdoor kitchen design, exactly?

Well, limited interior island space can actually prove to be a major drawback!

Since you’ll be losing some room, you may not have the proper accommodations to squeeze in all the appliances and accessories you want… Which includes everything from your built-in grill, burners, and other cooking appliances, to your cabinets and storage space.

And what if something were to go wrong with one of your appliances?

Limited interior space will make servicing a downright pain.

But, these aren’t the only points of concern!

Most importantly of all… A lack of interior space in your kitchen island may inhibit airflow and cross-ventilation, which could ultimately pose some safety risks.

Let’s go into further detail on that last point, shall we?

A Pavers Block Outdoor Kitchen Is Far From the Safest Solution

Pavers are non-combustible (you won’t have to worry about your pavers outdoor kitchen going up in flames)… Which makes them a much safer choice than, say, a wooden outdoor kitchen.

But this doesn’t mean that a pavers outdoor kitchen should automatically give you peace of mind.

Far from it!

Though pavers aren’t flammable… There are other, just as serious, safety issues to contend with.

First and foremost… When using paver blocks to build an outdoor kitchen, the lack of interior island space makes airflow nearly impossible.

And on top of this, contractors typically make no accommodations for proper ventilation with pavers outdoor kitchens.

With piping hot appliances built into your outdoor kitchen (particularly gas-fueled models)… It’s crucial that your island has adequate vent openings and airflow!

This’ll allow excessive heat buildup or propane to escape from your island… Eliminating the risk of a fiery explosion!

The safety of you and your family is no small thing… So why risk it with a paver stone outdoor kitchen?

Alright. At this point, we’ve hashed out some sizable downsides to building your outdoor cooking area with pavers.

If you’re still determined to go full steam ahead… Just be sure to thoroughly research, vet your local contractors, and seriously consider all your options before you commit.

But if you’d rather put the paver kitchen on pause… We have an alternative that’s well worth your attention!

Outdoor Kitchen Solution

Use our free 3D design tool to create the perfect and safe outdoor kitchen for your home. Get started today!

Leave the Pavers in Your Patio! Here’s a Safer (And Easier) DIY Solution

While you can certainly build an outdoor kitchen on top of pavers… We wouldn’t recommend building your outdoor kitchen with pavers. (And now you can see why!)

But before you go back to the drawing board on your outdoor kitchen plans…

We’d like to suggest a fantastic choice for building a streamlined, safe, structurally sound, and stunning summer kitchen.

Here at RTA, we have a simple, DIY outdoor kitchen solution… That may be just the thing your outdoor space is missing!

While pavers outdoor kitchens were a fad of the past… RTA islands are here to last.

Let’s discuss what makes these a worthy alternative for your outdoor cooking space!

RTA Outdoor Kitchens are a Convenient & Customizable DIY Solution

back patio idea with pool and outdoor kitchen

Most homeowners are in search of an outdoor kitchen solution that’s simple, not super involved, and still has a stunning payoff.

And here at RTA, that’s exactly what we offer!

Whereas a pavers outdoor kitchen isn’t really in reach without enlisting (and paying for!) the service of a contractor… RTA offers custom kitchens that you can pull off, entirely on your own.

Of course, we’ll be here to guide you down the right path, and answer your questions every step of the way…

But at the end of the day, the project is in your hands.

It all starts with our free online design tool. Even with no prior experience and no specialized skills, you can easily come up with outdoor kitchen ideas that make sense for your unique space.

This includes dimensions and layout… As well as appliances and accessories!.

Depending on your cooking style, you can have a U-shaped, L-shaped, or linear island…

And if you want to include a seating area or dining area for guests… Factor in an outdoor bar!

As for the cooking power… Since we’ve partnered with Coyote Outdoor Living, you’ll also have complete access to their quality outdoor appliances and accessories. (A pizza oven from Alfa may also pique your interest!)

You can pick and choose which will best complement your space, and how you’d like them to be laid out on your island.

But that’s enough on customization (for now). How else does convenience come into play?

Like the pavers outdoor kitchens of old… RTA outdoor kitchen islands also come in neatly bundled kits. They’ll be shipped straight to your door in ready to assemble panels.

These concrete panels just need to be bolted together to form the frame... But with no contractor needed.

From there, you’ll place your countertops… Slide in your appliances… And start cooking!

Though you can do it all yourself… If you would prefer to have someone do the work for you, a professional from our Installer Network  would be more than happy to jump in and help!

And once your kitchen is set up… It’s not going anywhere.

Let’s talk about durability.

RTA Grill Islands are Durable

linear grill island on beach in

A pavers kitchen won’t rot, warp, swell, or rot over time… Which was part of their appeal back in the day.

But really, all of the cons still outweigh this one pro.

And luckily, you can skip all the disadvantages and still get outstanding durability when you opt for an RTA kitchen.

Our kitchen panels are constructed with high performance, reinforced concrete panels… Rated for 100 years, and backed by a limited lifetime structural warranty.

On top of that… Our concrete or granite countertops are also built to last, year round!

But it’s not just your kitchen island that’ll be heavy duty.

Coyote’s high quality appliances are built with durable, 304 stainless steel… And backed by a lifetime warranty!

From the ground up, you can feel confident in your kitchen’s quality, for as long as you use it!

And of course, if your kitchen is going to be around for a while… You won’t want it to be an eyesore in your space.

RTA Kitchens are Aesthetically Pleasing

While that blocky style of a paver kitchen may blend in with your patio… It’s not what many want to see in a luxury product like an outdoor kitchen.

That’s why we strive to make our kitchens as aesthetically appealing as possible, to match a wide variety of beautiful outdoor spaces!

To suit a diverse range of preferences, we offer kitchens to fit modern, rustic, contemporary, and natural spaces (and much, much more!).

Our finishes include stacked stone graphite, chalk, and terra…

Weathered wood ash or umber…

Reclaimed white brick…

Modern concrete industrial or bright…

Plank charcoal and bright… 

And modern stone bright and ash!

Regardless of your space, you can almost certainly find a finish that’ll match your style and tastes.

RTA Kitchens are Designed with Safety in Mind

an rta outdoor kitchen showing the ventilation and non combustible concrete panels

With a pavers outdoor kitchen… Limited cavity room, a lack of vents, and obstructed airflow mean you may be putting your family at risk.

And in our eyes, you should never have to be the one to remind your contractor to account for that safety.

We wanted to provide an option that offers ultimate peace of mind, from the start.

So that’s why RTA kitchens go over and above standard safety guidelines!

Like pavers, our concrete islands are completely non-combustible.

But we’ve also eliminated any risk of explosion.

All of our kitchen islands come with plenty of built-in, unobstructed vents… So hot air can escape from multiple points in your BBQ station.

On top of that, the interior of our islands is completely open and frameless, with no bulky blocks taking up that precious space!

This means airflow and cross ventilation will be completely uninhibited… So you can always feel safe in your outside kitchen.

So… You’ve seen how RTA compares to a pavers outdoor kitchen.

If you’re ready to leave pavers behind… What’s next?

Ready to Get Started?

stacked stone terra linear grill island next to pool with pizza own and refrigerator

If an RTA kitchen is sounding like the more intuitive path to take…

Why hesitate to get started?

To make your outdoor kitchen dreams come to life, there are plenty of great places to begin.

You could spend some time scrolling through our Learning Hub, to gather more valuable info…

Try our Design Tool out for size, to start brainstorming outdoor kitchen ideas…

Or if you have any burning questions, just reach out!

We’re here (and happy) to talk.

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.

FAQ

If you’re wondering “can you build an outdoor kitchen on top of pavers”… The answer is yes!

Just know that if you’ll be using heavy materials, like concrete, bricks, stone, or cinder block… You’ll want to pour a concrete footing below your paver patio before you start building.

This will keep your paving stones from sinking into the ground!

If you’re curious how to build an outdoor kitchen with pavers… Of course, you’re probably wondering if you can also use pavers for your countertop.

Well, just as we’d suggest not using pavers to build your outdoor kitchen island… We also wouldn’t recommend using pavers for your kitchen’s countertop.

The surface won’t be smooth, and may not be level… Which could make food prep challenging!

A paver countertop will also be more difficult to clean, since these building blocks have so many nooks and crannies.

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