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Outdoor Kitchen Kits – 5 Need to Know Facts Before You Buy

By James King

May 25, 2022

Skip and Alison Bedell at their outdoor kitchen

You’re thinking about summertime. The sun is bright. The grass is green. The air is warm.

You want to enjoy the beauty of this season to the fullest. The weather is perfect. Your backyard calls for attention.

You notice that it’s… empty.

So, what should you do?

Skip Bedell, from the hit TV show Catch a Contractor, was pondering this very question in the summer of 2019.

The answer is what led him to work with RTA to build his backyard oasis.

Needless to say… Skip knows his stuff. He’s had a lot of experience building outdoor kitchens from scratch for clients.

Skip and Alison Bedell at their outdoor kitchen

Your love for outdoor cooking isn't just a pastime… It’s a passion.

Family gathering on deck next to outdoor kitchen

You want more than a standalone grill in your yard. You want the convenience and functionality that a full kitchen provides.

We’re talking built-in grill, counter space for food prep, an outdoor fridge, a flat top grill, side burner, accessories, storage, a sink…

The works.

You want your backyard to be the center of attention.

The kitchen is where everyone gathers inside the home… and the same translates to the outdoors. You want your backyard to be the place where people gather, socialize, and make memories. You want a space for entertaining friends and family.

The neighborhood hangout.

Be the center of attention

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

You want your backyard to add value to your home.

rta outdoor kitchen paired with an alfa pizza oven that is ready to enjoy

There’s something satisfying about an outdoor kitchen. It evokes excellence and elegance. It will add value to your home for years to come.

You realize an outdoor kitchen kit would be the perfect addition to your yard.

Backyard kitchens craft an environment that is rich in human connection. Many of our best memories take place under the sun and stars… sharing a grill-cooked meal with family and friends.

Then the question becomes…

What kind of kitchen would fit my outdoor space?

Whom should I speak to for expert advice?

Which built-in grill should I get?

How do I get started?

There are many options. We will talk about prefabricated, modular, ready-to-finish, and ready-to-assemble kitchens.

The majority of our focus will be on the ready-to-assemble outdoor kitchen kit.

Read on to learn why a ready-to-assemble kit may be a great option for your yard.

WHAT ARE OUTDOOR KITCHEN KITS?

An RTA Outdoor Kitchen being delivered

As little as a decade ago, options for building outdoor kitchens were limited. You had to hire a local hardscape contractor, mason, or find a metal fabricator.

There was a lot of research, time, and effort involved in the process.

Thankfully, your options have expanded in the last few years.

Technology has improved significantly… making diy outdoor kitchen kits a good option for homeowners. Think of it as a way to simplify the process of building an outdoor kitchen.

TYPES OF OUTDOOR KITCHEN KITS​

It’s important to understand the different types of kits before you make a decision. Today, there are four primary types of outdoor grilling kitchens available:

Prefabricated Outdoor Kits
prefab outdoor kitchen with bar seating and built in grill
Modular Kits
stainless steel modular outdoor kitchen_
Ready-to-Finish (RTF)
applying finish on rtf outdoor kitchen kit
Ready-to-Assemble (RTA)
a beautiful stone rta outdoor kitchen in a small space

For now, we’ll give you a short explanation of each.

So let’s get into it! We’ll discuss what they are, as well as the pros and cons.

Prefab Outdoor Kitchen Kits

prefab outdoor kitchens invasive delivery

Prefab outdoor kitchen kits are made in a factory. They’re constructed before they ever reach your yard.

While a prefabricated outdoor kitchen kit may seem convenient…

Often they bring more trouble than they are worth.

They are typically already put together for you… Which may be nice, until you need heavy machinery to get it on your patio.

They usually do not come with the kitchen appliances you’ll need.

Unfortunately, many of these prefab islands are also not very well made.

Some prefab outdoor kitchen kits even suffer from shipping damages.

However, a great part of ordering a prefab kitchen is that they are usually delivered quickly.

A prefab outdoor kitchen island can range from $4,000 to $10,000. Of course, the cost can jump once you begin upgrading appliances, countertops, and finishes.

The important part is to do your research so you are buying the kitchen island kit you want.

On to the next option!

Modular Outdoor Kitchen Kits

stainless steel modular outdoor kitchen_

Modular outdoor kitchen kits are a type of prefab kits, so they’re made in a factory before they arrive at your yard.

All modular outdoor kits are considered prefabs… but not all prefabs are considered modular.

The difference between these and general prefab kits is that modular kits are made of smaller parts that are put together in your yard… like building blocks.

This means that you don’t need any heavy machinery because the factory-made parts can be taken into your yard individually and set up on site.

You’ll be putting these together yourself once it arrives. You can arrange the units to create the layout you want!

They are typically made of powder-coated aluminum, polymer, or stainless steel.

The cost and delivery times are the same as prefab kitchens since modular are a type of prefab kitchen. That puts them at a range of $4,000 to $10,000, with a quick delivery.

Let’s move on to the next option.

Ready-to-Finish Outdoor Kitchen Kits

Contractors Measuring an Opening for a Frame Build RFT Outdoor Kitchen

Ready to finish outdoor kitchen frame kits are usually made of prefabricated aluminum or galvanized steel frames wrapped in cement board.

Sometimes, cutouts for appliances are already done for you.

The Ready-to-Finish options need masonry, tile, or stucco finishing at your home.

Appliances and countertops cost extra as they are often sold separately.

The RTF method is easier than building from “scratch.” However, you may still have to vet and hire a contractor in order to finish the job. If you’re not too sold on this idea, there is another option to consider…

Ready-to-Assemble Outdoor Kitchen Kits

If you want convenience, quality, and speed… RTA kits are worth looking into.

RTA outdoor kitchens come pre-finished. However, the kits come in panels that need light assembly.

The panels come with a finish and appliance openings ready to go.

The average project time is four to six weeks (longer for customization)… with the final assembly completed in just hours after delivery.

RTA, on average, falls into the mid-range price point for outdoor grill islands. The cost is higher than most modular outdoor kitchens because we use higher-quality outdoor kitchen materials.

RTA has partnered with Coyote Outdoor Living, a company that makes premium-grade outdoor appliances.

So don’t fret at the cost. That’s actually where the savings come in.

An outdoor kitchen is meant to be a one-time purchase that will last you for decades. This means a low ownership cost over time.

RTA provides you with up-front pricing that doesn’t fluctuate. You’ll know exactly what our kitchen island project costs and what to expect.

Homeowners value the convenience, installation speed, customization, and easy maintenance… Not to mention our structural lifetime warranty.

At every stage of the manufacturing process… your outdoor kitchen is personally inspected. No stone (or countertop!) is left unturned. We ensure that your outdoor kitchen is exactly as expected.

RTA is unique because everything is provided… the countertop and Coyote appliances are all in one package.

No need to hire a mason or jump between appliance companies… We do all the hard stuff for you.

It’s got all the ease of an RTF or a prefab kit, but with even more convenience!

We’ve gone over so many aspects of the four types of the outdoor kitchen kit…

Let’s break it down in a simple comparison chart!

Pros and Cons of BBQ Island Kits for Your Space

So you have all the facts, but let’s simplify them so that you can choose the best kitchen for your space.

PROS

CONS

PREFAB

Already put together for you. Delivered quickly. Low cost.

Often need heavy machinery to get into your backyard. Typically do not come with appliances. Often of poor quality.

MODULAR

Pre-made. Constructing in your backyard means no heavy machinery needed. Delivered quickly. Low cost. More customizable than prefab.

Typically do not come with needed appliances. Often of poor quality.

RTF

Easier than starting from scratch.

Need masonry, tile, or stucco finishing at your home. Appliances and countertops not included. Don’t always have cutouts for appliances. Need a contractor to complete.

RTA

Assembly completed in a few hours. Appliances included. Mid-range initial price but low upkeep costs. Premium-grade materials. Structural lifetime warranty. Customization available. No contractor required.

Higher initial price than prefab and modular options.

Now that you have an idea of what you’re looking for…

Let’s get into the need-to-know facts before you buy an outdoor kitchen of your own! These are important no matter where you buy your outdoor kitchen kit from.

Want a BBQ island for your space?

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

1: Finding Real Photos of the Kitchen Kit is Key

rta outdoor kitchen near swimming pool

We’ve all been there. You’re researching a DIY project. You’re browsing products online. You find a product that seems to be exactly what you’re looking for, and you order it.

Then when you receive the product or complete the project… it looks nothing like the pictures. It can be both disappointing and frustrating.

Don’t be fooled by that too-good-to-be-true Pinterest picture photoshopped onto a luxurious background.

It gives us the impression of excellence…

But it leads to disappointment when the kitchen is not what you saw in the enhanced pictures.

It’s essential to research. Make sure you find actual photos of the product in real backyards when considering a diy BBQ island kit.

2: Quality is (Unfortunately) Not Guaranteed

prefabricated outdoor kitchen cabinet after one winter

When considering a large purchase like an outdoor kitchen, you have to do your research. And not just to see if it’s real or not.

It may be what you saw in pictures, but will it stay that way?

The last thing you want is to spend a significant amount of money only to be stuck with a bad outdoor kitchen because of a buying mistake.

When researching an outdoor kitchen kit… investigating the grade of the materials and durability for your climate is essential.

If the price looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Many BBQ grill manufacturers use “value selected” materials… such as galvanized steel, moisture-resistant cement board, and glue or spray-on veneer. This keeps costs down, sells more grills, and entices buyers.

Unfortunately, if you live in a coastal region or a winter season climate… these other materials are prone to breaking down.

When you select an outdoor BBQ island kit, you have to consider how long you want your outdoor kitchen island to last.

Will it last for years? Will it rot, rust, crack, or erode in one season?

This is especially crucial to know if you live in a coastal region or area with harsh winters.

Some entry-level products may hold up relatively well in Las Vegas or Phoenix. Take that same kitchen in a climate like Chicago or Boston… and the freeze-thaw cycles could ruin the finish or structure.

The good news is that diy BBQ island kits have come a long way. There are excellent options that are reasonably priced and built to last.

Always research the materials before you buy!

3: You Can Customize Your Outdoor Kitchen Kit

There are many great examples of pre-made outdoor kitchens out there…

But you don’t have to settle for them!

In fact, you can make anything you want.

From doors to drawers, to cabinets and countertop space, built-in grills to power burners, all the appliances, and more…

But how?

Using a Contractor for Your Custom Build

paying a contractor for outdoor kitchen work

Most look to hire a local contractor or custom builder.

They’ll construct your island on site with fully customizable materials and design.

Generally, the contractor will have to assess your space.

They can create a design concept based on your needs and wants. They’ll put together a design and proposal for you.

However, working with a contractor brings its own set of challenges.

Depending on who you work with, your contractor’s design resources may be limited. Further, proposals can take weeks or months to receive.

Keep in mind that few contractors specialize in outdoor kitchen island construction.

Therefore, it’s rare for a contractor to invest in design resources.

This can make it difficult for you to know what your custom design will look like in real life.

Customizing Without A Contractor

At RTA, we offer pre-designed outdoor kitchens that fit the bill for many…

But we are also one of the few that give you the ability to customize.

If you want something special… Don’t settle for something pre-made when you can instead customize your kitchen just for you.

Find someone who can do it and do it well. Find someone who specializes in outdoor kitchens!

4: They're Built For Convenience (Sometimes)

You want your brand new outdoor kitchen space to be exciting… not a chore.

Don’t burn yourself out with a list of ‘to-do’s when you don’t have to!

Some outdoor kitchens are built to be convenient for you… you just have to know what you’re looking for!

Starting Off Strong: You Can Buy Online

In modern times, the days of having to drive to the store to buy something are gone!

You can buy an excellent outdoor kitchen kit online.

Look for a reputable source.

You’ll even find some options that are only available online… like our customized islands!

You won’t find a kitchen kit made just for you on the shelves at a store.

Customizing Adds Convenience

tamara days outdoor kitchen idea brought to life (7)

You can customize your kitchen with almost all the components found in an indoor kitchen…

Lots of countertop cooking surface for food prep, a sink, cabinets, storage, a stainless steel refrigerator, built-in grills, and so much more…

If you’re cooking outside, you don’t want to have to go back inside!

You want your tools right there, and lots of versatility. You want to be able to cook several types of food at once.

When you customize, you can add any feature you want!

This also makes sure that your kitchen is the right size and shape for your backyard space.

Setting it up

You’re in the final stretch. You bought the perfect kitchen, and now it’s here.

But how do you want the final few hours to go?

With some kitchens, you’ll still have to track down grills and other accessories.

With others, you’ll have to get a contractor to finish building it.

And then with some, you’ll have to use heavy machinery to get it into your backyard space.

Or, you could use RTA. With a friend or two, you’ll have it all set up in a few hours (grill and other features included). No heavy machinery or contractors necessary.

There’s a range of setup options… just make sure you do your research first so you know what you’re getting yourself into!

5: You Should Budget Before You Buy Outdoor Kitchens

Outdoor Kitchen on a Budget? Here's 5 Ways to Save Blog - Featured Image

Of course, bbq islands are a huge investment… and not only of money!

If you buy the wrong kit, it could also cost you lots of time!

It could also cost extra to repair damages that come from a low-caliber kit. Especially when it cracks during shipping or breaks after a harsh winter.

While buying the most expensive kitchen would probably solve this problem… it isn’t always the best route!

You want a kitchen that is good for your family in quality and budget.

You want upfront costs that don’t change.

The two biggest costs of this project are time and money. Let’s discuss what to expect before you get started.

Financial Costs

making a budget list for outdoor kitchen project

An outdoor BBQ kit can be quite expensive… especially with hidden costs you might not be expecting. No one wants to spend extra money on something they already budgeted for.

Landscaping, accessories, utility lines, and more will raise the price.

On average, people pay around $12,000-$13,000 for an outdoor kitchen. However, there are ways to save money and still get a great option, or to go all in and get some great features!

We’d recommend first thinking about how you want to use your kitchen. Do you actually plan on using all of the features you’re wanting to pay for?

This is one place where customization is important. Not only can customization give you extra features… it can also help you only pay for what you need!

Another consideration is where you want to put your kitchen. Placing it closer to the house will be cheaper as utility lines will be shorter.

See, creating a budget doesn’t have to be difficult!

So, we’ve covered money. What about time?

Time

Getting an outdoor kitchen can be time-consuming!

You have to research, budget, and buy… and if you get a prefab kitchen, you have to put it together yourself!

You’ll have to schedule contractors to come in and set up your utilities…

With some designs, you will have to schedule out heavy machinery to get your new kitchen placed. These things add up!

It’s nothing to bar you from getting one, but it’s something to be aware of and plan for. You want this project to be as easy as possible!

Fortunately, we have a solution that saves time and keeps the process simple…

Why Should You Consider a RTA Kit for Your Outdoor Living Space?

Now that you know how to plan for an outdoor kitchen, it’s time to consider why an RTA outdoor kitchen and bar kit may be a good fit for you.

There are several important categories we want to discuss for building an outdoor kitchen.

Let’s dive into those below.

You Want It Easy

Couple using RTA outdoor livings free online design tool

Our aim is to be the best resource as you design, select, and order your outdoor kitchen. We work daily with homeowners to design outdoor kitchens that fit their yard and budget.

We want to ensure you get a BBQ island that matches your expectations.

In the end, you just want to get to cooking and start grilling.

That’s why we recently launched a free outdoor kitchen design software. You can have your outdoor BBQ kitchen kit designed with a free quote on the way in just a few clicks.

Aside from the design tool, we have a webpage with plenty of resources for design help. We also have hundreds of photos of real kitchens in real backyards… no false expectations vs. reality here.

It Doesn't Have to be Complicated

Someone Screwing 2 RTA Outdoor Kitchen Panels Together

RTA takes a complicated, costly, and labor-intensive process and simplifies it for you.

We’ve streamlined our engineering and manufacturing processes. This makes assembling your outdoor kitchen kit as simple and easy as possible.

We offer you nothing less than a complete outdoor kitchen kit… no contractors required (unless you want help assembling).

Our outdoor kitchen BBQ island kits ship direct to you… complete with a high quality finish, countertops, and premium Coyote appliances. When you work with RTA, it is truly a one-stop-shop experience.

Everything you need to build your dream outdoor kitchen is delivered to your front door.

As far as building goes… Most RTA outdoor kitchen kits only require 2 people, a drill, and 3 drill bits.

It doesn’t get much simpler than that.

You Deserve a High Quality Outdoor Kitchen Kit

modern outdoor kitchen by pool in backyard

The last thing you want is for your new kitchen to break down after a season… or during the transit over.

RTA outdoor kitchen components and materials are selected and tested for performance and longevity… even in the harshest of climates.

Our structural panels and countertops are made from engineered concrete composite and ultra high-performance concrete, respectively.

They even have a handmade, integrated finish. Our standard offerings include finishes in stone, wood, brick, plank, and modern concrete.

These finishes also come in different colors for added variety as well!

These types of concrete are particularly durable and made to last.

A harsh New England winter is no match for our outdoor kitchen islands. They’re reinforced with composite rebar and aluminum alignment channels.

This concrete is so durable, our outdoor kitchen kits have a lifetime structural warranty.

RTA has also partnered with one of the best premium outdoor grill, appliance, and accessory manufacturers… Coyote Outdoor Living.

Coyote Outdoor Living

food cooking on a 36 inch coyote grill built into a white moks outdoor kitchen

Like RTA, all Coyote products are made to perform outdoors.

All Coyote outdoor grills and appliances feature 304 Stainless-Steel Construction… exuding excellence over every square inch.

Each offering is top-notch, durable, and reliable… providing you with convenience and enjoyment for years to come.

If you enjoy outdoor home improvement, Coyote has everything you want to perfect your outdoor kitchen project.

Coyote boasts a full line of gas, charcoal, and pellet grills… that satisfy even the most discerning outdoor chef.

Better yet, when you buy outdoor kitchen kits from RTA with Coyote appliances… you get both companies’ best-in-class customer service and warranty!

In fact, an RTA/Coyote Outdoor Kitchen won the Business Elite Award from US Business News for Outdoor Kitchen Design in 2019.

It Should Be Quick

RTA Way Graphic - 2 - v2
RTA Way Graphic - 2 Mobile

Order today and enjoy it in as little as a few weeks. Depending on the time of year, orders turn around in only 4–6 weeks (more for custom).

Once it has arrived, you or your contractor can complete the project in one afternoon. If you need a contractor, we can help with that, too!

You can build your outdoor kitchen so quickly because we do 95% of the work. No hiring a mason to finish, no stress about fitting appliances, no worries.

By the end of the day, you’ll be firing up the grill and making the best BBQ in the neighborhood.

How’s that for (almost) instant gratification?

Your Space Should Be Enjoyable

friends gathering around their outdoor kitchen countertops while food is cooking on the grill

There’s a reason the American Institute of Architects named the outdoor kitchen the most popular special function room.

With feedback from top designers at RTA… a BBQ outdoor kitchen kit is designed around functionality and utility. This allows optimal use and enjoyment of your backyard space.

Your outdoor kitchen kit will make your yard the envy of the neighborhood. It will become the space where friends and family gather to share good meals and quality time.

Your BBQ island will provide enjoyment and memories for years to come.

A Streamlined Process is Key

The streamlined process of building our outdoor kitchen kit is a large part of what drew Skip Bedell, from the hit TV show Catch a Contractor, to RTA.

It would normally take weeks (or even months) of planning and assembly. His came together in a fraction of the time.

He didn’t have to worry about the construction. He didn’t have to think about getting a mason to finish the frame. He didn’t even have to work to fit the appliances.

All of this was done beforehand… he didn’t have to be bothered with the details.

You Can Make It Your Own

Customization was another reason Skip Bedell chose RTA for his outdoor kitchen kit.

Skip has limited space in his yard for an outdoor kitchen kit. Most companies would not be able to adapt to this.

But whether you’re deciding between a small bar kit or a large one, RTA has just what you need.

We were able to design a custom outdoor kitchen kit that perfectly matched what Skip wanted. From size, to shape, how much counter space you get, to grills… everything about this outdoor kitchen kit was a custom build.

This would not have been possible without our unique engineering and manufacturing process. You won’t find such a customizable experience elsewhere.

From the stone island enclosure, to the multitude of countertop options, to the grill… RTA is truly a one-stop-shop.

Skip didn’t have to work with multiple companies. He also didn’t have to do a bunch of research to make sure everything would work together.

All he had to do was tell us what he wanted in a BBQ island kit. We made it happen. Everything arrived together at his doorstep ready to be assembled.

Doesn’t get much easier than that.

We had the opportunity to film the whole assembly of Skip’s kitchen from start-to-finish. As you will see, the whole thing really comes together in one afternoon. By the end of the day, Skip is already grilling with his new outdoor kitchen kit.

Watch the video below to see how quick and easy it is to build an RTA outdoor kitchen kit.c

Get Started on Your Outdoor Kitchen Kit

Sold on an RTA outdoor kitchen kit yet?

If you are, we have plenty of resources to help you get started.

Our website is a wealth of information. You can learn about us, our products, our technology, Coyote appliances, pricing, assembly, design help, and more.

If you’re looking for custom kitchen options… try our free outdoor kitchen design software.

In just a few clicks, you’ll have a 3D model of your outdoor kitchen kit design ready to go. It will even send your design to an expert that you can then schedule a free one-on-one call with.

So what are you waiting for?

Let’s create your outdoor kitchen!

Need help getting started?

Our outdoor kitchen design experts are ready to help walk you through the design process.

FAQ

The average cost of an outdoor kitchen is around $12,000-$13,000. While this average is helpful information… It doesn’t encompass the lower or higher end project you may be budgeting for.

RTA’s outdoor kitchen kits meet at the crossroads of quality and affordability. If you want a luxury kitchen guaranteed to last a lifetime at a good price… you can use our free outdoor kitchen design software to get a quote in just a few clicks.

A custom-built outdoor structure may require planning permission depending on where you live. A modular or RTA kitchen isn’t considered a permanent structure, so you should not need planning permission in order to build one. Just be sure to double check!

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