(BPT) - Outdoor kitchens continue to grow in popularity across the United States. They are a great way to enhance the look of any backyard, while functioning as an extension of your home for entertaining friends or enjoying a casual meal with family. In addition, an attractive well-built outdoor kitchen can greatly increase the financial value of a home. An outdoor kitchen can deliver as much as a 100 to 200 percent return on investment, according to Houzz, a popular home design website.
Building an outdoor kitchen can be a realistic do-it-yourself project for homeowners willing to put forth a little hard work while following the right instructions and using the right materials. Constructing the base of the outdoor kitchen with modular concrete blocks, like RumbleStone by Pavestone, makes the project easy because they are simply stacked like building blocks. Once the base is done, it can be dressed up with a complementary concrete countertop that is not only beautiful, but durable enough to withstand even the most challenging outdoor conditions. Nearly as simple as constructing the base, making concrete countertops is done by filling melamine forms with specially formulated concrete like Quikrete Countertop Mix.
Steps for building an outdoor kitchen:
Always wear eye protection and waterproof gloves when working with cement-based products.
- Outline the outdoor kitchen base design using a chalk line and tape plastic tarp around that area for protection.
- Place the corner blocks of the outdoor kitchen base and measure to make sure it's square and level. If the corners are uneven, use Quikrete Sand/Topping Mix underneath the blocks as necessary. Measure for square and level.
- Extend the sand mix from corner to corner before placing the first layer of concrete blocks. Let the first layer sit for about an hour or until dry.
- Once the first layer is thumb print hard, use a tool to smooth the sand mix at the base. Then remove the tape and plastic sheet.
- After the first layer is set, apply Quikrete Advanced Polymer Construction Adhesive along the top of the concrete blocks and place the next layer according to the design.
- If the design includes a refrigerator, grill or other feature in the base, be sure to leave a void in the block as necessary.
- After the base is built, make the countertop by pouring concrete into a form constructed of melamine coated plywood. The concrete countertop will need about 18 hours to dry before removal from the form.
- Place the countertop on the base with the help of others and apply acrylic cure and seal for protection.
- Assemble the appliances according to the manufacturer’s instructions and install into the base.
Beyond the savings of not hiring a contractor, a homeowner can really personalize an outdoor kitchen to fit their style and taste with a modular concrete block base accompanied by a concrete countertop. It can be customized with a grill, bar and mini refrigerator to accommodate any dining and entertainment event. Other homeowners may elevate the experience even more by installing LED lights, a sound system or other luxury features. Whether elaborate or basic, design possibilities are endless for outdoor kitchens. For complete how-to instructions, watch this video at QUIKRETE.com.