People across the country are finding new ways to ramp up their outdoor spaces and spend more time outside without having to leave their homes. Though several options are rising to the surface, outdoor kitchens are among the most popular at this point. Outdoor kitchens can bring numerous benefits to the table, not the least of which is greater freedom and versatility at mealtime. Of course, the health benefits, entertainment potential, and added financial value they create can’t be overlooked. Those aspects and many others are responsible for the surging popularity of outdoor kitchens.
Understanding the Cost of an Outdoor Kitchen
Having said all that, cost is certainly a factor. Almost everyone has a budget for home improvements, and sticking to that budget is essential. Between the materials and labor, having an outdoor kitchen costs an average of $12,000. Keep in mind, though, that’s a highly generalized figure. Some cost a great deal less whereas $12,000 barely gets the process started for others. When it comes to pricing your new outdoor kitchen, several variables factor into the equation. It’s important to understand those elements and how they affect the overall price of a project like this.
Size of the Kitchen
Many people feel that bigger is definitely better when you’re designing a kitchen. This rule applies whether you’re inside or outside the house. Having an expansive outdoor kitchen can give you more room to move around, but the bigger your outdoor kitchen is, the more it’s going to cost. Generally speaking, materials and installation costs can range from $1,000 to $2,000 per linear foot, so the more space you add, the higher the price will be. Finding a suitable middle ground is typically recommended if you’re working with a budget. You don’t have to sacrifice the space you need, but not going overboard can save you a great deal of money.
Choice of Materials
Materials will play a major role in how much your outdoor kitchen ultimately costs. Obviously, you’ll need quality materials that are built to endure not only the elements but repeated use. Still, that doesn’t mean they have to cost you a small fortune in their own right. For example, you may be tempted to go with marble countertops, but they’re among the most expensive on the market. You could choose a less expensive alternative like granite.
Keep in mind, there’s no harm in using concrete for your kitchen’s foundation as well as the countertops. It’s a durable, long-lasting material that’s well-known for taking whatever Mother Nature throws at it. Considering all the versatility of concrete these days, you can have it tinted, textured, stamped, and customized in many other ways to round out the look of your outdoor kitchen. You can even have it designed to mimic the look of granite or marble.
Where you choose to have your outdoor kitchen built will also affect the price. You can have it built into a porch or deck if you already have one on your home, but you might have to have the feature extended to accommodate the kitchen. Otherwise, you can have a deck or porch added onto your home specifically for your outdoor kitchen. On the other hand, you could make your outdoor kitchen a standalone feature that’s not attached to the house. In this case, you’d need to have a foundation built for it.
For many homeowners, the latter is the more expensive option for several reasons. If you have your outdoor kitchen built in an area that’s separate from the house, it’ll need its own platform, covering, and other features. That means additional materials and labor will be involved. At the same time, you won’t be able to simply have exterior outlets installed or tap into those that are already in place. That’s yet another expense. This might be a more suitable option if you’re thinking of having a patio built anyway or you want to have more space for outdoor entertaining, though.
Your outdoor kitchen’s power source will also affect the cost of installation. If you’re having it built onto your home, you’ll have the existing electrical supply on hand. You may even have a natural gas line you could simply tap into for your grill and other appliances. In the event it’s going to be a standalone feature, connecting to your home’s electrical system and natural gas lines will be a bit more involved. In turn, the installation will cost more.
You could also follow the traditional outdoor appliance route and stick with propane-powered appliances. Propane grills are readily available. Many appliances can also be converted to run off of propane tanks. Some that are designed for outdoor use already have this option built into them. This may be the less expensive alternative in terms of installation, but you’ll have to deal with the ongoing cost and hassle of constantly replacing the propane tanks. Those tanks are also notorious for running out at the worst possible times.
Outdoor Kitchen Features
Each extra feature you have added to the outdoor kitchen will influence the cost of the project. You can keep costs at a minimum by having nothing more than a grill, range, and sink installed with a few feet of counter space for meal preparation. You could also take the matter to an entirely different level by having a refrigerator, smoker, wine cooler, full bar, sound system, dishwasher, and any number of other features added to the mix. If you like, you could even have a brick pizza oven installed. Just remember that each inclusion will drive the price a bit higher.
Maximizing Functionality while Minimizing Cost
Those are some of the main factors that affect the cost of an outdoor kitchen. While you’re planning this type of project, consider the features you need and those you’d like to have while keeping a running tab on their costs. From there, you could compromise on some of the non-essentials to avoid going over your budget. No matter what your budget is, though, you don’t have to sacrifice fun and functionality to keep the project affordable.