How to build an outdoor kitchen on a deck

One of the most creative places you can build your outdoor kitchen is on a deck. It provides a convenient, easily accessible, open door space. It is normal for you to wish that you could build your outdoor kitchen on a patio, but what if an elevated deck is the only available position?

Whether you have a multilevel, floating, elevated, or platform deck, you can comfortably build an outdoor kitchen on them. Here are ways to build an outdoor kitchen on a deck.

Can you build an outdoor kitchen on a deck?

There are a lot of controversies regarding the process of building an outdoor kitchen on a deck. However, the answer is simple. Yes, you can build an outdoor kitchen on a deck. Nevertheless, carefulness and strict compliance to rules are essential in this regard.

You must verify the type of equipment that you will place on the deck. Because of the structure and positioning of decks, they usually have a load limit. You wouldn’t want to experience a deck collapse in your home, after loading your deck with heavy-duty elements.

You must know the average weight that your deck can carry and stick to it.

How much weight can my deck hold?

Naturally, your deck can hold maximum weights of 50-100 lbs per square foot. Homebuilders construct your decks to handle the dead load and live load. 

Dead load is permanent weight structures/loads placed on the deck. Live loads are temporary loads with fluctuating weights. 

For instance, when you are building your outdoor kitchen on your deck, you have to set up permanent structures. This might include reinforcing the roof, hangers, and fasteners, strengthening the walls, beam spacing, support post size, or other permanent structures to support the building. 

Dead load is the self-applied constant of the deck. Your live load includes the furniture, cooking element, lightning, appliances, down to the number of people on the deck at a specific time.

A lot of times, we make the mistake of calculating the weight our decks can hold when they are dry. Wet conditions like snow, can impact the weight of the deck. This is the snow load.

Nevertheless, there is no one-fit-for-all rule to deck sizing for all buildings. Deck builders construct your deck to a standard allowable weight. The allowable weight impacts the deck amount of deflection. This refers to the maximum weight the deck can carry before it sags or sinks.

Multiple factors determine the acceptable load of a deck; your regional laws, amount of deflection, and the weight/quality of materials used for the construction. However, to stay on the safer side your outdoor kitchen on a deck should not weigh more than 100 pounds. You can also hire the services of a local builder to confirm your deck capacity.

How to build an outdoor kitchen on a deck

1. Hire a contractor

I understand that there are DIY options for building an outdoor kitchen on a deck. However, if you do not trust your skills and the ability to achieve perfect construction, a contractor is your best bet.

A good contractor will weigh the weight of your deck and decide which outdoor kitchen model will fit your deck. Building an outdoor kitchen on a deck comes with a constrained space compared to building on an open field. You must make proper analyses to understand how to conserve space and build a durable building.

Building outdoor kitchens on decks is not as difficult as it sounds. However, if you choose to use a contractor, make sure you hire the right one. You wouldn’t want to spend tons of dollars hiring a contractor that will ruin your deck.

2. Choose your materials carefully

Weight is a necessary factor to kitchen construction on a deck. There are also more important factors to consider; combustion. 

Wood decks are usually combustible. This makes them easy to catch fire. A lot of deck builders move to replace the wood decks with composite materials. The goal is to build a fire-resistant decking. 

It is believed that composite materials cannot catch fire. However, this is not always true. There are a lot of materials that you can choose from for your decking; IPE, TimberTech, Cedar, and Azek. It is essential that your outdoor kitchen materials withstand open flame, fire kindling, and can retain heat and heat transfer methods. 

To stay on the safer side, I will advise that you keep out combustible materials from your decks. You can position your grills far away from your deck, and when building, you should use Class-A fire rating materials.

3. Plan your appliances

What should you put on your outdoor kitchen deck? Which appliances can you bring on to your outdoor kitchen deck? The appliance plan must cover the weight, durability, and fire safety of your deck. 

You are building on a deck; you don’t need everything on board. You should decide which appliances are of high importance, light-weight and non-combustible. You can step it up a bit by going for appliances made with recyclable materials. 

Durability is an important feature to look out for. You shouldn’t spend much money trying to replace damaged equipment. Go for high-quality appliances. Choose appliances with minimal emissions and fire resistance.

Performance must be considered in your choice of appliance. You can add beauty and space conservation to your list of factors to determine the right appliance for your outdoor kitchen deck.

4. Choose your utilities

Because of the limitations on decks, your outdoor kitchen cannot have everything you need. You must consider the utilities that you are bringing on the deck. Your utility setting must align with your deck spacing and setup. 

You should consider if you need water running on your deck, your lightning, and additional accessories. Are there chances that your electrical setup will cause a spark? Let your utilities align with your outdoor deck solution. The rule is simple – do not add utilities that have the potential of destroying your deck.

The setting of your appliances and utilities is also essential. You must make sure that there is an even distribution of weight. Your outdoor kitchen on a deck could just include some seats, a relaxation spot, and minor gadgets. 

You can extend your grill and fireplace to the ground floor, some feet away from the deck. On an outdoor kitchen deck, you don’t need to place your grill in the center of the kitchen. You wouldn’t want to set your house on fire.

You can add some beauty to your outdoor kitchen. Choose natural colors that can easily blend with the environment. Outdoor kitchens should portray beauty while maintaining a high sense of professionalism.

5. Fire safety

If you don’t plan against fire hazards, you might get caught up in its web. If you decide to use your grill on your deck, make sure that you use a grill mat. Your deck floors need protection against stains and sparks. 

Flare Ups from your food or droplets can trigger a fire outbreak. You need to have a standby fire extinguisher. You must remember that you mustn’t use charcoal grills on your wooden deck. 

These materials are combustible and susceptible to burning. You must keep your deck clean at all times, you wouldn’t want some fallen leaves or twigs to catch fire after meeting a spark. Do not leave your grill unattended, and make sure that you maintain tight connections at all ends. If you are using gas as your cooking element, avoid leakages.

6. Keep it simple

You need simple outdoor kitchen ideas for your deck. You have a limited amount of space and constraints on weight and load. Outdoor kitchens increase the value of your home. 

This adds value for sale, rent, or lease. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t jeopardize your safety by putting up complex outdoor kitchen designs on your deck. Most outdoor kitchen deck collapses are caused by unchecked flaws and excesses.


Can you put a built-in grill on a wood deck?

You can put a built-in grill on a wood deck. However, there are certain safety precautions attached to its use. Your built-in grill poses high risks to your deck. 

There are tendencies that wind would blow some hot coal from your grill onto your deck. If you must put a built-in grill on a wood deck, ensure that you keep them far from wooden structures.

Where should a grill be placed on a deck?

You should keep your grill in an open area far from your deck. I wouldn’t advise keeping a grill close to your deck. 

This poses huge safety challenges. You should place your grill at least 3 feet from your deck. You must ensure that there are no branches or tree parts close to the grill.


When you are setting out to build an outdoor kitchen on a deck, you should analyze all available options. Foresee some challenges that it may pose to your building and eliminate those risks. 

Always remember that the goal of an outdoor kitchen on a deck is to drive high-level efficiency while ensuring durability and safety.

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