A BBQ island is a portable and adjustable outdoor kitchen workspace.
They are very customizable and can be made to fit your own personal desires.
It is a perfect middle ground between a full blown outdoor kitchen and a small grill.
They are easy to set up, clean, and use.
They are essentially a small worktop with a built-in grill that sits on your patio or in your garden.
They tend to be made from steel and you can get many additions such as a sink, cupboards, ice boxes, and more.
What Are Steel Studs?
These are rods of steel that have been cold-formed. They work in conjunction with a track to provide support and a strong framework for your BBQ island’s structure. They are fastened with screws.
They are preferable to wooden studs as they are straight, do not warp, and do not split. They are fire-resistant and not susceptible to rot or insect damage. They often tend to be cheaper than their wood counterparts too.
What Will You Need?
One of the first things that you need to do when constructing anything is to draw out your design. For this, you will need a pen, paper, ruler, and measuring tape.
You will also need some levels, a hammer drill, and a screwdriver. As well as this, you will need a metal cut-on saw, a screw gun, fasteners, a marker, a laser-level or plumb bob, and some c-clamps.
You will need some composite boards too. These are made from plastics and wood fiber that has been extruded and heated to form a solid structure. They are ideal for outdoor use as they can hold up well to the elements.
You will also need some steel studs and tracks to form the shape of your BBQ island. You will need 1 stud per 12 inches of horizontal structure. You can get varying types of steel stud, but the most common is 25-gauge. You can find this in most DIY and hardware stores.
How to Build a BBQ Island
The first and most important step when building your own BBQ island is to draw up a design. This ensures that you will incorporate all of your design ideas, and will help you to get a clearer picture of how the layout will be.
You should measure precisely the dimensions of each section and draw this to scale on some paper. This will not only show you how much space the BBQ island will take up, but also the quantities of materials you are likely to need.
If you are struggling to design your own island, there are many layout designs available on the internet for download. Make sure you check your measurements a couple of times to ensure they are correct.
You should begin by laying down some composite boards. These will ensure your BBQ island has a level surface to rest on. It will also ensure the metal studs are protected and provides a template to work on.
You should then lay the lower tracks for the studs to run along. They can hold a lot of weight and create a firm base for the rest of your BBQ island.
Run these tracks around the outer edge of the composite board you have laid down. Overlap the tracks by about 6 inches on the long sides. This will provide the base with a lot of stability.
Double check that the tracks are level. Use a spirit level, laser level, or plumb bob to check this. Laser levels are the easiest to use, but any of these will work.
Drill the corners of the tracks into the composite board to ensure they stay in place. If one edge is higher, you may need to drill it tighter.
Begin at one end of the tracks and start attaching the studs to the tracks. Align the holes on the stud and track and ensure they are perpendicular to one another.
The stud should slot into the track. The face should be pointing outwards and the flanges should be facing inwards. Once you have done this, you will have created a corner.
Hold this in place with the C-clamps and check the stud is straight vertically using your spirit level. Lock and screw the pieces into place on both sides. Once you are sure they’re secure, take off the C-clamps and repeat along the length of the track.
Your next step is to attach the top track to your structure. Rotate the ends of the studs a little to ensure they fit between the track’s flanges. Make a corner at each side and check with your level.
Attach the track to the stud using your C-clamp. Check again to ensure it is level using your spirit level.
Compare the top and bottom lengths. They should be the same length, if not you will need to adjust the studs.
Hold both corners of the tracks with C-clamps and then drill screws in to secure.
Measure the halfway distance along the horizontal length of your BBQ frame. Mark this out on both the top and bottom tracks.
Using some shorter studs, place inside at an angle and fit it between the track’s flanges. Rotate and slot this into position. Once it is in the correct place, use the C-clamps to hold it still and then drill in some screws.
Build around the studs to make a more complete structure. Line the holes in your stud with some plastic ties or bushing. This will cover up any sharp edges and ensure your cables are protected.
Thread electrical cables through the holes in the stud. Add in the panels, counters, and grill to finish off your BBQ island.
It is relatively easy, but fairly labor intensive, to build your own BBQ island.
If you are to do it, steel studs will make your job as easy as possible.
Take great care not to injure yourself in the process.