Can You Use Any Grill as a Built-In?

Built-in grills don’t come cheap. This begs the question: Can you adapt a regular grill and use it as a built-in?

Published Categorized as Buying Guides /Depositphotos

You may have been over to a friend’s house or just seen a picture of a built-in grill and thought to yourself, “Hey, that’s something I’d like to have someday!”

But it was just one of those things that you put off year after year. Until now! And now that you’re interested in making your outdoor kitchen a reality, with a beautiful built-in backyard grill and all, we’re here to answer all your burning questions.

Questions like, “Can I use any grill as a built-in?” Read on to find out.

Can You Use Any Grill as a Built-In Grill?

The answer to this question is, mostly yes.

You can use almost any type of grill as a built-in. However, the most important thing is to plan or select your built-in grill station so that it can accommodate your grill.

Not all built-in grill docks are one size fits all. And it isn’t uncommon to have a structure modified to accommodate your grill. This is where knowing the exact dimensions of your grill comes into play.

It’s also good to look up your specific grill model in terms of built-in grills to get ideas on how others have customized theirs. There are probably many others who have thought about doing the same thing—especially if the make and model of your grill is a popular one.

Can You Remove the Legs of a Regular Grill to Use It as a Built-In?

Now, this is where things can get a little tricky.

Under most circumstances, you can’t just remove the legs from your grill to use it as a built-in grill. The higher-end grills may offer a custom cart compatible with your grill head. But, most consumer grill models are not built this way.

Also, even if you could remove the legs while preserving the grill’s integrity and strength, the unit still may not be designed to operate efficiently inside an enclosure due to factors like airflow issues.

Can You Build an Alcove to Custom-Fit Your Built-In Grill?

Yes, this is going to be the best way to convert your grill into a built-in. However, you’ll need to make sure a few things are in order first:

  • If your built-in grill has folding sides, you’ll probably want to remove them. Even if they are folded down, leaving the folding sides on can cause unattractive gaps between the grill and its surroundings.
  • Check your manual to determine the recommended clearance around your built-in grill. Even if you’re building a non-combustible structure such as block and stone, you might not have the recommended airflow needed for your grill to work correctly.
  • If you are using a stone veneer, you want to place the grill after the veneer is up. Otherwise, it’s possible to veneer around the grill just to seal it in!

Considerations Before Installing a Built-in Grill

Permits and HOA

If you’re installing a gas line for your built-in grill, you’ll likely need to obtain the proper permit from your local municipality.

However, tanks do not require permits.

Also, you may need to consult your Home Owner’s Association (HOA) to see if they have specific guidelines concerning where you can build your grill structure. In many cases, they may require a distance of at least ten feet away from any flammable structure.

How Much Does It Cause to Construct a Built-In Grill?

The cost of a built-in grill can depend based on several factors. If you already have a  stainless steel grill guaranteed not to rust or corrode, you can save $800 to $10,000. Most models will either use natural gas or propane.

The Stonework

The stonework would be the next factor to consider. However, many of the most basic built-in grills are little more than a roll-in grill that just slides right in.

More elaborate built-in grills usually include a bar, so the stonework is much more extensive. When it comes to pricing stonework, it mostly depends on the materials being used and the layout of your outdoor kitchen.

Most orders are custom designed. For example, a simple grill surround for your roll-in grill ranges between $2,200 and $3,500. Meanwhile, the stonework needed for a drop-in grill can cost between $6,000 and 12,000.

The Countertop

The last thing you need to consider is the different choices in countertop materials.

Just like the kitchen inside your home, the materials used for your outside countertop vary. Two popular choices are either granite or bluestone. And some basic grill designs use a manufactured capstone for their countertop.

However, this is not as common because of the limited widths available.

The price to install bluestone is generally less than the price of installing granite. However, there is a considerable amount of on-site work such as cutting, fitting, and finishing involved with both materials. Bluestone’s cost ranges from $40-$60 per square foot, while Granit ranges from $75-$300 per square foot.

In all, a customer’s built-in grill may cost between $3,000-$50,000 or more.

Prefabricated Built-in Grills

If you’re looking for an all-in-one option that offers square footage, a basic setup typically includes a 5-foot stucco-clad island with tile countertop, access doors for your propane tank, and a drop-in gas grill.

Then there are the extras, such as a refrigerator, granite counters, and LED lighting, which you can order separately. Those looking to do a DIY installation can usually start cooking on the same day their built-in grill arrives.

The cost of this setup can range between $2,000 and $30,000.

Checklist for Installing Built-In Grill

Here’s a quick checklist showing you the recommended steps to take when installing a built-in grill.

  1. Hire a professional contractor (unless DIY)
  2. Obtain permits
  3. Collect materials
  4. Run your utility lines
  5. Install the hardscaping
  6. Purchase appliances
  7. Add Built-ins
  8. Set up lighting

Can You Use a Charcoal Grill as a Built-in Grill?

Yes, it may be possible to use your charcoal grill as a built-in. However, some models can work for this purpose, while others may not.

This is where model-specific research will come into play. However, generally speaking, Many companies such as Weber make specific propane and natural gas models that can be used as built-in grills.

There are also charcoal models explicitly made for built-in grills. However, these grills are often several times more expensive than your average charcoal grill, starting from $1,000-$3,000 and up.

These models usually have adjustable charcoal trays and are constructed with heavy-duty materials such as 304 stainless steel. Very often, you may have to have your structure designed to accommodate the exact dimensions of your grill while allowing the proper spacing for ventilation.

The Long And The Short of It

You may be able to use your grill as a built-in.

You’ll need to satisfy specific considerations and conditions, such as spacing, clearance, and ventilation, while ensuring everything flies above board with your HOA and local municipality.

But, if you’ve got the budget, a good contractor, in most cases, should be able to build the built-in grill station of your dreams.

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