Converting a Free-standing BBQ to a Barbecue Island Converting a Free-standing BBQ to a Barbecue Island

What You'll Need
Plywood
Weather treated 2x4 lumber
Nails
Mortar
Tape Measure
Hammer
Tile
Saw
Chalk

Most free-standing barbecues afford the chef little counter space to work with. Adding a barbecue island is a great way remedy this problem. This article will show you how to build a simple and inexpensive barbecue island.

Step 1 - Island Measurements

The island can be as large, simple and complex as you want it to be. Use your tape measure and chalk to sketch out the back half of the barbecue island. Determine how long you want the island to be and if you want it to be a square unit or an L-shape. Measure the length, height and the width of the BBQ. When you measure the height of the BBQ only do so to the top of the grill plates. Go back to the length line of the island and now add the depth of the grill to those measurements and connect all of the lines ignoring the front where the BBQ will be slid into the frame.

Step 2 - Framing Barbecue Island

You will be using the pieces of 2x4 to frame out the barbecue island. Begin by cutting 2x4s to the height of the BBQ and setting them off to the side. Now, cut 2x4s to match the length of the island. It is always a good idea to lay these out on the chalk line to double check fit. Repeat this for the top portion of the frame. Next, nail all of the 2x4s together. Start with making the bottom frame to outline the area of the island. Once you have done that you can add the 2x4s that will be the height of the island. Place these pieces of wood at each corner of the frame. Finally, at the pieces of 2x4 that become the frame top of the barbecue island. When you are finished you are left with a wooden cube or box with an open front.

Step 3 - Filling the Gaps

You can't very well grill any food or entertain friends with the barbecue island looking like an empty shell. Measure each side of the barbecue island for height and width, ignoring the open front but include the top dimensions. Cut the plywood sheets to match those measurements. Nail the pieces of plywood in place. If your BBQ doesn't have doors you can install them now in the open front. These can be metal, wood or recycled kitchen cabinet doors.

Step 4 - Finishing Touches

At this point you are left with bare wood and, unless it's oak or maple, it is not a good look. Mix the mortar according to the package instructions and apply it to the plywood. Make the mortar textured and begin applying the tiles. You can be as creative as you like with the overall design and color scheme. If tiles aren't your thing you can also use slate or flagstones. Lastly, slide your BBQ grill in place and enjoy your island.

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