How to Install Plumbing for an Outdoor Kitchen

A stainless steel sink in a patio.
What You'll Need
Hole Saw
PVC Pipe
Pipe Fittings
Drain Bucket

An outdoor kitchen is a great addition to the patio. Not only does it provide you will plenty of storage options, but you also have the luxury of an outdoor sink for washing up. Here are a few simple steps to help you properly plumb an outdoor kitchen in no time.

Step 1 - Linking to Main Water Pipes

To get started, you need to run supply pipe from inside the house that is rated for outdoor use. The pipes should be held in place with two-hole clamps and you don’t need to insulate the pipe unless you are running hot water. The pipes should be sloped to help drainage and can be buried underground for a more aesthetically pleasing look. You should also install shut off valves and drain plugs at the low points of the piping.

Step 2 - Running the Pipe Outside

With the supply piping in place, run it through the wall and towards the outdoor kitchen. The pipe should come up through the bottom of the cabinet. You may need to use thread adapters to connect the pipes to the plumbing in the sink. Plumber’s tape should be installed over all adapters to ensure a tight seal.

Step 3 - Building a Drainage System

The sink will need to feature a drain pipe for the sink trap. The drainpipe should be PVC and you will need to install an adapter to connect it to the sink trap. If you want to include a line of natural gas, make sure you purchase a pipe that is related for outdoor use in your area.

Step 4 - Digging a Drainage Hole

You will need to dig a dry well for the drainpipe. The whole should be dug ten feet from the deck and needs to slope away from the house to prevent water from flowing in the wrong direction. The drain line should be at least an inch and half PVC pipe. The slope of the pipe should be around a quarter inch for every foot.

Step 5 - Complete Drain Bucket

Place your drain bucket inside the hole and drill a slot for drain piping. You also need to punch holes into the bottom of the bucket for drainage. The piping should protrude into the bowl a few inches and rest below the ground level. Fill the bucket with some coarse gravel to help the water drain properly.

Step 6 - Winterizing Pipes

Depending on the climate and type of water you are running, you might need to winterize the piping. You can accomplish this with an ejector pump or using a gravity system and installing the pipes below the freezer level. The ejector pump will help remove water before the winter while a gravity system will flush water naturally from the system.

Sink Drainage Notes

If you elect to use a dry well to drain the water in the sink you will be limited on the use. Without a garbage disposal, you will not be able to put food scraps down the sink. You can still wash like you would in your indoor kitchen sink, but placing food scraps will lead to a smell and might plug up the system. If building a drainage system isn’t an option you can always place a bucket underneath the sink and empty it whenever it gets full.

Sink and Faucet Tips

Selecting the right kind of sink and faucet is an important step in building an outdoor kitchen. Stainless steel is a great option for the sink because it is both durable and easy to keep clean. Copper and bronze sinks are alternatives, though they tend to develop a patina after extended use. Brass, meanwhile, is a good option for the faucet as long as it comes with a physical vapor deposition finish. Try to avoid faucets that have plastic parts or rubber buttons as they can slowly degrade in the sun.