How to Prepare for a Patio Kitchen
Here are some ideas for an outdoor kitchen/dining area, along with solutions to make the patio more conducive to entertaining.
There's no way the plain dirt of this yard will support a 3,000-pound oven. To give it a sturdy foundation, measure the frame and dig holes with level bottoms where the corners will sit. Add dry cement to each hole and settle a pier block in each hole. Check and double-check the blocks for alignment and level; even a small tilt can lead to disaster with an oven this heavy.
Using a forklift, move the oven to the pier blocks and carefully set it in place. Once the oven is in position, check the oven opening for level and make any needed adjustments. Attach the oven to the pier blocks by drilling through the steel frames on the bottom of the oven into the blocks.
Frame out the area below the oven with weather-resistant lumber to cover the steel framework and create support for a countertop around the oven (Image 1). Attach the lumber to the steel oven legs, attach a plywood shelf to the frame and line the cavity with plywood (Image 2). Always wear eye protection when using a power saw, power drill or any power tool. Cover the outside of the framing with cementboard, attaching it with screws.
Position one granite tile on the countertop area, with a 1/8-inch overhang, to use as a guide. Snap a chalk line and dry-fit the other tiles, cutting with a wet saw as needed. Glue the tiles directly to the cement board with an adhesive recommended for tiles. Weight the tiles with bricks or other heavy objects while the adhesive dries. Always wear eye protection when working with a wet saw. Maintain the 1/8-inch overhang all the way around the countertop. This will bring the finished stucco sides flush with the edge of the counter. Let cut tiles dry completely before installing. Wet tiles won't adhere properly to the cementboard. For a finished look, choose tiles with a bullnose (rounded) edge for the outside edges. The crew used tiles that were cut to butt up against each other, eliminating the need for grout.
Use the same method as for the kitchen island: Install a "weep screed" — an L-shaped piece of aluminum — along the bottom edge of the oven to provide a shelf for the stucco and direct water away from the oven. Use screws to attach metal lath, a wire mesh, over all of the exposed cementboard.
Prepare the stucco mix according to the package directions. The crew used one-coat stucco for this project; it's easy to work with and goes on faster than traditional stucco. Apply the stucco with a trowel, using an upward motion and pushing it into the lath to completely cover it. Don't overwork the stucco, but instead try to apply each scoop in one motion. Once a large section of stucco is applied, mist the area to keep it from drying too fast and cracking. Covering the stucco with plastic also slows down the drying process.
Once the stucco has completely dried, repair any cracks with a compound designed for stucco repair. Paint as desired.