How to Build an Outdoor Fireplace Barbecue

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Creating an outdoor living space is an excellent way to enjoy your yard. It adds value to your home and expands your available living space. An outdoor fireplace and barbecue is both a beautiful and functional way to add to an outdoor living area by extending the seasons and uses for this space. Building this feature yourself saves money and you will have built something you can be proud to say you've created.

Things You'll Need

  • Level
  • 2-by-4 lumber sections
  • Sand
  • Premixed cement
  • Bricks and/or firebrick
  • Mortar mix
  • Shovel
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Rebar
  • Metal pegs
  • Metal grille
  • Obtain a building permit, if you need one. If you fail to follow this step, anything you build can be ordered to be removed, and your time and effort will have been wasted. Before you apply, know the size and location of your project, and the materials you will use to build it. Purchase a plan for a brick fireplace and barbecue online, or at a home improvement store. You can draw out your own plans, but unless you are experienced in measuring out masonry or this type of planning it's better to follow a preset plan.

  • Mark off the area where your fireplace will be . Using a level, dig the area out, 4 inches down into the soil, and make sure the bottom of the hole is level. Edge the hole with 2-by-4 lumber and square them with the level. Add a layer of sand about 1 inch deep. Mix cement in the wheelbarrow, using the amount of water called for on the bag, and pour it into the hole. Spread the concrete and smooth the top with a trowel. You can allow for a slight incline towards the back of the slab to keep water from running into the fireplace.

  • Soak the bricks evenly with a hose until they are saturated. Do this 24 hours before use, to give the brick time to absorb the water. Dry brick will pull moisture from the mortar and cause cracking.

  • Lay out the bottom later of bricks. If you are using a firebrick interior and an outer shell of decorative stone, begin with the outer wall. Once you have the bricks for the bottom laid out as you want them, mix the mortar. Lift the bricks and spread a layer of mortar beneath them, then set them into it. Once you have them in place, use a trowel to scrape away any excess mortar. Continue placing bricks in layers with mortar between both the top and bottom layers and the sides, until you've built your outer walls to the shape and height you desire. Use about 1 ½ inches of mortar at the end of each brick and between layers. Tap them into place using the trowel handle. Clear away excess mortar using the trowel, and every three or four layers "tool" the joints. Using a small piece of pipe, run it along the joints to make it compress and shape the mortar.

    Check each layer for level as you go along. Depending on your plan, you may need to place rebar in the walls to reinforce them due to the height. Shorter grills that have a double wall structure may not require this step.

  • Repeat step 6 for the inner area of the firebox. This area needs to cover any surface that the fire will be in contact with and is made using the firebrick, or brick that will not be destroyed by the heat of the flames.

    Place the pegs for the metal grille in this inner section. Install the metal pegs between the layers of brick at the height you wish your metal grill to rest over the flame for cooking. If you choose, you can set two different sets of metal pegs for different levels. Set the pegs into the mortar, between the bricks.

  • Let your new fireplace and barbecue cure for several days before you use it.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure you have enough brick or stone to complete the project and extra for broken bricks or stone, and for any repairs you may need later. Brick is fired in lots, and colors are hard to match unless you buy the bricks together.

References

  • Photo Credit fireplace image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com
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