Can You Convert a Freestanding Grill to a Built-in?

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A freestanding grill is a traditional grill purchased in a department store or home improvement store. By contrast, built-in grills are made from non-movable materials, like bricks or stone. Freestanding grills have convenience of mobility, but the sturdy construction of a built-in grill has an aesthetic appeal that is more visually sophisticated. Built-in grills also can offer conveniences, like storage space, that some freestanding grills do not.


Built-In Grilling Stations

A built-in grill station constructed around a free-standing grill is known as a grill surround. This customized permanent location for your free-standing grill usually is constructed of bricks and mortar. Grill surrounds offer protection for your free-standing grill, and often are considered more attractive than a free-standing grill alone. For grilling enthusiasts, a grill-surround provides ultimate convenience in an attractive package.


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Choosing a Location

Built-in grills must be constructed on a paved, level area. Keep your grill surround away from overhanging trees, and away from your house, shed, barn or garage. Pick a location where you have easy access to your kitchen and yard eating area. Stay away from high-traffic areas to avoid safety issues while the grill is hot.


Building a Basic Surround

Place the grill in your chosen area and draw a chalk mark on the pavement around the perimeter of the grill, approximately 1 inch away from the sides and back of the grill. Remove the grill from the area. Lay the first course of bricks on the pavement to determine their best layout. Leave a 1/2-inch gap between each brick to accommodate the mortar. Once you know what pattern you'd like to lay the bricks, remove the bricks and place mortar on the pavement over the chalk marks. Lay the first course of bricks on the wet mortar. Bricks should be coated with mortar on each side where the bricks will be touching other bricks. Build up each course of bricks using this same method, until the brick surround reaches the desired height. As you build your surround, check it periodically with a level to ensure that the bricks are even. Build up your brick surround only as high as the grilling surface of your grill.


Adding Features

Although a basic grill surround is better than nothing, adding accessories to your grill surround will maximize its usefulness. For example, construct two brick pillars attached to either side of the surround and cap each pillar with a countertop stone to create a built-in counter area. To create a shelf beneath your counters, leave the front wall off the stone pillars. Build up the 3-walled pillar by four or five courses of bricks, then lay a course of bricks turned sideways to create a ledge inside the pillar. Then, construct the rest of the pillar with bricks laid in the standard orientation. Use the ledge to support a wire rack cut to fit inside the pillar.



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