Cost Of Building a Brick BBQ
A guide of the process of hiring a tradesman to build a brick BBQ, including the costs of labour and any materials.
This article will look at the work required to build a brick-based barbeque and the potential problems that can come of doing it. It’ll cover creating the solid base, making the structure in brick, and including the elements that will be used for cooking on.
Costs involved with building a brick BBQ
The materials for the basic design of BBQ consists of bricks and sand, all of which are available from a builder’s merchant and are relatively low-cost. The grill pans are available from cookshops or home improvement centres and can be purchased for between £40 and £75 depending on size and quality so that the whole BBQ could be built for between £110 and £300.
What building a brick BBQ entails
You’ll need to build your BBQ to the size of the firebase and grills that you buy. The grills and base that you buy will dictate the footprint of your brickwork. First, establish your base area. If one doesn’t exist where you would like the BBQ to be sites, you will have to pick an area and ensure that a solid base – such as a concrete area or paving slabs – so that the brickwork has a sturdy foundation. If you already have that, you can start to assemble your BBQ. To establish this, place the grill or base on the ground and mark the back and two sides with chalk or a marker pen. Place a layer of bricks on the floor adjacent to inside the grill, move the grill to the other side, giving a second side to the BBQ. Use the marker again to establish the outside of the grill. You now have the shape of a capital E on the ground, which defines the BBQ, with the long edge being the back wall.
You now have marks on the ground that give the inside footprint of your BBQ, and where the bricks should butt up against. You will now need to mix mortar. Mortar is a mixture of water, sand, cement, and sometimes hydrated lime. However, the key is to use the proper ratio of cement to sand for your specific project. Knowing how to mix cement mortar properly is an essential part of the job. You have to make sure you don't make it either too wet, or too dry or the bricks won't set correctly, and the whole construction could be in danger of collapse.
You need to apply a layer of mortar matching the marks on the ground to help adhere your first layer of bricks to the solid base. Apply this with a trowel so that it forms a thick line on the ground in the shape of the capital E. Once down, lay a layer of bricks on the ground on top of the cement. This will form your bottom layer of bricks. Once down, make sure that your grills and pans still fit between each side of the bricks and that the bricks are level and straight. If they are correct, you can start to build up.
Apply a layer of cement to the bricks on the ground and select more bricks. To add strength, you should ensure that each layer is half a brick different from the previous layer; you can do this by overlapping bricks on the corners to stagger how they sit. Go back to the original formation on the third layer, and so on. In this way, the height will soon build. Check squareness and straightness as you go along, adjusting bricks if you need to. You should also use metal brick ties embedded in the mortar every other layer for added strength.
At the height of eight or nine bricks up, you will need to include bricks that are turned through 90 degrees, to give a sturdy rest for your fire pit. Do not add these turned bricks to the second side of the BBQ, but continue in the original configuration. You then need to continue upwards and after another layer in the original form, once again turn selected bricks through 90 degrees for the grill to sit on, and add the same feature to the second side of the BBG for a meat preparation or cooked meat-rest grill to sit on. Add a final layer of bricks in the original configuration for strength.
Allow the cement to dry for several days before lighting the fire and trying it out.
DIY brick BBQ build
In building a brick BBQ, you will need to have good bricklaying skills and be adept at mixing cement. You will also need the following tools:
- Spot board
- Bricklaying trowel
- 150mm boat spirit level
- 600mm spirit level
- Lump hammer
- Bolster chisel
- Tape measure
- Plumb line, or a length of string with a couple of nails attached to act as a straight line
- A piece of metal or rubber tube 20-25mm diameter
- Soft hand brush
If you aren’t confident to DIY, then hire a professional who knows what they’re doing.
Other tradesman that may be needed
If you decide to build a BBQ, you may already have an area set aside on a patio, but if not, you may have to clear a space to build it on. You will want to place your area near the house so that taking food in and out doesn’t involve a long journey. This is an ideal opportunity to clear out an area to place it but make sure that you are perfectly happy with this siting as brick BBQ’s cannot be moved around. If you’re satisfied with the location, you may want to go further and put down a solid base – such as concrete or paving slabs – if one doesn’t already exist, effectively making the BBQ area permanent.
Here is a list of commonly asked questions regarding building a brick BBQ.
Q How long will it take to build a BBQ?
Given that you are building it outside, you will need fine weather to build your BBQ, and it can usually be constructed within a day. You will probably have to give the cement time to go off properly before you light it up, but once it has been built, even a bit of rain won’t hurt it.
Q How thick should the cement layers be?
A typical load-bearing mortar joint should be 3/4 in (10 mm) thick. For most other applications, as long as it is between 1/4–1/2 in (7–13 mm), you should be fine and not suffer any collapse.
Q Can I use any bricks for my BBQ?
Steer clear of cement bricks and try to go with Class A engineering bricks, or any other brick type and line the BBQ with fire bricks.
Q Do I need planning permission for my barbecue?
In most circumstances, you shouldn’t require planning permission; however, check with your local authority first. If your home is a listed building, then you may be prevented from creating or installing permanent features, even in the garden area. So it’s better to check with your local council before starting such a project and then finding that you may be obliged to remove it.