Does An Outdoor Kitchen Need A Permit?

Building an outdoor kitchen will rarely require a building permit. When installing a portable barbeque, you should still not be required to show any permits. However, when the outdoor kitchen is a permanent feature with utilities being hooked up, permits will become a reality.

You will not require a building permit when constructing your outdoor kitchen. Hooking up existing utilities to your new kitchen (water, electricity, gas) will require permits. Zoning requirements, building codes/restrictions, and all safety requirements have to be adhered to.

This article will discuss if you need a permit when building your outdoor kitchen, if you can build one yourself, how much the average cost for an outdoor kitchen is, and finally if it increases your home’s value.

Can You Build Your Own Outdoor Kitchen?

Yes, you can! When you commit to doing the whole project solo from construction, hooking up utilities, and everything else, you will have to apply for the relevant permits yourself. When it comes to utilities, it may be easier to get a licensed contractor to assist with these as the electrical work can be dangerous for you and the plumbing for your wallet.

Here are some other factors that will need considering:


It’s a good idea to place the new outdoor kitchen as close to your house as possible. Build it in a spot that has the least exposure to the elements (wind, rain, snow, sunlight) as it may affect the quality of the gathering when it is too far from the house and in the firing line of mother nature.

Things like grills and firepits cannot be beneath an overhang unless some very specific guidelines are met and that is only true in certain localities.

When you have the perfect spot in mind, you will need to ensure that it is within the legal distance from property lines (neighbors). For this estimation, please check your zoning requirements.

Connecting Utilities

Before you start with the laying of the foundation, please bear in mind that your new kitchen sink will need water, your outdoor refrigerator will need electricity, and your awesome gas barbeque will need to be connected to a gas supply(unless its electric of course).

Plan for how the existing utilities will be rooted from your house supply to your new kitchen. Ideally, you will have to plan that your new kitchen will be as close to your existing utility set up and fairly easy for you or a professional contractor to hook up.

The more distance you add between the house (utility hookup), the more expensive it gets.

Strong Construction

If you plan to build a large and heavy masonry barbeque with large countertops and cabinets, you will need to make sure that the foundation will support the weight. A steel-reinforced concrete slap or pad needs to be constructed no matter what your kitchen design.

Editor and writer Mr. Don Vandervort, former segment host on HGTV’s “The Fix”, and a man with over 30-years’ experience in remodeling and construction business, had the following to say on his website Planning or Buying an Outdoor Kitchen | HomeTips when it comes to laying a foundation.

“A large, heavy masonry barbecue will require a concrete pad-typically a steel-reinforced, 4-inch-thick slab poured over a 4-to 6-inch –deep bed of gravel. Many have a perimeter footing twice as wide as the barbecue’s walls and 16-to 18-inches deep (6-inches below the frost line). Be sure to install any rough plumbing or wiring conduit before you pour the slab.”

Does your outdoor kitchen even need a foundation? Here is some expert advice on how to pour a concrete slab.

Follow The Codes

Before you commit to your new design, check the zoning requirements in your area and make sure that your new kitchen complies with all relevant codes. You will probably not need a building permit; however, you will need permits for any electrical and plumbing work.

Does An Outdoor Kitchen Need A Permit?

When you are renovating and constructing any part of your house, there are usually building codes, zoning requirements that need to be adhered to, and permits that need to be obtained. It is advised that you do the following before you start building your dream oasis. The actual construction of the new kitchen will not require a building permit. You will need permits for any plumbing or electrical work performed.

Contact Your City Clerk

Make contact with your city clerk and get the following information from the individual:

Area Zoning Requirements

  • Any specific requirements with regards to building an outdoor kitchen?
  • Restrictions regarding:1) What can you build? 2) How high can you build? 3) Where can you build it?

Installing Plumbing/Electrical

  • What permits are required?
  • What are the safety regulations with regards to plumbing?
  • What are the safety regulations concerning electrical work?
  • What are the building codes that cover plumbing/electrical work?

Be proactive and check state and local requirements with regards to framing grills and fireplaces. Drop-in gas grills must be framed by non-flammable material.

Use A Licensed Contractor

If you want to skip calling the city clerk, then roping in the help of a licensed contractor will be the best option for you. They can assist with the permits required and advise on any building codes and restrictions that may apply to your design. Getting confirmation that you will comply with all safety/legal requirements will speed up the building process.

How Much Does It Cost To Do An Outdoor Kitchen?

According to the guys at Lawnstarter, the average price you can expect to pay on an outdoor kitchen will range between $32.50-$100 per square foot. The national average price is reconned at $13,176 with a low end of $2,875 and a high end of $40,750. The typical price range for a new outdoor kitchen fall between $5,000-$17,000.

When it comes to the overall cost, there is a lot of factors at play that can either lower the price or shoot it sky-high:

Size Of The Kitchen

The bigger your kitchen, the higher the price! Let us work with $32.50-$100 per square foot:

Size Of The KitchenLow-EndHigh-End
Small-100 Square Feet$3,250$10,000
Medium-300 Square Feet$9,750$30,000
Large-400 Square Feet$13,000$40,000

Other Factors

The cost of the following impacts the overall price:

  • Materials
  • Framing
  • Finishing
  • Appliances

Some appliances with be the largest price in your kitchen. If you are looking to cut costs than consider using a regular grill in your outdoor kitchen.

The above-mentioned average prices are only indicators of what you could expect to pay. Some outdoor kitchens cost close to $100,000. It is all up to how much your budget for the new kitchen is and how to stay within it. Building your kitchen yourself will always be the most cost-effective option as it is estimated that 70% of the full cost is for labor, where only 30% is the cost of all the materials.

Will you be adding a cover for your outdoor kitchen? Does it need a cover? All of these things add up to what you can expect to pay for your project.

Does An Outdoor Kitchen Add Value To Your Home?

A well-built and thought-out outdoor kitchen will make for an aesthetically pleasing addition to any home. The practicality of the kitchen will automatically make the home feel bigger as the usable living space is increased.

Like most home renovations, it will probably cost you more money than that you will get back. Some reckon that, on average, you get back 55 cents on every dollar spent. Considering that you will have used the kitchen before you sell your home makes up for this shortfall in memories and awesome nights cooking under the stars.

An outdoor kitchen does add value to your home with regards to:


Having an outdoor kitchen installed takes some pressure off the indoor kitchen regarding wear and tear. It also provides a practical and relaxing environment to host family and friends in the hot spring and summer months.

Extra Room

Installing an outdoor kitchen is practically adding a room to your house. It instantly enlarges your home’s feel and might be the “room” that sways any potential buyer. Prospective buyers may be “grill fanatics,” and having a cooking center ready to go will make the purchase more attractive.

Helpful Hints If You Are Selling Your Home:

  • If you are in the market of selling your home, and you believe the outdoor kitchen will be the deal-breaker, try to only advertise during the spring and summer months.
  • Presenting your outdoor kitchen in all its glory, not under winter covers, is an excellent selling technique as the potential buyers will be able to see themselves behind the grill and visualize how they can spend a typical summer’s evening should they buy your home.


As discussed above, you will not need a building permit to build your outdoor kitchen. You will require the relevant permits when doing any plumbing or electrical/gas hookups. A licensed contractor will be your best bet to assist with this process and guidance concerning regulations and safety requirements.

Manny Moore

Getting my hands dirty and building a place that me and my small family love is a driving factor for what I do and how I do it. I want to share what I have learned and practiced so that it is just that much easier for everyone to have another tool in their tool belt. Your home should be a place that you love and feel comfortable in and your backyard should be no different.

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