Q: Can My New Outdoor Kitchen Be Built on My Current Patio Slab?

A:It depends on several factors:

  • Is your current patio in good shape?
  • How thick is your patio slab?
  • Does your patio slab slope in any way?
  • Where do you want to place your outdoor kitchen?
  • Will water or gas lines need to be dug beneath the slab?

Typically, patio slabs are not built to withstand the extra weight of an outdoor kitchen. Brick, stone and wood are heavy materials and if you factor in plumbing and appliances then your slab could begin to break down at some point.

Unless you have an extra-large patio, slabs are usually extended to accommodate the new kitchen. This is an excellent opportunity to thicken the slab, and slope or level it out according to the design. You don’t want rainwater running toward your kitchen island, so an imperceptible slope can avoid that drainage issue. Also, positioning the kitchen at least ¼” to ½” higher than the rest of the patio can keep it nice and dry during wet weather.

If your current patio isn’t in the best shape, it will need to be re-poured or repaired before the new kitchen is installed.

A cracking or sinking slab will ruin your new kitchen before it even gets started. So, starting with a proper slab is important to the longevity of your investment.

Most outdoor kitchens require laying water and gas lines to the island. This is how you get water and gas for a sink, refrigerator, gas grill or other kitchen components. If your kitchen will be on your existing patio, the slab may have to be broken up to lay the lines. If your kitchen will be on a newer slab, then the lines can be laid before the slab is poured. This can save time and money.

While there are many factors to consider when designing your outdoor kitchen, an experienced contractor will help you with the technical aspects. If you need a new slab poured, don’t worry. Giving your new kitchen the best foundation possible will protect your wallet in the long run.