How to build a barbeque
Summer is almost upon us. The fresh smell of grass, the freshly cut lawn and most importantly, the sizzle of a barbeque all add to the joys of the summer season. Well how’s about a little summer DIY?
Traditional barbecues come in all shapes and sizes from a variety of home improvement outlets, but if you are serious about barbequing and enjoy a spot of home improvement or DIY, what could be more satisfying than building your own from scratch.
Ready to impress the neighbours?
Here’s what you are going to need.
You can get this from any good builders merchant.
- Brick- Available at any good builders merchant (roughly 120 bricks)
- Coal Grate
- Soft building sand
- Spirit Level
- Wire cooling trays (available at B&Q)
1) Work out what size your bbq
First things first, you’ll need to decide on the size of your barbeque. A good rule of thumb is to lay your grill out flat on the surface, and work out the size of your bbq around that, some people find that creating wooden guide structures initially help to get the size correct. Lay the bricks out dry (without mortar) to enable the correct brickwork bond to be determined. Stretcher bond is one of the most common, unless you are a professional brickie – Once you’ve worked this out, you can move on to creating a flat surface to build upon.
2) Creating a flat surface for your brick
If you haven’t already done so, you will have to level off a platform. If you doing things the hard way, and are planning on putting the barbeque on soft ground, e.g. as part of your garden you’ll have to dig it out first, fill with stones, and level off with cement or paving. If alternatively you have a spot in the backyard for it, make sure that it is completely levelled off with spirit level. If it isn’t level, add a layer of cement smoothing off any inconsistencies. In the pictures shown, a layer of paving blocks have been used for ease of use.
Normally cement takes about 24 hours to dry and set, so if this is something you have to perform, let it sit overnight before continuing the process.
3) Getting to work.
Now that you’ve got your level surface to work on, you can begin work. Bed the bricks on a bed of mortar made up of five parts soft building sand to one part cement, with plasticiser added to keep the mix supple. Use your spirit level again to ensure the brickwork is level and plumb as you work. Half bricks may be required to get your bond correct, so you may have to cut some bricks in half.
Cut these on a soft surface with a chisel and club hammer. Also make sure you wear protective gloves and goggles for this operation as chips from brick can be dangerous.
4) Building up the barbeque
The height of your barbeque depends on a couple of things, but your height is a good rule of thumb. If the grate supports go in at your waist, you won’t be bending over hot coals when the time comes to light up that bad boy! Another tip in the design of your barbeque is to leave one brick out at the rear of your bbq, to allow air to move freely through it, and giving your barbeque extra juice.
When you have the brickwork to the correct height, turn some of the bricks, so they act as supports for the tray. (see last picture). Ensure that you measure the width of the grate accurately before finally placing and securing the supports so that you will be sure of a good fit once the grate is in place in the finished barbeque. Two more brick courses up, add another four wire supports, or bolts into the mortar for a warming tray. Again, measure these for best effect to ensure you aren’t making any mistakes.
5) Finishing Touches
You might want to fit a decorative flat coping or double cant special brick to finish off your masterpiece. You may even want to extend out the brick work to the left of your barbeque into a tabletop tray.
Not only will this look superb, it will also usefully serve as a rest for drinks during cooking. As every good chef knows, a place to set the beer is an essential part of the barbeque experience.
When the mortar is fully dry, you may want to dust off any brick dust with a soft bristle brush. You can use an old paintbrush for this, taking care to get into the brick joints.
Finally it is time to fit the coal tray, and wire grills – and you are ready to roll!
Invite neighbours, get your steaks, open beer. Enjoy!