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Outdoor kitchen counter structural design questions - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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Outdoor kitchen counter structural design questions

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  • Outdoor kitchen counter structural design questions

    I’m planning a counter area adjacent to my pizza oven. If you can picture a rectangular area, with the pizza oven entrance on the back side, the counter is to the left and 128” long and 36” deep. I’ve built a 3-sided concrete block structure (back + 2 sides) using 4 layers of 8x8x16 block on a concrete pad. The fifth layer is 4x8x16 blocks which are flush to the exterior, exposing 4” of the top surface of the fourth layer. I plan to use that extra four inches to extend the counter space. I also plan a 4” over hang in front, so the overall counter space is 120” x 36”. I’ll probably tile for the top and stucco or rock on the front.
    You can see the pad layout in the Picture 1.

    I’m new to steel framing but it seems the best choice to build the walls of the structure. I plan to put synthetic decking on the floor and screw the steel framing through the deck boards and into the concrete. The deck boards will look nice and keep the steel framing out of any (unlikely) water that would collect in it. It should look nice too.
    One of my questions is about the orientation of the steel studs. After much thinking, it seems easiest to secure a 36” steel track (32” of block + 4” overhang) horizontally on the left and right sides flush with the top of the fourth course – with the open sides facing each other, which would all me to put (128-8) 120” studs horizontally in the track. I’ll have to cut the studs and cross-frame the area for the sink.
    On top of this “horizontal wall” I’ll add 1/2” pressure treated plywood + thinset + 1/4” hardibacker + thinset + tile (and grout).
    Underneath, I will build the steel walls whose heights are flush with the framing from the top. I’m not sure I need a wall on the back side (or left or right sides) if I secure the horizontal stud into the concrete block with Tapcons (screwed into concrete block). The front wall will be flush with the block minus 1/4” for the hardibacker.
    As far as access to the area under the counter, I’d love to use stainless access doors but it’s too expensive - $425+ for a 48x19” double door and I’d want two. That leaves crafting some weatherproof doors. What wood and natural-looking finishes can I use that stands up to the heat and humidity of the South? The doors will face North so they’ll never see sunlight – that’s a plus and a minus. I also need to figure out how to mount hinges with steel studs? Do I need to add some wood somewhere?
    Questions I'd especially like help with:
    1. Is it reasonable to build the counter support as a horizontal ‘wall’ secured to the concrete block?
    2. Do I need to build a stud wall on the back wall to support the countertop framing (the horizontal wall) or are the tapcons sufficient?
    3. How do I mount door hinges into steel studs? How does that change if I put stucco or rock on the surface?

    Attached Files
    My 42-inch build

  • #2
    Re: Outdoor kitchen counter structural design questions

    Time for a progress report. It's still raining and cold so I'm inside instead of outside.

    I've resolved that the cylinder block walls will provide support for 3 of the 4 sides. I'll need to make sure the front wall is substantial as it will carry the load on the fourth side.

    Points 1 and 2 are moot now. I've already started the framing as I described. I did add a double horizontal studs in the front (111" long). So there's a track in the back mounted against the block and another in the front - backed against the horizontal stud. (that's on the left side of the first picture.) Next I'll put in short (28") studs connecting the front track to the back.

    The overall width is 128" which includes 4" on each side small for the 1/2 width (4") block walls ends. The Countertop is 120" wide and the front storage opening is 111"

    I'll build the front wall eventually. I'll used the concrete block as the support for now.

    I'm planning three cabinet areas. Each will have double doors - material to be decided. Has anyone tried using decking board (Trex or cheaper equivalent) to make doors?
    If the double doors are each 32" wide (16x2) that leaves about 6" between areas/cabinet doors.
    At this point I don't know what will be stored under the counter other than some dishes, outdoor supplies and cast iron for cooking in the pizza oven. In any case I want it to be dry.

    I have a double basin kitchen sink from remodeling the kitchen, but at 33" wide that would take up too much counter space.
    For the counter, I figure 24" open space to left of the sink + sink (18-24") + open counter space (72") for making pizzas and placing the cooked ones. That adds up to 114-120"
    Attached Files
    My 42-inch build


    • #3
      Re: Outdoor kitchen counter structural design questions

      Steel framing questions are a little out of my league

      However, I have seen inserts over sinks when they were not in use to maximize space. Some were were desinged to match the counter top while others were were cutting boards. The trick to this is mounting the sink underneath the counter top.
      A sink of this size would be better covered with a split insert. Maybe one side an insert to match the counter and the other side a cutting board.

      Just throwing that out there if you want to salvage the sink that you have
      joe watson

      "A year from now, you will wish that you had started today "

      My Build
      My Picasa Web Album


      • #4
        Re: Outdoor kitchen counter structural design questions

        Thanks for the input. I can see how that can work. The new kitchen is an undermount, unfortunately the old one that I'm trying to recycle is not.
        Thinking about it for a few minutes now, the other problem is that the counter top will consist of plywood, hardibacker and tile (unless I win the lottery).
        So those layers would be visible at the edge of the sink cutout.
        My 42-inch build


        • #5
          Re: Outdoor kitchen counter structural design questions

          I'm still working on the WFO, but I am thinking about the rest of the outdoor kitchen. I am planning on doing a concrete counter (landing) for the oven and hope to gain some experience to be used on the kitchen countertops.
          Will be watching your build, trying to get ideas from everyone.
          joe watson

          "A year from now, you will wish that you had started today "

          My Build
          My Picasa Web Album


          • #6
            Re: Outdoor kitchen counter structural design questions

            I hope it works out.

            Just for future reference, those steel studs are not designed to work in bending (as in a beam - your application). They are designed to be used only in compression, as in a wall.

            A better material for your application would be angle iron. Check your shed or local land fill for an old bed frame.

            Another option for your application is to cast a 1 1/2 inch or 2 inch reinforced concrete counter top. This will easily span your opening without any beam or support on the leading edge. This can then be either tiled or ground/polished.
            Last edited by Neil2; 02-24-2012, 03:19 PM.