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StevenVitek 03-31-2009 08:12 AM

Outdoor Kitchen questions
3 Attachment(s)
First off let me say I am new,so Hello to all!

Want to ask some advise and i will try to keep it short and sweet

I am an architect in Florida and had designed a warehouse project where we specified 8", 16 gauge steel studs that were 32' feet long, after the initial design the client changed his mind and the GC tore down the wall, at that time i decided to build a BBQ Island using these studs, so that is why you see 8" studs in my design, they were free

I have designed the Island and have attached a few pictures of what i designed and actual construction progress, my question is should I use hardibacker or Durock for the counter and side wall construction, i plan on tiling the counter and stucco or tex coat the side walls, a local BBQ store says they use the hardibacker but i have read on several boards that hardibacker should not be used for outdoors, please share your thoughts on the matter

also, i really dont want to use any wood on the island, so what is the best detail for construction the counter, do i lay the stud over the top wall and secure to the wall and the install heavy duty steel angles for support?

and please dont bash me on the construction i am a architect not builder but i think so far it looks good and solid

thanks in advance


christo 04-01-2009 05:58 AM

Re: Outdoor Kitchen questions
Welcome Steven!

The metal stud construction and plans look great. Something is missing.... Pizza oven maybe?

I used the Hardibacker (1/2 inch) for the side walls of my kitchen, taped the joints with fiberglass screen tape and then coated it with surface bonding cement (it has glass fibers in it for reinforcement). Always wear a mask when cutting or grinding on the hardibacker.

So far (over a year) no issues at all. I learned a little more since I did it and would have used a bonding agent on the surface of the hardibacker before applying the surface bonding cement - if I did it again - just for extra insurance.

I found when I tried to put on a thick layer of surface bonding cement on hardibacker, I would sometimes get an air pocket under the material and the trowel load of material is stuck to the surface by the edges only - you can smooth it out but it does not adhere. So I changed my method to start with an initial thin layer that fully adheres and then build it up to 1/8 or so thickness.

I don't think you'll have an issue with hardibacker as sidewall or countertop use as long as it's not kept wet (especaially wet with freeze and thaw cycles). Being in Florida, I think you'll do just fine.

I am also considering using it as a countertop substrate material and would build up a 3 layers of hardbacker as a substrate and stagger the joints so none of the layers line up. I plan to use a notched trowel to spread adhesive between the layers and screw them together - that should create a sturdy and stable foundation to install tile. The adhesive is probably overkill but I'm like that. Another option is to form up concrete countertops and cover them with tile.

Good luck and your kitchen looks great so far!


StevenVitek 04-01-2009 06:02 AM

Re: Outdoor Kitchen questions
thank you for the response and the advice


egalecki 04-01-2009 07:05 AM

Re: Outdoor Kitchen questions
Steven, we aren't construction bashers here! Free is good. My stand looks like it does because we had nearly all of the stuff already. I think I only had to buy 2 concrete blocks to finish.

I formed my counter separately and will finish it with tile when we stop having cold and wet here. It wasn't hard to do. You will need help lifting it into place, though, and be careful how large you make the sections.

I couldn't find anything that said DON'T use hardibacker outdoors, but you can use it in showers, etc, so as long as it isn't in continuous contact with wet, I'd say it would be ok. Take a look at their website- it has installation guides.

Richie 04-01-2009 01:01 PM

Re: Outdoor Kitchen questions
You could try "greenboard" on top of the studs, then tile on top of that. This is the same material that builders use behind showers and baths. Works fine.

Rastys 04-02-2009 04:32 AM

Re: Outdoor Kitchen questions
Gee, I find this posting ironicle!
Over here, (in Australia), architects are the 'professionals' who not only design the construction (and many manage it every stage) but they have all the knowledge on building codes, materials and the works. Maybe not necessarily hands on construction, but have the knowledge or access to it.
Hell, I'd get the good info from builders and maybe the Housing Industry Association (if available in the US), rather than the makers (as they are biased), or from a forum of wood fired oven enthusiasts. Who wants to undo or redo work in a few years time through making the wrong decission at this stage.
I am not in favour of steel frames as I believe that there is a group action against a popular steel maker with rusty and chronically corroded galvanised steel frames in the so called best building materials for houses.
Treated timber is longer lasting and stronger than any of these steel products and what's more guarenteed for 30 years in the ground. No steel maker will give this sort of confidence!


dmun 04-02-2009 05:53 AM

Re: Outdoor Kitchen questions

Treated timber is longer lasting and stronger than any of these steel products and what's more guarenteed for 30 years in the ground. No steel maker will give this sort of confidence!
I've dug out pressure treated lumber in ground contact with a shovel after just a few years. What's the guarantee? That they will replace the material only? If you can prove you bought it from them? If it was installed according to code? Good luck with that.

RTflorida 04-02-2009 08:03 AM

Re: Outdoor Kitchen questions
I wouldn't use the above mentioned 'greenboard or blueboard'. These products are nothing more than water resistant drywall...key word, resistant. Anyone who has ever done a shower remodel knows that these products are fine - short term - but all it takes is one cracked grout line or some other moisture infiltrator (ground contact, slab on grade contact) for it to start wicking water, growing mold, then disingrating just like regular drywall...just takes a couple more years than regular drywall. Go with the Hardibacker, unless the board stays submerged in water for years, you will have no issues (the words of a Hardi rep), I'm sure Wonderboard and Durock are just as suitable.

I'm with dmun, pressure treated lumber is not that superior. 20yr, 30yr, and lifetime claims are nothing more than marketing hype. Over the years I have replaced MANY 4x4 and 6x6 fence posts, deck posts that were rated for 'below ground contact' and had these supposed wonderful guarantees.
It just so happens I am currently taking bids from fencing contractors for my side and back yards (I'm just not up to doing another large, physically demanding project in the FL heat and humidity). All three of the fencing contractors contractors I have interviewed have been very honest about life expectancy - any posts with ground contact or below ground contact will begin to fail within 8-10 yrs, they COULD last 20-30 yrs, but their experience tells them SOMETHING will deteriorate to the point of needing replaced within 10 yrs. There are just too many variables that the 'lumber company labs' can't account for. Soil compositions, grading, drainage, moisture, hot, cold, freeze, thaw can all vary greatly - within your own community. None are offering more than ten yrs guarantee on ground contact. above ground (pickets & stringers) they will give me either a 25yr or 'lifetime' on the premium treated/sealed lumber.

As for the steel studs, remember, these are merely electro-galvanized. Those that are in contact with the ground, in your case pavers, WILL rust at some point (sooner than PT lumber will begin to breakdown). The wall and countertop framing should last MANY, MANY yrs once covered with cement board then tile, stone or stucco. I actually used PT lumber for the sill plates (slab contact, slab is 3 inches above surrounding soil), then steel studs for my cabinet and countertop framing. All covered with Hardi, slate walls, tile countertops. NO issues after 5 1/2 yrs. Keep in mind, the only excess moisture mine sees in from hosing off the countertops, and the acrylic deck/slab.
If you use a cement board for your countertops - use at least 2 layers of the 1/2" and be sure to use a proper adhesive or modified mortar slurry between the layers, then screw down immediately.


christo 04-02-2009 09:27 AM

Re: Outdoor Kitchen questions
Good point about sill plates, RT.

Compsite decking boards should make very good sill plates as well.


egalecki 04-02-2009 11:14 AM

Re: Outdoor Kitchen questions
as far as 20-30 year ratings go, ptbtt. Ever had to replace 20 year shingles after 12 to 15 years? They lie.

I'd use the hardibacker, I like it better as far as working with it goes. It really does score and snap well. If you have to make a hole you can't do by scoring and snapping, though, wear a respirator, not just a mask. I have yet to find a mask that keeps everything out of my nose. Even the ones just for drywall don't fit. Of course, that could be because nearly everything in construction is made for a MAN. (just my pet peeve, sorry)

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