Building a Backyard Barbecue

Building a Backyard Barbecue

A backyard Barbecue is a great way to spend time with family and friends during the warm summer nights. You might think that building a backyard barbecue is too hard and too expensive for you to do yourself, but with a little time and with this guide, you will find that you can make a wonderful outdoor kitchen for any budget.

First you need to make a design and building plan for your outdoor barbecue. Then you need to find the spot for your backyard barbecue and level the ground. Next you need to build a form out of 2x4s, and make sure it is level. If you don’t know anything about forms and concrete you should get a book from your local Library. With just a little reading you should be ready to tackle your backyard barbecue project.

Next you will lay rebar in the hole for your cement. The rebar should go both directions in your form and should be spaced about 18″-20″ apart. You will also need a few pieces of rebar sticking up for supporting the cinder block. You should have one rebar on every corner and about every three feet. You can also set your blocks around the edge of your form to know where exactly to put some of your rebar risers. There is another way you can put your rebar risers in the concrete, but it takes a little more work and a power drill, masonry bit and some concrete epoxy. If you do go this way you just drill your holes after you have poured your concrete, then epoxy in your rebar. The rebar should stick up about 3 feet from your slab and you should put some soda cans or something else on top of your rebar so no one gets hurt if they fall around the slab. Also make sure you get in all your electrical plumbing and gas lines before you pour.

Then you will be ready to pour your slab. You can either go to your local hardware store and buy bags of concrete and mix them yourself or rent a mixer if none of your friends have one. The other option would be to call up your local concrete truck company and have it delivered. This will cost a little more and you may need to have a concrete pump to get it to your backyard. Whichever way you get your concrete after you pour your slab you will need another 2×4 for a screed, just run it on top of your form to smooth out your concrete and just go in between your rebar risers. Then you should let your concrete dry for at least a week.

Now you should be ready to start putting in your blocks, don’t forget to use mortar on all joints and to first stick your first row of blocks to the slab. For the next rows keep putting a thin row of mortar between all joints. And always stagger your block joints, do not just stack one block on top of the other, make sure the top block sits on two blocks. After you have all your blocks in place you can cut any excess rebar you have sticking up, and then fill all of the block cells with concrete. To save money you can fill every other cell, but make sure you fill all the cells that have rebar in them.

After all your block work is done you should now start your counter tops. There are many ways to do this, I suggest to use 3/4″ plywood. You can either pour concrete on top of it or screw cement backer boards to it. You can then use tile or whatever you want your countertop to be.

After you have finished your countertops you will need to finish the outer walls of your Barbecue enclosure. There are a number of things you can do to finish off your barbecue, but the most popular ways are to either stucco, tile, or use natural stone. With stucco you will have to get stucco mix and stucco color, then mix it and trowel it in to the desired finish. To tile just get your mortar and notched tile trowel and put on your mortar and tile. You will also need a tile saw to do this. If you go with natural stone it will basically be the same as using tile. Any of these materials you use will enhance the look of your backyard barbecue and make you the hit of any party.

All you have left to do now is insert your barbecue and hook up all your gas lines, sinks (if installed), outlets and lights. You should now be ready to throw your backyard barbecue party. If you get your books now and start planning you should be ready for Memorial Day and be the hit of all your block parties.

Do it Yourself Tricks for Fixing Up an Old Home

Do it Yourself Tricks for Fixing Up an Old Home

We purchased our 106 year old home four years ago. It was owned by one family and was very well maintained. My other half (drywall man by trade) had grand ideas of coming in and gutting it and completely making it into a “NEW” home. I had other thoughts on the matter. Woodwork, transoms and and the whole enchilada (including the black marble fireplace). This was our home and going to be our life project.

We began in the living room by tearing down the wall paper that had long ago began to peel away (Wood lath and plaster). With his talents instead of doing the tedious job of tearing it all out he bought drywall mud and put a texture on the wall and we painted. This saved us a great expense in the end. All of the rooms have updated wiring except for two. In August two years ago, we had an unexpected fire in our eldest daughters room. No one was hurt and the structural damage was minimal but the smoke damage was horrendous. The clean up process began. We had intended in finishing a room at a time but this set back had changed our plans drastically.

The upper hall was salvageable but the four rooms upstairs was not. Now back to square one we began to scrap wallpaper. Eight layers later we began to uncover the plaster. The decision was made to do the same for three of the four rooms which were damaged. Texture with drywall mud and paint. The fourth room however was a bit of a problem. No outlets or updated wiring, this room had to be gutted and replaced with drywall. A closet built in as well. (Most old homes had little use for closets). The big problem with gutting these old houses is that it is very messy and time consuming. Ours had blown in insulation so that was something to be dealt with as well. Doing the job yourself is a hard task but the money that is saved is worth the effort.

We rented an industrial sander from a hardwood flooring company to take care of the hardwood floors. (The trick is to rent on Friday for two days, most places are closed on Sunday so you get one free day). The hallway and master bedroom had carpeting so that was left because it was in excellent shape. Our house had a regular kitchen and bathroom built on in the 60’s so it doesn’t really match the rest of the house. We painted and decorated in a modern way. We came to the compromise that the original part of the house would stay original and the new would stay new.

All in all if you purchase an old house if it can be “Fluffed” then do just that. There are tricks that you can accomplish with minimal effort or expense to maintain the “old charm”.

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