What to Do When Your Built-In Grill Needs Replacing

Candace Nelson
Written by Candace Nelson
Updated January 11, 2022
A stone outdoor kitchen with a built-in grill
Photo: hikesterson / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Your backyard entertaining space loses its shine when its star, the grill, goes out

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Let’s face it, a built-in backyard grill is the best part of summer—that is until the grill stops working. Then replacing the built-in becomes a chore and cookouts are put on hold. Here’s what you need to know if you find yourself in need of a replacement grill. While you’re at it, you could add new features, like a sink or fridge to your outdoor kitchen.

Find a Grill to Fit Your Outdoor Kitchen

One of the hardest parts of replacing a built-in grill is finding a replacement grill that is an exact fit for your space. But you will save time and money if you don’t have to rework the stone or brick to fit around a grill with different dimensions. Checking for new models from the same manufacturer is a good place to start when you need to replace a built-in grill.

Natural Gas, Electric, or Charcoal?

Replacing your built-in grill is going to be easier and cheaper if your new one is powered the same way the old one was. If your previous grilling method worked for you, you won’t have to retrofit your outdoor kitchen by adding gas or electric lines. 

But only you can decide which grill is right for you

  • Charcoal grills are the least expensive option because they don’t require installation of gas or electric lines. You can buy a charcoal grill for $150 to $1,000.

  • A drop-in outdoor electric grill costs between $600 and $3,000. Hiring an electrician costs between $50 and $100 per hour. Running power lines to an outdoor patio could take 6 to 10 hours, depending on how far your outdoor cooking area is from the house. 

  • Drop-in gas grills range in price from about $2,000 to $7,000. Having new gas lines professionally installed costs between $15 and $25 per linear foot. 

Redesigning Your Outdoor Kitchen

A patio with sitting area and a built-in grill
Photo: Ozgur Coskun / Adobe Stock

Don’t fret if you decide you want to modify your outdoor kitchen. You can add a refrigerator, change your grill fuel, or incorporate a bigger grill. While anything is possible, it also means it’s going to take a bit longer before you can host your next cookout.

Retrofitting Countertops or Stones

If you decide to extend your outdoor kitchen or make design changes to accommodate a new grill, an outdoor kitchen installer can help you match materials and fit them in as seamlessly as possible. Your installer will help identify issues like:

  1. Corroded natural gas lines that need to be inspected or replaced.

  2. Gaps from new grills that are smaller. Leaving a gap can lead to water seeping behind the grill and into the stone, which can cause damage. Your pro will cut countertop materials and seal them.

  3. Lack of support to hold a heavy grill in place.

  4. Cut-outs that are too small to accommodate the new grill and need to be extended.

Getting a Few Project Estimates 

While you’re making updates, you might decide to make some upgrades like add plumbing to a sink or ice maker. Before making any appliance purchases, get estimates from a couple of pros who can talk you through the changes and help you decide what will work best for your space and your budget.

The outdoor kitchen installer can determine how much of the existing kitchen would have to be taken out to accommodate new natural gas or plumbing lines and give you an cost estimate. A masonry company can give you a price for adding or repairing stone and brick. 

Positioning Your Outdoor Kitchen

The price of your project will depend on what you want to do, the materials involved, and where your outdoor kitchen is located. Plumbing work to add a sink and appliances to an outdoor kitchen costs between $350 and $1,850, and electrical work for an outdoor kitchen runs between $300 and $1,000. Don’t forget to budget for a gas plumber to run new gas lines (mentioned above).

You can save money by positioning it closer to the house because the cost of running natural gas, electric, and plumbing lines increases with each linear foot. Just make sure your grill is at least 10 feet from deck railings, house siding, tree branches, and anything else combustible.

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