Planning ahead wasn’t part of the agenda with this home owner’s project so I was brought in to figure out how get what they wanted for the island top.
No slabs of bluestone or soapstone or and of the numerous other suggestions went over well from past remodelers until they found me.
They needed to match the colors of the new(ish) stone patio and island but no solid surface would work for them and they didn’t want concrete.
The first thing I needed to do was build a frame of pressure treated lumber inside this island structure flush with the top in order to accept pressure treated plywood.
All my 2×4 framing was fastened to the interior of the frames using my Remington nail gun. I used a long 20′ 2×4 that I bent along the front of the curved wall by wedging straight pieces of 2×4 to the straight part of the wall where I fastened yet another piece. By slowly adding in straight pieces hammered into place with a small sledge hammer I was able to get the front piece bent as needed.
Next was cutting and fastening two layers of 3/4″ pressure treated plywood in to place. Everything was glued with a polyurethane glue (PL Premium) and screwed with coated deck screws….After the plywood was was secured in place I had to round the front side. I used a thin piece of lumber I cut so I could bend it to the radius the customer was happy with. I then cut it with my jig saw and then sanded it perfectly to my line with my belt sander at which point I was ready to thin-set and screw my cement boards to.
After my cement boards were set and solid I added my fiberglass tape to all seams, cut the front to the same rounded edge using a carbide blade in my jig saw and painted on a product know as RedGard a sort of membrane that helps to further waterproof and keep the tiles from cracking.
My customers ordered custom handmade tiles made for exterior use…as well as custom made border tiles.
Not an easy installation considering this BBQ/kitchen island top was right in the sun and it was the hottest part of the summer with the sun baking down on the tiles making them so hot I could hardly touch them. This is no good for the setting up of the thin-set so I needed to bring some shade to the island. My customers allowed me to use the picnic table umbrella you see in the back ground. I just moved it as I went along. Worked like a charm.
The next step would be laying out my tiles.
This too was quite a feat being they wanted certain tiles to line up in areas that was quite the head scratcher for me but as you’ll see it came together beautifully.
So next was setting up my wet saw and getting down to business.
The plan was to start in the early A.M when the weather was coolest. Now with my tiles laid out I was able to draw my layout lines, remove the tiles and start mixing up my thin-set. One thing I needed to do with these custom made tiles was to lay them out on the ground to make sure I didn’t keep too many dark or light tiles together.
I needed to spread out the different shades…something I’m always aware of with custom made tiles.
As you can see with the border tiles they were made very inconsistently and I had a hard time deciding which tile to put where so I had the home owner help me make the choices to where they were happy.
In the end ”I” wasn’t happy with the way they sent those tiles to me but what can you do when you have to wait six weeks for an order to be made…and at about $50 per edge tile……
And below was the best choice of the placement of the border tiles given the shades we were sent.
Over all the project came out absolutely gorgeous!!
The large over hang in the front curved section of the island top had me very concerned so we had 3/4″ steel L-brackets made up. I chiseled away the to pf the stone wall enough to keep the top of the brackets flush with the top of the stone wall and flush to the bottom of the counters bottom. All brackets I bolted deep into the back underside of the stone island. Every part of this project was quite the challenge..
After the top was grouted I used a “grout bag” to carefully fill between the edge tiles taking care not to get any of the grout into the intricate pattern of the edging.
After all the grout was cured I came back and gave all my work several coats of a premium sealer…and this was the project I left some very nice customers with.
One Response to “An Outdoor Cooking Island for BBQs”
January 4th, 2011 at 5:18 pm
Very nice job, Sir. Seems like you had alot of hard work with this project. With great results from what I see in your photos. Great looking web site to, I might add.
I started in remodeling when I lived in Copiague ( next to Amityville ). Now in North Texas since 1997. Miss Long Island very much.
If I may ask, and you dont mind responding. Are you staying busy? Have been thinking of moving back to the Island for some time. Again nice work my fellow contractor. Craftsmanship is had to find in this market, and no one wants to pay for it when wanted.