Extending this alfresco area to include an awning, deck and outdoor kitchen created a practical and attractive space for entertaining.
We extended our alfresco area to include an awning, deck and outdoor kitchen.
We started with the awning. I was going to purchase a kit and install it myself. Stratco kits were expensive so I employed a local builder to supply and install for the same cost.
The goal for the whole project was to produce a maintenance-free area, so we used steel and composite materials throughout. The awning consists of aluminium posts, beams and gutters. The ceiling is insulated and we added two LED lights to match the lighting under the alfresco.
I constructed a steel frame using Knauf tracks and wall studs from Bunnings to make sure the space is weather-proof. This is to support the blueboard sheets.
Mounting the sheets was difficult because of the weight of the material. Thank goodness for quick grips.
I applied a cement joint compound to cover the joints and screw heads.
We primed the wall. Nearly stopped the project there and converted the area to a home cinema, but we pressed on and applied Dulux Texture Exterior Paint for the kitchen splashback.
Then it was time to construct the deck. The subfloor was built using 100 x 500 x 2.0 galvanised steel bearers and joists on a single plane. The two main bearers were attached to the side of the alfresco slab and the awning posts. The bearer on the house side is 7m in length and extends beyond the alfresco to the retaining wall. Installing these bearers was challenging due to the weight and lengths.
I ran power and water from nearby sources. I also have a stormwater drain at the rear corner where the awning gutters feed into. After that, I set the posts and attached the remaining bearers and joists.
We installed Ekodeck composite decking from Bunnings. I chose to install breaker boards to avoid any butt joints in the decking boards.
Kitchen construction time. Another trip to Bunnings to purchase appliances and the material for the kitchen cabinets. In keeping with the maintenance-free theme, I chose 65mm Knauf steel tracks and wall studs. They were built around the two-door Matadoor fridge also purchased from Bunnings.
I used Ekodeck offcuts to clad the barbecue section of the kitchen. The rest of the kitchen was clad in a light grey composite slat to keep the base palette neutral.
I purchased stainless steel doors online, connected power and installed a Bellini rangehood from Bunnings. We also installed a stainless steel splashback for the barbecue section.
The Ziggy is in its final resting place and a couple of barbecues have been had to christen the kitchen.
I found a product by Laminex called Compact Laminate – Alfresco for the benchtops. It's tough, weather-proof material but only 13mm in width.
I added an infill panel to the step down in the benchtop. The material is dense and difficult to cut. It's also easy to chip the surface material. I used my speed square and spirit level to guide the saw along the cut line, minimising any burring of the finished surface. Slotted the panel in and then secured the benchtops to the steel frames.
I installed the sink and mixer tap and connected them to water and drainage. To connect the 20mm poly pipe to the mixer tap, I purchased a 20mm x 1/2" SmarteX Pex Connector. As I'm only running cold water, I needed a Y-fitting for the two mixer hoses so I used a brass Kinetic fitting. Plumbing tape between the SmarteX Pex Connector and Kinetic fittings were required to guarantee a good seal. This system works like a charm with no evident leaks.
To drain water away, I purchased a P-trap and drilled a 50mm hole in the blueboard. With a little bit of reaming, I was able to get a 50mm PVC pipe out behind the board and connected to drainage lines.
For more ideas, check out our Top 10 most popular outdoor projects.