Grill Safety Basics: How Far Should A Built-In Grill Be From The House?

Jim Bob – A long-time contributor to GrillBabyGrill. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.
how far should a built in grill be from the house

Once you determine a built-in grill is a must for your homeyou should plan where to place it. You may think the closer to the house, the better, or you may want to build a separate space for enjoying grilling outdoors. Finding the ideal location and the materials to use are only part of the process.

While it’s fun to scope out areas for your new built-in grilling station, there are key safety considerations to take into account before you get started. Knowing how far your built-in grill needs to be from the house, including any overhangs, is at the top of that list.

1. Reasons to Place Your Built-In Grill Near the House

Many homeowners prefer to install a built-in grill because it is custom-made for your backyard. If you’re integrating this appliance into a larger outdoor kitchen, this unique space can increase the value of your home.

An outdoor kitchen is an excellent place to gather friends and family to celebrate events and cook delicious meals during the warm months. A built-in grill can help define a space in your backyard for entertaining. 

If you’re planning to use your new grill often, keeping your grill close to the house is necessary. Having it just outside a back or side door is exceptionally convenient for bringing out ingredients and escaping the summer heat between grill check-ins. 

There may be an overhang in that area, which shelters you and your grill from the elements.

You can still have convenience, although your grill may need to be a little farther away than you initially prefer. You can build a covering over your grill to keep the rain and heat off you. You can also use a remote thermometer, allowing you to monitor your grill and food temperatures from a distance, so you don’t have to trek back and forth from the house as often.

2. How Far Should You Place Your Built-In Grill from the House?

A post shared by Greene County Public Health (@greenecoph)

Knowing that there’s a potential for a fire where there’s heat, a built-in grill’s first requirement is placement far enough from the house to keep everyone safe. Unlike standalone grills, which are moved away from the house when in use, a built-in is immovable. 

How far should a built-in grill be from the house? Whether you have a gas, charcoal, or pellet grill, spacing is essential. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and many builders recommend placing your grill at least 10 feet away from any structure, including overhangs that are flammable, such as awnings. A less conservative recommendation is at least 3 feet away from a house, usually given by manufacturers.

Look for the following when determining exactly how far to place your grill away from your house.

Local government’s building code department and HOAs

Building codes vary widely by municipalities, so confirm if your city or county has a requirement in place for the distance of grills from structures. This may include houses, fences dividing property, or a neighbor’s structure.

If you belong to a homeowners’ association, check with their regulations about grill placement and adding structures. You may need to have permits to build an overhang or get permission from the HOA first.

Homeowner’s insurance company

Review your homeowner’s insurance policy to see if it mentions any stipulations or directions of how close a grill or outdoor kitchen can be to the main buildings.

Brand manufacturer

The manufacturer of your grill also provides guidelines, including recommended distance from the house. The 3’ suggestion is often cited as long as there are no protruding overhangs.

While how far should a built-in grill be from the house is most asked, another question concerns the available space above your grill. If you decide to build your outdoor grill station within a carport, under an awning, or are building your cover, there must be at least 8’ of free space above the grill.

If the overhang is constructed of flammable materials, such as wood, you may need a vent hood of some type as well. This is another specification you may need to address with your local building codes and insurance requirements.

3. Why is Grilling at a Distance Important?

While the importance of grilling at a safe distance from the house may seem obvious, there are a few specific reasons to keep in mind.

Increase air circulation

With adequate air space levels to facilitate ventilation, spacing is essential to prevent gas or carbon monoxide buildup. Any build-up can lead to sudden flare ups and fires that can quickly spread.

Limit smoke damage

Where there’s fire, there’s smoke. As smoke escapes from your grill, you want it to dissipate adequately in the surrounding air. If your built-in grill is situated too close to the house or located under an eave or awning, smoke damage can occur over time.

Avoid siding damage

Heat emitting from your grill can damage your home’s siding. Vinyl siding is susceptible to high temperatures from a grill, and it can melt. Loose or rippled siding poses other risks, such as structural damage, leaks, and even building movement. This can be detrimental, especially if you decide to sell your house one day.

If you have vinyl siding, you must place your grill at least 10’ away from your home.

4. Lower Risk of Fire and Damage with Fire-Retardant Materials and More

To add an extra layer of safety measures, once you find the ideal location for your built-in grill, prepare the area with fire-retardant materials. The strategic placement of these materials can protect wall areas and any overhangs and limit a fire’s potential to spread to your home. 

Such fire-retardant materials include:

Decorative square tin tiles
Other types of tile, including stone, granite, or travertine
Rough-cut stone wall cladding
Stainless steel sheeting
Corrugated metal panels

5. Grilling Safely

The materials you build your grilling station with can provide more safety and give you peace of mind. You’ll worry less about leaving the grill while it cools down or the charcoal burns out. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby for easy access if needed. 

READ ALSO: Safety Tips On Grilling On Wood Deck.