Make Your Own Grillzebo
With the help of a buddy, you can build it in a weekend. All the building materials are available at home centers. We built ours from Western red cedar because it’s resistant to rot and insects and it looks great. You could save about $400 by building yours from pressure-treated wood. The cedar will require some upkeep over the years, but the metal roof is maintenance free. This beefy project is built to last a lifetime…a lifetime of grilling bliss.
Step 1: Getting started
We poured a prestained slab that was 8 x 14 ft. That leaves about a foot of space on the two open ends, and plenty of room for the chairs on the others. Learn how to pour a concrete slab first.
Order the roofing components for this project at the lumber desk in your home center. You’ll be able to order the roof panels exactly the length you need: 78 in.
It’s much easier to finish all the lumber with a good-quality outdoor stain before you assemble the grillzebo. After the stain has dried, set aside the three most twisted and bowed 8-ft. 4x4s. Save them to cut up for the smaller truss webs and angle braces (D and E). We made most of the cuts with a miter saw.
Step 2: Lay out the post locations
Photo 1: Mark Post Locations
Align the two bottom truss chords next to each other in order to mark the post locations. Mark two 12-ft. 2x4s at the same time. You’ll use them later to make a template that will position the posts perfectly on the slab.
Cut the bottom truss chords (A) to size, and line them up next to each other on a pair of sawhorses. Take a couple of 12-ft. 2x4s and line them up on the horses as well. The 2x4s will be used to build a temporary template to help locate the post bases. Measure over 28-1/2 in. from each end of the bottom chord, and mark a pencil line using a framing square as a guide (Photo 1). Measure over from that line, and mark three more lines all spaced 3-1/2 in. apart.
Step 3: Cut and assemble the ends
Photo 2: Screw the Truss Chords to the Post
The slab is the perfect surface to assemble the ends of the grillzebo. Secure each post to the chords with two 6-in. structural wood screws.
Cut the posts to size (B); line them up with the marks on the bottom side of the truss chord and fasten them together (Photo 2). Completely build one end, including the truss (the next two steps), before pulling the assembly out of the way to make room for the other end.
Step 4: Cut the top chords
Photo 3: Mark the Top Chords
Use a framing square to mark the long angle cuts at the bottom of each chord. Stair gauges placed at 4 in. and 12 in. guarantee correct marking on all four.
Photo 4: Finish Cuts With a Handsaw
Cut the long angles with a circular saw first. A standard circular saw with a 7-1/4-in. blade won’t cut all the way through, so you’ll have to finish the cut with a handsaw.
The slope of the roof is 4/12, meaning the angle rises 4 in. for every 12 in. it runs horizontally. To mark the proper angle on the top chord (C), line up the outside edge of your framing square at the 4-in. and 12-in. marks (Photo 3).
Cutting this long angle is a little tricky, so make this cut first. That way if you make a mistake, you can move over a bit and try again (Photo 4). Once all the cuts are done, line up all the top chords and make sure that every angle was cut the same.
Cut the top angle with a miter saw set to a 20-degree angle. Once they’re all cut to length, lay them next to each other and mark the purlin (F) locations on the top side of the top chords. There should be a gap about 20-5/8 in. between all the purlins.
Figure A: Grillzebo overview
Step 5: Build the trusses
Photo 5: Mark the Truss Webbing
Cut each truss web a little long. Line them up with the center of the bottom chord, and mark the tops with a pencil.
Fasten the top chords to the bottom chord with two 6-in. screws. Cut the webbing boards (D) a bit long with a 20-degree angle on one end. Hold the webbing boards to the center of the bottom chord and mark a cutting line on the other end using the top chord as a guide (Photo 5). Fasten them with one 6-in. screw in each end.
Step 6: Lay out the post locations and install the bases
Photo 6: Position Posts With a Template
Center the template on the slab. Square it up by measuring diagonally from inside corner to inside corner in both directions. Attach a couple angle braces on two corners to keep the template square. Use a 4×4 scrap to mark the post base locations on the concrete.
Photo 7: Install the Post Bases
Drill holes for the concrete anchors and fasten the post bases. (Check the anchor requirements for your particular base.)
Cut two 2x4s (pine lumber) at 72 in. Line them up with the outside post lines you made on the two 2x4s you marked along with the top chords. Fasten them together with 3-in. wood screws. The inside diameter of the frame should be 72 in. x 87 in. Square and center the frame, and mark the post locations (Photo 6).
Metal bases like these not only keep the posts secure but also keep up off the concrete so the wood doesn’t wick up water and prematurely rot. Drill the holes for the bases and slide them into position. Tap the anchors into the holes and tighten the nuts (Photo 7).
Step 7: Raise and brace the ends
Photo 8: Plumb and Brace the Posts
Stand up one side of the grillzebo and fasten the posts to the bases. Make sure all the posts are plumb as you add temporary braces.
Raise one end and slip the posts into the bases. Temporarily brace the end upright with 2x4s run from the posts to stakes in the ground. Fasten the posts to the bases with joist hanger screws. After the posts are secured to the bases, plumb all the posts both ways with a 4-ft. level, adjusting the temporary braces to keep them from moving (Photo 8).
Once one end is secure, raise the other end and keep it upright and plumb by running 2x4s from the bottom chord of the first end over to the bottom chord of the second. Fasten two 2x4s straight across and a third at an angle.
Step 8: Install the angle braces
Photo 9: Install the Angle Braces
Fasten the braces with two 3-in. exterior-grade screws angled in at the top and bottom of the brace.
Cut the angle braces (E) to size, with 45-degree angles on each side. Make sure the angles sit flush on the post and bottom chord. Fasten the braces on each end with two 3-in. exterior-grade screws (Photo 9).
Step 9: Cut and install the purlins
Photo 10: Find the Length of the Purlins
To avoid cutting the roof panels to width, overlap them. You want them to cover about 8 ft. A little less is fine. Use your roof panel layout to mark the length of the purlins.
Photo 11: Install the Purlins
It’s important that the purlins all overhang the same amount. Secure each purlin to the trusses with two 6-in. structural screws in each end.
Ripping down metal roofing is no fun, so we cut the purlins (F) to fit the roofing panels. The panels we used were 3 ft. wide, but we increased the overlaps, so the total width of the three panels was as close to 8 ft. as possible (92 in. in our case), and then we cut the purlins to that size (Photo 10).
The top and bottom purlins line up with the top and bottom edge of the top chord, and the center two purlins will line up with the marks you made earlier. Install the top and bottom purlins first and check to see that all four overhangs are the same (Photo 11).
Step 10: Install the roofing
Photo 12: Install the Roof Panels
Screw two 2x4s to the bottom purlin. The 2x4s will act as a stop, making it easy to install the panels with a perfect 1-1/2-in. overhang.
Attach a scrap 2×4 with a couple screws to the outside edge of the bottom purlin. Fasten another 2×4 to the first except hold it up an inch (Photo 12). This will create a stop that you can slide your roof panels down to, resulting in a perfect 1-1/2-in. overhang.
Install all the J-channels before the roofing panels. Line them up flush with the outside edge of the purlins. Cut them to length with a snips so they meet at the peak and butt into the temporary stop. Secure the J-channels with 1-1/2-in. pole barn screws.
Slide the first panel into the J-channel and down to the 2×4 stop. Fasten it with 1-1/2-in. pole barn screws. Follow the screw pattern recommended by the manufacturer. Slide the next two panels into place before fastening them down so you know they fit nicely in the J-channel on the other end.
Let the ridge cap overhang 4 in. at each end. Center the cap and fasten it down with pole barn screws into the top purlins. Space the screws according to your manufacturer’s recommendation. Trim back each side of the ridge to the J-channel.
Step 11: Trim the bottom of the posts
Photo 13: Trim the Posts
Rest the trim on a pencil while you install it with nails and adhesive. That will keep the trim pieces off the damp concrete. Cutouts on the back of the trim allow it to fit over the post bases.
The metal post bases will prevent the 1×4 trim boards from fitting snugly against the posts. Before cutting the trim boards (G), run the full-length cedar 1x4s vertically through a table saw a couple times until about 3/16 in. of material has been removed.
Fasten the trim boards to the posts with an 18-gauge trim gun fitted with 2-in. galvanized brad nails (Photo 13). Strengthen the joint by applying construction adhesive before nailing them together. Secure them with brad nails at the top of the boards and through the miters. Install them up away from the ground to keep them dry.
Step 12: Assemble the tabletop and shelf frames
Photo 14: Build the Table Frame
Assemble the table frame by driving screws at an angle from inside the frame. That way, screw heads won’t be visible. Install a skirt nailer under the frame to support the skirt boards.
Cut the table frame ends and center braces to size (H and J). Use a square to mark a line on both posts up 41 in. from the slab. That will be the top of the frame. Install the ends 1 in. away from the outside edge of the inside post, and secure them with 3-in. exterior wood screws, two in each post. Measure and cut the table frame sides to size (K). Install the board with screws angled into the post. This keeps them from being visible after the top is installed.
Measure the distance between the posts and cut the cedar 2×4 that will serve as the skirt nailer (L). Center it on the outside post, which leaves 1 in. on each side. This will make the skirt boards flush with the outside edge of the posts.
Install the center braces (J) 20 in. in from each post. Secure them by angling two screws into the side boards (so they’re not visible) and one down into the skirt nailer (Photo 14).
Cut the shelf frame ends and centers to size (M and N). Use a square to mark a line on both posts up 15 in. from the slab. That will be the top of the shelf frame. Install the end pieces so they overlap onto each post 1 in. Cut the shelf side boards (P). Secure them to the end boards with screws. No need to angle these screws because the outside screws will be covered with the skirt boards, and the inside ones are too low to notice. Install the shelf center boards, 20 in. in from both posts.
Step 13: Install the tabletop, shelf and skirt boards
Photo 15: Add the Top Boards
Fasten the deck boards with trim-head screws. They’re less conspicuous than standard deck screws. Fasten each deck board with one 2-in. screw, 1 in. from each end.
Cut the deck boards for the table top (Q) to fit between the posts at each end. Secure them with two 2-in. exterior-grade trim-head screws through each deck board. Keep the screws about 1 in. from the edges of the deck boards. Start with the table-top board closest to the inside, and line it up with the edge of the inside posts (Photo 15). There’s no need for a gap between the boards.
Measure and cut the shelf boards (R) to length. Rip two of them down to 4 in. Install the cut end flush with the outside edges of the shelf frame so they’re hidden by the skirt board.
Cut the skirt boards (S) to length. Center the first one between the posts and install it with two trim-head screws to the skirt nailer and shelf frame. Work your way in each direction, and trim down the last skirt boards to fit flush with the posts.
Step 14: Finish up
Remove all the temporary braces and touch up all the cut ends of the boards with stain. All that’s left is to slide your grill into place and invite the neighbors over for a party.