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built in grill

The Appeal of a Built-in Grill Is in the Eye of the Homeowner, Not So Much a Potential Buyer


[Updated: Jan 21, 2021 ] Apr 06, 2020 by Marc Rapport
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As the weather heats up, many of us are looking forward to getting to spend more time outside. And what's a better way to enjoy what the nice weather has to offer than a good cookout? But in order to host the best block party in town, you'll need the right setup.

Central to that is the grill. And those serious about outdoor cooking might consider a built-in version, especially as part of an outdoor kitchen. But before you throw down some major cash to become the next grill master, you need to decide whether it's the right investment for your needs.

Ask any grill enthusiast about the best type of grill to use, and you'll likely hear a very passionate explanation about the benefits of gas or charcoal.

So, let's go over the pros and cons of each type of built-in grill:

Charcoal

Charcoal grills are often the cheaper option, costing between $150 and $1,000 for a built-in option, according to HomeAdvisor (NASDAQ: ANGI). Additionally, as noted in this tasty piece from Taste of Home, charcoal grills can typically reach higher cooking temperatures than gas grills, and they are better for adding a nice, smoky flavor to foods.

However, charcoal grills are harder to light and take longer to heat up, taking around 20 minutes to get a good, even roasting going. Cleanup is more involved with charcoal grills, as well, because they need to cool completely and be emptied after each use.

Gas/propane

As opposed to charcoal grills, gas grills are easy to light, usually just by pressing a button, and heat up faster, being ready to cook in about 10 minutes. You can also easily control the temperature, at least more easily than moving hot coals around to reduce and even out the heat.

That can make a real difference when preparing delicate foods, like vegetables and seafood, that tend to easily overcook and burn on charcoal grills. Gas grills can simply be turned off, allowed to cool off, and then quickly scrubbed down. There are drawbacks to gas grills, though. They can be pricier than charcoal, and you need to pay attention to things like ensuring propane tanks or natural gas lines are properly installed and maintained. There are cheap gas grills, of course, of the standalone variety, but there's something about cooking with gas that makes me not want to go too cheap with that appliance, personally.

They also can be a maintenance issue down the road. My personal experience was buying a home with a brick-and-mortar grill installed, 20 years earlier at least, on the patio. The grill hadn't been used in years. The gas line ran under the patio. Inspecting it properly, much less replacing the line and grill, would have been pretty darn expensive. I turned it into a water feature. They don't explode or burn.

A built-in investment?

Meanwhile, is it worthwhile to spring for a built-in option, or should you go for a standalone grill instead? It depends on who you're doing it for. Don't think of it as an investment for flipping, for instance, like a kitchen makeover.

According to supermoney.com, surveys from 2017 indicate that outdoor kitchen spaces, and built-in grills as the focal point of these spaces, were not a sought-after feature for buyers and that over 30% of buyers find them to be an undesirable feature. Some sellers reported that buyers never even remarked on the built-in kitchen!

So if you're considering a built-in grill before selling your home, it may be a better idea to focus on staging your outdoor space well rather than building a permanent structure.

But what about for those offering homes as short-term leases or rentals? Is it worth adding a built-in grill then? First, it depends on your market and your space. An outdoor grill may be a great option for a coastal rental like those here in South Carolina but may not get much use in a colder market.

So, if you decide on a built-in grill, what kind is a matter of taste. And there are few arguments further from being settled once and for all over what tastes better: barbecue over gas or over charcoal or wood. Personally, I like them both!

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Marc Rapport has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.