DIY Grill with no welding

Table of Contents

Material Selection
Easy Grate Methods
Intermediate Grate Methods
Grill Base Construction

Summer is upon us, and it is time to bust out the grills. But what if you don’t have a grill? Well, fear not, we have plenty of options for your very own DIY grill grate!

Steel vs Stainless Steel

The two most common materials used to make grill grates are Steel and Stainless Steel. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages. Because of these, there is no clear “best” choice. Rather, it’s all a matter of what fits your situation and needs best.

Steel

Steel is a superior heat conductor due to the lower amounts of carbon in the metal. This results in a more evenly distributed amount of heat across the grate. If you are looking for branded char marks on your food, steel is the optimal choice. Additionally, Steel is cheaper than Stainless Steel.

However, Steel requires more maintenance and cleaning as they are vulnerable to rust.

Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel is the grate that will last a lifetime. It is highly resistant to rusting, is highly resistant to temperature fluctuations, and is extremely easy to clean.

However, Stainless has two disadvantages. First, the higher amount of carbon in the metal makes it less thermally conductive. This means that to get a good branding and even cooking, you need to get thicker bars to store more heat. Also, Stainless Steel is more expensive than Steel.


diy grill

Easy Method 1 – Expanded Sheet

Expanded Sheet is one of the more popular methods for creating a grill due to the ease and low cost. Just buy a sheet in the size you need, fit any support as needed, and put it into place. Our expanded sheet is all of single piece construction, so it is extremely tough and won’t unravel with time.

We offer Expanded Sheet in both Hot Roll Steel and Stainless Steel. I’ll explain the pros and cons of each below.

diy grill

Easy Method 2 – Perforated Sheet

Another method you can easily use is perforated sheet. It is more rigid than Expanded Sheet and also provides high strength and durability along with easy installation.

We carry Perforated Sheet in Stainless Steel and Hot Roll Steel.

diy grill

Intermediate Method – Bars and more Bars!

If you have some power drills and want to show off your skills, this is the method for you!

For this DIY grill grate, you’ll need:

  • 2 Square Bars
  • 2 Rectangle Bars
  • 4 Steel Taper Screws
  • Round Bars

The rod spacing and diameter must be chosen before you start this. Additionally, there is no fixed size, it’s really a matter of opinion. In principle, the thicker the Round Bar is, the more heat energy it will store for cooking. Here’s our general recommendation for sizes.

Round Bar diameterBar spacingRound Bar diameter (Metric)Bar spacing (Metric)
.125″ (1/8).45″4mm11mm
.1875″ (3/16).4″5mm10mm
.25″ (1/4).35″6mm9mm
.3125″ (5/16).3″8mm7mm

Making the Grate

Follow these steps and you’ll have your grate is no time. Also, check out the image below so you can see exactly what we’re describing.

  1. Measure the size your grate will be
  2. Determine your Round Bar diameter and Bar spacing
  3. Acquire materials in size and quantity required
  4. Mark Square Bars where you will be drilling for the Round Bars and Screws.
  5. Drill Square Bars
  6. Thread the four holes for the screws
  7. Insert Round Bars into holes on one Square Bar, slot on other Square Bar
  8. Screw on Rectangle Bars for support and rigidity

Words of Advice

Always use your safety gear! Also remember the motto for this project is “Measure twice, drill once.” Lastly, you can also use some wood for the Square Bars to make a template.

DIY Grill Base Construction

There are an almost infinite number of configurations for making the base to your grill. We’re going to stick with some of the easier ones that are our favorites.

Cinder Blocks and Bricks

Cinder Block and bricks are our favorite material for making grills. They can be easily stacked like LEGO bricks, they are tough, and can be used for really quick and dirty or more elaborate and permanent grills. Also, cinder blocks in particular are relatively inexpensive. Lastly, the open spaces in cinder blocks can be used to create chimneys, air funnels, and access points!

Here is one of the most sturdy and most basic examples. Just stagger the cinder blocks into an open topped rectangle and put the fuel in the middle. Then just lay your grill grate on top and you’re done! Note the sideways cinder blocks at the bottom for more air flow.

Here’s another simple example. It’s very similar to the previous example. Except you only build three sides of the structure for easier access to the fire. Please note how this is made from simple materials but is still elegant. Also, it is designed to double as an outdoor fireplace when not grilling.

This is probably my favorite example. It is simple, sturdy, and has a lot of grilling space! One of my favorite details which can easily be overlooked is that they slotted a Hot Roll Angle at the front of their DIY grill. This provides extra strength and rigidity for the expanded sheet. Also, it prevents any sausages or corn from rolling off the grate. Nobody wants that.

If you’re in for a more serious project, check out this cinder block dual grill and smoker or some of these excellent brick grills!

Barrels, Drums, and Tool Boxes

You read that correctly! We’re big fans of upcycling and this is a great way to do it. Because the body of your DIY grill is already built, you just need to clean and assemble it (more or less). Just make sure you’ve properly cleaned things out. Also, if you want to paint it, make sure you have heat resistant paint!

Check out this really cool DIY BBQ Barrel using a 55-gallon drum.

diy grill

Another favorite of ours involves repurposing a large tool box.

diy grill