Covering an outdoor kitchen, code issues?

Depending on which jurisdiction you live in, covering an outdoor kitchen can be a code violation.

You have to dig deeper though, what does it mean to “cover” an outdoor kitchen? In many cases, people are intending to put a solid roof over it to keep out of the elements. In the Carolina’s, there are many counties that will only allow this if you purchase and install a hood vent to take the fumes through the roof of the structure. These can be quite costly and you really need an expert to install it properly


In some counties, if the roof is not screened in and you put the cooking station on the perimeter of the roof, they allow that to pass.

A common cover is a pergola like the one featured above left. This is allowed in all jurisdictions because the covering is not solid allowing the fumes to dissipate. Pergolas are very appealing aesthetically and do provide some protection from the sun if there are enough timbers installed above. They do not however keep the rain from hitting you.

Retractable awnings are another form of cover and there are no building codes against awnings. Make sure you check with a licensed general contractor or the county building department to see what your options are. If you want to see a complete photo gallery of outdoor kitchens, go to


What are my best options for shade structures in NC/SC?

outdoor fireplace charlotte, outdoor kitchen charlotte, open porch, stone patio

Stone Outdoor Fireplace in Charlotte on patio in porch

Most people in the Carolinas at some point are looking for shade options for their backyard. Whether it is to cover a patio, cover a deck, or even an outdoor kitchen, people want protection from the elements.

There are many options to achieve this depending on budget, architectural concerns, and size. Pergolas, arbors, and trellis’ are words often used interchangeably that are relatively inexpensive options to provide some shade. They are generally custom built in materials that range from wood to vinyl. They are not rain resistant but can be with the appropriate covers that are now available on the market. You can purchase fabric for the top of the pergola, aluminum ceilings that install under the rafters, and even polycarbonate roof sheathing that allows lights into the structure but does stop rain from coming through.

Retractable awnings provide wonderful shade protection and are available in a wide variety of colors and sizes.

Solid roofs or what we refer to as covered patios or covered decks (“Open Porches”) are going to be more expensive but ultimately provide the most protection from all of the elements. They can be designed and built with matching roof shingles to your home, matching gutters, and matching soffit and fascia that will make the cover to appear to be a natural extension of the house!

Archadeck of Charlotte is a custom builder of shade structures and outdoor living spaces, to see a large photo gallery of options, go to