There is nothing better than enjoying a nice grill on a Sunday afternoon in your backyard with friends and family! Good food, great company, and drinks all around, all accompanied by a scenic backyard view drop. I couldn’t picture a better and more simple summer outing in your backyard than that. However, there looms a problem that you might have not considered at all: the heat shield for your grill is damaged and causing problems when cooking!
So how to make a heat shield for a grill? The good news is that you can very easily make your own heat shield for your grill with relative ease! Instead of having to overpay and waste money on a new heat shield every time, you can very easily make your own one at home. All you need are the right tools and proper guidance to help you do exactly that. And that is exactly what I am here to help you with!
- A heat shield helps to keep the heat inside the grill and make sure it is evenly distributing the heat for your food to cook properly. It also helps to protect your burners.
- You will need some essential tools and safety equipment before following the steps provided below for your own DIY heat shield.
- There are some factors that you need to consider for your heat shield for the material and how you place it inside the grill.
- Cleaning and maintaining the heat shield is important so that you have a long-lasting one that works well each time you use it.
What is a Heat Shield: Overview and Its Importance
If you are new to the world of grilling, a heat shield is a long metal plate that is placed in the gas grill to keep you protected from the heat from the gas burner. They have some basic purpose to be used inside the grill but probably the most overlooked factor in heat shields is that it is able to provide an even source of heating for your food! This means that your food is cooked nicely and evenly while also keeping you and the utensils you use well-protected. Not only that, but they will also make sure to keep the heat in the grill so you don’t have to worry about excessive gas use to constantly heat your food.
Heat shields for grills are mainly made of two types of materials: stainless steel and ceramic/porcelain. There are other heat guards or heat shields out there for other things that use things like aluminum and a blend of different materials. However, the problem with those is that heating them can cause contamination of the food which is a giant red flag you want to avoid for your summer grilling in your backyard. Stainless steel and porcelain are great because they are both durable and keep the heat for a long time in the grill.
If you have an old grill, you might be more familiar with the lava rocks or briquettes inside instead of a heat shield. The problem with those rocks is that they are near impossible to clean once food drips inside them, meaning that they have to be replaced very regularly. Heat shields are great because they last a long time! So you don’t have to worry about replacing your heat shield to ensure the best possible grilling.
Making Your Own Heat Shield: Step-by-Step Guide
Now that we have gotten the basics of a heat shield and its importance out of the way, now is the time to start building your own heat shield! It might feel like a daunting task at first, but with a few DIY basics and techniques with the right tools, you can very easily make them yourself! Before getting to the steps, here are the materials that you will be needing for your heat shield:
- Detergent and other cleaning agents
- Measuring tape
- Circular saw
- Steel cutter
- Hammer and multigrips
- Drill machine
- Screwdriver and stainless steel screws
- Stainless steel, aluminum foil, and corrugated metal
- Safety goggles and gloves
Now with that out of the way, here is how you will be using them for your heat shield! But always make sure that the grill is off and cooled before touching it.
Step 1: Cleaning the grill
It is important to give your grill a deep clean that it needs before you make your heat shield, from cleaning the grills to the inside container. So take some water and detergent to completely clean your grill. You could also use a vinegar solution to help clean your grill as well.
Step 2: Making measurements
After you have cleaned and left it to dry, it is time to take the measurements for the heat shield. So take your measuring tape and measure the dimensions of where the heat shield will be. As a reference, you can use the old heat shield to give you an idea for your DIY one.
Step 3: Designing and cutting the steel
Once you have the measurements, it is time to start designing the heat shield. So get to drawing out the rough outline of the heat shield on your stainless steel and cut the steel accordingly with a circular saw or a jigsaw. Remember, this is probably the most crucial step in making your heat shield. Even minor mistakes will lead to the piece of steel becoming useless. So take your time and cut it as best as you can on a flat and parallel surface. Make sure that you wear gloves and safety goggles for your own safety because there will be sparks flying around.
Step 4: Bending the steel
Now that you have cut the steel for the heat shield, it is time to angle the steel by bending it with a hammer and multigrips. Place the sheet of metal on the vice and then start bending. It is important that this is done so that you get even heat distribution across the grill and make sure that any food droppings fall into the grease collection tray instead of directly on the fire.
Step 5: Drill the holes and place them on the grill
After having it bent to match your grill, now is the time to start drilling holes into the heat shield to match the grooves in the grill to keep it secured. So make sure you are using the correct size drill so that it matches the ones on your grill.
Step 6: Fixing the heat shield on the grill
Finally, we have come to the last step! It is time to fix everything in the grill. So take a screwdriver and screw in the stainless steel screws into the grill where you are supposed to attach the heat shield. You can use a washer to help keep the screws securely in place. Always make sure that the heat shield is secured tightly.
And with that, you are done with making your very own heat shield for your grill!
Factors and Materials to Consider for Grill Heat Shield
While I have mentioned the steps above with stainless steel in mind, you could very well have used some other material for the heat guard as well! However, to make the perfect grill heat shield, here are some factors that you need to consider for the material for your heat shield:
- Heat stability: probably the most important factor since you have to consider that the primary job of the heat shield is to face intense heat and resist it as well. Pick a material that is weak to heat and you have a broken heat shield in a matter of minutes. That is why stainless steel, ceramic, chromium, cast iron, etc.
- Heat distribution: along with resisting the heat, the heat shield also has to make sure that all parts of the grill are getting an even distribution of heat so that your food is getting cooked evenly and properly. This is where the material plus the placement of the heat shield matters a lot so make sure that your heat shield is screwed on correctly or else it won’t be able to do its job properly.
- Temperature regulation: yes, the heat shield is supposed to resist the heat and keep you safe. However, the problem with that is your grill might become too hot and damage the heat shield instead! That is why it is important to add a temperature volume to your grill to make sure that you are not exceeding the temperature of the heat shield.
- Toxic-free: the reason why other materials are not considered for a grill heat shield is because of the possibility of toxicity arising from it! Think of an aluminum heat shield. They are great in all of the above factors and are easier to shape. However, under intense heat, it might release toxins into your food and the environment! That is why choosing the correct material is important so that you keep yourself safe and the environment along with it.
Cleaning and Maintaining Your Heat Shield
Once you have made your heat shield and have used it a few times, don’t think that you are keeping it there forever! It is equally important to make sure that you clean and check on it regularly so that you don’t have a faulty heat shield in the middle of your family gathering. The very first thing you need to do for this is to disconnect the gas line and then unscrew the heat shield from the grill. Then you can start on the cleaning and maintenance of the heat shield.
Make sure to wash the heat shield because it will accumulate a lot of grease and food dropping over the course of using it. Using mild dish soap is the best way to clean it since you don’t want to damage it by using harsh chemicals such as bleach. Use a soft wired brush to clean off the hard stuck ash attached to the surface of the heat shield as well. Rinse it in warm water and soap one final time to completely clean it.
And speaking of damages, check for any damages like cracks and holes on it so that you can quickly fix them. You can help minimize the damage on your heat shield by burning off the grease on your grill so that it is not stuck to your heat shield instead.
Doing these sorts of inspections and cleaning can help prolong the life of your heat shield and you can use it for a long time! My best advice is to do these sorts of things before you start using the grill. The cleaning itself can be done after a few uses of the grill.
1. Why are lava rocks bad for grills?
Lava rocks are bad because the food that drips into the grease can be a fire hazard, meaning you will have to replace it regularly. That is why you will need a heat shield so you don’t waste money buying new lava rocks.
2. How long will my heat shield last?
A properly maintained heat shield for a grill can last anywhere from 1 to 3 years time. What matters most is the material you used and how you take care of it.
3. When should I replace my heat shield?
If you start noticing that your food is cooking unevenly, that is the first sign of it needing a change. Other than that, if there are cracks and holes that are too big to repair, it is time to look for a new heat shield or make one yourself.
Making your own heat shield not only makes it so that you don’t have to hunt down the specific heat shield for your grill, but it also saves you a lot of money in the process. Not only that but learning to do it once can help you make it every time you need to make it again! You can easily replace and make a new heat shield whenever you need it. With all that said, I hope that you have learned how to make your own heat shield right at home for that beautiful backyard barbeque! But remember, it will only last as long as you make it so do proper inspections for it and clean it after regular use!
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I am Donald M. Beyer and I am backyard enthusiasts. I am a homeowner who has been doing DIY projects in and out of my house for many years. From simple backyard lunches to making an old-school pizza oven in my own backyard, I have a lot of experience in turning my backyard into my and my family’s personal playground.