Outdoor kitchens are beautiful additions to any yard that make barbeques infinitely better. Whether you're thinking of installing an outdoor kitchen or are considering replacing the countertops in an existing one, it can be a hard decision given the large variety of options. Don't worry, because we've researched countertops for outdoor kitchens for you.
Countertops in an outdoor kitchen should be able to withstand the elements. Here are some of the best and toughest countertop materials to use outside:
Should an outdoor kitchen be covered? How do I keep my outdoor kitchen clean? What are the best colors for outdoor kitchen countertops? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and more!
Quartzite is very similar to quartz, but it's a harder, more durable version -even harder than granite. It can withstand a fair amount of heat, but it's still recommended to use potholders or trivets to avoid setting hot pans directly on the countertop. It can come in greys or bright colors from iron oxide, and it has a gorgeous streaking pattern that often resembles marble.
Because quartzite is a very hard rock, it has to be cut into shape with diamond blades. This can cause it to be expensive—an average of $75 per square foot. It also requires maintenance to keep it looking fresh. Quartzite should be sealed up to twice a year to protect it from the elements. Furthermore, it scratches easily, so you'll have to use soft cleaners and tools.
Granite is a tough stone, with durability in extreme temperatures and the ability to resist scratching. Some higher grades of granite only need to be sealed once to keep it free from mold, mildew, and stains. There are many patterns and colors to choose from for granite countertops to go with any kitchen.
Despite granite being a naturally durable material, if it is a low grade and not sealed properly, it can absorb liquids easily and develop stains. In addition, lower grades require regular sealing to keep it protected. Granite countertops can be expensive, running on average $50 to $100 per square foot.
Concrete is very durable and can be poured into any mold to fit any kitchen design. Many designs are natural and minimalist, but you can also customize your countertops by setting tiles or stones into the concrete or using a colored stain. Concrete is durable, and it can withstand both cold and hot temperatures.
Because concrete is very porous, it must be sealed regularly to prevent stains or mold. Concrete also fades and can yellow in the sunlight over time, so it should be kept in the shade or covered when not used.
Depending on the type of stone it's made out of, tile can be durable and withstand the elements. Tile is generally a less expensive option than a whole slab of stone, and there is a wide variety of options to choose from.
Because the grout between tiles is so porous, it attracts dirt and grime very easily and is difficult to clean. Especially in outdoor kitchens, this makes it challenging to keep the countertop clean.
Click here to view Black Diamond's grout cleaner on Amazon.
Slate is a tough stone perfect for outdoor kitchens. It has a high heat tolerance that makes it able to withstand hot days and direct contact with hot pans. Dense slabs won't stain and need only one coat of sealant.
Less dense slabs of slate are soft and more porous. This means they require annual sealants to protect them from the elements and stains. In addition, slate is more prone to scratches and dings, but these can be easily sanded out with sandpaper.
Soapstone is sleek and non-porous, so it easily resists stains and mold. This also means it doesn't need a sealant to prevent staining. In addition, soapstone is easy to clean with only water and a soft cleanser like Dawn dish soap.
Soapstone is a softer stone and can get scratched or dented fairly easily from knives or by dropping heavy objects on the countertop. Furthermore, soapstone can darken from spilled liquids over time. Fortunately, it's easy to wash them away with water and restore soapstone's shine with a coat of mineral oil.
Purchase mineral oil from Amazon here.
How deep should an outdoor kitchen counter be?
An outdoor countertop should be deep enough to provide you with enough space to function as a regular kitchen. As a general rule, a countertop shouldn't be any shallower than 24". Additional appliances, such as an oven or a refrigerator, may require additional depth.
What is the height of an outdoor kitchen counter?
An outdoor counter's height is customizable and depends on your height and additional appliances you want to include in your outdoor kitchen. The average height of an outdoor countertop is 36", but you can raise or lower this according to your own preference.
Can I use Dekton countertops outdoors?
Dekton is a blend of quartz, porcelain, and glass. The blend of materials makes Dekton a strong material able to withstand both freezing and scorching temperatures without cracking. Their durability extends even further. They can survive knife cuts and heavy objects being dropped on them without damage. Furthermore, Dekton is UV resistant, so it won't discolor in the sun.
Can I use laminate in an outdoor kitchen?
Laminate is not a good choice for outdoor countertops because it is very susceptible to moisture and can warp, mold, or rot outdoors. While it's tempting to use laminate because it's a cheaper option, it won't hold up in the elements.
Can I use quartz for an outdoor countertop?
While quartz is UV resistant, the only way it can survive being in an outdoor kitchen is if it is well sheltered and protected from the elements. The resin used in the quartz reacts negatively with sunlight and will turn yellow.
What are the best colors for outdoor kitchen countertops?
The best colors for outdoor kitchens are natural colors, including black, grey, and brown. Unnatural colors in your outdoor kitchen clash with your backyard's natural beauty and may detract from the rest of your kitchen. Luckily, all outdoor countertop options come in a variety of natural colors.
What is the best material for outdoor kitchen cabinets?
Just as with choosing the correct countertop material, you want to choose a cabinet material that will last a long time. Here are some of the most popular outdoor kitchen cabinet materials:
Wood is by far the most popular cabinet material inside, but it isn't easy to maintain outside because wood doesn't withstand the elements as well as other materials. Sunlight fades the color of the wood over time, and it expands and contracts in changing temperatures. This causes the cabinets to stick and makes them difficult to open.
Despite its downfalls, wood is a classic look with a wide variety of colors to choose from. It goes well with most countertop choices, and it's fairly easy to install.
Stainless steel can be sleek or can be powdered to mimic wood. It's a strong material that does much better in the elements than wood. In addition, it can withstand higher temperatures. However, it can get hot to touch in the sunlight, so be careful when you use your outdoor kitchen in the summer.
Depending on the type of stone used for the cabinets, they can be very durable and can withstand harsh elements, which is important for outdoor kitchens. Despite their durability, stone cabinets can be expensive, and they are difficult to install.
How do I keep my outdoor kitchen clean?
Keeping an outdoor kitchen clean can be challenging, considering the prevalence of dirt outside. However, if you keep on top of sealing your countertop to prevent stains and mold and wipe down the surface after meals and cooking, you should keep your kitchen clean.
Should an outdoor kitchen be covered?
You don't necessarily need to cover your outdoor kitchen, but it can make using it much nicer. If the weather is unpleasant, you can still use your outdoor kitchen if you have a cover. Furthermore, a cover helps protect your kitchen from rain and snow, which is vital in protecting certain countertop types.
How do you winterize an outdoor kitchen?
Winterizing your outdoor kitchen is important to protect your appliances and countertop. Here are some quick steps on how to winterize your outdoor kitchen:
1. Shut off and drain your water lines
Water in your water lines can freeze in the winter and crack your pipes. To avoid this, you need to shut off the water and drain your pipes.
2. Clean out your refrigerator
It's unlikely you'll be using your outdoor kitchen much in the winter, and you'll want to clean out your refrigerator so any leftover food doesn't go bad and rot. It'll save you from cleaning up a mess in the spring. Cleaning out your refrigerator includes removing any remaining ice in the ice maker.
3. Winterize your cabinets
Wood cabinets will need a good coat of oil to protect them from snow and the cold. Stainless steel cabinets need a special stainless steel polish to winterize them. Stone cabinets are more resilient in the winter, but you may decide to cover them to avoid any cracking.
Outdoor kitchens are a great addition to your home, and it's important to choose a durable countertop material. Quartzite, granite, and slate are some of the many great options to use in an outdoor kitchen. We hope you've learned something about countertop options, and we wish you the best in your own outdoor kitchen.
Check out some of our other posts we think you might like:
14 Types of Kitchen Countertops
Do Granite Countertops Need to be Sealed [And How to do That]