No outdoor kitchen is complete without carefully-chosen countertops. In fact, countertops are in many ways a defining characteristic of your outdoor patio, You will use them and see them on a daily basis, so it's crucial that you get it right the first time around. There are many different materials to choose from, each with their own list of pro's and con's. We discuss some of the most popular options here to give you a sense of the differences between them. For more information, you can visit our blog, or contact our outdoor kitchen specialist team.
Once you've chosen your material, your next priority will be planning enough counter space. In our experience, a total of 36' of 24"-deep counter is the bare minimum. Select a material that will suit the style of your house and your cooking style. If your heart is set on a manufactured countertop like quartz or recycled glass, take note - most use pigments that are not designed to stand up to outdoor use, so the elements may change its appearance over time.
Granite is one of the most popular type of countertops for both indoor and outdoor patios, and it's easy to see why. It's one of the best options when looking at the overall ease of use, color varieties, maintenance and durability. Its durability can stand up against harsh conditions with ease. Hot and sunny day? No problem. Cooler, rainy day? No issue.
Granite can withstand the heat from the sun and hot pans without any issues. With a proper coat of sealant, granite is also resistant against stains, mold, and mildew so even the messiest gatherings or rainiest days won’t pose a threat. Adding a proper sealant on top will ensure an aesthetically-pleasing countertop for years to come.
Natural stone quartzite (not to be confused with quartz) is a close second, and we mean close. It has essentially the same qualities as granite but at a slight discount. It also looks nearly identical to marble, while being significantly easier to care for.
With quartzite, you won’t need to worry about its color fading in the sunlight, making it another great choice for an outdoor kitchen countertop. Where it falls short of granite, though, is its ability to withstand high temperatures. While you won’t need to worry about a hot summer day damaging your quartzite surfaces, you’ll need trivets or pot holders for when dealing with a hot pan. It’s also recommended to seal quartzite about once a year.
Concrete also offers high durability, making it a great material for outdoor kitchen countertops. Its big advantage is that it can be poured into many shapes to fit your outdoor kitchen’s exact dimensions and can come in a variety of custom finishes. You can even embed tiles and stones into it for a unique look that you won’t find in most other alternatives. No option here is perfect, which is why it's important you choose the one that will best suit your setup. On the up side, concrete. has the ability to be stained almost any color, making it exceptionally versatile. On the down side, sunlight can cause many colors to fade and yellow overtime. Overall, it's a grerat choice for those looking for a more rustic personality for their outdoor dining space.
If you choose to go with a concrete countertop for your outdoor kitchen, make sure it is sealed during installation. Although this material is sturdy and durable, it is porous, meaning it's susceptible to stains and bacteria growth from nature’s elements. Sealing will also prevent cracking, which concrete is known to do.
Marble is another popular option, but a word of caution: it's typically better suited for indoor use, but with proper preparation and care, can make for a stunning choice for your outdoor kitchen countertop material.
When marble countertops have a honed finish, it helps the surface retain its shiny and polished look, even in the face of rain, snow, wind and more, but it can still be susceptible to etches and stains. Under rain and wind and exposure to the elements, however, this polished finish will almost certainly be worn away. Sealing it regularly can keep it looking fresh, but if you're not a fan of maintenance, you may want to consider a honed finish, or a different material. If you're a fan of the naturally-aged look, the elements will work with you by washing out stains and blending in the etch marks. Marble is a very durable stone, so it will certainly hold up outside even with very little maintenance if you decide to let it age naturally.