If you’ve been thinking about installing a new outdoor kitchen countertop, chances are you’re a bit stuck as to which material to buy. This is especially true if you’ve already delved into some research, because there are so many different options out there to choose from.
With pros and cons for each countertop, this might leave you conflicted about which one to purchase, be that steel, wood, lamite, slate, tile etc… The list goes on and on! In order to help you make your decision, we’ve created this in depth guide, which details all the ins and out of outdoor countertops.
Ultimately, the one you choose will be completely up to you, but this article can help you make a more informed choice. In order to find out more, simply keep reading below, as we take a closer look.
How Will You Use Your Outdoor Countertop?
Now, before we jump straight in and take a look at all the pros and cons associated with different materials, let’s answer the question above. Before you start your countertop shopping, first you’ll need to ask yourself, what am I going to be using this for?
This will help you during your future research when trying to plan which material to buy. Although some of you might be thinking that the question above is overly simplistic, it can actually really help you fine tune what you want. For example, are you planning to host regularly, and for large parties?
Are you going to be doing a lot of chopping and food preparation on the surfaces? Are you going to be storing lots of pots and pans there? Are you going to be cooking messier dishes that create spills? All of these are important things to think about when choosing an outdoor kitchen countertop.
The Very Best Kitchen Countertop Materials
Now that we’ve urged you to ask yourself some questions about your outdoor countertop use, we can move on to discuss some of the specific materials that are widely available when it comes to choosing your ideal surface.
Below, we’ve listed some of the most durable and sleek countertop materials available, and listed each of their pros and cons so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. In order to find out more, keep reading below.
Stainless Steel Countertops
Stainless steel can endure all manner of weather conditions, and won’t tarnish over time. As well as this, it’s incredibly easy to wipe down and clean. Despite this, not every person will be a fan of the highly modernized, utilitarian look that this material boasts.
Bear in mind that this material will also get very hot on sunny days, so if you live somewhere with a hotter climate, you’ll need to take this into consideration.
- Durable – Stainless steel is guaranteed to stand the test of time.
- Ease Of Clean – This material is incredibly easy to wipe down and clean, so you won’t spend too much time fussing over messes.
- Hygienic – Because it is a nonporous material, you don’t need to worry about bacteria getting trapped in any of the cracks.
- Modern – A sleek and effortless appearance for fans of a more modern look.
- Heats Up Quickly – The surface heats up very quickly in the sun, so could prove to be uncomfortable to prepare food on.
- Easy To Scratch – It is easy to get scratches on your countertop if you don’t take the proper precautions, because of the nature of the material.
The fact that it’s man made also means that it can be poured and transformed into a number of different shapes and sizes, so that you have more freedom with the appearance of your kitchen.
Make sure that when it’s installed that it’s been properly sealed, otherwise bacteria can grow around the edges as a result of it being a fairly porous material. In terms of price, this material sits firmly in the middle, and you can find many for reasonable costs,
- Color Options – You can stain the concrete with pretty much any color you desire, so you have a wide range of options to choose from.
- Easy To Maintain – Concrete isn’t a difficult material to maintain, and it’s very easy to clean up after use.
- Natural Appearance – Despite being man made, this material is highly natural looking, helping you to achieve that gorgeous rustic look.
- Different Shape Options – Unlike other materials, you can shape a slab of concrete to fit any size of shape you desire for your outdoor kitchen.
- Fading – One of the issues with concrete is that if it’s left in direct sunlight over time, the colors can fade.
- Prone To Cracking – Make sure that the material is properly reinforced during installation, otherwise it can begin to crack over time.
You can also apply some special minerals to the stone, in order to give them more of a glossy shine, and protect them from any staining from foods. Another great thing about this stone is that it’s super easy to take care of. After you’ve done your meal prep, all you’ll need to do is wipe it down with a cloth, and voila! It’s clean.
Bear in mind however, that as a natural material it does have a certain level of softness, and this means that you can potentially mark the surface with knives and sharp objects if you’re not careful.
- Sleek Appearance – The beautiful, naturally dark appearance of the material creates an effortlessly sleek look.
- Easy To Clean – All you’ll need to do is wipe down the surfaces after usage.
- Non Porous – Because it is made from a non porous material, you don’t need to worry about it growing any harmful bacteria.
- Heat Resistant – So you can put all your pots and pans directly on the surface without causing any damage to the material.
- Heats Up Quickly – Because it’s black, the material easily attracts rays from the sun. Therefore, you might want to consider installing it in a shaded area.
- Soft – The material is fairly soft, and this means that it’s prone to nicking from sharp objects.
Ipe Wood Countertops
For those of you who are wondering whether wood might be a good choice for an outdoor countertop, we’d definitely recommend looking into ipe wood. It’s regarded as one of the strongest types of wood there are, and is highly durable.
Unlike many other types of wood which are highly porous, and facilitate the growth of bacteria, ipe wood is completely resistant to this. It won’t get moldy over time, and you can enjoy preparing your food on its surface, because it’s completely safe and doesn’t splinter.
When it comes to maintenance, ipe wood is a little trickier than the others on our list which essentially require zero care. Ipe needs to be properly sealed at intervals, so make sure that the surface receives the maximum amount of protection.
It will also stop the color of the wood fading over time. It’s great again for creating a rustic look, and is very homely in terms of appearance.
- Durable – Having been constructed from one of the strongest types of wood in the world, ipe is incredibly durable.
- Non Porous – This one will not facilitate any bacterial growth.
- Weather Resistant – You don’t need to worry about the weather doing any damage to your countertop, as it truly stands the test of time.
- Rustic – It’s great for achieving a highly natural look for your outdoor kitchen.
- Sealing – It needs to be re-sealed at intervals in order to make sure it has the maximum amount of protection.
- Fading – The darker varieties of these wooden countertops have been known to fade if not properly sealed.
Best Countertop For Outdoor Kitchen Buyers Guide
Now that we’ve taken a look at some of the very best countertops for your outdoor kitchen, we can move on to discuss our buyers guide. This guide has been compiled with the explicit purpose of helping you to make a decision about which material to buy.
There are many different aspects to think about when it comes to choosing the perfect countertop, including durability, the cost, the porosity of the material, the ease of maintenance, and aesthetics. To find out more, simply keep reading below, as we take a closer look.
The first thing that we need to consider before purchasing our outdoor countertop, is price. Just like indoor countertops, the costs vary widely depending on the type of material that you choose, so you’ll need to make sure that you do your research, and figure out what kind of budget you’re working from.
This will help you to avoid any disappointment if you’re not able to afford certain materials. Most of our countertop materials mentioned above fall into the mid range category, whereas stainless steel tends to be on the higher end in terms of cost.
Another thing that many people forget about when it comes to choosing the perfect outdoor countertop, is what kind of climate they’re living in. For example, if you’re living in a particularly hot climate, materials such as steel and soapstone heat up very quickly.
If this is the case, and you desire one of these materials, you’ll need to consider the placement of the unit. Placing it too directly in line of the sun will make it too hot to work on during certain days. It would therefore be useful to consider a more shaded area.
In addition to this, being placed too directly in the sun can cause certain materials to fade over time. This is especially true for ipe wood, which can transform to a pale gray if it’s not sealed properly. Concrete also, if it’s had any dyes mixed in during the making process can fade over time.
In addition to receiving too much sunlight, some materials are also susceptible to cold weather and rain too. So remember to do your research first according to the particular climate yours might be affected by.
Another thing you’ll want to consider are the hygiene aspects of the material you’re looking into. For example, some foods, if they’re not cleaned away properly after use, can facilitate bacteria growth in the material. In some cases, these can’t even be cleaned away by high grade antibacterial sprays.
This means that you’ll need to make sure that you’re taking care of your surfaces properly, and wiping down after every use. Some materials are easier to clean than others, and don’t require any vigorous antibacterial sprays. This is because the material they’re made from is completely non porous, which many of the ones mentioned in our list above are.
Materials such as ipe wood, stainless steel, and soapstone are all great choices, and won’t facilitate any bacterial growth. So, if you don’t want to spend too much time slaving away cleaning your outdoor kitchen, then consider investing in one of these materials.
Another important aspect of your outdoor kitchen that you’ll want to take into consideration is appearance. There’s no point investing tons of money into buying a stainless steel countertop, if you’re not going to be pleased with the result visually.
Although they make up some of the most expensive countertops out there, not everybody loves the utilitarian appearance they have. It might not fit in with the rugged, rustic look that you’re trying to achieve. In order to create a more natural feel, we’d recommend opting for materials such as concrete or wood.
These are incredibly homely, and go well in a garden setting. If, however, you want something that looks more modernized, then you can’t go wrong with soapstone. It’s one of the sleekest looking outdoor countertop materials out there, and the color doesn’t fade over time either.
Ease Of Care
Another thing that you might want to consider is how long you want to spend cleaning your particular material. If you want one that’s super low maintenance, you might not even want to consider ipe wood, which although is overall very hassle free, does require re sealing every year.
Some people won’t want to worry about maintenance issues, and as a result will choose materials that won’t require re sealing. If you’re looking for the most hassle free material there is, then we’d probably recommend investing in a stainless steel countertop.
The only thing that we’d urge you to bear in mind is the fact that this material can be prone to rusting over long periods of time. So, make sure if you live somewhere with a rainy climate, that it’s not directly in the firing line.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that we’ve shown you our buyers guide, we can move on to the FAQ portion of our article, where we answer some commonly asked questions. To find out more, keep reading below.
Which Is The Least Expensive Type Of Countertop?
If you’re looking for the least expensive countertop, and you don’t have much of a budget to work from, then we’d recommend investing in a natural stone countertop, such as granite.
These are the cheapest options when it comes to outdoor countertops, and they’re also incredibly durable. The colors also won’t fade or crack over time, so you don’t need to worry about aesthetics.
What Is The Most Heat Resistant Countertop?
In terms of which countertop is the most heat resistant, we would have to recommend either natural stone, or soapstone, both of which are highly resilient. This means that you can place your pots and pans directly on the countertop without worrying about damaging the surfaces.
To sum up, there are lots of great options when it comes to choosing the perfect outdoor countertop. Make sure that you take your budget into consideration, as well as the climate you’re living in and the type of look you want to achieve.