There are many things to consider when choosing a countertop for your outdoor kitchen. You’ll need to think about hygiene, exposure to the elements, and the durability of the material.
We’ve found 7 of the best countertops for outdoor kitchens to make it easier for you to decide. The only way we could make it easier is if we came round and did it ourselves.
Stainless Steel Countertops
Stainless steel is also very easy to keep clean which adds to its hygiene and popularity in commercial kitchens.
These countertops also offer a very modern look to your outdoor kitchen. There are things that will make you stop and think about stainless steel as an outdoor kitchen surface, however.
If it’s not under shade the countertop could take the place of your barbecue grill because it can get searing hot under direct sunlight. We’re not kidding, crack an egg and watch it sizzle on that hot plate you’re hoping to prepare salad on.
Still, if your barbecue ever gives up the ghost you’ll still be able to grill your burgers.
Put it under the shade and problem solved. Although, that shade won’t protect it against moisture and humidity which can cause stainless steel to rust. Yes, rust. It’s stainless, not rustless.
There are a lot of styles and patterns to choose from too, and it looks great in almost all settings. It’s not all plain sailing however as you will need to keep granite countertops sealed as otherwise they are prone to staining.
Not only will stains infiltrate your unsealed granite countertops but so will mold, moisture and bacteria. This can shorten the life of your countertops and in the meantime may contaminate your food and make you ill.
However if you’re willing to seal them every couple of years granite worktops will last for years. Granite is not a cheap material, so it pays to maintain it well so that you get your money’s worth.
This good looking material also lends itself to a modern aesthetic in your outdoor kitchen. It exudes an air of being just a little too good to be in such a domestic setting with its marbling and patterns.
But it doesn’t quite get top marks as there is an Achilles heel to soapstone. It is a soft material and so can be damaged quite easily.
Dents and scratches are a common problem and don’t even think about chopping up that steak on its surface!
If you think chips and dents add character then go ahead and give soapstone the countertop crown. For those of us who notice every little imperfection it may just be enough to tip us over the edge.
This material is also heat resistant, so you can put hot pans on the surface without worrying about damage.
You can choose from polished or unpolished finishes depending on the look that you want to achieve, rustic or modern.
It is a natural stone, so it will need to be sealed to protect it from staining, every two or three years should be sufficient. Sealing also stops moisture from penetrating the surface and creating the right conditions for mold and bacteria growth.
One thing to bear in mind is that natural stone cannot be reinforced so there is the possibility that the bluestone could crack if not supported properly. No dancing on the countertop for you then!
It also looks great in a range of settings and is as comfortable under palm trees as it is under your backyard oak.
Speaking of shade, quartz will need some as it is vulnerable to ultraviolet radiation which can significantly fade the color of your countertop.
It can also cause your quartz countertop to turn yellow. As an alternative you could choose quartzite which has high UV resistance.
Quartz is a dense and durable material which is resistant to both staining and scratching.
This makes it very easy to maintain and keep clean, a real bonus in an outdoor kitchen. It is one of the more expensive options however, so all that bling is going to set you back.
If you need to stick to a budget this may be the way to go but be warned there are limitations with tiled countertops that could end up costing you more in the long run.
There is an infinite amount of tile colors and patterns to choose from, so it won’t be difficult to find something that matches your style.
However, it is a difficult surface to clean because of all the grout lines. Grout is highly porous so is a magnet for moisture, dirt and grease.
Not only does this make cleaning a challenge but can impact the hygiene of the food you are preparing on the surface. Tiles are also relatively fragile and dropping something on your countertop could mean you have to replace tiles.
If you live in an area where the winters are quite cold and the summers are hot this hot/cold cycle can play havoc with your tiled countertop which can crack in these changing extremes.
Despite their man-made nature they can look very natural which makes them even more popular. It also has a distinct advantage over natural stone in that concrete can, and should, be reinforced.
For all its muscle flexing though, it is a porous material and will need to be sealed to prevent staining and moisture ingress. Regular maintenance will keep your concrete countertop looking its suave best.
You can also color your concrete to match or contrast your outdoor kitchen cabinets. It’s a heat resistant material that will stand up under the hottest pot and when sealed will easily shrug off rain and sun.
Recently people have taken to coating their concrete countertops with epoxy resin. This gives it even more durability making it the uncrowned king of outdoor kitchen countertops.
We hope our guide to the 7 best countertops for outdoor kitchens has given you some inspiration for your project and that it’s been helpful.