COUNTERTOP OPTIONS FOR YOUR OUTDOOR KITCHEN
Today’s homeowners enjoy spending time in their backyards. An outdoor kitchen enhances the ability to entertain family and friends for an outdoor dining experience. Ample countertop space will be needed for both the preparation and serving of food, and perhaps an area for dining or relaxing with a cold drink. Many options are available for indoor countertops, but not all are considered appropriate for outdoor use. Here are some outdoor countertop materials to consider, and some to avoid.
Outdoor Countertop Material
Granite is probably the best choice for outdoor kitchen countertops. It’s a durable natural stone that holds up well in the elements. Homeowners can choose among a wide range of colors that should not fade with sun exposure. Granite is not damaged by heat, and when properly sealed is resistant to stains, mold, and mildew. Some permanent sealants never need to be reapplied. For a surface that is cooler to the touch, choose a lighter color granite. A honed finish rather that a polished finish may look more natural in an outdoor setting. For a smaller outdoor kitchen, a remnant slab may be a cost-effective option.
Soapstone is another natural material that can be used outdoors. This dense material is heat and stain resistant and doesn’t need to be sealed. Colors should not fade. Soapstone counters should be treated periodically with a special mineral oil to enhance the natural darkening process of the stone.
Tile is a good choice for outdoor use in warmer climates. It may not be the best choice in cold climates, as the grout can crack during freezing and thawing. Porcelain and granite tiles are more resistant to fading than ceramic tile. Grout can stain, so use a darker grout for best results outdoors. Larger tiles minimize the number of grout lines.
Concrete will withstand the elements, but must be properly installed to avoid cracking. A sealant must be used regularly to prevent staining.
Quartz is not recommended for outdoor kitchens. The colors can fade after prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. Never use Formica in an outdoor setting. It will not stand up to moisture and humidity because the core is made from particleboard. Formica will quickly warp and deteriorate.