What is the best countertop for an outdoor kitchen?
Today, more and more people are enjoying time in their backyard entertaining friends and family. An outdoor kitchen is a great way to further enhance your ability to be a great party host! In order to be properly equipped to handle the needs of your guests, you’ll need plenty of countertop space for preparing and serving food, and maybe even some space for dining or a place to sit back and relax. The market is filled with great selections of countertops, but some materials are better than others for outdoor use. That being said, here are some of the best countertops for outdoor kitchens today.
Granite is perhaps the best material for homeowners to use as an outdoor kitchen countertop. This stone’s durability can stand up against the harsh conditions on the South Florida coast with ease. Hot and sunny day? No problem! 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. This natural stone is already very easy to maintain, but with a proper sealant, it will be even easier to take care of.
Granite is a homeowner favorite because there’s a huge variety of colors and finishes to choose from. No matter what style you choose, you wont need to worry about it fading under sun exposure. Sunlight can make darker colors hot to the touch, so you might want to purchase a lighter color if your outdoor kitchen doesn’t have shading. If you’re looking for to match the look of nature with your outdoor kitchen, consider going with a honed finish rather than a polished one. Overall, granite sets the bar high for materials to use in an outdoor kitchen countertop, but there are plenty of other great alternatives as well.
# 2 Quartzite
Quartzite is another beautiful option for your outdoor kitchen. However, it should be noted that quartzite is not to be confused with quartz, which is a man made material. Quartz should never be used in an outdoor setting because the resin used in the creation process will turn yellow when exposed to sunlight and weather. Quartzite, on the other hand, shares many of the same qualities as granite and looks nearly identical to marble, but is much easier to care for. When preparing food in your outdoor kitchen, make sure to use a cutting board because knives and sharp objects will leave scratches. Most of us use a cutting board anyways, but it’s still worth mentioning. You won’t need to use any special cleaners for this material, soap and water will do just fine. But, you’ll need to make an effort to clean them up quickly or else you risk them getting stained. 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. However, unlike granite, it can’t 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 recommended to seal quartzite about once a year, but the durability of this hard stone will make it last for years to come.
*Picture from Marble-Granites.com
# 3 Soapstone
You can’t go wrong with soapstone countertops for your outdoor kitchen. This dark, natural stone is very dense and non-porous. This gives soapstone the advantage that it doesn’t need to be sealed for protection against stains. Although sealing isn’t needed for maintenance, soapstone will darken if it’s exposed to liquids or oil from your hands. But the good news is, they can be simply washed off. Furthermore, if you choose soapstone for your outdoor kitchen, consider applying mineral oil to give it a beautiful dark shine. Even though soapstone is very dense, it’s still a very soft material. If you’re thinking about choosing soapstone for your outdoor kitchen countertops, just be aware that is can be scratched and nicked from sharp objects. Thankfully, you can always buff these out with a little sandpaper. Maintenance is also a breeze. All it takes to keep soapstone looking clean and beautiful is a little soap and water… go figure!
Similar to granite, soapstone is also highly heat resistant so you can place hot pans directly on its surface. This material’s natural qualities also make it a fantastic choice for the outdoors because it can withstand rain, sunlight, and even cold temperatures. Being a naturally dark color does have one drawback, however. Under direct sunlight, it can get very hot to the touch so it’s important to use caution if the sun has been beaming down on it all day. But overall, soapstone is another top contender for outdoor kitchen countertops thanks to its well-rounded qualities.
# 4 Porcelain Tile & Slabs
You may already have porcelain inside your home, but this material can be applied to the outdoors as well. Porcelain can be manufactured in almost any color, finish, and can even mimic the look of other natural stones but with more advantages than their counterparts. Like many other options already mentioned, porcelain is non-porous, very durable, low-maintenance, and fade proof. Since this material is crafted under extreme temperatures, it too is very heat resistant and will hold up well even in chilly temperatures.
Preparing food on these countertops is a walk in the park. Being non-porous makes it safe to prepare food directly on its surface and you won’t need to worry about staining or etching.. But it should be mentioned that ceramic blades could scratch them, so just be careful if you use these knives around them. Plus, although it’s rare, this material can chip and repairs will be noticeable so use caution when handling heavy objects around these countertops.
*picture from Marble System
# 5 Marble
People believe marble is a material is better suited for indoors, and in most cases they would be right. But you can still make it work for outdoor usage too. If you’re a fan of marble and you want to use it for your outdoor kitchen countertops, there are a few things you should know before you make a decision. Under South Floridas’s typical rain and wind, a polished finish will almost certainly be worn away. You can, however, keep it looking fresh if you stay on top of sealing it regularly. But if you’re not a fan of maintenance, go with a honed finish instead. Rather than deal with constant maintenance, use the weather to your advantage! Since you’ll be prepping food a lot on this surface, you should be aware that acidic food and drinks will leave etching and stains. However, if you’d like for your marble to age naturally for a rustic appearance, rain 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.
*Picture from gaylerdesignbuild.com
Out of all the contenders, granite is the best all around option for outdoor countertops, but you can’t go wrong with some of the other alternatives. To make the best decision for your outdoor kitchen, consider your personal design preferences, budget, your region’s climate, and the amount of maintenance you’re willing to put up with. If you’re looking to spend more time outdoors with friends and family, we hope that this guide was useful for choosing the best material for an outdoor kitchen countertop.