What are the best outdoor kitchen countertop options for your project?
There are so many choices on the market when it comes down to kitchen finishes. Let’s review many options to help find the best countertop material for your project.
When considering the best countertop for your outdoor kitchen, granite comes to the top of the list.
Where does granite come from?
Granite is a natural stone which is mined in quarries all over the world. It measures 6-6.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Just below quartzite. Its resistance from heat and the sun, as well as your hottest pans is quite remarkable. It can be exposed to and withstand the harshest weather elements. From the northern cold winters to the heat and humidity of the southern states, homeowners can trust granite as an excellent covering choice for their outdoor kitchen.
Its resistance to scratches and cuts from daily use is fantastic. The cost of granite will vary depending on multiple factors such as quality, thickness and installation. Overall, it does come at a budget friendly cost.
Granite does require proper maintenance but it is fairly simple. A quick coat of sealant properly applied once or twice a year will keep any damage at bay. Another great quality about granite is that it is available in multiple styles and colors.
Homeowners should always keep in mind that a lighter color will keep their countertop cooler to the touch, especially if exposed to the hot summer heat.
If you’re looking for a low maintenance option for your outdoor kitchen countertop, soapstone will not disappoint. It is a soft, however non porous material. No need to seal it; any staining can easily be washed off with soap and water. Minor scratches can be remedied with a quick touch of sandpaper. Mineral oil can be applied to it to enhance its shine; however, just a wash with water will keep soapstone countertop clean and beautiful for years.
It can hold your hot pans without sustaining any damage. Because of its natural dark finish, it will attract the sun’s heat but at a price lower than granite, it makes a very attractive option for any homeowners looking for an easy to maintain, clean looking finish.
Concrete countertops have become more and more popular and are a safe choice for the outdoors. It has a simple, clean look and feel and can be customized by embedding stone or tile. Concrete can be poured to fit any shape or style. It also comes in various colors; however, homeowners need to keep in mind that sun exposure may cause the color to get a yellowish tone or fade, unless the kitchen is always under the shade. Choosing a earth tones can also help in preserving the color. The safest bet is to stick to earth tone colors.
A proper sealant applied at installation will prevent it from cracking. An epoxy or urethane sealant will outlast an acrylic resin one by a few years. They are easy to clean with a mild detergent but should be protected against extreme heat such as hot pans. Using cutting boards is best to minimize potential damage from scratches and cuts.
What is quartzite exactly? As homeowners do their research on coverings for their new outdoor kitchens, they may be mistaken in thinking that quartz and quartzite as somewhat similar. Unlike one may think, the two materials are quite different. Quartzite comes from a natural stone which starts as a sandstone and becomes more dense overtime under heat and pressure and it fuses with quartz crystals. It is less dense than quartz and as most countertop finishes, will require some occasional protection, as most stones.
The beauty about quartzite is that it is more durable than granite. They will hold your hottest pots and pans without damaging and their veining, similar to marble will give any outdoor kitchen a luxurious feel.
Since quartz is non porous and resists to practically everything thrown at it, does it make it a good choice for an outdoor kitchen?
Quartz is made with manufactured materials and a fantastic choice indoors as it resists scratches, heat and anything under the sun. However, quartz sealed with resin which turns yellow overtime in outdoor settings. For that reason, it is not recommended for outdoor use.
Dekton and Neolith
A newer popular countertop option is Dekton, or Neolith. They are simply different brands but use the same process.
Quartz, glass and porcelain are fused under extreme heat and form an ultra compact surface. It is extremely durable, comes in various styles and colors and will provide better stain, scratch and heat resistance than many other countertop options on the market.
The slabs produced are quite large and as a result, homeowners will get a mostly seamless finish. Dekton does get hot to the touch when exposed to heat but has excellent heat resistance. In fact, you could set a slab on fire and no damage would result from it.
The downfalls with Dekton is that it is one of the priciest option offered, and although the color goes through the entire thickness of the material, the patterns and textures are printed on the surface. If your countertop chips, it may therefore be more noticeable than another stone. This is something to consider when investing in a countertop at a higher price point. To this day, there are still few Dekton fabricators and installers.
Limestone countertops get their light, natural off white or being tones from tiny fossils and shell fragments (calcite). Their classic beauty is timeless.
At the same time, they offer a neutral beachy feel, clean finish to your outdoor kitchen. They are very durable and though they stay cool to the touch, they are heat resistant and your hot pans will not cause any damage.
Because they are porous, they also need a proper sealant applied to keep their clean finish. They should be cleaned using a pH balanced product made for that purpose. Some popular landmarks have proven the durability of limestone: the Great Sphinx in Egypt and the Lincoln Memorial to name a few.
Not often heard of, but lava stone countertops are a thing. Simply said, they are made of volcanic rocks, covered with an enamel coating. They come in different shades and different finishes to please all tastes; from the brightest, shiniest colors to more neutral, conservative ones. Lava stone countertops are in fact extremely durable, resisting heat and damages from scratches and cuts and general do not disappoint whether indoor or outdoor.
Stainless steal can be a brilliant choice for your outdoor kitchen if you are looking for a more modern, utilitarian look for your kitchen. It will definitely get hot under the sun but requires very little maintenance and works well year round. They are quite popular in restaurant kitchens and can be on the pricey side as there are not many manufacturers out there and require some skills to fabricate.
Corian is a plastic aggregate material and not a natural stone. Corian countertops are a choice to consider and they are used outdoors in limited settings; however, they are not resistant to heat and may scratch easily, making them a poor or risky choice for an outdoor kitchen. It is not ideal to put down hot pans as it may damage Corian. From a price standpoint, the cost of Corian is slightly below stones like granite. This slight difference may not be enough considering the durability of its counterparts like granite.
Marble has been the choice of many all over the world for years. Each slab is a one of a kind piece of art. It is naturally porous and must be properly protected, especially in an outdoor context. Even polished, marble will be altered by various weather conditions like rain and snow and acidic food and drinks will cause etching. If you select a honed finish for your marble countertop and are not worried about natural aging caused by the elements, the pros of that luxurious, uniqueness and elegant look marble offers, then it may be for you.
Butcher block countertop
Butcher block countertops have never gone out of style since the late 1800s. Fortunately, they have come a long way from sycamore log sections.
They are beautiful and rustic and can be customized in various ways to fit the style you’re looking for. The downfalls with butcher block countertops is that they are not low maintenance, especially if exposed to the elements. They need to be oiled and varnished frequently to keep their shine, they may not get as hot under the sun as other covering options, however, you need to use some protection when putting down your hot pans and BBQ utensils to protect from scratches and markings.
From a price standpoint, they are an attractive option nonetheless. Hickory and ipe wood are two great types of wood that are strong and durable, provided they are cared for using a good food grade oil applied frequently to keep them from moisture and rot, as well as a yearly coat of varnish.
Though glass isn’t commonly seen as countertop option, it is available and customizable in many ways. It goes without saying that opaque options or a solid covering would need to go under the glass, to hide the inside of the cabinets.
They give a modern, lighter feel to your outdoor décor. They are equally durable as their stone countertops and very low maintenance. In fact, they are heat, scratch and stain resistant as well as easy to clean, making them a very hygienic choice for food preps.
Cost wise, a glass countertop will cost you more than granite, though if you’re looking for a piece of art as outdoor kitchen covering, it can be worth the extra.
Slate can be a great choice for an outdoor kitchen countertop. It is quite durable and heat resistant. You can polish any minor scratches as you would with a soapstone countertop. However no two pieces are the same and some can be more porous than others. A slab with a lesser density might need to be protected to prevent damages.
If you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call or email – we are always happy to help with your outdoor kitchen questions.
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4 Life Outdoor team