Trying to decide on the best outdoor kitchen countertop material can be a daunting task given the several types available in today’s marketplace. When you’re looking for an outdoor countertop, it’s important to purchase one that’s not only safe for food preparation but also easy to maintain. Getting the biggest bang for your buck is another key factor because you don’t want to be replacing your outdoor countertop every other year.
Below are some of the top contenders for the best outdoor kitchen countertop materials:
Granite is hard to beat for its all-around low-maintenance, color choices, ease-of-use, and unrivaled durability for outdoor countertop material. It can handle harsh weather conditions as well as your favorite barbecue recipes, drinks, food, and anything else you want to place on top of it. Granite will not discolor, etch, or lose its shine; however, sealing your granite on a regular basis is the best way to ensure longer service life.
There are some varieties of granite that are quite dense and do not require a sealer. If your outdoor granite countertop gets a stain, there’s a good chance that the rain and sun will remove the stain over time. There are also some solutions available to help remove stains on granite from liquids and foods. Additionally, granite offers several pattern and color options that easily matches your outdoor furniture and decor.
Quartzite is a non-foliated metamorphic rock, which is very hard, and it provides a superior countertop material for outdoor kitchens. To be clear, we’re talking about the natural stone quartzite and not the engineered stone quartz. Quartzite contains a lot of the same qualities as granite, and it’s just as durable and hard.
Quartzite comes in light-colored or white slabs because it starts its life as sand, and sand typically has light tones and colors. Sometimes minerals that are carried by the groundwater can give the quartzite some hues of blue, iron-red or green. Regardless of color, there’s only one thing that quartzite is made from and that’s quartz. A quartzite outdoor countertop is a good investment that requires minimal care and maintenance.
Concrete is a good material for outdoor kitchen countertops, especially if you’re on a budget. Concrete does chip and scratch easier than natural or engineered stone, but overall it provides plenty of staying power. One of the downfalls with concrete is that it can yellow and fade over the course of time, but you can cheat by adding a light color pigment to the concrete to get earth tones like beige or off white.
The benefit concrete has over natural and engineered stone is that you can make the countertop a unique masterpiece by adding seashells or broken pieces of colored glass to the surface as it cures. You can also build the forms to make the concrete as thick as you want and get creative with edges and designs. Polished and sealed concrete outdoor countertops are functional and beautiful, and the design possibilities are endless.
Soapstone is also a metamorphic rock that makes an ideal material for outdoor kitchen countertops because is highly resistant to heat and staining. Special care should be considered when working on a soapstone surface, due to the fact that it scratches rather easily. If a deep scratch occurs, you can remove it by sanding it out without too much trouble and reseal it.
If you’re considering a soapstone countertop for outdoor use, it’s important to keep the surface sealed to prevent liquids, oils, foods or fingerprints from creating dark spots on the surface. Depending on how much you use your countertop, you should seal it at least two to four times a year. Additionally, you can also use mineral oil to give it a dark shine and protect the surface.
There are a lot of people who never knew that porcelain contains all of the key characteristics for outdoor kitchen countertop use. Porcelain can endure hot or cold weather conditions and it will not fade in the sun. Porcelain provides a low-maintenance working surface that doesn’t stain or etch, and you don’t need to seal porcelain. Soap and water are about all you need to clean porcelain and keep it in good shape.
Porcelain is resistant to scratching, and most kitchen knives will not scratch porcelain; however, when using ceramic knives, you should use a cutting board. Deep scratches and chips are rare and can be repaired, but the repairs are noticeable. Additionally, porcelain is a very affordable material, and if properly cared for, it can last several years or even decades.
Marble makes an excellent countertop for outdoor use; however if you want marble? You should be looking at honed finished marble countertops for maximum aesthetics and service life. A honed finish will endure harsh elements such as snow, rain, wind, ice, and sun without wearing away the polished finish. Marble is another material that needs to be sealed on a regular basis, but it’s not a hard job to keep it sealed.
Certain acidic foods and liquids like mustard, ketchup, fruit drinks, and others can cause dull spots and etching on marble. Pooled liquids can also wreak havoc on marble countertops, so unless you keep the surface protected by sealing it, marble probably isn’t the best choice for outdoor use. On the other hand, if your outdoor kitchen is protected by some type of roofed structure and you don’t mind keeping it sealed, marble can make a striking statement in your backyard.
Other Countertop Materials for Outdoor Use
Some other countertop materials that are worth considering include wood, slate, and glass. When it comes to selecting the best countertop for your outdoor kitchen, you should be asking yourself three questions:
1. How much sealing and maintenance is required?
2. How long will it last?
3. Is it safe for food preparation while still offering protection from the elements?
Outdoor structures like pergolas, gazebos or pavilions with a roof will extend the service life of your countertop and make sealing less frequent. Having an outdoor kitchen is an extension of your home, and a solid and durable countertop can make your outdoor living space that much more enjoyable.
For more information on outdoor kitchen countertops and installations in your local area? Please take a few minutes to fill out the contact form and see how a variety of beautiful countertops can improve the functionality and looks of your outdoor kitchen.