What Counter Surfaces to Use For an Outdoor Kitchen
Outdoor kitchens are becoming more and more popular for homeowners. In some cases, homeowners are forgoing the more traditional wooden deck instead of stone patios, complete with built-in kitchens and outdoor ovens. These outdoor kitchens used to be common for the rich and famous, but are now making their way into more modest backyards as well. Most homeowners that opt for these outdoor spaces view the indoor kitchen as just another room in the home, but the outdoor kitchen is one that provides an array of experiences for family and friends.
Today’s outdoor kitchens boast pizza ovens, stoves, built-in grills, sinks with running water, and fireplaces or fire pits for roasting marshmallows. In addition to all of these fun features to help with food preparation, these outdoor spaces are often outfitted with canopies, overhead lighting, refrigeration, bar space, and much more. But as more and more people look to design these kitchens, also important is the countertop surface that much of the food preparation takes place on.
What Surfaces Are Best for Outdoor Kitchen Counters?
When outside, today’s backyard chefs want all of the comfort and convenience that they have in their indoor kitchen. And in many cases, they want their outdoor cooking space to be above and beyond what they have inside. For that reason, the countertop material that is used is especially important to ensure both functionality as well as pleasing aesthetics. Thus, most homeowners select one of the following surface materials for their outdoor kitchen countertop.
Granite is the most popular choice for these unique outdoor spaces. This durable stone can hold its own even in the most extreme of elements, and homeowners can select from a wide range of colors to match the look that they are going for. Granite can withstand heat, and when it is sealed properly, it can also resist mold, mildew, and a plethora of stains.
Soapstone is also a popular choice. As it is a dense material, soapstone doesn’t need to be sealed and it does not fade over time. However, soapstone counters should be treated on occasion with mineral oil to enhance the natural darkening process that the stone will experience.
Tile is trendy for outdoor kitchens in climates that are warmer year-round. Porcelain and granite tiles are less likely to fade than ceramic tile. But grout can easily stain, so a darker grout color is best, especially for use outdoors.
Concrete does an excellent job of withstanding the elements, but these counter surfaces need to be sealed regularly to prevent staining. It is also recommended that concrete be installed by a professional to prevent cracking.
While quartz and Formica are very popular for indoor kitchens, they are not as effective in exterior environments. Quartz can fade with prolonged exposure to the sun, and Formica is not designed to handle moisture and humidity. If the home is in a humid climate, the Formica countertop will likely warp and quickly deteriorate.
When designing an outdoor kitchen, it is essential to take time to research the surfaces that will work best based on the geography of your home. As these outdoor cooking spaces are often created as backyard focal points and are intended to create special experiences, it is crucial that the right materials and countertop surfaces are used during initial construction. This will help homeowners to avoid costly repair and replacement later on.