When you imagine your dream outdoor kitchen, what do you think about? You’re probably not thinking about the countertops, are you? Well, maybe you should be. Outdoor kitchen countertops are a bigger decision than you might think. Selecting the wrong countertops could result in warped surfaces, burnt hands and more. Let’s take a look at the world of outdoor countertops so you can make an informed decision when designing your outdoor kitchen.
As you begin your search, you will notice a variety of materials you can build your countertops out of: granite, quartz, ceramic tile, travertine, concrete, etc. Indoors, quartz and granite are the two most-popular options but when you head outdoors, things change a bit.
What should you avoid when searching for outdoor countertops? Avoid quartz in your outdoor kitchen because the UV rays will cause discoloration. Outdoor countertops should never be made of Formica, either – it will warp and deteriorate quickly thanks to the particleboard core.
Outdoors, granite is currently the most popular option for countertops. It isn’t damaged by heat and shouldn’t discolor, plus sealants prevent mold and mildew. Another reason for granite’s popularity in outdoor kitchens? Many homes being built today are constructed with an outdoor kitchen so the granite countertops are already there.
If you want something a little different, consider concrete countertops. In recent years, concrete has become a very popular material for countertops. “Concrete is a man-made product with unlimited possibilities, shapes and color combinations. You can get a close color-match to your surrounding décor,” according to Jody Gott from Gott’s Landscaping and Supplies in New Iberia, Louisiana. If you decide on concrete countertops, make sure to find an experienced installer because improper installation will cause the countertops to crack. Many times, they are reinforced with tensile steel for this exact reason.
However, concrete countertops can be extremely strong and durable. According to Gott, “We use a special concrete mix that doesn’t have to have the structural steel in it as well. Its loaded with fibers and ad mixtures which give the concrete more strength than a house slab and more flexural strength than any natural stone out there.” The different style options and benefits of concrete countertops make them one of the most-versatile options on the market.
When looking at your different options, one thing to consider above all is the location of your outdoor kitchen. Will your countertops be exposed to the sun and other extreme elements throughout the day? Or does your outdoor kitchen have a cover?
“If your bar is in mostly sun without a covering, it may require more frequent cleaning, sealing and/or waxing to keep the top looking its best,” according to Gott.
Don’t forget the color. While you might think it’s just for looks, the color of your countertops is important in outdoor kitchens. Dark countertops absorb heat so select a lighter color if your countertops are in direct sunlight so you don’t burn your hands.
Where you live can also play a factor in your decision – certain materials can’t stand the extreme heat or cold. Tile countertops, for example, hold up well in warmer climates. In cold climates though, the grout will crack from freezing and thawing so it’s not recommended.
Now it’s time to start searching for the perfect countertop for your outdoor kitchen. Use these tips to determine the perfect countertop for your outdoor kitchen so you can enjoy it for years to come. Where will your search begin?