Your countertop can be a brilliant showpiece for your outdoor kitchen. Countertops allow you to customize, accessorize and personalize–complementing not only the exterior colors and decor of your home, but your own sense of style.
Picking the right outdoor kitchen countertop is a crucial decision. The saying “a chain is only as strong as the weakest link” applies to outdoor countertops. You’ll want something that’s not only beautiful, but functional, durable, and affordable.
This piece discusses the pros and cons of popular countertop materials to help you make the right choice for your outdoor kitchen. And, with our years of experience and expertise in outdoor cabinet construction, we’ll also provide you with our recommendation.
Simply stated, granite has been granite for millions of years… and a granite countertop will continue to stay granite for millions more. With its extensive color palette and exquisite array of grains, the sky’s the limit for a unique look and feel.
Plus, granite is an affordable option to pair with your outdoor cabinets. Shop by asking which granite countertop options cost the least. If you find a color and grain you like, great… you’re done! You can always ask to see more expensive choices later.
Keep in mind, expensive granite is not necessarily “better” granite. The price of granite is determined by how rare it is, or how hard it is to work with. If you visit a granite distributor, you may notice how some slabs have rough and irregular edges. That’s because some granite cracks or breaks easier than others–those varieties of granite typically cost more.
If you choose a rough-edged design, also be aware that rough granite edges and clothing don’t play well together. Before you snag or ruin a favorite shirt, remember you’ll need a barrier between your clothing and those rough edges.
Quartz is an engineered material made from crystals held together with a resin binder. This product looks similar to natural stone, but has a much more uniform look. Quartz countertops are beautiful, durable, non-porous, and come in many colors.
Some companies may state quartz is a superior material because it doesn’t have to be sealed like granite. While true, sealing granite countertops is not very difficult. There are, however, two other disadvantages to quartz countertops:
- Quartz countertops cost more than granite.
- Quartz countertops are NOT warrantied for outdoor use.
Since quartz countertops are engineered to go inside, they don’t have the necessary UV inhibitors for outdoor use. Some of their colorants may fade in the sun.
In many parts of the country, it’s not unusual to see colorful tile. And with its wide array of sizes, and styles, you can truly achieve a one-of-a-kind, custom look for your outdoor kitchen.
Tile can also be a do-it-yourself project. Keep in mind, however, you’ll want to use a waterproof substrate for outdoor use–not plywood.
Tile countertop installations can also be labor-intensive. Many underestimate the time necessary to trim everything for a perfect fit. By the end of the project, you may be wishing you went with a stone countertop instead.
One other consideration for tile is maintenance. While tile itself is easy to clean, the grout may get stained from use and/or exposure.
Concrete countertops are increasing in popularity, and in urban areas, custom-poured concrete countertops can echo a modern, industrial design. Because they’re also durable and relatively low-maintenance, they make a great choice for outdoor kitchens.
A lot of skill is required to build a good concrete countertop–you’ll want to find a good installer. Check references and examples of work first. If you end up unhappy with the end result, you may have a tough time negotiating with them to do it again.
We can’t stress this enough–do not put laminate or formica in an outdoor kitchen.
Regardless of how tough or durable the laminate may seem, once moisture touches the supporting particle board it will swell, and the damage is irreversible. Even if the area is covered, outdoors is still outdoors.
Save the expensive mistake of buying two outdoor kitchen countertops, and avoid formica altogether.
With the exception of formica, each one of these materials has its advantages. But, for its combination of beauty, durability, availability, and affordability, granite receives our highest recommendation. It’s a winner!
Questions? Contact us today and we’ll help you pair the perfect type of countertop with your new outdoor kitchen. It’s part of our FREE design service, compliments of Werever!