What is The Best Material for Outdoor Kitchen Countertops?

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Surface Kitchen & Bath
July 4, 2024

Designing the perfect outdoor kitchen starts with selecting the right countertop material. Depending on your location, your outdoor kitchen can face mild to extreme year round changes, like our weather in Central Oregon: intense summer sun, high temperatures, and heavy winter snowfall and rain. Choosing a material that can endure all of your expected elements is essential for durability, aesthetics, and ease of maintenance. To better understand what options you should consider, we’ve put together a list of the most practical countertop surfaces that will make your outdoor kitchen both functional and fabulous.

Factoring Outdoor Elements, Maintenance and Style

The material you choose must withstand elements like rain, sun, and snow without degrading. Of course, you may have some sort of roof cover or might fasten a tarp with a bungee-cord for your outdoor kitchen to stay protected in colder seasons, but to prevent wear and tear every patio faces different challenges. Durability is vital, as the countertop should resist scratches, stains, and heat to handle the wear and tear of outdoor use. Maintenance needs are also important; consider how easy it is to clean and maintain, opting for low-maintenance options when possible. Aesthetic appeal plays a role, too, as the countertop should complement the overall design and align with personal style preferences. Finally, balance initial costs with longevity and low maintenance expenses to ensure value over time.

Granite: A Classic Choice

Granite is the timeless stalwart of countertop materials, possessing a variety of beautiful patterns and sustainability. Granite can withstand extreme temperatures, making it excellent for outdoor kitchens. It’s also the ‘classiest’ design that comes to mind for a countertop that resists scratches, heat, and weather changes outside. While it does require periodic sealing, granite remains a low-maintenance option compared to more porous stones. However, granite comes with a higher initial investment and is heavier than other materials, necessitating sturdy cabinetry. Regular sealing helps prevent stains and maintain its polished look. Unlike the sleek modernity of stainless steel, granite provides a warm, classic charm but requires more upkeep compared to quartz.

Quartz: Engineered for Durability

Quartz countertops are capable of balancing beauty and longevity that a homeowner would desire for an outdoor kitchen. Quartz is non-porous, which means it’s practically immune to stains from common outdoor substances like wine, coffee, and oils. It requires no sealing and is easy to clean with just soap and water. Quartz is resilient to scratches and chips, ensuring a pristine surface for years. Some quartz varieties are specially formulated to resist UV fading, making them ideal for outdoor use. Like granite, it’s a countertop available in numerous colors and patterns, while also able to mimic natural stone or offer unique designs. While it may not have the natural allure of granite, quartz offers more color consistency and a polished finish, and it's lower maintenance compared to concrete.

Concrete: Customizable and Sturdy

Concrete countertops are the chameleons of the outdoor kitchen world, offering unparalleled customization. This material stands up to weather with aplomb. Concrete can be pigmented, textured, and shaped to fit any design, from modern to rustic. Sealing is essential to reduce stains and maintain its appearance, and while resealing is periodically necessary, the unique aesthetic and sturdiness of concrete often outweigh these upkeep needs. Compared to stainless steel, concrete provides a warmer, more personalized look and offers a seamless surface without the grout lines found in tile. If you want a sleek countertop as unique as your culinary creations, concrete is the way to go.

Stainless Steel: Outdoor Elegance and Resilience

In some ways, what stainless steel does for outdoor kitchens is like what marble does for indoor kitchens; it is the epitome of modern elegance and resilience. This material is a superstar in terms of durability, resisting corrosion, staining, and heat. Stainless steel can handle weather fluctuations with ease. Its non-porous surface prevents bacterial buildup, making it incredibly hygienic and easy to clean with soap and water. While it does scratch, the patina developed over time can add character.. Stainless steel may have a higher price point, but its sleek, contemporary look and low maintenance make it a top contender. It’s more modern and easier to clean than granite but lacks the customization options of concrete.

Tiles: Versatility in Design

Tiles bring a touch of art and versatility to outdoor kitchen countertops. They come in an endless array of colors, textures, and patterns, allowing for complete customization to match any aesthetic. Tiles are heat and stain-resistant, making them perfect for outdoor cooking. If damage occurs, individual tiles can be replaced, unlike solid countertops. Generally, tiles are more affordable than natural stone or concrete. Tiles can be ceramic, porcelain, or stone, each offering unique benefits. Compared to stainless steel, tiles offer more design flexibility but require more maintenance with grout lines. Unlike concrete, tiles are easily repaired by replacing individual pieces, catering to personal tastes while providing a practical solution for outdoor countertops.

Dekton: UV Resistant and Built to Last

Photo by Consentino

The new kids on the block are Dekton Countertops, bringing high-tech durability to outdoor kitchens. This material is crafted from raw materials and boasts remarkable resistance to UV rays, scratches, stains, and thermal shock. Dekton’s non-porous nature prevents moisture absorption, making it ideal for various weather conditions. Available in a range of finishes and colors, Dekton offers aesthetic flexibility to match any design vision. While professional installation is recommended due to its complexity, Dekton’s longevity and low maintenance make it a worthwhile investment. Compared to granite, Dekton offers higher resistance to UV rays and scratches. Unlike tiles, Dekton provides a seamless look without grout lines.

Soapstone: Rustic and Charming

For something that just plain makes sense, Soapstone ticks nearly every box for an amazing outdoor kitchen countertop. Its natural beauty and durability make it an excellent choice for those seeking a blend of charm and resilience. Soapstone can handle high temperatures without cracking and requires minimal upkeep, primarily needing just a bit of oiling to maintain its darkened color. This chemically inert stone is unaffected by acids or chemicals, preventing stains. Its dense, less porous nature also reduces the risk of water absorption, allowing it to maintain its structural integrity. The natural, matte finish of soapstone adds a rustic charm that fits seamlessly into outdoor environments. Compared to granite, soapstone offers a more rustic look and lower maintenance, while also keeping a more natural look for an outside kitchen than stainless steel does.

Making the Right Choice

Choosing the perfect material for your outdoor kitchen countertops requires a careful balance of durability, weather resistance, maintenance needs, aesthetics, and cost. Granite, stainless steel, soapstone and concrete offer high durability. Quartzite and granite excel in weather resistance. For low maintenance, stainless steel and concrete are top choices. Granite and quartzite provide a premium, sophisticated look, while soapstone adds rustic charm. 

Ready to transform your outdoor kitchen with the perfect countertops? Come by our showroom to take a look at our Natural Stone, Tile, or Dekton offerings in person before getting started on your project. Our team of experts are here to help you choose from the best options available in Central Oregon to create your dream outdoor kitchen. Reach out to us today and let’s make your vision a reality!