An outdoor kitchen is a great way to expand the square footage of your home and provide additional dining and entertaining space for family and friends. But as you start exploring outdoor kitchen ideas, you’ll find that choosing the elements for your kitchen can be tricky. They’ll have to hold up to the hot sun, rain (and possibly snow), and regular use. Here are our top tips for selecting the perfect natural stone for your outdoor kitchen.
Choosing a countertop for a stone outdoor kitchen is similar to picking out a countertop for an indoor kitchen. But, there are a few extra factors to consider before selecting a natural stone option.
Between storms, regular use, and even wildlife, you’ll want a durable surface for your outdoor kitchen countertops. While most natural stone materials are relatively sturdy, some are more prone to scratching, staining, or denting than others.
Along with durability, style is one of the biggest factors to consider when selecting a natural stone countertop. As you begin to look at outdoor kitchen ideas, you may fall in love with a type of natural stone because of its unique look. But, it’s important to balance durability with style to ensure your countertop looks beautiful for years to come.
An outdoor kitchen is a significant investment, but you likely have a total budget you’d like to stick with. Your outdoor kitchen countertops will take up a significant portion of your budget (just like with your indoor countertops). However, you’ll also want to balance your budget, knowing that you’ll probably only get seasonal use of your kitchen, and that some luxury options may not hold up to the weather and nature throughout the year.
One of the main differences between selecting a countertop for an outdoor kitchen vs. an indoor one is finding a surface that won’t fade in the sun. As you begin to browse outdoor kitchen ideas, you’ll need to check that the elements and surfaces you like can hold up to the sun’s powerful UV rays.
There are dozens of natural stone countertop options on the market, but not all of them are suitable for the outdoors. Here are our four picks for your outdoor kitchen countertops.
Granite is a very popular choice for stone outdoor kitchens because of its durability. It is fade-resistant and can withstand the hot summer sun. It comes in a variety of styles and patterns, and if you already have granite counters inside your house, you may be able to match the surface for your outdoor kitchen countertops as well.
The only downside is that you will need to seal your granite countertops annually to keep them from staining and growing mold and mildew. Many people choose to seal their countertops in late summer or early fall to prevent staining and damage during their kitchen’s “off season.”
Whether your outdoor kitchen ideas include occasional entertaining or daily grilling, granite is a solid choice that will hold up over the years.
Quartzite is another beautiful outdoor countertop option with a luxury look. It can mimic the appearance of marble but is harder and more durable. It is also fade-resistant and can hold up to the sun even in the hottest summer weather.
Quartzite is prone to scratching, so you’ll need to be careful with knives and grill tools and always use a cutting board. It can also stain easily, so cleaning up spills promptly is key to keeping it looking like new. And, quartzite is heat-sensitive at very high temperatures, so you’ll need trivets under any hot dishes.
Overall, quartzite is a great choice that will live up to your stylish outdoor kitchen ideas – but it may be better suited for casual drinks and entertainment than heavy-duty cooking and food prep.
Soapstone is a less common choice for outdoor kitchen countertops, but can provide a simple, durable solution for cooking. It is also non-porous, meaning it doesn’t need any sealing or significant maintenance, a big perk for busy families.
Soapstone is somewhat soft in comparison to granite or quartzite, so you’ll need to take care when cooking to avoid nicks and scratches. Some soapstone countertops can be refinished through sanding to extend their lifetime.
Finally, if your outdoor kitchen ideas include dramatic dark soapstone countertops, you’ll want to consider that their color means they hold a lot of heat. While they are fade-resistant, they may be too hot to work on during the summer in warmer climates.
Porcelain is a practical and stylish option for outdoor kitchen countertops. It is made of non-porous ceramic clay that contains a number of other minerals. Since it’s manufactured under extremely high temperatures, it is a heat-resistant option that will hold up to years of use outdoors.
Porcelain is highly durable and stain-resistant. It can withstand regular use as well as the effects of nature all while mimicking the beautiful look of natural stone. And, it performs well through harsh temperature changes, making it a great option for climates where temperatures drop below freezing in the winter.
The only drawback to consider is that porcelain is typically manufactured in thinner slabs than other natural stone options. This means your edge profile options will likely be limited to a square or mitered edge.