Things to Consider When Choosing an Outdoor Kitchen Countertop

Not as easy a decision as you’d think. With new products coming out all the time, the choice of outdoor countertops is becoming more complex.

Our outdoor project is slowly coming along. I expect progress to speed up now as most of the bad weather has passed. Spring is right around the corner and we are looking to start phase 2 as soon as possible. How many phases will there be…you ask? Great question…I’m thinking three. The pool should be completed in phase 1 and most of the pool house as well. Phase two will consist of the pergolas and outdoor kitchen and phase three will be finishing the bathroom and storage area.

As we plan for stage two, we are in the process of trying to decide what outdoor kitchen layout and countertop we want to use in our pool house. Things to Consider when Designing an Outdoor Kitchen is a helpful guide for determining layout and taking all aspects of the space into consideration. Or you can watch the video HERE.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of surface choices for outdoors.

Concrete Countertop

In the first single family home my husband and I owned in the early 2000s, I designed a galley style cooking area in our backyard. We built a patio with double islands, a screened in porch and a deck off the kitchen. For the countertops, I chose concrete. I’ve learned a lot since then and will not repeat the same mistakes.

Choosing a slab of concrete for a countertop sounded like a good idea at the time. But after using it the first week and spilling oil on the slab…that taught me a tough lesson I will not repeat. I should have done more research into the pros and cons of concrete countertops as well as finishes. We did not seal the stone and it was a disaster since concrete is so pourous. I do believe concrete for countertop purposes has come a long way over the years and the styles and finishes are more abundant these days and easier to care for.

I do like the look of stone, concrete, pavers, and stainless steel but would most likely not choose this design again.

Marble Countertops for the Outdoors

Is it ok to use marble countertops outdoors? Some say yes, others say no. I guess it depends on what you are willing to put up with. If you want a maintenance free countertop and don’t want to worry about damaging it…there are better options out there besides marble. It will require quite a bit of maintenance and care…and that is something to be thought about carefully before choosing a natural stone.

I went to Home Depot recently to check out a few options. I looked at the beautiful marble and found myself being talked into choosing it for a countertop. The only person convincing me was myself so it was a one way conversation..but I sure was convincing 😉

While most people choose to use marble inside a home, it can be a great option for the outdoors too. Before choosing marble for an outdoor kitchen, here are a few things to consider. It is possible for rain and wind to wear away a polished finish. To keep the surface looking beautiful it must be sealed regularly. If you want less maintenance, a honed finish may be a better option. It’s also important to know that acidic food and drinks will leave etching and stains. Marble is a very durable and beautiful stone, so it will certainly hold up outside even with very little maintenance if you decide to let it age naturally but keeping it looking brand new will require a fair amount of work.

Price of Marble Countertops

The price of marble compared to other counter surfaces is actually not too bad. As the chart shows, the cost per sq. ft depends on the level you choose. Look at the difference between group A and group F, which is more than double the price. Group A is actually quite affordable!

Granite Countertops for an Outdoor Kitchen

Granite is probably one of the best countertops to use outdoors. It’s incredibly durable and can hold up to the heat and sun easily. It’s also resistant to stains, mold, and mildew. Granite is easy to care for, and a little sealant will go a long way in keeping the surface looking new.

For me, personally, I’m soo over granite and it’s unlikely we will choose it for outdoors. I’m so particular about colors and dislike the majority of granite out there. But never say never…I like to keep my options open 😉

Quartzite Countertops for an Outdoor Surface

However, quartzite is definitely in the running. Quartzite should not be confused with quartz, which is a man made material. Quartz should never be used in an outdoor setting because the resin used in the creation process will turn yellow when exposed to sunlight and weather. Quartzite, on the other hand, shares many of the same qualities as granite and looks nearly identical to marble, but is much easier to care for. So that makes it a great contender.

Some very pretty options to choose from for sure. Other things to know about Quartzite; the color will not fade in the sunlight, but unlike granite, it can’t withstand high temperatures and is prone to scratches. While you won’t need to worry about the hot summer sun damaging your quartzite surfaces, you’ll need trivets or pot holders when dealing with a hot pan. Quartzite should be sealed once a year to keep it looking brand new.

Dekton for an Outdoor Kitchen

Another very interesting surface my friends are using in their backyard project is Dekton. I was unfamiliar with this type of countertop until recently. This surface is a fantastic option for the outdoors. With many color options from which to choose, it may actually be the best option out there in terms of durability and ease of care.

Advantages on Using Dekton Outdoors

  • Resistant to stains
  • Highly scratch resistant
  • Maximum resistance to fire and heat
  • Color stability and consistency
  • Highly UV Resistant
  • Resistance to freezing and thawing
  • Virtually zero water absorption
  • Fireproof material
  • Resistant to abrasion

Disadvantages of Using Dekton Outdoors

WOW, the list of advantages is long. What’s the catch? For one…the price!

Starting at $88 a sq foot, this is maybe the most expensive countertop option for the outdoors. While the product is available at Home Depot, which is convenient, do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?

Let’s look at a couple other disadvantages. The thickness of the product ranges from 8mm – 30mm. So the thickest countertop you can get is 1.18 inches. In addition, the choices of edge profiles are also limited to two, eased and sharknose. With granite and marble, there are six edge options available.

Tough decision, a virtually indestructible product but very pricey.

What Countertop are We Using in our Outdoor Kitchen?

To be honest, I really don’t know yet. I’m still researching and comparing products. Some of our counters will be covered under the pool house and others will be exposed to the elements under a pergola. The counters inside won’t be used as often so we could get away with a softer stone. But the ones outside, in the kitchen area will get used more, do I want to deal with sunlight fading, staining, and scratching worries? A lot to consider and cost, of course, weighs heavily into the decision – as we are looking at about six or seven countertops in the pool house space.

Waterfall Edge for Outdoors

One thing is for sure, I do love the waterfall edge on the island. But the price could dissuade I haven’t priced it out just yet.

via Pinterest

What type of countertop do you like? Which ones have you had outdoors and do you recommend it? Drop me a line, would love to hear from you.



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2 thoughts on “Things to Consider When Choosing an Outdoor Kitchen Countertop

  1. Decisions, decisions! I love the look of marble, but you’re right about its durability. We used Richlite on our kitchen counters, and I love it. The literature says it can be used outside too. Happy Researching – I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

    1. Hi Barbara, have never heard of Richlite – will have to check it out. Thank you! Soo many decisions….

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