Here we share information about outdoor kitchen concrete countertops including maintenance and design ideas.
Creating an outdoor kitchen is a great way to enhance your backyard space. It gives you a place to create amazing dishes, entertain, and enjoy meals with family and friends.
When you’re renovating or adding an outdoor kitchen to your patio or yard, there are certain considerations that you need to keep in mind, such as the type of countertop you’re going to use.
Concrete kitchen countertops come with a wide range of benefits. For one, they come in a variety of colors and finishes, allowing you to create almost any appearance you could dream of for your outdoor kitchen. In addition, concrete counters are durable, fairly easy to repair, and versatile in appearance.
One of the best materials you can use for outdoor countertops is concrete. Concrete is durable, relatively inexpensive compared to other types of kitchen countertops, heat resistant and long lasting. Some other popular choices are granite, quartz, soapstone and tile.
Concrete countertops can crack and can stain and show discoloration. The upside to this is that concrete cracks can be fixed and practically every other type of countertop is susceptible to staining and discoloration making concrete no different. The remedy is to be proactive and clean up messes especially, wine, oil, juice or coffee as soon as they happen.
Concrete countertops will need some regular maintenance such as periodic sealing to ensure it maintains its color and is protected from moisture permeating its porous surface.
A popular question often asked is “are concrete countertops better than granite?” The answer to this basically breaks down to what type of surface appeals to you and your budget. Both concrete and granite are durable with concrete costing a little less to install.
However, sealed granite is much more heat resistant than sealed concrete counters. Both types have surfaces that are easy to clean and maintain provided that sealing is performed.
Outdoor Concrete Countertop Mix
Creating outdoor kitchen countertops is relatively simple. The first step in the process is to obtain a mix from which the concrete will be made. There are two ways to go about creating a concrete mix: get it pre-made or do it yourself.
The first way to obtain a mix for your countertop is to purchase a pre-made mix from your local hardware store. There are a number of pre-made mixes on the market, each providing different benefits.
A mix that is high strength is perfect for homeowners looking to use heavy appliances on their outdoor countertops. Similarly, crack-resistant mixes are helpful for extending the lifetime of your countertop, especially in an outdoor setting.
If you can’t find a mix at the hardware store that suits your interests, you can always choose to make your own concrete mix. The concrete mix is comprised of three basic ingredients cement, sand, and gravel.
A general rule of thumb puts the ratio at one part cement, two parts sand, and three parts gravel. It’s important to stick to this ratio to ensure that the concrete has the proper texture for your countertop. One benefit of making the mix yourself is that you can choose the materials and create a custom design.
Once you’ve picked or created a concrete mix, you’ll need to add water. Water should be added only until the mixture is workable.
Adding too much water to the mix will result in weak concrete, which is unsuitable for an outdoor countertop. Too little water in the mix, however, will make the concrete unworkable and difficult to shape into a countertop.
You can choose to either pour the concrete in place or pour it separately and move the countertop once it’s set. The benefit of pouring the concrete in place is that you won’t have to move the heavy slab once it’s set. Conversely, pouring the mix elsewhere gives you more space to work.
Concrete Sealer for Outdoor Countertops
Once your concrete countertop is set, you might be tempted to go straight to using it for backyard barbecues or crab boils. Because your countertop is made of concrete, it will be naturally porous and susceptible to damage.
Damage can occur from stains, cracks, and water absorption. Moisture is potentially the most dangerous for outdoor concrete countertops, as they are constantly subjected to the elements.
The best way to keep your concrete countertop in good shape is to utilize a concrete sealer. Not only will a sealer protect the surface of your countertop, but it will also enhance the color and sheen. There are a variety of sealers on the market, but not all are the right choice for an outdoor countertop.
You’ll want to choose a sealer that is food-safe. This will ensure that no-one gets sick from any of the chemicals if food products were placed directly on the countertop. Additionally, you should also choose a sealer that is heat and scratch-resistant.
It’s best to find a product that will not be affected by lemon juice or wine, as these acidic items can negatively affect some sealers. The Concrete Countertop Institute shares a breakdown of their picks for the best sealing product.
Once you’ve found a sealer that suits your needs, you can go ahead and apply it to the countertop. While each product will have the manufacturer’s instructions to explain the process of applying the sealer, but there are some tips that can be helpful for the process.
You’ll want to ensure that the surface of the countertop is clean and dust-free before the sealer is applied. It’s also good to remember that less is more when it comes to using a sealer.
It should be applied one thin layer at a time, to ensure that it evenly coats the surface. Finally, ensure the surface is fully dry before the countertop is used for cooking. You don’t want to go to all the hard work of sealing the countertop for it to be ruined while it’s still wet.
How to Build a Concrete Countertop for Outdoor Kitchen
For more details here is a video on the entire building process for outdoor kitchen countertops including creating a mold and pouring the concrete mix. The total cost of this countertop project should be less than $300.
Outdoor Concrete Countertop Cost
For a professional to create concrete countertops including materials, labor and installation you can expect to pay on average about $65 to $135 per square foot. The cost will depend largely on where you live regarding local construction prices and the type of customization if any you desire.
As a DIY project you can often complete a concrete countertop on your own for less than $300 in materials.