Outdoor Kitchen Countertops (Popular Designs)

An outdoor kitchen is a great addition to any home. Preparing a meal together is a great way to socialize and entertain, and an outdoor kitchen allows you to do so while enjoying the fresh air. An essential part of any kitchen is the countertops. Countertops are in work areas and necessary for food preparation. When building an outdoor kitchen, choosing the proper countertop material is important for ease of use, durability, and attractiveness.

Covered outdoor kitchen with concrete countertop bar and white cabinets


Best Countertop for Outdoor Kitchen

Since a kitchen countertop is a workspace, you need to choose a durable material that is easy to clean. You also want a material that is resistant to heat – as chances are good, you will end up placing a hot pan or pot on the surface as you cook.

When it comes to the best countertop for outdoor kitchen, another factor to consider would be how well the material will hold up against the weather. The countertops of an outdoor kitchen will be exposed to the elements, and you don’t want something that will easily fade in the sun or warp due to moisture.

The types of outdoor countertops that offer the best durability are granite, tile, and concrete.

Granite Countertops

Outdoor kitchen with beige granite countertop

Granite is a good material to use for an outdoor kitchen countertop because it is durable. It can stand up to the elements and will not fade or discolor when exposed to sun or rain. As long as you seal it to prevent weathering, a granite countertop is a good option for an outdoor kitchen.

Granite is tough to damage; it won’t scratch or chip, and it is easy to clean. You can also get it in a variety of colors and even textures. The only real problem with granite is that installing it can be expensive, so if you are on a tight budget, you might want to consider one of the other options below.

Tile Countertop

Covered outdoor kitchen with tile countertop

Tile can be a colorful and creative choice for an outdoor kitchen countertop. You can even lay them out in an attractive pattern for a truly unique kitchen design.

The disadvantage to an outdoor kitchen tile countertop is that tiles are not as durable as, say, a harder material like granite. Tile can crack and chip, which may detract from your countertop’s beauty. There is also the problem of discoloration of the grout, when tiles are installed outdoors, these can get dirtier than in indoor installations.

Luckily, replacing a tile or two is actually a relatively easy DIY project. However, it can sometimes be difficult to find matching tiles to replace. In this case, buying and storing extra tiles for this scenario might be a good idea.

Concrete Countertop

Covered outdoor kitchen with concrete countertops

The advantage to having an outdoor kitchen concrete countertop is that concrete is a durable material capable of standing up to the elements. The disadvantage is that the color can fade when exposed to the sun and end up looking dull.

To avoid discoloration and staining spills must be cleaned up as soon as possible and the surface should be sealed periodically to maintain its quality. Read more about outdoor kitchen concrete countertops here.

Wood Countertop

Outdoor kitchen with wood countertop covered patio

Wood is a beautiful material for a countertop; however, outdoor wood countertops require a lot of maintenance.

If you decide that the warm colors and unique patterns of wood countertops are worth the effort of maintenance, here’s what you need to remember:

  • Apply food-grade oil regularly to the surface. This will protect the wood from moisture and also allow for safe preparation of food.
  • Varnish the surface. Varnish is a good water repellent and also provides protection from UV. You’ll need to sand and apply a coat annually.
  • Place a roof or awning over your wood countertop. You might also want to consider a cover for when it’s not in use.

Quartz Countertops

Enclosed patio outdoor kitchen with quartz countertops

Quartz is a natural stone combined with polyester resins that can be used outdoors as long as it is sheltered under a canopy. Constant exposure to direct sunlight can cause a chemical reaction of the resins in the quartz that can fade the colors and even potentially cause hairline cracking on the surface.

On the plus side any spills on a quartz countertops can be cleaned up easily and when installed in the proper environment there is no special care needed. Since quartz is non-porous it does not need to be sealed like many other types of countertops.

Soapstone Countertops

Backyard outdoor kitchen with soapstone countertops

A soapstone outdoor countertop is a good choice for an outdoor kitchen. It is resistant to heat so it can stand up to the elements and cooking preparation activities. You can place a hot pan or pot on top of a soapstone outdoor countertop without damaging or marring the surface.

Soapstone scratches rather easily, however, scratches are easy to deal with. You can sand scratches out of soapstone without too much effort.

One other disadvantage is staining. Water, oil, and even fingerprints can mar the surface of unsealed soapstone. While these can be washed off, some people consider soapstone countertops high maintenance because of this.

Stainless Steel Countertops

Outdoor kitchen with stainless steel countertops and stacked stone sides

Stainless steel isn’t often used for outdoor surfaces. This is because, one, it can get very hot when exposed to the sun. Also, it’s very reflective, so the effect of the glare from the sun is a reason why this isn’t considered a good option for an outdoor countertop.

Stainless steel is a good material if you are looking to create a sleek and minimalist look for a room. It’s a common feature in modern design. It is very easy to clean and maintain, which can be a plus for a kitchen, but it’s also considered noisy. It’s very hard to place a bowl or dish on a stainless steel countertop without making a clanging noise.

If you want stainless steel countertops in your outdoor kitchen, make sure you place them where they are not directly exposed to the sun. You can also place a roof, awning, or some other sort of shade over your stainless steel countertop. The noise factor of a stainless steel countertop is not that big a deal in an outdoor kitchen as, since the area is open air the sound dissipates quickly.

Outdoor Countertop Ideas

Outdoor kitchen with quartz countertops and slate countertopsOutdoor kitchen with white quartz and slate countertops.

Have some sort of roof or covering over your outdoor kitchen countertop. Not only will this protect the countertop material, but it will also make it a better workspace. You might be spending a good deal of time standing on your countertop, so you want to shield yourself from the sun to maximize your comfort.

Outdoor kitchen with black granite countertops and herringbone brick floor

A beautiful black granite slab counter looks stunning against the distressed stone surface with a backdrop of whitewashed brick.

Covered patio with outdoor kitchen granite countertops and stacked stone designCovered patio with granite counters and stacked stone design.

Covered outdoor kitchen with white granite countertopsCovered patio with U-shaped outdoor kitchen design with white granite counters.

Outdoor kitchen with granite countertopsCovered pool patio with granite counters and stacked stone support beams.

U shaped outdoor kitchen with concrete countertopU-shaped design with concrete counters.

Outdoor kitchen with black laminate countertops, slate sides and brick backsplashBlack laminate countertops with slate side walls and brick backsplash.

Outdoor kitchen with flagstone countertopUsing large flagstone countertops and stone side cladding creates a cohesive design.

Outdoor kitchen with slate tile counters facing dipping poolSlate tile counters.

Outdoor kitchen with travertine tile countertopTravertine tile countertops.

Patio with pergola and outdoor kitchen with concrete counter and mosaic tile sidesPergola covered outdoor kitchen with concrete surface and mosaic tile.

Outdoor kitchen with black and white quartz countertopsBlack and white quartz countertops.

A good design idea is to incorporate in your countertop area a pergola. It will provide shade to keep the surface of your countertop cool, but will still allow natural light and air in.

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