It takes some planning and research to decide what type of outdoor countertop material would be best for an outdoor kitchen or grill area. Whatever material you choose should be incredibly durable and easy to clean.
Granite is one of the best choices for an outdoor area due to its strong durability and low maintenance. Weather isn’t a match for granite, as it handles well in all types of climates. Often with outdoor countertops in your kitchen or grill areas, you will notice that things get messier than they would indoors. Granite can handle all kinds of food, drink and weather. Granite won’t lose its shine, etch or discolor due to spills. Just be sure to seal the granite to prevent stains.
However, there are lots of granite varieties that are dense enough that you don’t need to apply a sealer. If you don’t use a sealer and you do happen to stain the countertops, it can usually be removed or the natural elements will rid them over time. With regular cleaning, your granite countertops will look fabulous for years!
Soapstone countertops are a good choice for outdoor kitchens due to how resistant it is to heat and stains. It performs well but can be scratched pretty easily, but they are rather easy to repair as well. One consideration with soapstone is that if the stone is not sealed, it will darken over time due to fingerprints, oils, and liquids. The darkened areas wash off eventually, but they can ruin the overall aesthetic of the countertop. Oil can be applied to give the soapstone a dark shine, but this has to be done regularly. Besides the few cosmetic issues, soapstone is fairly low maintenance and durable.
Slate is an option, but it’s important to consider that no two slates are the same, which means they will not perform the same. The characteristics can actually vary greatly. Some slate can be dense, very durable and able to resist heavy use and stains. On the other hand, some slate can easily scratch, stain, cleave and crack. Unless you are guaranteed top quality in the slate you plan to purchase, other options are advised to use for outdoor kitchens over slate.
Natural marble is another choice that works best if the finish is honed and you don’t care about it getting stained or etched. A honed finish is suggested because the natural elements will wear away a polished finish. The natural elements will also wash away any stains and wear away any etch marks, which will also naturally age the natural marble creating a rustic appearance. Stains and etches can also be removed when needed. The most that is required for years of use is normal clean up if the aforementioned factors are not a problem for you.
Remember that stone tiles can be used as well, but keep in mind that the grout will stain, get dirty, or even break apart. So, tiles are not the best from a maintenance perspective, but it is a good option if you’re on a budget and if you can provide some extra TLC regularly.
Corian and quartz countertops should be avoided for outdoor use. Corian countertops fade, stain, burn, and scratch easily. Quartz’s resin/color topcoat will turn yellow in the natural elements and sun.
When trying to decide your countertops for your outdoor kitchen or bar area, you have some options to consider. Depending on what type of look you are going for, how much maintenance you are willing to put in and how much use it will be getting, you can go with granite, soapstone, slate or natural marble. Give us a call today and let’s plan your outdoor project!