About Outdoor Countertops

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An outdoor countertop is one of the most visible and often-used features of an outdoor kitchen. It therefore worth investing time and money in building and maintaining outdoor countertops that not only look great, but also last for years.

Durability

  • Choosing the material that your outdoor countertop is built from is perhaps the most important aspect of the process. This must be material that can withstand the elements particular to your local climate all year round. Ideally, they should also offer easy upkeep.

Materials

  • Granite is widely considered to be nature's most durable surface, and it's just as well-suited for outdoor use as it is indoors. Other less expensive but durable materials are also available, such as concrete, which, do well in the worst of weather. What's more, you can tint the concrete or incorporate other materials into the concrete for a custom look.

    Other good options include slate and ceramic tile. If you prefer something less expensive, a laminated plastic countertop is a cost-effective albeit less durable alternative.

Construction

  • If your outdoor countertop is to be made of concrete or thick slabs of stone, it will likely not need support other than the counter's walls. However, most other countertop materials will need to rest on a solid sub-surface that is wider and longer than the top. The best quality sub-strate options are a steel-reinforced concrete slab, or two layers of concrete 'backer board' that you will glue together with thin set mortar.

Location

  • The location of your outdoor countertops is a key consideration. Countertops that are used for food preparation should be located close to the barbeque grill and sink. If a countertop serves as a sitting area, it should be located upwind of the grill, to avoid smoke blowing into your guest's faces.

Design

  • When designing your outdoor countertops, keep in mind the intended functions. A countertop that incorporates a barbeque grill, for example, should be constructed to meet local building and fire codes, and should be located away from overhanging branches or nearby plants, which could become a fire hazard. Storage and table space are other practical features to include.

Warning

  • Quartz countertops are NOT recommended for outdoor use. In fact, most manufacturer warranties do not cover their outdoor installation. This is because quartz countertops are produced with a resin topcoat that tends to discolor with exposure to the elements.

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  • Photo Credit Product Shot of ""Outdoor Refreshment Area"" by Viking
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