Which Outdoor Kitchen Counter Tops Is Best In All Weathers
One of the most luxurious additions to any home is an outdoor kitchen. Additionally, if you plan to sell your home someday, an extra kitchen located outdoors can increase your home's value. That increase could help to drive interest and increase the number of offers as soon as it hits the market. That said, installing an outdoor kitchen requires a much different type of countertop than indoor – especially because inclement weather can wreak havoc on the finish. If not planned properly, so much potential could be lost within a few seasons.
Using stone for your kitchen located outdoors ensures your countertops will outlive you. This material is long-lasting because it is impervious to all but the roughest weather. It rarely fades and can endure sun, rain, and ice. That said, the stone you choose impacts to wear and tear as well as maintenance. The primary stones used as outdoor counters include the following:
Ease of use
Stone might seem easy to use, but some considerations must be given in regard to this material. For instance, dark stone will absorb heat. If you live in a hot climate, you should have the countertop shaded, otherwise, it can become a hazard. Additionally, you should only use outdoor dishes on this material as a stone counter can easily crack or break regular plates and glasses.
Caring for granite, marble, and limestone involves sealing. Some stones can absorb odor. Limestone does, for instance. Unsealed stone is susceptible to moisture seeping into the pores. During winter, if this moisture freezes and expands, it can crack your countertop. Finally, the underside of stone counters and the cut edges might not be polished. These rough surfaces can be more porous than the polished sides.
You should make sure to seal the stone annually or bi-annually. Once the stone's natural pores are sealed, all you have to do is clean the surface with warm water and soap, in the same manner, you would a regular kitchen counter.
In terms of planning for the future, stone slabs can have streaks through the surface. Typically, manufacturers or quarries inject filler, such as epoxy, into gaps and streaks. Epoxy can fade in direct sunlight or crack with seasonal fluctuations. To ensure the stone lasts as long as possible, select solid-colored slabs with few veins.
Teak, maple, and oak are among the hardest of the hardwoods. As such, they can resist scratching, cutting, or impact damage. Once these types of wood are sealed with polyurethane, they will resist fading caused by sunlight.
Ease of use
Because hardwoods are much softer than stone, glassware and normal plates will not break if accidentally bumped against the counter. They also do not absorb heat as much, so the surface temperature will typically be pleasant.
To protect your wood countertop, you must seal the wood with an oil-based sealant. Water-based sealants will fade and allow water to absorb into the wood. Additionally, food particles, mold, and mildew can grow on wood if it is not sealed properly. However, once the wood is sealed, it is as easy as stone to clean. All you have to do is wipe with a sponge.
In terms of long-term care, you should re-seal wood every season or every other summer. Doing so will help protect the wood against rain and ultra-violet rays. Additionally, during winter, you should cover the counter with a weatherproof tarp.
Ceramic tile is a perfect outdoor countertop material because it is as hard as stone and will endure the elements for years. Additionally, it is often coated in a sealed finish, making it impervious to liquid and sunshine.
Ease of use
Because tile is as hard as stone, you should take care of glassware and plates. Using a coaster or a place mat will ensure you do not scratch or crack your glasses and plates. Because tiles are pre-finished, you do not need to seal them, but the grout must be sealed and re-sealed annually as it is porous and can absorb liquids or harbor mildew.
The tiles in and of themselves are not difficult to maintain, but the additional grout between these tiles can be difficult to clean if something is spilled.
Cleaning tiles requires a little more effort as the grout can be difficult to clean. However, if you use a wire bristle, you can clean the grout as necessary. After cleaning, you should re-seal the entire surface. If you only re-seal the grout, a discoloration might appear. In this instance, the grout being sealed will have a glossy sheen to it. Once this discoloration appears, it can be difficult to achieve an even surface color.
As with stone, it is important to not let grout go unsealed. If moisture penetrates the grout and freezes during winter, it will crack. When the countertop is not being used, you can cover it with a tarp to prevent cracking.