What Surfaces Make for the Best Outdoor Countertops?
In recent years, the popularity of outdoor dining has kept outdoor kitchens on the rise. When it comes to designing your outdoor space, selecting the right material for your countertops is crucial for both its functionality and aesthetics. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to determine which materials will meet your needs. Whether you're envisioning a natural stone masterpiece or a sleek stainless steel design, we're breaking down the factors to keep in mind when choosing outdoor countertops as well as the tips to properly maintain it for longevity.
Why Outdoor Countertop Material Matters
Selecting the correct outdoor countertop material matters primarily due to the need for durability and resistance to moisture and staining. Naturally, outdoor countertops will endure more wear and tear than indoor countertops. Constant exposure to various weather conditions, such as rain, sunlight, extreme temperatures, and humidity, means that outdoor countertops need to withstand these elements without deteriorating or losing their aesthetic appeal. Choosing a material that is specifically designed for outdoor use ensures that the countertop can endure such conditions and maintain its structural integrity.
Outdoor countertops are also prone to spills and stains from food, beverages and other outdoor activities. The right material should be resistant to moisture penetration and staining, making it easier to clean and maintain over time. By selecting an appropriate outdoor countertop material, you can enhance the longevity and functionality of your outdoor living space.
When selecting a countertop material, it is essential to consider factors like:
- Weather resistance
- Maintenance requirements
Top Choices for Outdoor Countertops
Natural stone options, such as granite, make for popular outdoor countertop choices, as they provide a durable surface along with a timeless and elegant appearance. On the other hand, materials like stainless steel provide hygienic, easy-to-clean surfaces.
Here are some of our top choices for outdoor countertop surfaces.
Granite is a natural choice for outdoor countertops because it is known for its beauty and durability. With a wide range of colors and finishes available, granite can complement any outdoor design aesthetic, whether it's a rustic patio or a modern outdoor kitchen.
Granite can withstand heavy use and isn’t prone to scratches. What's more, it is less likely to discolor in the sunlight over time. Granite is also resistant to elements such as heat, cold, rain, and UV rays. It can withstand extreme temperatures without warping or cracking. These qualities make it ideal for outdoor environments where countertops are exposed to various activities and potential damage.
In general, granite countertops require minimal maintenance. Sealed granite is more resistant to stains, moisture, and bacterial growth than unsealed granite, which is considered a porous surface. Despite the ease of care, it is important to regularly clean your granite to maximize its benefits.
To preserve the beauty and durability of your surface, choose a trusted granite cleaner like Granite Gold® Daily Cleaner, which protects all natural-stone surfaces. For extra shine and luster, be sure to use Granite Gold® Polish as often as desired. Of course, regular sealing can also help maintain granite’s beauty and further enhances its resistance to staining and water damage.
As a natural stone, quartzite holds up well outdoors. Since it contains quartz, which is harder than granite, this material is intended to last for a very long time. Its durability and UV resistance allows it to withstand the rigors of outdoor use, including exposure to heat, cold, and moisture. Quartzite is also naturally resistant to staining, making it easier to maintain and clean.
Quartzite can serve as a practical alternative to marble, which is less suited for the outdoors as it is more prone to scratching and etching. With quartzite’s stunning array of colors and patterns, quartzite offers a beautiful and elegant aesthetic for outdoor spaces, making it an ideal material for those seeking a combination of durability, beauty and low maintenance.
Unlike quartz, quartzite must be resealed with a proper sealer such as Granite Gold® Sealer, which creates a barrier to protect the natural stone against staining, etching, and soil. Performing a water test can determine whether it’s time to seal your surface.
To perform a water test, pour a small amount of water on the quartzite. If the water begins to absorb within thirty minutes, you will need to reseal the stone.
Porcelain can work well for outdoor countertops because it is durable and comes in an endless array of styles. Its inherent strength allows it to withstand high levels of moisture, making it resistant to cracking and warping caused by outdoor elements. Additionally, porcelain can handle extreme temperatures without compromising its integrity, making it suitable for outdoor cooking and entertaining areas.
With an extensive range of styles and designs available, porcelain offers endless options to suit any outdoor aesthetic.
Soapstone makes for a superb outdoor countertop for a variety of reasons. First, it is naturally nonporous, which makes it an ideal choice to withstand rain. Soapstone also contains thermal protection properties, which makes it convenient when moving hot food or plates from a nearby grill, as it is not affected by major temperature changes.
Similar to other non-porous stones, soapstone is straightforward to clean. An all-surface cleaner like Granite Gold® All Surface Cleaner and a microfiber cleaning cloth make for a supreme grime-fighting pair.
Quartz is an extremely durable surface and thus is a top pick for outdoor spaces. As a non-porous material, quartz is stain resistant and won’t allow liquids to easily permeate the surface and generate bacteria. Quartz is also quite easy to maintain, as it does not require sealing due to its lack of porosity. Simply tidy up your surface with a safe and effective cleaner like Granite Gold® Quartz Clean and Shine, and you’re good to go.
Stainless steel is an excellent choice for outdoor countertops. As a highly durable surface, it can withstand the rigors of outdoor use. If properly cared for, it can be resistant to corrosion, rust and staining, making it well-suited for exposure to the elements. Stainless steel is also incredibly easy to clean and maintain, requiring minimal effort to keep it looking pristine. It is hygienic, as it does not harbor bacteria or germs.
Design-wise, stainless steel offers a sleek and modern aesthetic that complements various outdoor styles. It can seamlessly integrate into contemporary or industrial-themed outdoor kitchens. Choosing a high-quality stainless steel cleaner and polish from Guardsman® can ensure it will shine and stay free of grease.
Wood can be used for outdoor countertops, though it's important to keep in mind that not all types of wood are suitable for this purpose. When selecting wood for an outdoor countertop, it's important to consider its ability to withstand exposure to the elements. It's also key to choose a suitable finish that makes the wood water-resistant. Regular reapplication of a finish is essential. Some finishes also offer UV protection to preserve the wood's colors.
Some types of wood that are commonly used for outdoor applications include:
- Teak: Teak is a popular choice for outdoor furniture and countertops because it is one of the most durable hardwoods. Its natural oils make it resistant to moisture, rot and insects.
- Cedar: Cedar is another excellent option for outdoor countertops. It is naturally resistant to decay, termites, and rot. Cedar also has a pleasant aroma and a beautiful reddish-brown color.
- Redwood: Redwood is known for its natural resistance to decay and insects.
- Ipe: Ipe is one of the densest hardwoods in the world. It is highly resistant to rot, insects, and weathering. It has a rich brown color and is often used for outdoor decking and furniture.
- Acacia: Acacia wood is known for its durability and resistance to moisture.
Factors to Keep In Mind When Choosing an Outdoor Countertop
Depending on the region you live in, different factors will make an impact on your countertops and their care. Overall, though, keep in mind a few main considerations when choosing your material:
1. Climate: Assess the climate in your area and choose a material that can withstand specific weather conditions, such as heat, cold, rain, moisture and UV exposure.
2. Style and aesthetics: Keep in mind how different countertop materials will complement your outdoor space in the way of texture, and pattern options that harmonize with existing elements in your outdoor design.
3. Durability and longevity: Evaluate the lifespan of different countertop materials and their ability to resist stains, scratches, and impact.
4. Budget: Weigh the cost of various countertop materials against their quality and durability so you can strike the right balance between your budget and desired outcomes.
Tips for Maintaining Outdoor Countertops
To ensure the longevity and beauty of your outdoor countertops, here are some essential tips for maintenance of all outdoor surfaces:
Regular cleaning with high-quality products: Clean your outdoor countertops regularly using gentle and non-abrasive cleaners specifically formulated for natural stone, such as Granite Gold® family of products. Our cleaners are designed to effectively remove dirt, grime, and stains without causing damage to the surface.
Avoiding harsh chemicals and substances: When cleaning or maintaining your outdoor countertops, avoid using harsh chemicals, acidic cleaners, or abrasive materials that can scratch, etch, or discolor the surface. Opt for mild and pH-neutral cleaners recommended for natural stone to preserve the integrity and appearance of the countertop.
Protection from outdoor elements: Protect your outdoor countertops from the elements by using covers or shelters when not in use. This will shield them from direct sunlight, rain, and extreme temperature fluctuations, helping to prevent fading, warping, and other forms of damage.
Celebrate Your Outdoor Spaces With The Granite Gold® Company
Just like your indoor surfaces, your outdoor countertops deserve proper care. By incorporating the Granite Gold family of products like those from Guardsman® into your maintenance routine, you can ensure your countertops stand the test of time, preserving their beauty and durability in all weather conditions.
Explore the range of The Granite Gold Company’s products to see how you can enjoy long-lasting, stunning surfaces both inside and out.