If you are building or adding on to your home, an outdoor kitchen may be on the top of your list as a fun and useful addition to your outdoor living setup. However, as you look into the building process, you may be wondering if it truly is necessary to have a covering over your outdoor kitchen.
Outdoor kitchens should be covered if you want to extend the lifespan of your appliances and the building materials. Both the kitchen itself and the covering should be made from weather-resistant materials that will stand the test of time and survive the elements.
Installing an outdoor kitchen with a covering should not be a daunting task, and with the right materials, you can rest assured that your outdoor setup will last for a long time. Keep reading to learn more about why you should cover your outdoor kitchen, as well as some guidelines you can follow to make sure your outdoor cooking space is protected against the weather.
Why You Should Cover Your Outdoor Kitchen
One of the most appealing things about outdoor kitchens is that they can truly be made to your unique taste. Homeowners can consult with designers and contractors to create the outdoor space of their dreams with the appliances and design of their choosing, and this creative license extends to the covering you install.
Although the design of your kitchen is ultimately at your discretion, you should strongly consider installing a covering over your outdoor kitchen. Outdoor and open-air kitchens can experience wear and tear, even if you live in a nice climate.
A covering will protect your kitchen from the following conditions:
- Moisture from the elements
Additionally, outdoor coverings are nice because they provide shade and will allow you to use your cooking space even in wet or rainy weather conditions.
Many people appreciate the added creativity that designing an outdoor covering can provide. If well-crafted, an outdoor covering can make your kitchen space look that much better, and can even increase the property value of the outdoor cooking space.
What Should I Use to Cover My Kitchen?
There are many options to provide adequate coverage for your outdoor kitchen, and you may choose a different style based on your personal preference or the climate that you are living in.
The following are some of the most commonly-used design ideas for outdoor kitchen coverings:
- Pergolas: This structure is classy and evocative of different places in the world. But beyond their looks, they will also provide some much-needed coverage for your outdoor cooking space. Pergolas are a good choice for those living in warmer climates as they are often slatted, allowing natural light to come through. Some also choose to grow plants on their pergolas.
- A canopy covering: This is perhaps the most common option for outdoor kitchens. A canopy covering can be made from various materials, including cloth, and can be cut in different styles. They can also be very affordable if you are looking to cut costs. A canopy is a great choice for colder or rainier climates as it can protect your space more fully from the elements.
- Copper roofing: Copper roofs are eye-catching and can stand up against the elements. When you invest in a copper covering for your outdoor kitchen, you will protect your space for years to come, especially if you live in an area where hail and ice are prevalent. Just be sure to take the necessary steps to keep the copper clean and free of tarnishing.
Outdoor roofing will ultimately be at your discretion. Different materials will be suitable for different climates, and pricing can vary greatly. Think about what is most important to you in an outdoor covering and build your kitchen space accordingly.
Who Should Build Your Outdoor Kitchen Covering?
Most of the time, the construction company you are using to build your outdoor kitchen will be able to construct the covering, too. However, if you already have an outdoor kitchen and are looking to add on a covering, it may be worthwhile to speak to a roofing or outdoor landscaping expert.
Most of the time, companies of this type will be able to help you design and install a covering that is custom-made for your needs. If you choose to install a canopy roofing, it may also be possible to seek help from an awning company or someone with an area of expertise in outdoor fabric coverings.
How Do I Protect My Outdoor Kitchen From the Weather?
Your outdoor kitchen is a sturdy space, but the weather takes a toll on all structures. You can make sure that your outdoor kitchen is protected from the weather by keeping the following steps in mind.
Use High-Quality Materials
A kitchen is only as good as the things it is made from, and this holds true for outdoor kitchens as well. When you are designing your outdoor kitchen, you should seek to use materials that are resistant to wind and moisture, as these can be the two most damaging elements.
Some popular materials for outdoor kitchens include:
- Polymer board
- Stainless steel
If you do choose to use wood, make sure that it is coated or pretreated to make it more resistant to moisture. This will reduce the chances that mold or rot could occur.
Talk to an Expert
A designer who specializes in outdoor kitchens may be your best ally in creating a cooking space that will be resistant to the elements. Outdoor designers and construction companies will be extremely knowledgeable in the kind of materials that are best suited to your climate.
If you choose to consult a designer or contractor, make sure you have a clear idea of your budget and what you are hoping to build. Ask companies for quotes and to see examples of their past work to make sure that their price tag and area of expertise align with what you are looking for.
If your outdoor kitchen is more of a DIY project, please be sure that you are still relying on expert advice when choosing materials. Consult websites and blogs, or set up a meeting to speak with somebody who can provide you with some expert guidance that you can use as you start your project.
Only Buy Materials Made for the Outdoors
Although it may be tempting to use some extra indoor appliances you have on hand to save some costs, resist this urge. In an outdoor kitchen, you will need to buy appliances and materials that are either made for the outdoors or have been tested and approved for outdoor use.
Indoor appliances such as stoves or refrigerators will not fare well in an outdoor environment. They will quickly become damaged by the elements, and you will lose the money you saved in having to replace them.
Winterize Your Kitchen
- Turn off the gas line: If you own a gas-powered grill, turning the gas line off will protect this important appliance from damages caused by cold or freezing temperatures.
- Cover and store outdoor furniture: For larger pieces of furniture that cannot be moved, use a sturdy waterproof covering suited for the outdoors. If possible, furniture should be moved to an indoor and climate-controlled area to survive the winter unscathed.
- Clean and empty all appliances: Beyond just being a good excuse for a cleaning, you will also be protecting your appliances from any wear or tear that could be caused by winter conditions. If you have a fridge or freezer, this is the perfect time to empty it completely, too. If you own coverings for your appliances, you should affix these before freezing temperatures begin.
- Drain faucets and sprinklers: Anything that is connected to your water system runs the risk of freezing and damage to pipes. To avoid this, drain your faucets and sprinklers well in advance of the cold weather.
- Remove snow as needed: As snow accumulates, it could cause strain on your covering or other areas. If you notice that snow is accumulating more than a few inches in certain areas, you should shovel off the affected area.
Winterizing your outdoor kitchen in the cold months will allow you to enjoy it to its fullest in the warm months. Additionally, if your designer or appliance manufacturers have any suggestions for winterizing spaces, be sure to follow these as well.
Can I Insure My Outdoor Kitchen?
If you are worried about damage to your outdoor kitchen, you may be wondering if this new addition to your home will be covered by your insurance policy.
For the most part, outdoor kitchens are protected by existing home insurance policies. These policies will help you pay for damages incurred by the following:
- Extreme weather
- Fires or accidents
- Theft or break-ins
However, you will need to make sure that your insurance policy is up-to-date so that any damage to your kitchen will be covered. Insuring your kitchen is a great way to alleviate the stress caused by thinking about weather damage.
Keep in mind that insurance policies do not always cover standard damages incurred through wear and tear. To keep your kitchen looking good and remaining functional, you will need to take the necessary preventative steps to keep it well-cared for—and installing an outdoor covering is a great place to start.
Caring For Your Outdoor Kitchen
It is true that outdoor kitchens are usually made from more robust and versatile materials. Despite this, you will still need to take measures to ensure that your kitchen is up to par.
Even with a covering, your outdoor kitchen will last longer if you take the following steps:
- Clean your kitchen: This is not just about doing dishes and wiping counters. Cleaning your outdoor kitchen, especially the appliances, will reduce the likelihood of rust, mold, or other contaminants. Regularly sanitize appliances and scrub cooking surfaces, such as grills, with the tools recommended by the manufacturer.
- Turn on your appliances regularly: Even if you go through periods when you do not use your outdoor cooking space, you should still make sure that you are turning your appliances on for short periods of time. This will help keep the internal machinery functioning and will allow you to check if they are still in good working order.
- Avoid treating your kitchen with harmful cleaning agents: The importance of cleaning aside, you will want to avoid using harmful cleaning materials that could damage your kitchen and make it more susceptible to the elements. Before using a new cleaning product, read the label to make sure that it is compatible with the materials in your kitchen.
Your outdoor kitchen should not feel like a burden, but you will need to take steps to upkeep it. Regular maintenance of your cooking space will help make sure that it lasts for many years of enjoyment.
Outdoor kitchens can make everything better, from backyard barbecues to social gatherings. Your outdoor kitchen is an investment, and to see its benefits for years to come you will need to take preventative steps along the way to ensure that your kitchen stays clean and well-maintained.
Installing an outdoor covering is one of the best ways that you can safeguard your outdoor kitchen. Beyond being an extremely useful protectant against weather conditions, outdoor coverings also look nice and can be designed to your own specifications, allowing for an additional level of customization in your kitchen space.
If you are building an outdoor kitchen or adding on to a preexisting kitchen, an outdoor covering is a must. Think about the attributes that you need for your backyard, and then seek out a contractor or design expert who can help construct your cover. Investing in a covering will allow you to enjoy your outdoor kitchen for years to come.