The Best 6 Materials for an Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor kitchens can add plenty of value to any home. Let's explore 6 materials that will work great for an outdoor kitchen.

With many Americans stuck at home for the better part of the past two years, home renovation projects have gone through the roof, with many people trying to find new and creative ways to make use of their space. This has led homeowners to seek ways to renovate their exterior to add to the functional dimensions of their property.

To this effect, installing an outdoor kitchen has been one of the most popular outdoor remodeling projects in recent years. If you are planning an outdoor kitchen of your own, the following breakdown looks at six essential materials to help make your exterior cooking space complete. 

Louvered Pergolas

Although much of the appeal of an outdoor kitchen is to escape the cramped confines of an indoor kitchen, it is not entirely practical to build a kitchen out in the open. Not only is cooking in direct sun or inclement weather hazardous, but you will need some sort of cover to help protect the investment you made in your kitchen materials.

Outdoor Kitchen with Pergolas.
Louvered pergolas offer adjustable top-side shading which provides a complete roof

This makes louvered pergolas a great place to start when building an exterior cook space. Open on the sides, louvered pergolas offer adjustable top-side shading, providing a complete roof when more protection is necessary or open beams when you want to cook under the starlight on a peaceful night. 

Not only do pergolas provide a functional element of shading and protection, but many contemporary products feature attractive designs that can help improve the aesthetics of your backyard and enhance curb appeal. 

Quartz Countertops

When it comes strictly to the kitchen, there is arguably no element more important than the countertops. Countertops are one of the first materials people notice when assessing a kitchen’s aesthetics, and they must be able to maintain their appearance in the face of a variety of stressors, including spills, intense heat, dropped cookware, and scratching from cutlery.

While many outdoor kitchens feature granite or concrete countertops, an increasingly trendy solution is quartz. Engineered from ground quartz held together with a high-grade epoxy resin, quartz countertops are made in a solid, one-piece design that is completely nonporous, making them an ideal choice for outdoor kitchens that may encounter more moisture than interior spaces.

A outdoor kitchen with countertop.
Countertops are one of the first materials people notice when assessing a kitchen’s aesthetics

In addition, due to the variety of colors of the mineral and its prevalence in the earth’s crust, quartz countertops can be engineered in a wide array of finishes to capture the ideal ambiance that the homeowner desires. 

Stone Hardscaping

When designing an outdoor kitchen, think of the hardscaping as the walls and floors of the space. While there will not be walls that span from the ceiling to the floor, you will definitely need some kind of skirting to close in the space and protect your appliances.

Stone veneer is the preferred choice for outdoor kitchens. Not only does its natural appearance go well in an exterior environment, but its durability is a true calling card to help prevent unsightly blemishes. 

Wall and floor stone hardscaping.
When designing an outdoor kitchen, think of the hardscaping as the walls and floors of the space.

Finally, the stone facade around the kitchen island can match extremely well with any stone flooring laid down, with stone flooring being an excellent choice for withstanding foot traffic and patio furniture. 

Stainless Steel Appliances

Appliances, such as dishwashers and refrigerators, are an essential part of an outdoor kitchen. While some may feel like appliances are best left indoors, having them as part of your exterior setup adds enormous convenience and transforms your cook space from a grilling area into a true outdoor kitchen.

With that said stainless steel is the way to go. There are many advantages to using stainless steel appliances. First, their neutral appearance goes well with any hardscaping setup you choose. In addition, they are extremely heavy-duty and will perform well in the face of heavy wear and tear and adverse weather conditions. 

A Stainless steel appliance outdoor.
They are extremely heavy-duty and will perform well in the face of heavy wear and tear

While it is a myth that stainless steel is completely rust-proof, it is extremely rust-resistant. When paired with a quality pergola and protective hardscaping, along with a modicum of care in terms of cleaning and maintenance, your stainless steel appliances will maintain their pristine appearance and functionality over years of use outdoors. 

Wood-Fire Pizza Oven

Wood-fired pizza ovens are becoming increasingly popular for homeowners and make a natural fit in an outdoor kitchen. As most pizza ovens are made of stone, they make for an obvious complement to quartz countertops and stone hardscaping. However, there are many other reasons why pizza ovens are trendy, including:

  • The ability to heat to higher cooking temperatures, as stone does not conduct heat as readily as a typical steel oven. Some stone pizza ovens can get up to 700 degrees, allowing pizzas to be cooked in as little as five minutes
A wood fire pizza oven.
A wood-fire oven does not require electricity to operate
  • Unique flavors, as you can experiment with different types of logs to heat your oven and give off a savory burn that gas and electric ovens cannot match
  • Lower utility consumption, as a wood-fire oven, does not require electricity to operate

PVC Cabinets

For most of the items on this list, the natural, earthy appearance of the material is one of its calling cards for an outdoor kitchen. However, cabinetry is a bit tricky, as stone cabinets are prohibitively heavy, and wood cabinets require too much attention to prevent them from getting damaged in exterior conditions.

Therefore, PVC cabinets make for an innovative choice for those seeking storage in their exterior cook space. PVC is a synthetic polymer material and is one of the most widely used plastics in the world. PVC cabinets make a great choice for outdoor kitchens, as they are 100% weatherproof and will not rust or stain.

They can also be manufactured into several attractive designs to mesh with any type of kitchen layout and are extremely easy to clean, requiring only occasionally disinfecting scrubs since they are nonporous and do not absorb water. The one point of caution is to ensure that they are not in constant contact with direct sunlight, as lower-quality PVC can warp over time. 

Final Thoughts

Building an outdoor kitchen has become one of the trendiest home renovation projects in recent years. When designing your own outdoor kitchen, louvered pergolas, quartz countertops, stone hardscaping, stainless steel appliances, wood-fire pizza ovens, and PVC cabinets are six essential materials to make your space complete!

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