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These Are the 6 Best Materials for Your Outdoor Cabinets  

Outdoor Cabinets not only lend you the look of a professional kitchen, they also endure in inclement weather and are resistant to any ocean spray. Let's take a look at the best materials.

When designing an outdoor living space, you want to pick the best materials for your investment, but you also want it to be functional and stylish for the space. Outdoor living spaces or kitchen areas need to withstand all the elements that your location can get during the year. The materials you choose will not only have an impact on the longevity of the living space but also on the aesthetic of the space as well. 

In the real estate market and with a lot of people’s homes having a functioning outdoor space, these types of investments have become highly popular over the last few years. And if they are designed well, with good products, they can add major value to your property. So, you want to make sure that you choose materials that are going to last. With that being said, you want materials that are going to last.

What Are the Best Materials for Outdoor Cabinets?  

Kitchen cabinets must be able to stand up to any moisture, heat, rust, dirt, and mold that they may sustain while outside. There are a few common materials that are used for outdoor kitchens. These materials all have different features that allow them to withstand climates, have different styles, colors, and maintenance requirements.

Masonry, Brick, or Stucco   

This type of system is composed of cement blocks, or it can have a metal frame that is then covered by decorative stones or brick. This type of system is typically built to be in one place and is commonly used as barbecue islands. Due to the structure, they allow for additional insets to be built in, this is then a location where you can add appliances.  

Brick outdoor cabinet with wood.
Due to the structure, they allow for additional insets to be built in.

Pros of Masonry, Brick or Stucco  

Here are the pros of masonry, brick, and stucco:

  • Due to the intensive build, it is very resistant to the elements and can withstand all weather.  
  • Normally it is built into place.  

Now, let’s look at the cons.

Cons of Masonry, Brick or Stucco 

Here are the cons of masonry, brick, and stucco:

  • This type of building is very labor intensive and can be a difficult installation process.  
  • Depending on the size of the space it can look a bit bulky or chunky. 
  • Not made ready and takes time to create.  
  • Must purchase a lot of varied materials to build, which can drive up the price. 

Some additional downsides of this type of material are the amount of time it can take to design, the added cost of the installation and some find it more difficult to accessorize with.   

Wood 

Most people will think of wood first when it comes to building materials. It is easy to customize and make it work with the space with various design elements. However, it may not be as good with the elements as some of the other materials listed here. 

A whihte wooden cabinet.
It is easy to customize and make it work with the space with various design elements.

Pros of Wood 

Here are the pros of wood:

  • Wood gives a warm homey look.  
  • Natural wood grains can provide an additional visual interest that you may not get with some of the other elements.  
  • Highly customizable with the colors, type of wood, and size of the space.  

Now, let’s look at the cons.

Cons of Wood 

 Here are the cons of wood:

  • Depending on what you use to finish the wood and the type of wood you use there is a possibility of the color fading.  
  • Regular maintenance is required to keep cabinets up.  
  • Depending on how harsh the elements are, wood can fail quickly. This can include extreme heat and freezing temperatures with moisture.  

If you are going to go with wood, it is best to use more water-resistant types of wood. These options can include teak, mahogany, or white oak. It is important to note that these types of wood tend to be more expensive and require a lot more maintenance than other types of wood.  

PVC and Resin  

This is one of the newer types of outdoor kitchen cabinets on the market. It is one of the most used kinds of plastic, and only recently has been made into cabinet manufacturing. The PVC is a man-made polymer that is incredibly lightweight. 

Resin is another type of polymer. It is a lightweight foam that is injected into a die which is then compressed into a dense material. Because the density of this material is very strong. 

Pros of PVC and Resin  

Here are the pros of PVC and resin:

  • PVC is 100% waterproof.  
  • It cannot rust or stain.  
  • Extremely lightweight  
  • Easy to clean  
  • Durable  

Now, let’s look at the cons.

Cons of PVC and Resin  

Here are the cons of PVC and resin:

  • Cheaper PVC can be susceptible to color fading  
  • Cheaper PVC can warp when temperatures fluctuate.  
  • PVC can release chemicals when outside in several types of climates.  
  • Disposing of these materials can be more difficult as they cannot be recycled, leading to people burning the material instead.  

Now, let’s look at marine-grade aluminum.

Marine-Grade Aluminum  

This material is not just normal aluminum, it is naturally corrosion-resistant, which is why it is used for a lot of marine applications.  

Pros of Marine-Grade Aluminum  

Here are the pros of marine-grade aluminum:

  • Comes in thick gauges, making it exceptionally durable.  
  • Has structural stability  
  • Lighter than a steel cabinet.  
  • Can be powder coated that will last for years.  
  • Can customize the type of finish and add assorted options when it comes to the cabinet design.  

Now, let’s look at the cons.

Cons of Marine-Grade Aluminum  

 Here are the cons of marine-grade aluminum:

  • Has the potential for rust without the right coatings  
  • Depending on the outer layer of the Aluminum, it can be susceptible to corrosion.  
  • Limited range of colors 
  • May look like plastic.  
  • Acceptable to denting  

When looking at a Marine-Grade Aluminum cabinet it is important to look into these features: durability, weight, and density. Use these features to determine what the longevity of the material would be for your specific purpose.  

Stainless Steel  

There is an increasing number of people using stainless steel for cabinets. This could be because one of the biggest selling points of stainless steel is how durable it is if you invest in high-quality stainless steel. If you use 304 or 316L grade stainless steel, then it is corrosion-resistant.

A stainless steel cabinet.
You will save money on regular maintenance costs when compared to other materials.

Pros of Stainless Steel 

Here are the pros of stainless steel:

  • Stainless steel cabinets do not have to be fully industrial, there are different coating options and colors that can be used to mimic other materials such as wood, sea glass, and textured metals.  
  • If the material is taken care of this type of material can be noncorrosive.  
  • You will save money on regular maintenance costs when compared to other materials, which can make its lifecycle cheaper than other options.  
  • It is a more modern option.  
  • Easy to keep fingerprints off the materials.  

Now, let’s look at the cons.

Cons of Stainless Steel  

Here are the cons of stainless steel:

  • This material will have a higher initial price point than other materials.  
  • This type of material will get extremely hot in the sunlight.  

When it comes to purchasing stainless steel for a cabinet, be sure to pay attention to the thickness of the stainless steel. It will be measured in what are called gauges, and the lower the number is the thicker the steel will be. Aim to have a thickness of around 18.  

High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)  

High-Density Polyethylene is also known as HDPE, an exceptionally durable material. It is an extremely tough plastic-like material that can protect it against the sunlight’s harmful rays.  

Pros of HDPE  

Here are the pros of HDPE:

  • It is easy to clean.  
  • If you are using the right materials such as corrosion-resistant attaching hardware you will not have to worry about any corrosion.  
  • It is impervious to water and moisture, as such it can handle any wet climate it is put in.  
  • It is stained resistant.  

Now, let’s look at the cons.

Cons of HDPE  

Here are the cons of HDPE:

  • This material can be limited in the range of colors.  
  • There are not very many HDPE options that can offer a natural look if you are wanting something like wood.  
  • This product is not very eco-friendly as it is made from petrochemicals.  
  • It is combustible.  
  • The material is liable to fluctuate with temperature changes.  

In most cases, this type of material can be more affordable to use.  

Things To Consider When Choosing an Outdoor Cabinet  

When it comes to building an outdoor kitchen space or an outdoor space that requires cabinets these are the main factors you need to be thinking about when making a material decision:

  • Durability: How will this material withstand the climate? Is it going to be sturdy enough and stable for what I need the space to be able to do?  
  • Aesthetic: Am I able to get this material in the style, color, and look that I am wanting? And will this fit in with the rest of the space?
  • Quality: Is this the type of material that will last or am I going to have to replace it often?  
  • Maintenance: What is the required maintenance for this material and what is the added cost for doing it?

It is so important to find the right outdoor kitchen cabinet that matches your style and can work for what it is intended for. This is why you need to make sure you ask these questions to make sure that you are considering all the various parts and not just how it looks.

Like anything you want to pick a material that works for your lifestyle, if the maintenance is not going to be manageable for you, you may need to select something that will be.    

Tips for Choosing a Weatherproof Cabinet  

When it comes to choosing your outdoor cabinets, they must be able to withstand the weather and with so many different options in terms of materials, finishes, and style it can be very tough to determine which material is going to be the best for your outdoor space.  

Covered oven with steel cabinets.
It must be able to withstand the weather and with so many different options in terms of materials, finishes, and style.

Find the Right Materials 

As we have discussed above there are 6 different materials that can be used for outdoor cabinets that feature water resistance or weatherproof coatings/materials. During this step, it is important to think of your location, climate, and what sort of weather your cabinets will have to withstand. Do you have elevated temperatures? Does it, not rain or snow?  

Sealing and Storing Storage  

When looking at the cabinets you want to make sure that you find cabinets that will allow for the least amount of dirt to get into where you store your goods. When designing the space make sure to have cabinets that can be completely enclosed to protect any dishes or tools you may keep out there. In addition to this look for doors that seal well and can fully shut.  

Choosing the Right Hardware  

To ensure that your cabinets are completely waterproof from the material of the cabinet to the hardware it is best to choose a piece that is stainless steel. This should be used not only for the door handles but any of the hidden hardware such as hinges.  

Stainless steel cabinet kitchen.
Best to choose a piece that is stainless steel.

Must Haves for An Exterior Cabinet 

In addition to choosing the right kind of material and hardware to complete your outdoor kitchen, you want to make sure that you think about these additional features as well before making your decision.  

Adjustable Legs  

Usually when you are adding cabinets inside it is on a nice even or level space. This may not be the case when it comes to putting outdoor cabinets, you may end up working with uneven ground. If your cabinets have the option for adjustable legs, you can make this much easier by being able to install them with this feature.  

Accessibility Features  

When building an outdoor kitchen or bar area you may want to include some user-friendly accessibility features such as a roll-out trash bin. This will make the kitchen easy to use and encourage you to utilize the space more often because it has similar features to an indoor kitchen.  

Toe Kick  

This is an optional feature that can give your space a more customized look. It will also make it feel more like a house interior rather than an outdoor living space. But this exterior trim detailing can provide that extra piece to bring it all together.  

Building an Outdoor Cabinet Space  

There are so many unique features when it comes to building any sort of kitchen or cabinet space, whether it is inside or outside. This will range from the extra features you can put into the space, all the way up to the materials that are used to build it. 

With so many different materials that have similar features and range from all different price points, it is important to base the material on your location and climate to get the best material for the cost.  

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