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What is the Best Countertop to Use for an Outdoor Kitchen?

Not every countertop material is going to be a good choice for use in an outdoor kitchen. Some materials will crack and others are too heavy to lift and install without risk of injury or damage. Taking the time to make sure you pick the correct one is absolutely essential.

An outdoor kitchen instantly becomes the staple of any backyard space. It can be as simple or as grand as the owner desires, but at the end of the day, it is a beautiful cooking area that not only adds value to one’s home but decreases energy costs in the long run. Needless to say, outdoor kitchens are a popular option that is only continuing to skyrocket.

Granite is the best option for outdoor kitchen countertops because it can withstand all types of weather and, when sealed properly, is not susceptible to stains or other damages. Soapstone is a close second and similar to granite, although it is somewhat prone to knicks and scuffs. Tile and concrete allow for more versatility with styles.

When it comes to designing your outdoor kitchen, there are a lot of aspects to consider. From the appliances to the flooring, entertainment, and seating arrangement, it can be overwhelming. One aspect that shouldn’t be overlooked is the type of countertop you’re installing. The countertop can be a make-it-or-break-it for your outdoor kitchen.

What is the Best Countertop to Use for an Outdoor Kitchen?

Just like every other part of your outdoor kitchen, you have multiple options for your countertops. However, you need to be extra careful with your choice. Some materials are better suited for outdoor spaces, while others will yellow, crack, and deteriorate.

Modern outdoor kitchen with countertop.
Some materials are better suited for outdoor spaces, while others will yellow, crack, and deteriorate.

Here are some of the top picks for outdoor kitchen countertops.

Granite – Number One Pick

Without a doubt, the number one choice for outdoor kitchens is granite. Granite is impressively durable and can handle weather conditions from endless sunshine to rain and snow. 

This is especially true if you decide to seal your granite countertops. While it’s not entirely necessary, a good seal will halt stains and mildew in its tracks, leaving you with a classy and long-lasting countertop.

Aside from being weather-resistant, granite is fade-resistant, too. So, even after years of use, you won’t have to worry about your countertops appearing dingy. With resilience being the name of the game for granite, it’s a clear low-maintenance winner for outdoor kitchens.

Granite isn’t exactly cheap, though. Most slabs cost between $40 and $60 per square foot, and the price can be higher for intricate and rare colors or stones. This can be seen as negative and positive, though.

An outdoor kitchen with a granite countertop.
Granite is impressively durable and can handle weather conditions.

While granite is a bit pricey, it has plenty of colors and finishes to bring your dream outdoor kitchen to life. Just keep in mind that darker colors can get a little hot to the touch, so you might want to pick a lighter shade (unless your outdoor kitchen has ample shade).

Tile – Cheapest Option

If you’re looking for a countertop material that pairs budget-friendly prices with style and flair, tile might be exactly what you’re looking for. You can recreate a stone look (which would otherwise be quite costly) or add peculiar and fun designs to your countertop for less – you can even make a faux granite countertop!

While tile is a great cheap option for your outdoor kitchen countertops, they require the most maintenance. A good yearly seal will keep maintenance needs at bay. However, grout stains are still a possibility – even with sealants. Make sure that you’re cleaning them regularly to keep them in tip-top shape.

The tile might also not be the greatest choice for very cold climates. Freezing temperatures can cause tiles to thaw and crack.

The good news is, you can create a stunning countertop for around $10 to $30 per square foot, which is exponentially cheaper than granite. You can even DIY your tile if you’re a handy DIYer.

Concrete – Most Versatile

When people think of backyard entertainment areas, they likely think of something designed with concrete. Well, concrete isn’t just a great choice for backyard patio flooring; it can be the best go-to countertops in your outdoor kitchen, too.

What sets concrete apart from the competition is that it is versatile. It can be poured into virtually any shape you desire, which means you can get crafty and unique with your countertops. It can be left as-is for a rustic look or decorated with tiles, stones, and other materials.

A concrete countertop with sink.
Make sure that it is properly sealed (regularly) to deter anything from seeping in.

The biggest issue with concrete is fading and cracking. It’s also porous, so it can be susceptible to stains, mildew, mold, and more unless it’s stained. That said, placing concrete countertops under shade is a great solution. Make sure that it is properly sealed (regularly) to deter anything from seeping in.

Soapstone – Expensive, But Long-Lasting

The last option for the best countertops to use for an outdoor kitchen is soapstone. Soapstone is not only stunning but impressively dense and non-porous. Since the material is non-porous, you don’t have to worry about sealing. Cleaning is also a cinch – just use mild soap and water to clean. 

This easily-maintained material is soft, though. While you can set hot plates right on top of it without causing harm, the same isn’t true for knives and other sharp objects. Soapstone is easily nicked, so be extra careful when it comes to chopping, slicing, etc. 

Soapstone can handle all types of environments, from icy cold to red hot (although the countertops will get hot to the touch under extreme temps). Being as durable as it is, it doesn’t come with a cheap price tag. Soapstone can easily be $70+ per square foot, making it the most expensive but long-lasting option.

Which is better for the outside granite or quartz?

Granite and quartzite (not quartz) are both excellent options. Quartzite is known for being beautiful and low-maintenance. However, it is susceptible to scratches and stains and can’t handle high temperatures like granite can, giving granite the edge.

A granite countertop outside.
Quartzite is known for being beautiful and low-maintenance.

What is the most heat-resistant countertop?

Granite is impressively heat-resistant as well as soapstone. Both can handle hot plates and other items being set directly on top without damage.

Charcoal on fire.
Granite is impressively heat-resistant as well as soapstone.

Is quartz cheaper than granite?

Quartzite is typically cheaper than granite, mostly because it does not have the same performing abilities as granite.

Is leathered granite good for outdoor kitchens?

Yes, leathered granite is a wonderful option for any outdoor kitchen countertop.

Final Words

Your outdoor kitchen arrangement needs a countertop material you can trust. There are lots of choices, but granite tends to be the number one pick. Soapstone is another excellent choice but is more expensive. You can also opt for the versatile tile or concrete, although these are more high maintenance.

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