The great British summer has arrived and you might be thinking of new ways to make the most of your garden space. If you love hosting summer parties or inviting friends and family over for a garden barbecue, then an outdoor kitchen could be the perfect new addition to your home.
But before you rush in and start turning part of your garden into a kitchen, there are some important factors to consider. The most important factor is which countertop material is the most appropriate for outdoor use. From quartz to concrete, there are plenty of materials you could use. In today’s article, we take a look at which kitchen countertops work best outdoors.
What Is an Outdoor Countertop?
Outdoor countertops are increasingly popular in gardens across the UK. Similar to the countertops you might already have in your kitchen, outdoor countertops give you the opportunity to make the most of your outdoor space in a new and innovative way.
You can install outdoor countertops on your existing patio or repurpose an area of the garden that’s currently not in use. You might set up individual countertops or establish an entire outdoor kitchen. We recommend installing your new outdoor kitchen adjacent to your backdoor to give you a quick and easy extension of your home.
What Do I Need to Consider for an Outdoor Countertop?
There are a few things to consider. Ideally, you need your outdoor countertops to be undercover to protect against rain and other elements. This helps to give your countertops a longer lifespan and means you can still host a garden party if the weather isn’t great.
You also need to consider your kitchen setup. Alongside countertops, you can install grills or barbecues and you might want an outdoor sink or an outdoor dining table too.
Most importantly, you have a wide range of surface materials to choose between. We’ll look at four of the most common outdoor countertop materials – granite, concrete, quartz and glass – to help you plan.
The material you pick needs to be durable, weatherproof, hardwearing and reliable outdoors. You also need to factor in your budget, style and design ideas. These can all affect the most suitable choice of outdoor countertops for your requirements.
The first popular choice for outdoor countertops is glass. This is a very traditional countertop material and many households might already have glass tables indoors (or outdoors), and be familiar with it as a surface.
While glass is very dynamic and can be shaped and moulded to fit a variety of situations, sizes and shapes, the reality is that glass isn’t as suited for outdoor use as it is for indoor use. The main reason is that glass is brittle and can easily break. Having glass outdoors subjects it to a greater danger of breaking than having it inside.
There are more factors to consider, from kids playing outdoors or kicking footballs around to bad storms causing damage if countertops aren’t adequately protected. Glass as a countertop can easily scratch or crack, even during simple day-to-day use, so if you’re regularly hosting parties outdoors you’ll need to be careful.
If you prepare food on a glass countertop, it can quite easily stain too, especially if you’re cutting up acidic foods (tomatoes, for instance).
On the plus side, glass is good value and easy to replace if it gets broken. Overall though, we wouldn’t recommend it as an outdoor countertop surface in comparison to other, better materials that are available.
Next up we have quartz, one of our favourite kitchen countertop materials. Quartz is fantastic because it’s durable, hardwearing and non-porous. It’s naturally resistant to liquids, which means it doesn’t readily stain. It wipes down easily, making it very hygienic. As a kitchen countertop, that’s invaluable.
Quartz needs little maintenance or attention (it doesn’t need sealing), and of course the unique quartz patterns look lovely in a kitchen setting. However while we can guarantee that quartz is a perfect choice for an indoor setting, it’s not quite as resilient outdoors.
In fact, we’d go as far as to say we wouldn’t recommend using quartz outdoors unless you can keep everything covered and protected from the elements when the countertops aren’t in use. That might be more hassle than it’s worth though.
The main reason is that quartz can become easily discoloured by bright sunlight, as it doesn’t do well under direct heat.
Concrete can be a great choice for outdoor countertops. The main quality that concrete brings to an outdoor table is the fact it’s very hardy and durable. It can withstand a lot, it’s cheap, easily moulded and set, and can last a long time.
There are a few reasons why we wouldn’t pick concrete for an outdoor kitchen, however. First, concrete might be hardwearing, but it scratches easily. Outdoors this becomes quite a problem if the weather picks up.
Secondly, concrete is very porous. It easily absorbs liquids, which means that it’s liable to stain if anything is spilt on it.
If we had to choose any material for an outdoor countertop, we’d go for granite. It’s trusty, hardwearing and dependable. It’s equally strong as concrete or quartz, but it won’t discolour in the sunlight and the surface won’t scratch easily.
Granite looks marvellous and fits well into an outdoor setting. Importantly, it can withstand the elements much better than the other materials we’ve looked at so far. It’s non-porous, meaning it doesn’t stain easily, and it won’t crack or break readily.
The only downside is that granite needs to be properly sealed to protect it and to create a non-porous element. Overall though, the qualities of granite outweigh the negatives if you’re using it as an outdoor countertop.
Granite & Quartz Installations has an expert team, ready to help you design your new outdoor kitchen. Contact Granite & Quartz Installations today for your free quotation and to find out more about having your ideal outdoor kitchen installed.