What Should I Know About Outdoor Kitchen Countertops?

Outdoor kitchens are becoming more and more popular these days for so many reasons.They look beautiful (who doesn’t love granite outdoor kitchen countertops), are great for entertaining (especially if you are always the one to host a party in your circle of friends), they expand the living space of your home, and provide a way to enjoy the great outdoors while celebrating birthdays and holidays with your family. They are also a good investment as they increase the value of your home, cut down on energy consumption, and can even save you money — after all, why go out to eat when you can eat in!

To build your desired kitchen outdoors, planning your outdoor kitchen countertops is one of the many things you should consider.  

This article will cover the three most important questions that need to be answered to help you plan and build your outdoor kitchen countertops. Let's take a look and discuss them one by one.

Why is it important to have adequate outdoor kitchen countertop space?

The countertop is where you do all the work in the kitchen. To have a functional working space does not mean that you need to have a lot of fancy new gadgets, appliances, or spices in it but to have enough space where you will do all your preparations, cooking, cleaning, as well as dining. 

At the very least, your kitchen should have three different counters that are designed for preparation, cooking, and cleaning. Having so will help you move and do your work smoothly and may also help to prevent disasters from happening. Think of it this way, you're making barbecues, start to prepare and cut your ingredients, put it in different bowls, then you have a pile of dirty dishes, you put it in the sink, and leave it to start cooking. This would mean that you can't use the sink for anything else anymore as it is full of your dirty dishes already. This is the reason why it is important that you have a counter space dedicated to your dirty stuff. 

Having adequate space in your countertop would also mean that you would have a place to put your cooked food that is separate from the space where you held your raw meat and other ingredients, and your used bowls and utensils don't crowd out your cooking space. If you take time and care organizing your desk in the office, why not do it on your kitchen countertop, as well? Where there are sharp knives and hot grills, where the accidents are more likely to occur. Adequate space is the most important tool for cooking as it lets you cook safely in the kitchen.

What factors do I need to consider when planning countertop space?

Planning and determining exactly how much counter space you should need for your outdoor kitchen can be as simple as counting one, two, three. Consider these three factors when planning the amount of counter space you need:

  • One: Determine the amount of prep work you will do outside.
  • Cutting, chopping, marinating, trimming fat from meat, and other food preparation activities take space on your countertop. Do you plan to do it all in your outdoor kitchen? If no, how much prep work are you going to do outside? The decision on how much prep work you're going to do in your outdoor kitchen will be highly influenced by your plan of putting a built-in refrigerator or sink in your outdoor kitchen. It will be enticing to do your preparation outside while entertaining your guests with your outdoor seating, as well. Picture how would your set-up be for your outside kitchen to decide if you're going to need a large or small space for your preparation countertop. Remember that the size of your countertop will depend on the kitchen design you are planning to have. 

  • Two: Number of zones your kitchen will have.
  • It is so much easier to plan for your countertop space size if you are only planning to have a simple barbecue for your outdoor kitchen. But what if you wanted to have a full kitchen set up outdoors? This is where it gets quite complicated. To help you with this, it is best to break down the layout of your outdoor kitchen into four zones. The prep zone, cooking zone, cleaning zone, and dining or serving zone. Let's take a closer look.

    -Prep Zone: This is the area where you do most of your food preparations. You would want this countertop space to be conveniently attached to or if not, directly across from the cooking zone.

    -Cooking Zone: The hot zone or the cooking zone is the heart of your outdoor kitchen. This is where you will settle your grill, of course, as well as, your stove, pizza oven, or smoker.

    -Cleaning Zone: This zone is important to maintain the cleanliness of your prep zone and to avoid clutter in your working space. An essential part of this zone would be hot water and garbage disposal that allows you to clean the plate before bringing it indoors to be washed.

    -Dining/Serving Zone: Though this one is not as essential as the first three zones, the serving zone will be a good add on to your outdoor kitchen. Everybody likes to sit and lean on a bar while being entertained by the person preparing the meal. A great addition for a more pleasant experience for both the cook/host and the guests. In planning the location of your dining zone you have to make sure that the wind will not drive smoke from the cooking zone in this direction, or if it can't be avoided, you can build a wall or a partition between the two zones to block the wind. 

  • Three: Buffer space for your outdoor appliances.
  • Another factor that may affect the planning of your countertop space is the buffer space of your outdoor appliances such as your mini-fridge, grill, pizza oven, stove, and/or sink. Consider the amount of space your appliances will be consuming in your countertop to secure its safe distance from walkways and other appliances.

    What are the best surfaces to use for an outdoor kitchen counter space?

    Your countertop space is the first thing that people notice when they see your outdoor kitchen, and though there are a lot of excellent selections of countertops in the market, some materials are still better than the others when it comes to outdoor use. Let us give you some ideas on the best countertops to use for your outdoor kitchen today.

    -Granite Countertops: Obviously, the best choice if you are planning to build your outdoor kitchen, granite is a tough and durable material. It doesn't stain and discolor easily and holds up well to any weather. The granite countertops can also be sealed to avoid stains but many varieties are dense enough that it doesn't need a sealer.

    -Concrete Countertops: Another durable material, concrete countertop holds up well in general and is increasingly becoming a more popular choice for an outdoor countertop. Though this material can still look cool, concrete may crack and scratch, and its color may fade from direct heat from the sun.

    -Marble Countertops: Though this material is also durable and may feel hard when we touch it, marble is actually softer compared to other stones such as granite, and may wear in weather over time. The material can be easily stained, and may not be a good choice as a food prep surface. With proper maintenance, marble with its durability can still last a long time.

    -Slate Countertops: Slates are commonly used as flooring for kitchen, patios, bathrooms, or other rooms inside homes, but this material can still be considered as an option for outdoor kitchen countertops, as well. No two slates are the same, and it can be very difficult sometimes to get quality slates that can provide durable counter space for your kitchen. Nevertheless, slates can still give you years of enjoyment if you get your hand on a high-quality slate slab. 

    -Quartzite Countertops: Not to be confused with quartz that is man-made and not advisable to be used outdoors, quartzite is another excellent option as a countertop for your outdoor kitchen. It is hard and durable, and shares the same qualities as granite, though it's worth mentioning that this material can still be scratched by sharp objects like knives, so it's still better to make sure that you use chopping boards when cutting on top of it.

    -Soapstone Countertops: With its high resistance to heat and staining, and its dense quality, soapstone makes a great material as a countertop for your outdoor kitchen, as well. The material can withstand any weather and is also durable, though can also be scratched and nicked by sharp objects.Other things worth knowing about the soapstone is that when not sealed liquids and oils from your hands can darken the stone Overall, soapstone makes a great contender as a countertop material for your outdoor kitchen.

    To sum things up, when planning to build your own outdoor kitchen, it is imperative that you take in mind that having adequate space for your countertop is essential if you want it to function well and provide safe space in your kitchen.

    If you've got any questions and in need of help in deciding the best countertop surface for your outdoor kitchen, please feel free to contact us at (888) 699-939.