Types of Outdoor Kitchen Countertops

Outdoor kitchens have become increasingly popular additions to homes in recent years. They provide a functional and stylish space for cooking, dining, and entertaining outdoors. One of the most important design elements of an outdoor kitchen is the countertop material. There are several options to consider when selecting countertops for an outdoor kitchen. The material needs to be durable, low-maintenance, and able to withstand the elements. Here is an overview of the pros, cons, costs, and best uses for the most popular types of outdoor kitchen countertops.

Granite Countertops

Granite is one of the most popular choices for kitchen countertops, indoors and out. Granite is an extremely hard, natural stone that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.


  • Extremely durable and scratch-resistant
  • Available in many colors and patterns
  • Can be polished to a shiny finish
  • Resistant to heat, stains, and bacteria
  • Adds value to a home


  • Expensive (starting around $60 per square foot installed)
  • Requires periodic sealing
  • Porous and can stain if not sealed properly
  • Heavy weight requires extra support

Cost: $60-150 per square foot installed

Best for: High-end outdoor kitchens where durability and appearance are top priorities

Granite makes a great choice for grill islands, wet bars, beverage centers, and other high-traffic areas of an outdoor kitchen. The polished stone stands up well to heavy use and harsh outdoor conditions. Proper sealing is required to prevent staining and discoloration. Granite pairs well with stainless steel appliances and hardware for a classic, upscale look.

Quartz Countertops

Engineered quartz has risen in popularity in recent years as a lower maintenance alternative to natural stone. Quartz countertops are made from crushed quartz blended with polymer resins and color pigments.


  • Extremely durable and scratch-resistant
  • Available in many colors and patterns
  • Non-porous and does not require sealing
  • Resistant to stains, heat, and bacteria
  • Low maintenance


  • Higher cost than laminate options
  • Can chip if subjected to impact

Cost: $50-100 per square foot installed

Best for: Outdoor kitchens where durability and low maintenance are priorities

Quartz makes an excellent choice for outdoor countertops because it is impervious to moisture and holds up well in all weather conditions. It does not require sealing or polishing. The appearance resembles natural stone but requires less upkeep. Popular quartz brands for outdoor kitchens include Cambria, Caesarstone, and Silestone.

Ceramic and Porcelain Tile Countertops

Tile made of ceramic or porcelain is a classic choice for countertops in protected outdoor kitchen areas. The tiles create a clean, finished look.


  • Durable and resistant to moisture
  • Available in many colors, shapes, and patterns
  • Stain, scratch, and heat resistant
  • Low maintenance
  • Relatively affordable


  • Grout lines can collect dirt and stains
  • Not as resistant to heavy impact as stone
  • Can chip if subjected to sharp blows

Cost: $10-30 per square foot installed

Best for: Covered outdoor kitchens and bartending stations

Glazed ceramic and porcelain tiles make a great choice for countertops under a patio cover or outdoor bar where they are protected from direct rain. The grout requires occasional sealing to prevent staining. Tiles allow creativity in pattern, color, and design. They offer a very durable surface at a reasonable price point.

Stainless Steel

Commercial-grade stainless steel is commonly used for outdoor kitchen countertops. It offers a sleek, modern look.


  • Extremely durable
  • Easy to sanitize
  • Resistant to stains, rust, and heat
  • Can be fabricated on-site into custom designs
  • Matches stainless steel appliances


  • Can dent if subjected to blunt force
  • Requires maintenance to keep clean appearance
  • Not as decorative looking as natural stone

Cost: $60-100 per square foot

Best for: Grill islands, bars, prep stations

Stainless steel makes an ideal surface for grill islands and other high-heat areas. It provides a commercial look while standing up well to heavy use. Stainless steel does require regular cleaning and occasionally re-polishing to maintain its luster. It matches stainless steel cabinets, grills, and appliances nicely. Custom fabrication allows stainless steel counters to be molded into unique shapes.

Concrete Countertops

Concrete is fast emerging as a popular countertop choice for modern outdoor kitchens. Concrete can be cast into counters right on site and customized with stain colors and finishes.


  • Durable, heat resistant, and scratch resistant
  • Can be cast in place into custom shapes and sizes
  • Fairly affordable
  • Stain-resistant sealers available
  • Match contemporary design styles


  • Requires careful sealing to prevent stains
  • Can develop small cracks over time
  • Not frost-proof without proper additives
  • Heavy and may require additional support

Cost: $50-100 per square foot

Best for: Modern styled outdoor kitchens

Concrete counters offer a smooth, contemporary look well-suited to modern outdoor kitchen designs. The ability to cast concrete into custom shapes allows plenty of design flexibility. Extra care is required when installing concrete in climates with freeze-thaw cycles. With proper sealing, concrete performs very well outdoors.

Natural Stone Tiles

Slate, travertine, limestone, and sandstone offer outdoor-friendly natural stone options at a lower price point than granite. These stones have an earthy, rustic appearance.


  • Attractive natural patterns and textures
  • Available in a range of earth tone colors
  • Can mimic indoor kitchen tile
  • Durable in protected outdoor areas


  • Porous and requires frequent sealing
  • Not as durable as granite
  • Can stain and etch
  • May be damaged by freeze-thaw cycles

Cost: $15-50 per square foot

Best for: Rustic styled outdoor kitchens

Natural stone tiles add traditional character to an outdoor kitchen design. Their natural colors and veins bring visual warmth. These more porous stones do require diligent sealing and may deteriorate faster than man-made options when exposed to full outdoor conditions. Limiting their use to covered areas enhances durability.

Recycled Glass Countertops

For an eco-friendly option, recycled glass can be crushed and blended into attractive countertops. The reflective glass fragments create visual interest.


  • Made from recycled materials
  • Durable and heat resistant
  • Reflective, multi-colored appearance
  • Stain-resistant options available
  • Large pieces can be fabricated


  • Limited color and pattern options
  • Less scratch-resistant than stone
  • Chipping can occur at vulnerable cutouts

Cost: $50-100 per square foot

Best for: Sustainable outdoor kitchens

Recycled glass makes a unique choice for outdoor countertops. It lacks the natural patterns of stone but makes up for it with rainbow-like reflective colors. The countertops do require awareness of their vulnerabilities to chipping and scratching. Proper installation and care is key. Recycled glass is ideal for those seeking a sustainable, eco-friendly option.


For a very affordable choice, laminates, like Formica, offer an outdoor-capable option. Waterproof varieties resist swelling and damage.


  • Most affordable option
  • Broad color and pattern selection
  • Manufactured in easy to install sheets
  • Waterproof versions available
  • Scratch and scorch resistant


  • Vulnerable to damage from impact
  • Not as durable as natural stone
  • Can blister or delaminate if moisture gets under layers

Cost: $10-25 per square foot

Best for: Covered outdoor kitchens on a budget

Laminate countertops are best suited to outdoor kitchens under cover in low traffic zones. Their low cost makes them accessible to homeowners on tight budgets. A wood-look laminate can complement a rustic styled outdoor space. While laminates cannot compare to stone or steel for heavy duty uses, waterproof varieties hold up reasonably well in protected exterior placements.

Butcher Block

Wood countertops give an outdoor kitchen natural warmth. Butcher block styles offer an attractive and fairly durable option.


  • Warm, natural appearance
  • Classic butcher block styles
  • Can be sanded and resealed over time
  • Relatively affordable
  • Softer surface than stone (easier on glassware)


  • Needs frequent resealing outdoors
  • Impact and scratches require sanding for repair
  • Vulnerable to moisture damage
  • Can crack and warp

Cost: $50-70 per square foot

Best for: Covered outdoor kitchens

Wood butcher block countertops bring handsome traditional styling to an outdoor kitchen. Their natural beauty pairs nicely with stone and brick accents. Frequent maintenance is required to keep wood counters looking their best outdoors. They are not the most durable option but with proper care can last for years in protected exterior placements.

Comparison of Key Factors Among Countertop Materials

Countertop MaterialCostDurabilityWeather ResistanceHeat ToleranceMaintenance
Granite$60-150 per sq. ftExcellentExcellentExcellentPeriodic sealing required
Quartz$50-100 per sq. ft.ExcellentExcellentExcellentNone required
Tile$10-30 per sq. ft.GoodGoodGoodRe-grouting and sealing recommended
Stainless Steel$60-100 per sq. ft.ExcellentExcellentExcellentPeriodic cleaning and polishing
Concrete$50-100 per sq. ft.Very goodGood with proper sealingExcellentSealing required
Natural Stone$15-50 per sq. ft.ModerateFairGoodFrequent sealing needed
Recycled Glass$50-100 per sq. ft.GoodGoodGoodOccasional sealing recommended
Laminate$10-25 per sq. ft.FairGood with waterproof varietyGoodOccasional sealing of seams
Butcher Block$50-70 per sq. ft.FairFairFairFrequent oiling or sealing

This comparison table summarizes the key factors to weigh when selecting an outdoor kitchen countertop material. The durability, weather resistance, heat tolerance, and maintenance requirements vary widely. Granite and quartz are on the higher end for performance and cost while laminate counters offer budget-friendly options. The choice comes down to setting priorities and matching a material to your specific design.

How to Choose the Right Countertop for Your Outdoor Kitchen

Selecting the optimal outdoor kitchen countertop involves considering cost, functionality, and visual appeal. Key steps for choosing the right countertop material include:

  • Define your budget: How much are you comfortable spending? Get quotes on stone, tile, stainless steel and other preferred materials to gauge affordability.
  • Determine primary usage: Will the space be used frequently for cooking and dining or more as an occasional bar? High traffic zones need durable selections.
  • Consider your climate: Frequent freeze-thaw cycles require frost-resistant materials like concrete and stone. Colder climates limit wood and tile.
  • Decide on functional needs: Do you need a heat-resistant surface for grilling? What about stain resistance? Durability for chopping?
  • Pick a design style: Options like limestone and concrete suit modern styles well. Butcher block fits traditional spaces. Know the look you want.
  • Examine protection level: Countertops under a covered patio can get away with more porous choices than those in direct sun and rain.
  • Weigh colors and patterns: Natural stone surfaces offer earth tones and veins, while tiles allow bold colors or patterns. Envision the look.
  • Factor in maintenance: Some surfaces like quartz need little upkeep while wood and stone require more. Match readiness to maintain the counters.

Take the time to carefully evaluate the options against your needs and vision for maximum satisfaction. An outdoor kitchen countertop becomes the centerpiece of the space.

Trends in Outdoor Kitchen Countertops

Several interesting trends are emerging in the world of outdoor kitchen countertops, driven by homeowner desires for surfaces that are eye-catching, easy to care for, and outdoor-friendly:

  • Oversized islands – Single massive outdoor kitchen islands are becoming popular statements. Islands with seating integrate dining areas and allow for mega-countertops.
  • Mixing materials – Combining contrasting countertop textures and colors on different functional zones is trending. Mixing stainless steel, tile, and stone can be striking.
  • Bold colors and patterns – From vivid hues to elaborate designs, outdoor countertops are breaking free of earth tones. Durable porcelain tiles allow for creative looks.
  • Sleek concrete – Stripped down, modern concrete in gray tones is being embraced for its minimalist vibe. Creative aggregate designs add visual pop.
  • Textured surfaces – Materials like brushed finish stainless steel and textured concrete offer tactile appeal and disguise flaws.
  • Elevated laminate – Top quality laminates like Fenix are bringing affordable but highly waterproof options with convincing wood looks.
  • Granite looks – Engineered composites such as Dekton are gaining favor for combining granite aesthetics with ultra-low maintenance.
  • Curved corners – Countertop edges and cutouts in sweeping curved shapes add fluidity and modern flair.

These emerging trends open up exciting aesthetic possibilities for outdoor kitchens. Durable materials like porcelain and engineered composites allow designers to get creative with more bold, distinctive styles. The outdoor countertop can make a statement.

Common Outdoor Kitchen Countertop Issues and Solutions

Even quality countertop materials encounter issues when subjected to outdoor environments for prolonged periods. Being aware of common problems and troubleshooting solutions will help homeowners handle problems as they arise:

Issue: Staining, etching, or discoloration of countertops

  • Solution: Reseal stone, grout lines, or concrete. Use poultice treatments for stubborn stains. Replace sealers annually. Clean spills quickly.

Issue: Mold, mildew, or algae growth on surface

  • Solution: Use cleaners formulated to eliminate organic growth without damaging the counters. Improve drainage and airflow.

Issue: Surface cracks or chips from impact

  • Solution: Apply color-matched epoxy fillers to repair chips in stone. Grind down high spots. Replace cracked tiles.

Issue: Fading of color from UV light exposure

  • Solution: Limit sunlight exposure on vulnerable materials with shade structures. Re-seal and re-stain concrete or wood. Replace faded tiles.

Issue: Warping, swelling, or delaminating

  • Solution: Ensure moisture isn’t penetrating under the countertop surface. Replace compromised sections. Keep countertops dry.

Issue: Loss of glossy shine

  • Solution: Re-polish stone countertops. Use Scotch-Brite pads to buff stainless steel. Re-wax wood counters.

Catching issues early allows for easier remedies. Following manufacturers�?? care guidelines and sealing/polishing surfaces annually helps prevent problems. Have stubborn stains or etching evaluated by countertop installation professionals.

Frequently Asked Questions About Outdoor Kitchen Countertops

Outdoor kitchen countertops raise many common questions for homeowners as they evaluate options. Here are answers to some of the frequently asked questions:

What’s the best material for outdoor kitchen countertops?

There is no single best material. Granite, quartz, stainless steel rate highly across factors like durability and weather resistance. The best choice depends on your budget, design style, climate, and how the space will be used.

Do you need to seal outdoor kitchen countertops?

Sealing is highly recommended for porous surfaces like natural stone, grout, concrete, and wood to prevent stains and damage. More impervious materials like quartz do not require sealing. Always check manufacturer guidelines.

Can you put tiles outside for a kitchen countertop?

Outdoor-rated ceramic and porcelain tiles work very well as outdoor countertops, especially under covered areas. The grout lines need occasional re-sealing. Frost-resistant tiles should be used in colder climates.

What is the most cost effective countertop for outdoor kitchens?

Laminate countertops provide the most affordable solution for covered outdoor kitchen spaces. Higher performing materials cost more but also offer greater durability.

Can you put wood outside for countertops?

With proper treatment and sealing, some moisture-resistant woods like teak and ipe can be used. These require frequent maintenance. Pressure-treated lumber is not recommended.

What kind of concrete do you use for outdoor countertops?

Pre-cast concrete with penetrating sealers works best. Air entrainment additives improve freeze-thaw resistance. Concrete must cure fully before exposure to prevent cracks.

Should I put a lip on an outdoor kitchen countertop?

Some sort of raised edge is highly recommended to prevent water runoff and debris from falling off the sides. A lip, rim, or backsplash helps protect the base cabinets as well.

What thickness should an outdoor countertop be?

A standard thickness is 1 1/4 inches. Outdoor countertops should never be less than 1 inch thick. Thicker surfaces are recommended for spans over 24 inches.

Careful planning and selection of outdoor kitchen countertops results in durable, low maintenance surfaces that can provide many years of outdoor cooking enjoyment. While no material is impervious to deterioration in harsh outdoor