Outdoor kitchens on the patio are a growing trend in home renovations these days. The CEO of Design Line Interiors, Dawn Davidson, estimates to KitchenBathDesign.com that “90% of her firm’s warm-weather residential projects today include an outdoor kitchen”.
If you’re cooking and preparing your food outside, you need a countertop to work on that’s durable enough to stay outside for all seasons. For that, you have two ultimate materials to choose from: porcelain and granite.
Porcelain countertops lead the pack in hardiness. Porcelain’s sturdy material can weather whatever nature decides to throw at it. Unlike quartz, this engineered stone can handle prolonged exposure to the sun and heat without discolouring. You’ll have no issues with installing it right next to the intense heat of the BBQ grill or pizza oven.
Porcelain is also non-porous so it can take on the rain without absorbing any of it. Best of all, you don’t have to do any sealing work once it’s installed. Just wipe it down after each use and that’s it.
For a highly durable stone, granite countertops’ strong reputation precedes them. What’s more, they fit in quite nicely if you want to create an all-natural theme on your patio. The scratch- and heat-resistant qualities of granite make it very well-suited for outdoor cooking.
It does take more work than porcelain though. As a natural stone, it has a porous surface that’s susceptible to water stains from the rain. With regular sealing, however, you can cover over the pores and protect the surface from absorbing moisture.
What gives granite more of an edge over porcelain is the ability to customize the surface finish. And there are two types of finishes that actually improve granite’s toughness in the face of wet weather: flamed and leathered.
The flamed finish is unique to granite countertops. Its surface goes through an intense but controlled heat-blasting. Flaming breaks apart the granite grain patterns into a unique amorphous mix of colours. It also produces a rough surface that can better withstand the outdoor elements.
The leathered finish weathers natural stone in a process that closes up many of the surface pores. This not only reduces the risk of rainwater getting in, but it also helps conceal stains and water spots that may appear one day. After all, your patio kitchen countertop will go through a lot more extreme conditions than your indoor countertop. Although stains are not as obvious with a leathered finish, you still have to put in extra care to clean between the bumps of its uneven surface. As since you’ll be using it outdoors, you also need to seal it much more frequently.
Consider the colour of your outdoor countertop, too. The leathered finish is very popular with darker coloured stones as the weathered effect stands out better.
Ideal countertop edges to deal with rainwater and spills
One last little detail you need to think about for patio kitchen countertops is their edge profile finish. You need an edge where rainwater and spills on the counter don’t trickle down along the bottom edge and into the base cabinet. At the same time, you also want to eliminate sharpness along the top edge for the safety of the hardcore party people among your circle of friends.
A demi-bullnose edge is specifically designed with the trickle-down issue in mind. It also has a curved profile that softens contact with the top counter edge.
If you want a more modern feel to the counter, go with an eased edge. It’s not as effective as a demi-bullnose in ensuring that water trickles straight down to the floor, but its bottom edge is still square enough to do the job.
This article will give you a better idea about what these two countertop edges look like.
Get these ultimate patio kitchen countertops and enjoy many hot summer days of happy outdoor cooking!