More and more homeowners are creating an outdoor kitchen to enjoy their garden or backyard, to entertain or just to eat together as a family. When you choose outdoor kitchen amenities, however, you need to be a little more intentional than when you’re choosing to update your indoor kitchen.
This blog post will cover outdoor kitchen amenities such as countertops, flooring, cooking appliances and storage.
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Countertop Options for Your Outdoor Kitchen
You’re going to not only choose attractive countertops for cooking and preparing, but also consider countertops that work with the outdoor climate. Here are some countertop options and the benefits and drawbacks of each one.
While granite isn’t quite as durable to the elements as concrete and tile, you can still use it for your upscale outdoor kitchen. However, you do need to be aware of the advantages and disadvantages. Granite is beautiful and has a high-end loo. However, granite must be sealed if you want to protect it from rain and snow. It’s also vulnerable to moisture from humidity.
One of the best countertop options for your outdoor kitchen is concrete. Concrete can withstand a lot of different weather, is simple to clean and doesn’t stain easily. However, it is prone to cracking over time if you don’t have it sealed properly. Concrete can be stained with other colors during installation, so you are not forced to have a boring, cement-color for the countertops. You could even have it stamped to resemble tile.
Ceramic tile is an excellent option for the countertops in your outdoor kitchen, offering an aesthetic appeal and longevity at the same time. Some benefits to using tile are that it is very easy to clean, comes in lots of styles and is affordable. On the downside, tile may stain if you’re not careful and there is an issue with some of the paler tile colors turning yellow when it is used outdoors.
Natural stone, beyond granite, is a good option for your outdoor countertops. Stone (other than granite) is more durable and easier to take care of, without requiring meticulous sealing. For example, soapstone is a beautiful stone that can lend a unique appeal to your outdoor kitchen countertops. It’s also very durable and often easier to take care of than granite. You could choose a multi-colored stone like flagstone, which is also used sometimes for flooring outdoors.
Choosing the Best Kitchen Flooring
As you begin planning your outdoor kitchen amenities, you will need to choose a good flooring option. Maybe you’re simply installing your outdoor kitchen on a concrete patio. However, if you’re starting from scratch, there are other options to consider. Let’s take a look at all of them.
Concrete is an excellent outdoor kitchen flooring option. Concrete is naturally a neutral color, but you can have it stained or stamped before it dries completely. That way you have the best of two worlds: durability and personalized design. Concrete can withstand heavy winds, rain, snow, hail and extreme heat without much damage.
Natural stone will give your outdoor kitchen more of a high-end look. However, you need to be careful with the type of stone you choose. Again, you don’t want to go with granite or marble, since they can be prone to damage. Instead, choose a stone that is more durable and easily available in your region. You might choose soapstone, flagstone, field stone or slate. Find out if the stone requires sealing or any other special care.
For a warm appearance on your patio in the dining area of your outdoor kitchen, you can also use wood flooring. However, you should install pressure-treated wood because it can handle the weather outside better than untreated wood. Pressure-treated wood can withstand the heat of the cooking area or the moisture from the outdoor refrigerator. Make sure it is sealed properly to avoid any fire hazards.
Ceramic tile is a good when you want a sophisticated look, but don’t want the high maintenance that natural stone requires. Tile is impervious not only to the outdoor climate, but also to the heat and humidity the cooking area will emit. If you choose porcelain or ceramic tile make sure the tile isn’t glazed and that it is frost-proof. Tile could crack over time, so be careful not to slam heavy appliances or furniture on top of it.
Outdoor Cooking Options
Your outdoor kitchen can have one method of cooking or many. Here are four of the most popular options.
A barbecue grill is a popular choice for outdoor kitchens, especially built-ins. A built-in grill is flush with your countertops, which gives you plenty of space for prep work and serving. If you choose a barbecue grill, you could install a grill that uses gas, charcoal or electric.
Smokers are also a popular addition to outdoor kitchens. A smoker cooks food at a lower temperature for longer periods of time. Meats are usually tender and juicy, with a delicious smoky flavor, obviously.
Fireplace or Fire Pit
It’s always fun to cook over an open fire, especially for kids, partly because it feels like you’re camping. There are a couple of ways you can incorporate cooking over an open fire as one of your outdoor kitchen amenities.
First, you could build an outdoor fireplace in the kitchen area. There are a variety of outdoor fireplaces to choose from, based on the size and layout of your outdoor kitchen. A fireplace is not only great for cooking, but also creates a cozy living area for evenings outside.
Second, you could build a fire pit, either on its own or in addition to a fireplace. Fire pits are an even better way to cook food outside. The fire pit can be the focal point of your dining area. You can cook while enjoying time with friends and family. For a fire pit, you’ll need to place a grate over the pit, or use skewers, or a rotisserie over the fire.
Outdoor ovens cost a little more than grills or fire pits. However, it’s a lot of fun to cook up a pizza, old-world style, in an outdoor oven.
Outdoor Kitchen Storage
A lack of storage is frequently a problem with outdoor kitchens. Here are some tips to make sure you have plenty of storage for all your cooking utensils, dishes and accessories.
Storage in your outdoor kitchen should could resemble a traditional indoor kitchen. For example, you could install traditional cabinets above and beneath the countertops, as well as utility drawers, silverware drawers and a place for pots and pans.
The next option is to have custom storage built into your outdoor kitchen. You can work with your builder to make sure your design has exactly what you’ll to store your dishes, utensils, cups and cooking accessories. You could include varying sizes of cabinets and shelves that meet your specifications.
A less expensive alternative is to purchase stand-alone storage. For example, you could add a tall shelving unit. You could add a stand-alone kitchen island or a stand-alone cabinet. These options are cheaper, but work just as well, as long as they can withstand the elements.
Don’t forget to download our Outdoor Spaces Lookbook for Summer 2019.
There are many, many options to choose from when you build an outdoor kitchen. Let us help you design an outdoor kitchen that has everything you need. Call us for a free, no-strings-attached estimate at (717) 951-5950. Or contact us through this website.