Natural stone works well for vertical surfaces, but stone countertops will require sealing on a regular basis. Outdoor-rated porcelains are recommended because they can stand up to high heat and freeze-thaw and come in slip-resistant finishes.
No matter what surfaces you choose, consider how hot those materials may get under constant sunlight. Some materials stay naturally cooler than others. The best way to test is to leave a material sample in the sun. It’ll help ensure that you don’t burn your hands while prepping foods or scorch your feet while walking.
Designing outdoor kitchens for the modern aesthetic takes careful pairing of equipment and materials. Stainless-steel appliances are a natural fit for outdoors, but they can skew traditional or modern depending on what you pair with them. Cabinetry will have a huge influence, so choose door styles with sleek, flat fronts without ornamentation.
“One of the biggest statements you can make for a modern outdoor kitchen is the countertop,” says Faulk. “Custom concrete countertops are a very popular choice for a modern look, as is glazed lava stone. It’s really expensive stuff, but it’s beautiful.”
Just like your indoor kitchen, the outdoor kitchen demands plenty of storage. Choose a kitchen design that incorporates cabinetry that will keep your tools, spices, and serving pieces stay clean and dry no matter what the weather. That way you won’t need to stock your kitchen every time you go outside to use it.
You can build an outdoor kitchen from scratch by using concrete blocks, metal studs, welded steel, or a combination of the three. Wrap a metal base with fireproof cement board before finishing it with stucco, stone, or porcelain tile.
The easier route is to use a premade cabinetry kit. Werever Outdoor Products offers modular outdoor kitchen cabinet kits made of 100-percent-waterproof marine-grade polymer. The cabinets can be arranged in any order to accommodate your space. They also are furnished with holes partially pre-drilled on the inside, and are connected with stainless-steel fasteners. The company can also produce custom designs for your space.
Atlantis Outdoor Kitchens also makes weatherproof outdoor cabinetry using solid marine-grade polymer that will not warp, crack, or deteriorate over time. The company also offers free design services.
Iron chefs will appreciate the aesthetics of a stainless-steel kitchen cabinet system. Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet makes stainless steel outdoor cabinets that feature moisture-tight design with seamless rain gutters that surround every door and drawer opening. To install, align and level the units with the standard stainless-steel leveling legs, and clip and bolt them together. Top it with the countertop material of your choice.
Lasertron can design and fabricate an entire stainless-steel outdoor kitchen, grill base, or doors for your outdoor kitchen, which is a good option if you want a brick or stone base for your cabinets. They can also add texture, patterns, or custom artwork to the doors for a contemporary and custom look.
If you want the durability of stainless steel but want a different look, check out Danver’s outdoor cabinetry. The company produces high-quality stainless-steel cabinets and drawer systems for outdoor kitchens that can be powder-coated in any color to match any decorating plan. Danver also offers very realistic wood-grain finishes (ten different wood species in all) that are applied over stainless steel. It’s a great way to get a wood look without encountering warping or color changes over time.
Iron chefs know that the grill or smoker is the heart of the outdoor kitchen. It’s these tools that make cooking outside something special. Think about how and what you like to cook before investing in a cooking appliance.