An outdoor kitchen bar is a great opportunity to expand your living space and enjoy the great outdoors at the same time. If you’re planning on building a new backyard hangout, we have advice on the best countertop options.
Outdoor Kitchen Bar Countertop – Design Advice
When working on an outdoor kitchen bar design, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Choose light colored countertops. Dark countertops exposed to sunshine will become hotter than light colored ones.
- Narrow the choices by picking one or two materials that meet your criteria – material, maintenance, and price. Then, begin looking at the available colors and patterns.
- If using an engineered product, pick one that closely mimics natural stone.
- Do NOT use traditional quartz countertops. Quartz will fade or discolor when exposed to UV rays.
- Don’t use marble either. It is too soft of a stone, and will quickly become stained and etched.
- Include some kind of overhead structure – a trellis, a pergola, or a roof – to provide shade. Nobody wants to sit in the hot sun while enjoying their drinks.
- Looking for specifics on building a home bar? Nifty Home Bar has a great post on bar counter heights that you’ll find helpful.
The 5 Best Countertops for an Outdoor Kitchen Bar
Ready to dig into the list? As always, there’s no single “perfect-for-everyone” countertop. We’ve listed the five best, and we’re counting down to number one.
#5 Outdoor Kitchen Bar Countertop – Concrete
Concrete is a popular material choice for an outdoor kitchen and bar counter. It can be customized by adding colorants and embedded objects like sea glass or “sparklies” – like little bits of mirror, for example. It can also be formed into any shape and configuration you’d like.
While concrete counters are heat resistant and incredibly durable, they do have a few drawbacks. The major drawback is the susceptibility to staining. To avoid staining, a protective sealant needs to be applied periodically. So, if you’re looking for a zero maintenance outdoor kitchen bar countertop, keep reading.
The other drawback to concrete counters is the price. They are custom made and labor intensive, so the price reflects that. However, concrete countertops are very DIY-friendly, so that price can come down significantly if you do the work.
#4 Outdoor Kitchen Bar Countertop – Outdoor Quartz
As mentioned earlier, it is not recommended to use quartz as an outdoor kitchen bar top. However, there’s a new product on the scene and designers are very excited by the possibilities!
Caesarstone’s Outdoor Quartz collection offers the durability and low maintenance of quartz in a product that is designed specifically to be used outside. Three colors, in various shades of grey, are currently available. Like traditional quartz, these countertops are scratch resistant and zero maintenance. Sounds like a perfect option for an outdoor kitchen and bar.
#3 Outdoor Kitchen Bar Countertop – Porcelain Slab
We’re all familiar with porcelain. It’s been around for thousands of years, and used in everyday objects like cups, plates, decorative objects, and tiles. But now, it’s available in a large slab format (60″x120″) just like many other countertop materials.
Designs are available that closely mimic the look of marble, granite, and other natural materials. SapienStone has some really lovely white marble options that would look amazing in an outdoor kitchen.
Porcelain countertops are resistant to heat and UV damage, are scratch and etch resistant, and will not burn. Most importantly, it requires no maintenance. That durability makes it a great choice for an outdoor kitchen bar area.
#2 Outdoor Kitchen Bar Countertop – Granite
Granite countertops are the only natural stone countertops on this list. Heat and stain resistant, as well as one of the hardest countertop materials, granite is a favorite for outdoor kitchens. It’s durable, low maintenance, and budget friendly.
Check out our Quick Guide to Granite Countertops for more information on this classic material that is a great choice for an outdoor kitchen with bar counter.
#1 Outdoor Kitchen Bar Countertop – Sintered Stone
Our #1 choice for an outdoor kitchen and bar countertop is sintered stone. Sintering is the process of fusing stone particles together under heat and pressure. The earth created metamorphic rocks by doing this process over thousands of years, and manufacturers are now able to replicate this process in a much shorter time period.
Neolith and Dekton are the two most popular name brands of sintered stone.
Sintered stone, also called Ultracompact Surfaces, has many of the same qualities as a natural stone countertop. They are resistant to scratches, stains, and heat. Additionally, they are UV resistant, non-porous, and require zero maintenance. That all adds up to make this our choice for best countertop.
And, that wraps up our countertop options. Be sure to check out our Countertop Cost Calculator to help with setting your countertop budget and getting some ballpark ideas on the prices of your material choices.
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