Some of us have been dreaming of that beautiful outdoor kitchen for ages. And now, it’s time to build!
But what materials are best for building them? Can you use a granite countertop? Or is there a better countertop material?
Is a Granite Countertop a Good Idea for Outdoor Kitchens?
A granite countertop for your outdoor kitchen is a great idea! Granite is one of the most popular stone top choices for outdoor kitchens for several reasons, not the least of which is the aesthetic appeal. Granite is durable, beautiful, and one of the easier surfaces to clean and keep sanitary while in use.
Pros of a Granite Countertop for Outdoor Kitchens
All right, so granite is a great idea for outdoor kitchen use, but why? It’s gorgeous, sure, but won’t it get ruined outside?
Let’s take a look at the pros of using granite in your outdoor kitchen space.
Granite is Stone – Meaning It’s Durable and Resilient
First off, granite is literally stone. It comes from the outdoors! Where better to use it than in its “natural” environment?
Okay, so in countertop form, granite is tweaked to work in the setting, so there are definitely some things you need to do to keep it in great shape.
Nonetheless, granite is durable, resilient, and long-lasting.
Granite is the least porous of stones used for countertops and can be sealed by the manufacturer using a specialized liquid that penetrates the stone’s pores.
After the liquid cures, the granite is sealed and moisture can’t infiltrate the countertop material.
You will need to reapply the sealer every so often, not nearly as often as marble or quartz requires it!
Granite Can Withstand the Elements Better Than Other Stones and Materials
When granite is properly sealed, the stone can withstand all the elements, including rain, snow, and hail.
This means that though you want to winterize your kitchen, the granite, at least, won’t inherently suffer from being outdoors.
Granite Doesn’t Easily Chip or Crack
Some countertop surfaces chip and crack pretty easily, making them only suitable for indoor use.
But granite is one of those materials that can truly endure the many hazards of outdoor cooking.
Being a strong stone, the granite can handle hailstones, impacts, fallen limbs, and the regular wear and tear of your family’s use of the countertops.
And, if by some chance the granite is damaged, there’s something called granite dust that can be mixed in with a special epoxy to fix the damage.
Granite Can Handle Heat and Sunlight
Another great thing about granite is that it can handle sunlight and heat.
Granite won’t melt or warp under high heat – even if you place hot pans or utensils directly on the granite without a trivet.
Granite can also absorb that heat, thus cooling your pans faster, which helps make your kitchen even safer.
Natural granite will not fade in the sunlight, either. If your countertop changes colors any, it’s because of dyes used in the granite itself, which can become darker.
If you buy high quality granite and regularly seal it, this shouldn’t be an issue.
Granite Can Be Polished for a High, Lovely Shine
If you like to keep that countertop shining and looking like new, it’s easy to keep it that way! Just polish with granite polish and keep it sealed.
When Cared For, Granite Doesn’t Stain
As long as you keep your granite sealed, the stone won’t get stained by stray BBQ sauce, mishaps, or water.
Cons of a Granite Countertop for Outdoor Kitchens
There are, of course, some negatives to granite as well, though most can be addressed fairly simply.
Granite Must Be Sealed to Protect it From the Elements
While it doesn’t have to be sealed as often as other stones, granite does still require regular sealing to keep it safe from stains, water damage, and other issues.
Thawing season is when granite is particularly susceptible to any foul weather changes, so be sure to keep an eye on it as the weather starts to warm.
Granite Sealant May Be Damaged by Extreme Heat
Though granite itself can withstand high temperatures, the sealant may not fair as well.
Because of this, you’ll need to seal the granite often if you directly place hot objects (like pans straight from the grill) onto the granite surface.
You Should Not Use Your Granite as a Cutting Surface
Even though it’s tempting, granite should not be used as a cutting surface.
The reason is two-fold: granite sealant can be harmed by the sharp blades and this can allow moisture into the granite. Secondly, granite will dull your knife blades.
You Cannot Use Vinegar or Bleach on Granite
If you’re concerned about germs on your granite, you may not like to hear it, but you can’t use basically anything other than soap and water to clean it.
Anything harsher can damage the sealant and leave the granite susceptible.
How to Choose the Right Granite Countertop for Use Outdoors
When you’re choosing granite for outdoor use, consider these things.
- Select slabs that don’t have much veining. This indicates the granite will have a lot of epoxies and fillers in it and won’t do well in sunlight.
- You should also avoid darker granite colors. These retain heat and make it more likely you’ll burn your hands. Pans also won’t cool as quickly when placed on dark granite.
- If you’re building multiple counters or need multiple slabs, choose slabs that are taken from the same quarry. This will help make the granite patterns as consistent as possible.
- And if you want the granite to match a rustic look, aim for granite with a honed finish instead of a polished finish. This will blend in better.
How to Protect Outdoor Granite Countertops in Winter
There are a few things you’ll want to do to protect your granite in wintertime.
- Before you winterize your granite, be sure to thoroughly clean the granite with soap and water. Let it dry completely before moving on to the next steps.
- Start with sealing the granite before the first hard frost. This will help to keep the granite protected against the wintry winds and rains or snows all season long.
- If you have a cover that you can secure over the granite, go ahead and do that! It will help keep the sealant issue free and keep the surface protected.
- If you notice water, ice, or other moisture collecting on the granite top during the winter, gently melt the ice with lukewarm water. As soon as the stone is cleared of the ice, dry the top thoroughly with a clean rag and cover the countertop again.
What Do Granite Outdoor Kitchen Countertops Cost?
Granite is considered a mid to high-range countertop material, depending on the quality of granite purchased.
The average cost is between $50 and $100 per square foot.
This can change depending on where you live, of course.
The average cost of an outdoor kitchen in the United States, according to Google, runs between $5,057 on the low end, $13,176 for mid-range (average), and $17,276 on the higher end.
At the very high end, you’ll likely spend $40,750 total for your high-end outdoor kitchen.