For many of us, outdoor kitchens have been a lifesaver to enjoy the sunshine and cook delicious food with friends and family. However, it’s important to consider the amount of heat and use your countertop receives on a daily basis and plan accordingly to maintain it to the best of your ability. For the most part, folks tend to install granite as their stone of choice for outdoor spaces. It’s durable, resistant, and won’t be as affected by the scorching heat as other stones. If you choose to install a stone other than granite, it may not be as resistant to the elements and long-lasting.
General Maintenance Tips
As with indoor granite countertops, outdoor surfaces require wiping down immediately after spills, a dry surface at all times, use of cutting boards, and avoiding hot pots and pans placed directly on it. It is also recommended to not use household cleaners to prevent any corrosion caused by harsh chemicals. Granite is a tough stone, but keep in mind that it can still be severely scratched and damaged if not properly cared for.
Sealing is incredibly important in an outdoor setting to midgate destruction of any kind. Outdoor countertops are directly exposed to rain, sun, and every element that the exterior of your home typically endures. To some degree, natural fading over time and staining can be expected to occur. Stains can occur easily when preparing food or drinks, and cleaning your surface as you go can help to prevent any long-term damage. It’s advised to use a granite cleaner that is specified in the needs of your stone. When the outdoor kitchen isn’t in use, still make the effort to wipe down all surfaces every once in a while to extend its life as long as possible.
Preventative Methods for Maintaining Outdoor Countertops
The cut down on the number of times you are sealing and cleaning your granite countertops, we recommend keeping your outdoor area covered when the kitchen is not in use. This is especially beneficial if your outdoor kitchen is exposed to sunlight and elements on a daily basis. You can also consider installing a pergola or some kind of overhand to take on the majority of the weather and protect the counters even further. For stone coverings, we’d recommend draping something like a tarp or waterproof product over the counter and appliances to protect the kitchen when the weather is harsh or during the winter when it is used less frequently.
It’s also important to note that not all granite stones are the same. Many will perform differently in various environments and have a range of durability and lifespans. It’s important to test your granite prior to installation to detect moisture absorptions or damage. If the granite is porous and absorbs wet elements, it may be in your best interest to seal it often. Most granite can hold up on its own and combat climatic conditions and doesn’t require sealing initially. The sun and rain will naturally clear the surface of most stains, and fade the pattern of the stone to blend in with itself. After some time has passed, different granite stones will weather at varying rates. Some faster than others. The shiny surface may become worn and less polished over time, but as long as it is being maintained properly, there should be no issues beyond cosmetics.
Designing for the Longevity of Your Countertop
As mentioned, granite comes in many different forms and functionalities. It’s a good idea to choose a stone that will work best with your location and lifestyle. Frequency of use, exposure to elements, design characteristics of current structures, and kinds of activities you will use it for are all things to consider when choosing a granite slab for your outdoor space.
Many experts recommend installing countertops that are lighter in color and more naturally toned. When the sun inevitably fades the stone, the color will still look natural and cohesive with any outdoor space. It won’t be as noticeable if the polish were to wear and the overall tone becomes duller. Some people like putting on a coat of color-enhancer to give the surface a more “wet” look, but it will wear off quickly and might not be worth it.
For any questions regarding maintaining your outdoor countertop surfaces, give our experts a call. We’re happy to help you along the way to achieving your dream outdoor kitchen space!