Selecting Outdoor Kitchen Countertop Surface Finish


I am installing a Stoney Creek Granite countertop on my outdoor kitchen (in New England).

What is the best surface finish type: polished, honed, or flamed?


For the most part the choice of surface finish on granite outdoor kitchen countertops is a matter of personal preference, but here's a few considerations:

A flamed surface is not a great choice for a countertop simply because it is a rough surface that will be much harder to keep clean. A great look for walls and good traction for floors though.

A honed granite finish is fine, but the color won't be as intense. However, it can still look stunning and many like a honed surface finish.

Other than that, there's not a significant difference in performance or countertop care & maintenance. Although, darker colors (particularly black) will show fingerprints and smudges more distinctly on a honed finish.

A polished surface is most popular and a good choice. Very easy to keep clean and polishing will bring out the color and pattern more than any other finish type.

One other factor to ponder that may or may not be an issue is the reflection and glare on a polished finish. This will be more severe than on a honed finish. However, if the kitchen area is covered or shaded, then not an issue.

Really, I wouldn't consider this a major factor, but if leaning toward installing a honed countertop, then this is one more point.

Certainly, a polished granite countertop for an outdoor patio kitchen is the most common. A honed finish is sometimes considered with a marble countertop for maintenance reasons (to hide etching) but this is not an issue with granite.

granite countertop cleanerGood Luck,

P.S. Get all the facts and simple step-by-step solutions to any problem with our Granite & Marble Maintenance Manuals.

Find the recommended best product brands for cleaning marble, sealing, cleaning granite countertops, quartz and all natural stone.

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Outdoor Kitchen Countertop Edges

by Melanie


I was told that the epoxy holding laminated bullnose countertop edges will not hold up for outdoor kitchens and could loosen its hold over time.

Are laminated countertop edges a problem outside?


You were told correctly. The epoxy used to laminate countertop edges to create full bullnose or other "fancy" edge designs is the same for an indoor or outdoor kitchen.

Yes... this epoxy/glue will often degrade outside leading to the edge coming apart. Indoors it will be fine, but UV rays will destroy the epoxy overtime outside.

Laminating countertop edges (adding a strip under the granite countertop slab) is often done to achieve a larger edge profile, which is fine indoors, but should not be done for outdoor kitchen countertops.

A bullnose edge is one you can still have cut on the countertop slab without laminating.

And if you go with a 3cm slab (vs. a 2cm) you'll get that thick edge profile, but the extra cost of the thicker slab may not be worth it to you just for the edge... although that is typically the main reason to install 3cm granite countertops.

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Outdoor Kitchen Countertop Slab Thickness

by Robert Sernowski
(Toronto, Ontario,Canada)


Any issue or problem with installing 3/4" granite vs. using a 1 1/4" granite slab for an outdoor countertop?


No... no problem with 3/4 inch slab. Either size (3/4 in or 2cm - 1 1/4 in or 3cm) is fine to use whether for an indoor or outdoor kitchen design as long as it's installed correctly.

The main reason people go with the thicker countertop slab is to get a larger edge profile without laminating the edge, which you do NOT want to do outside.... laminate the edge that is (see "edge" question above).

So, go with a standard edge on a 1 1/4 (3cm) slab or if you are fine with a thin edge profile, then go with the 3/4.... which will be cheaper!

You'll also need to use a plywood substrate over the base / cabinets to properly support the thinner 2 cm (3/4 inch) countertop slab.

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Custom Outdoor Kitchen Countertop Design

by Jon Woods
(Yakima, WA)


I have some fun outdoor kitchen plans for our countertop and bar area.

I'd like to embed some sand dollars into the countertop, then seal it with an epoxy.

We get direct sunlight all the seasons with summer average temp of 92 degrees. Do you have any ideas?


It's common to embed objects in concrete countertops. So, that's one idea.

Or you could drill out holes or insets in a granite countertop in which to place the shells or any other objects. This may not be too elegant a solution though.

Another thought is that limestone countertops will often have shells and other fossils naturally embedded within the stone for a similar look.

For embedding the sand dollars in a concrete countertop you'll certainly want to hire a skilled craftsman experienced with placing objects in the countertop though.

One drawback of concrete countertops for outdoor kitchens is that any coloring you add to the concrete will likely fade and turn yellowish with prolonged exposure to sunlight.

Newer concrete stains resist yellowing and are more promising for outdoor use though, so if you go this route be sure to do your research.

Embedding objects in granite or other stone surfaces is possible, but not really practical especially outdoors.

After placing the sand dollars in the drilled-out indents, you'll have to fill these with some type of clear acrylic or epoxy.

You may find a suitable substance, but most epoxies and such will also yellow and break down under UV exposure. So, in time these fillings would likely deteriorate and you'd be left with a nice granite countertop ruined with a bunch of indents.

And again, even if the clear filler didn't deteriorate, this may not look so spiffy.

Indoors you could make a wood box that sand dollars, shells, etc. could sit in and cover it with a thick glass. This would not likely work too well outside unless you could seal all the joints really well.

Your best bet is to go with concrete countertops for this idea, although I'd urge you to think twice and consider all pros and cons when choosing your countertop material for an outdoor kitchen.

Recognize the issues with concrete stains and general maintenance. Etching from acidic foods/drinks (soda, wine, mustard, bbq sauces, etc.) will cause dull spots on the surface and concrete is rather easy to scratch as well.

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Granite Outdoor Kitchen Countertop Overhang Support


We live in South Florida and have installed a very large outdoor kitchen with granite countertops and a raised portion that overhangs.

I am wondering if we should used painted wood corbels or brackets to support a 10-inch overhang?

Also, how far apart should the supports be placed?


The use of corbels doesn't change with outdoor kitchen countertops vs. those indoors. The same physics still apply of course.

But, there is a bit of judgment when to use them and how to space them depending on your outdoor kitchen plans for:
  • The length of overhang

  • The length of the run that overhangs

  • The desired seating arrangement

  • The granite slab thickness (2cm vs. 3cm)

The overhang rule is that 2/3rds of the countertop slab must be supported. The idea here is that the weight and span of the entire slab is safely supported and that in this ratio (no more than 1/3 overhang) the length (or depth) and weight of the supported area will sufficiently counterbalance the overhang.

corbel styles for granite countertop overhangs

A second factor that must be considered is slab thickness. The above rule applies overhang length limits governed by the slab size as follows:

For 3cm (1 1/4 inch) slab: the overhang can go up to 10 inches without corbels. Sometimes even a 12-inch overhang can be safe if the run (length of edge) isn't very long and the 12 inches is less than a third (1/3) of the supported area. No need to take risks though.

For 2cm (3/4 inch) slab: an overhang should not extend more than 6 inches without support. Although, with these thin slabs a plywood underlayment is often used which can provide sufficient support up to 10 inches without adding corbels.

So, a 10-inch overhang can go without corbels on a countertop that is at least 40 inches deep (i.e. 30 inches or 2/3rds would be supported by cabinets).

Often raised bar tops are not very deep, though. For instance... the entire bar top may only be 18-20 inches on top of a 6-inch raised pony wall.

Thus, even if you position a 3cm bar top on the pony wall to have a 10-inch overhang it cannot go unsupported.

This set-up violates the 2/3rds rule since only 6 inches will be supported (by the wall) with 10 inches overhanging. Not enough support. Corbels are required. Make sense?

Most raised bar tops need corbels.

Number of corbels and spacing depends on:
  • The "run" or length of the edge

  • Material and design of the corbel

  • Design and construction of the cabinets / base

Ideal would be corbels placed at each end (3 or 4 inches from end) and then a corbel every 24 inches through the middle. This allows ample space for each seat at a standard 24-inch width.

For instance on a 10-inch overhang... a 2-seat bar (24 inches wide per seat) would have 3 corbels and a 3-seat bar = 4 corbels... and so on.

But again... the type of corbel used and the construction and sturdiness of the cabinets or outdoor kitchen base will also dictate spacing.

Larger overhangs (12-18") will typically require closer spacing, and the cabinets must afford good anchor points. Anchor points will vary depending on corbel design.

So, there are rules and guidelines, but also each case is a bit of a puzzle. Best to err on the side of caution and make overhang support extra-beefy than risk a crack in the granite countertop.

Corbel and overhang bracing designs are vastly improved over the standard triangle corbel of old.

Several companies offer various designs using heavy gauge flat steel, bars that simply extend under the countertop, or bands bent in an "L" without the angled bar (see photo examples above).

Overhang brackets and braces can be integrated into the cabinet or pony wall or attached on the outside.

These designs offer excellent support, while keeping out of view and eliminating the dreaded knee-banging!

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Plywood Under Granite Outdoor Kitchen Countertop

by Cici
(Miami, Fl)


Can you put plywood under a granite counter top for a kitchen outdoors?


Yes you can, but there isn't necessarily a need to so long as the outdoor kitchen cabinets effectively support the granite countertop.

Now, if you are installing a tile countertop outdoors, then yes you will need a surface to lay the tiles on.

Be sure to use marine-grade plywood and cover with a waterproof membrane to keep water/moisture away from the plywood otherwise it will rot and warp in time.

Not as big an issue with a granite slab, but with a granite tile outdoor kitchen countertop water is more likely to find it's way to the plywood, so the membrane is important.

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Outdoor Kitchen Tile Countertop Substrate

by Steve
(New Hampshire)


We plan to build outdoor kitchen counter top substrate using 3/4" outdoor rated plywood.

The counter will have a roof over it. The tile will be 2"x 2" porcelain (1/4" - 5/16" thick).

Do I need to put a cement backer board down?

Or can I simply put a 1/8" thick layer of Thinset (with additive) and let it fully cure, then install the tile using the normal notched trowel method of laying down Thinset and tile?

Trying to avoid the cement backer board hassle... if I have to use a backer material how thick and what type?

Note we are in a winter climate state (NH) but the counter will have a solid roof over it...


Yeah, installing cement backer board can be a pain, but this is not a project you ever want to have to do over.

Cement backer board or a waterproof membrane is needed.

So, using a "waterproof" (not just moisture resistant like "outdoor" plywood) cement backer is one way to do it. This works.

However, you can go another route and cover the plywood base with a waterproof membrane and then tile over it with granite or porcelain tile. Ceramic tile is okay in hot, dry environments.

You really should be using 1 1/8" marine grade plywood substrate though when you build outdoor kitchens.

If you lived in a dry climate like Arizona, I'd say you could probably get away with just the plywood if you also sealed/painted the plywood.

But you live in NH and even with a roof the plywood will be subjected to plenty of moisture, which will take it's toll.

"Outdoor" plywood will still rot when exposed to moisture long enough. The only difference is that it's made with a water-proof glue, so you need to properly protect it with a long-lasting durable paint outdoors (before laying the waterproof cement backer or membrane).

So, your outdoor kitchen plans should definitely include attaching a waterproof layer (backer or membrane) to the plywood.

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Outdoor Kitchen Island & Bartop

by Ingrid Mckinstry
(Homer, Alaska, USA)


We are building an outdoor kitchen island of 36 inches high by 115 inches with a bar going up on the opposite side of the stove of 42 1/2 inches.

I think the total width of the island and bar is around 45 inches depending how wide we decide to make the bar part.

The stove will slide into the island with an 18 inch cabinet on the left and several cabinets and drawers on the right ( total of 55 inches long) giving us a nice workspace. The stove is about 25 inches deep.

The outdoor kitchen plans call for the bar to come off behind the stove and is a bout 67.5 inches long, leaving 37 inches on the left of the island to work on ( big cutting and work area) We are struggling to decide on the width of the bar.

We want at least a 13 inch overhang, as I am tall and want to get my legs comfortably under the bar. We want a cabinet under the bar for extra outdoor kitchen storage.

The question is how big of a cabinet to build under the breakfast bar to make it functional and looking good. If we make it 7 inches deep than the total bar surface will be 7 + 13 = 20 inches. We could make it a cabinet of 12 inches which would give us a bar surface of 25 inches.

We have enough space to do it but I am afraid that a 25 inch wide bar is going to look kind of top heavy with the lower part of the island being only 25 inches wide as well.

Any suggestions on what would work and look the best? Ingrid


Yes, Ingrid I think the 25" bar top would look top-heavy. I'd go with the 7" deep cabinet and the 20" bar top.

Be sure to provide adequate support for the outdoor kitchen bar top overhang using sturdy, well-anchored corbels.

You have a couple options here. If you use the standard "L" shaped corbels with diagonal support you'll want to keep them at the ends and maybe one in the middle, but positioned so you won't be banging your knees all the time.

The better option is more of a DIY solution using thick, flat iron bars bent into an "L" without the diagonal support.

You can put 4 of these under the overhang providing very sturdy support without ever banging your knees and they are less visible.

Be sure to ckeck out the outdoor kitchen planning and building pages for more ideas and important tips and... have fun with your project!

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Outdoor Kitchen Exhaust Fan

by Sandy Vieille
(Tampa, Fla)

It will look like this outdoor kitchen

It will look like this outdoor kitchen


We are building an outdoor kitchen. We have purchased a 33 inch outdoor barbeque with 48000 BTUs and the entire kitchen will be under roof on our lanai.

Do we require an exhaust fan / blower for this installation?

If so, can we use 300CFM vs 600 CFM. We currently use a portable CharBroil grill and have never had any damage to our lanai ceiling.

The exhaust/blower is not required by our county.


Sandy, certainly you want to ensure a safe grilling area and being overly-cautious is always a good idea.

That said... if you currently grill under the lanai without any unpleasant smoke build-up or damage to the ceiling, then it's not likely to change unless you change how and what you typically cook in your outdoor kitchen. And a fan will add noise.

High heat pan frying/stir frying will create a lot of smoke, but if you are usually grilling meats and veggies then you should be fine.

Also, if in the future you do find it too smoky a fan is something that can be added to the outdoor kitchen fairly easily. If you do decide to do it, I'd go with the 600 cfm. The 300 is likely to be too weak.

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Dishwashers & Ice Makers For Outdoor Kitchens

by Lisa


What are the best dishwasher and ice-maker brands to use for an outdoor patio kitchen?

Which will last the longest?


For an ice maker, Kalamazoo is a well respected brand for outdoor kitchen appliances. They have a high capacity ice maker that is great for parties. U-line, Viking, Lynx and DCS are good too.

Which will last the longest? Well, all are sturdy and rated/made for outdoor kitchens, so they should last years as long as they are installed properly and well cared for.

Outdoor Kitchen Dishwasher

Right now no company makes a dishwasher rated for outdoor use. Many people/companies install indoor dishwashers, but they do not last (maybe a year).

Fisher Paykel is supposed to be coming out with an outdoor rated dishwasher soon, but not sure exactly when. Fisher Paykel does not have the best repair record though (according to Consumer Reports) but other brands are sure to follow.

Probably best to design your outdoor kitchen for a dishwasher, but wait to purchase one that is made for outdoor use.

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Best Outdoor Kitchen Dishwasher Brand

by Howard Smith
(Gladwyne, PA)


What brand do you recommend for an outdoor kitchen dishwasher? Thank you


Honestly, I wouldn't recommend you put one in as of yet. Fisher Paykel/DCS is supposed to be making a dishwasher rated for outdoors, but don't think they have it yet.

You can put a regular indoor dishwasher in of course, but they just don't seem to last outdoors.

If you really want a dishwasher for your outdoor kitchen, then just leave a space for it for now or buy a cheap one. Maybe you'll get a summer or two out of it.

Not too satisfying I know, but that's the state of the industry on dishwashers right now.

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Outdoor Kitchen Cabinet Door Design

by John
(San Angelo, TX)


How do I frame out the space for outdoor kitchen cabinet doors beneath my barbeque grill and sink?

How do I go about putting stainless steel doors on that I am seeing in all of the pictures is what I am getting at?


The stainless steel doors are typically part of a total unit insert that includes a frame for the door.

In other words, when you see outdoor kitchen cabinets with stainless steel doors, it isn't just a door attached to the cabinet framing, etc.

It's either an entire cabinet that has been inserted into an opening framed specifically to fit that piece or it's a just a door, but likewise constructed to be inserted into the appropriate size cut-out and secured.

So, you simply need to locate and buy whatever cabinet size or door you are wanting to install, and then construct your base frame to allow for the depth of the insert and for the height and width.

Most often the door frame has a lip that extends out to cover the gap between the masonry or wood frame and the stainless steel door.

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Outdoor Kitchen Countertop Base Design

by Pankaj K Mandalia
(Las Vegas, NV, USA)


Hello, I've installed a bunch of outdoor kitchen appliances (grill, sink, garbage disposal, stove, griddle and a refrigerator) around my back yard bbq.

What I am missing is a long 12-foot place for family and guests to sit and enjoy the outdoor cooked food.

We do have a table but its not the same as having a countertop with bar stools and everyone enjoying while one person cooks!

So, I have been grappling with the idea of making a cabinet/countertop/bar type sitting place.

My specifications are as under:

Length: Total length 12 ft (144 inches)

Width: Total width (This will be split between counter top and plate setting bar height): 24 inch normal height counter + 18 inch plate setting bar height. This will run for the entire 12 feet.

Height: Inner side is normal counter height (36inches? )and outside height is bar height (44 inches?). I really need help here on the height because I have never done a project like this before. I intend to use standard bar chairs on the outside.

My biggest challenge is how to construct the frame that will accommodate this L x W x H.

Also, I intend to place 4 stainless steel cabinets with doors each one being a 36 inch cabinet to accommodate storage on the inside for the counter height area.

I will jazz up the outside and sides of this box with marble tiles or something similar. The counter top and bar top will be granite.

No electrical/plumbing connections are required on this box.

The only pizzazz thing I would like to add is one outside end being round with a larger diameter to make it look like more of a kitchen area than a box.

The other end of the box will be butted against the refrigerator end leaving room to open the fridge. Do you have any plans/ideas on how to construct this base for the outdoor kitchen countertop and the pre-fab stainless steel cabinets? Thank you!


Well if the stainless steel boxes are really 36" tall (normal would be around 34"), then you're going to have tall countertops.

Normal countertop height is 32 to 36 inches. If you have a really tall family then going to 37 or even 38 inches may work, but probably better to keep the granite countertop at 36 inches.

Possibly you mean 36" wide.

Standard bar top height at 42 inches, but 44 inches could work with extra tall 33-34" bar stools. "Standard" bar stools are 30 inches tall.

You don't have to get too fancy constructing the outdoor kitchen base. You need 3 walls, a top surface to attach the granite to and presumably a floor to support the SS boxes (unless they have legs) You do want it VERY sturdy and anchored to the ground to hold all that granite safely.

Really, if you are going to add tiles to the vertical surfaces, then 2 x 4's and plywood will work just fine. Just use plenty of cross-bracing.

The one problem here is that even using marine-grade plywood, sealing and painting the wood well, if it is on the ground, eventually it will rot out, so you'll want a different base material.

Are you a welder? A steel frame would be great. You could easily anchor the base to the ground and surround it with 1/4" plywood for your tile decorations. Slide the stainless steel cabinets into it.

I'd recommend you decide who you will use to cut and install your granite countertops (not a DIY job) and have them come survey your current set-up and get their ideas about what will work best.

granite countertop cleanerGood Luck,

P.S. Get all the facts and simple step-by-step solutions to any problem with our Granite & Marble Maintenance Manuals.

Find the recommended best product brands for cleaning marble, sealing, cleaning granite countertops, quartz and all natural stone.

Click here to post comments

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