8 Outdoor Countertop Surface Materials

Lead Image
What You'll Need
Glazed ceramic tiles
Stone tiles
Bluestone or limestone slabs
Bricks and flagstones

An outdoor countertop is a pleasant place to prepare dinner in hot weather, the perfect addition to a grilling area, or a great place to eat with your family. Besides location and style, the material that makes up the countertop is one of the most important decisions you can make. Things to consider include look, effort for upkeep, and difficulty of installation. Expense is also a consideration, but choosing the best materials means you will have an outdoor countertop available to you for many years to come.

1. Polymer

Polymers are plastic composites. Their advantage is that they resist stains and weather and do not require a substrate to support them. While they are readily available, other materials may create a more appealing look for your outside countertop.

2. Glazed Ceramic Tile

Several different ceramic tiles

Ceramic tile is the standard favorite for any countertop. It is available in almost any color, shape, and size, and the tile is easy to clean and stain resistant. However, tile grout requires sealing to keep it neat, and a substrate must be provided for this surface. The substrate must be weather-resistant as well since water can percolate down to it and damage any surface not designed to survive outside.

3. Stone Tile

Stone provides a strong, solid working surface. Issue with stain and water resistance can be solved with regular applications of a sealant. Choose a stone that is solid enough and stain-resistant enough to make a good working surface so you have less to maintain later. Also remember that with any surface that is not a single component you will need a weather-resistant substrate to place the tile on.

4. Granite

A close-up of granite counters

Granite is both solid and beautiful. It comes in a wide variety of colors and shades, often with speckles and flecks of quartz that will sparkle in the sun. No substrate is required because granite is solid enough to support itself and can be installed in one piece. Because of the weight of a granite countertop, it is best installed by a professional. A sealant is required to keep water and stains out of the granite surface.

5. Slate

Slate is a solid, natural material that requires less care than granite. It is less porous than other materials so it resists stains very well. It can be cleaned with standard household cleaners, though mineral oil will impart a nice shine. Like granite, slate is solid enough not to require a substrate.

6. Stone Slab

The most popular materials beside slate and granite are bluestone and limestone. No substrate is required, and an ordinary slab is usually cut at three inches thick.

7. Concrete

Concrete can be poured in a variety of colors and textures. It can be poured in place over a substrate or the slab can be poured elsewhere and lifted into place without a substrate. With practice this can be done yourself, or you can hire an experienced concrete artist. The concrete will require a sealant to resist water and stains.

8. Brick and Flagstone

While these are normally considered materials for walkways, there are varieties that are hard enough to be used as a countertop. Brick and flagstone will require a sealant as it is a porous material. It is not as easy to maintain, but brick and flagstone will provide a unique, rustic look that may fit in well with your overall outdoor decor.