If you love hosting and want to make it more convenient, consider installing an outdoor kitchen within your yard. Outdoor kitchens make it easy to cook and serve guests without having to run to and from your house. Additionally, they are perfect for outdoor meals on those picturesque summer days.
When it comes to building an outdoor kitchen, there are various things to consider: the color scheme, placement, appliances, lighting, and countertops. The countertops will be used to prepare and display food, which is why it is important to put a lot of thought into the choice you make. As concrete experts, we might be biased when we say that concrete is a solid choice for a countertop. However, we are not alone in holding this opinion! Learn more about the benefits of choosing concrete as your material for countertops.
Designing Your Outdoor Kitchen
Concrete countertops are becoming a popular alternative to materials like laminate and granite in spaces like workshops, bathrooms, and even outdoor kitchens. They are typically cheaper than granite but still manage to contribute to a pleasing aesthetic.
Before you start choosing finishes for your outdoor kitchen, consider the following:
- Fire safety – Position the grill, stove, and other kitchen appliances away from any flammable structures, and be sure to install a fire extinguisher as well
- Gas safety – Turn off your gas supply when it’s not in use and ensure that any gas connections are properly installed
- Lighting – Be sure to install outdoor-friendly lighting and use LED bulbs to prevent any electrical issues
- Slip hazards – Depending on your set-up, parts of your outdoor kitchen could experience rain, which is why it is important to consider the use of slip-resistant flooring
- Child safety – If there is a possibility that you will have children going through or near your kitchen, be sure to lock any outdoor cabinets and keep any hazardous items out of reach
Benefits of Using Concrete Countertops in Your Design
Once it’s time to start the design work, know that concrete countertops are the perfect addition to your outdoor kitchen because they are visually appealing, durable, and versatile.
Other ways concrete countertops stand out include:
- Customization – Concrete is able to be poured into many shapes and sizes to fit your kitchen’s custom dimensions. This means you can include add-ons like sinks, drainboards, and decorative elements. Additionally, you can embed stones and rocks into the concrete to give it a unique finish that other surfaces might not offer.
- Durability – Known for its hardiness and ability to withstand the elements, concrete is ideal for outdoor kitchen usage. Whether you experience hot temperatures, rain, snow, or freezing temperatures, your concrete countertop will endure if well-maintained.
- Heat-resistance – We all know concrete is able to withstand the sun and humidity on hot summer days, which means it’s also easily able to withstand the heat from hot plates and pans. However, to ensure the longevity of your seal, we recommend using trivets or hot pads.
- Easy to clean – Using mild soap and water to regularly clean your countertops is the perfect way to maintain their appearance without ruining their finish. There’s no need for harsh or abrasive chemicals.
- Affordability – When compared to alternatives, concrete countertops can be slightly more affordable. These numbers will depend on the complexity of the design, level of customization, and time of installation.
Practicing Proper Maintenance
With the addition of concrete countertops comes maintenance requirements. When compared to the alternatives, maintenance is a little different, but not much more laborious or costly. Check out some of these maintenance tips that will result in long-lasting concrete countertops for your outdoor kitchen.
- Wipe up any spills – It is important to clean any spills or food stains immediately upon noticing them to prevent them from seeping into any unsealed areas.
- Use the right products – Using abrasive cleaning products can interfere with the longevity of your concrete seal. Therefore, all that your concrete countertop needs for a cleaner is a mixture of mild soap and water.
- Practice sealing regularly – Regularly sealing your concrete countertops will ensure safer cooking, increase the aesthetic appeal, and lengthen their lifespan.
Our Guide for Sealing Your Concrete Countertops
On average, concrete countertops last anywhere from 10 to 30 years. This range will depend on the maintenance they receive, the quality of materials used to build them, and the amount of wear and tear they experience. Let’s look at what you need when it comes to sealing the concrete countertop in your outdoor kitchen.
- Clean rags
- Paintbrush or foam brush for application
- Plastic sheets or cloths
- Painter’s tape (if needed)
- A food-safe sealer
Steps for Applying Sealer to Your Concrete Countertops
- Sand the surface of your countertop to ensure that it is smooth and ready for an even coat of sealer
- Clean the countertop by removing any dust, debris, or residue from the surface
- Allow the countertop to dry completely
- Cover the cabinets and floors with sheets and tape to avoid the sealer getting on any unwanted areas
- Apply the sealer according to the directions, making sure to add extra coats as needed
- Give the sealer time to dry completely, whether that means a few hours or a few days
- Use your surface as you see fit!
Using UNIQUE Products to Keep Your Outdoor Kitchen in Top Shape
At UNIQUE, we offer a sealer that is nonhazardous, breathable, and ready to use. It also provides an anti-slip grip that ensures safety around your outdoor kitchen. With these qualities in mind, you will find that our sealer is great for use on the concrete floor of your outdoor kitchen or any benches that happen to be made of concrete.
However, the most important element of using a concrete countertop sealer is food safety. For this reason, you’ll want to make sure that the sealer you use specifically defines that it is nontoxic and food-safe. There are two main options available for this: penetrating sealers and film-building sealers.
Based on the desired appearance and function you expect from a sealer, you can then determine whether you are looking for something that offers a high-shine finish, a matte look, or even a wax.
Contact Us Today for Advice on Concrete Sealing
Choosing concrete countertops for your outdoor kitchen is a great way to add style and practicality to your space. Just remember that they require sealing for longevity.
For more information on sealing or maintenance products for concrete, contact us today. We’ll be happy to assist you.