What’s the Best Stone For Outdoor Kitchen Countertops?

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an example of the best stone for outdoor kitchen countertops showing a cream kitchen with a steel grill

Choosing the best stone for an outdoor kitchen countertop is essential for food safety and the beauty of your cooking space. Poor material will stain, scratch, etch and eventually make your outdoor kitchen look lackluster.

The best stones for an outdoor kitchen are granite and quartzite (not quartz). These stones are the most resistant to high temperatures, staining, etching, and scratching. They’re also stunning to look at and come in hundreds of brilliant patterns and colors.

Other available options are slate, soapstone, basaltina, sandstone, and marble. While I’ll touch on alternatives, I’m going to focus on my top picks so you can get to a solid purchase faster.

If you’re worried about staying in your budget or not being able to check the stone’s quality yourself, don’t worry. Below you’ll find a table with stone type comparisons, as well as easy tests you can run on both sample slabs and countertops you already own.

What’s the Best Stone for Outdoor kitchen Countertops?

Another example of the best stone for outdoor kitchen countertops showing shiny gray and white granite counters
Outdoor kitchen with a stone multilevel countertop

Stone may seem tough enough to hold up to chopping or wiping, but not all types work with an outdoor space. Some of them are porous, crack easily and even change color from sun exposure.

Below is a table that shows each stone type, its features, and its common price range. I only chose the stones that can be used in outdoor kitchen countertops.

Resistant to high temperatures*********************
Resistant to staining**************
Resistant to etching*****************
Resistant to scratching********No (also easy to dent)*****
Require sealing?NoNoNoNo (but needs oiling)YesYesYes
Wide color range?2500+ color and patternsYesYesLimitedNoLimitedYes
Price range per sq. ft.$45 – $200$70 – $200 $65 – $115 $70 – $120 $30 – $90 $20 – $60$40 – $200

There are plenty of additional factors to take into consideration before picking stone for your outdoor kitchen, like:

  • What is your day-to-day lifestyle like?
  • Are you going to use your outdoor kitchen often?
  • Are you okay with regular cleaning and maintenance?
  • Do you prefer style, durability, or somewhere in-between?
  • Are you careful with your countertops or do you need a little more toughness?

Let’s look at me as an example. I’m not the ‘constantly cleaning and careful’ type, so my countertop needs to be pretty tough. For me, this is the most important factor when purchasing — I wouldn’t have fun using a space where I have to be hyperaware of my actions all the time!

So, for me, there are four stones to choose from for countertops: granite, quartzite, slate, and soapstone.

The best of these four are granite and quartzite, as soapstone and slate are still not resistant to scratches. Let’s take a look at all of them below.

an example of spotted black and white granite for an outdoor kitchen countertop

Granite is widely considered the best stone for outdoor kitchen countertops and for good reason – its features are hard to beat. It’s resistant to staining, etching, and scratching.

Sadly, it’s not resistant to cracking, so you’ll have to be very careful when having it installed. One slip could cause serious damage to your purchase, which you’ll need a professional to fix.

It comes in a variety of incredible colors and patterns, though – 2500+, to be (sort of) exact! Cleaning and maintenance are easy since they usually don’t require any sealing.

No material is perfect, but, for me, granite earned its spot as the best stone for outdoor kitchen countertops.

an example of black and gold quartzite kitchen countertops

Quartzite is also an excellent choice for the outdoor kitchen since it’s very resistant to etching and scratching. It usually comes in lighter colors, though, so the stains may occur.

The downside is that quartzite is still a little porous, which means it soaks up liquids like a sponge. It’s also very heavy, so you’ll likely need help to install it.

Overall, the maintenance of this material is low and cleaning is easy. You’ll also have plenty of colors and patterns to pick from, making it a flexible choice for many outdoor kitchen finishes.

an example of pale gray and cream slate for outdoor kitchen countertops

You can put hot pans on slate and it’s not going to scorch. This material is also anti-bacterial, which means it won’t grow mold or mildew.

On the other hand, scratches can still occur. It can also crack under excess weight. There aren’t as many color options compared to other types of stone, either. If you have a particular color or style you want, this option will be far from the best stone for outdoor kitchen countertops.

Slate countertops also tend to ‘weather’ outside, which means they fade from the sun. If you are not into a material that ‘ages with grace’, this detail will be another huge drawback.

Emerging psychological studies connect color with our day-to-day moods. In other words, if you want to feel satisfied with your stone countertop, you need to find a proper balance between aesthetic and the maintenance you’re willing to put in.

While slate’s anti-bacterial properties are very appealing in a cooking environment, you may eventually grow dissatisfied with its limited color or its tendency to scratch. If that sounds like you, I’d recommend granite or quartzite instead.

an example of dark gray soapstone with thin white grooves for outdoor countertops

Soapstone is an interesting solution, as it looks awesome and still has pretty good features. It’s resistant to staining and etching, but is still one of the softer stones on this list.

Since it’s not as dense as quartzite or granite, it’s very prone to dents and scratches. Exposing it to water is also going to change its color in time, so I recommend oiling it to retain consistent color all over.

Now that you’ve got a good idea on the best stone for outdoor kitchen countertops, it’s time to look at their variety in prices – from $45 up to $200 per sq. ft. I’d say to go for the most durable solutions from your price range, but I have friends who don’t mind being extra careful while cooking and cooking, so it’s absolutely up to you.

If you’re considering stone as a finish for your frames, every stone from the list should do okay.

It’s important to note that these general specifications can still have exceptions. For example, even some types of granite can be a little porous and not as durable as you’d like.

Thankfully, there’s a way to figure out if the slabs picked for your outdoor kitchen countertop are going to work for you.

How to Check the Quality of Your Stone Slab

two hands creating lemon juice on a smooth cream countertop next to a cutting board, striped towel and several lemons

The best stone for outdoor kitchen countertops needs to hold up to everyday materials. It’s time for the lemon juice and oil test (yes, these innocent kitchen materials can damage low-quality surfaces).

This test should only be performed on a slab, not a ready kitchen countertop. You don’t want to damage the surface polish of any calcite-based stones.

To perform the test, all you’ll need is lemon juice, oil and a clock.

  1. Create a dime-sized drop of lemon juice, then another of oil.
  2. Look at the stone surface through drops. If it gets dark right away, the stone is absorbent and shouldn’t be used in an outdoor kitchen.
  3. Is the juice fizzing and bubbling instead? This means your stone contains calcite and shouldn’t be used in an outdoor kitchen.
  4. If the stone gets darker in 4 – 15 minutes, it can be used in an outdoor kitchen, but you’ll need to apply sealer.
  5. Ideally, your stone shouldn’t darken in 30 minutes (or even longer).
  6. One last double-check: wipe away your drops and look where the lemon juice was applied. Is the spot dull? If yes, do not use the slab.

This test is wonderful when you’re looking for an ideal slab and want to double-check quality on your terms. But what if you already have a countertop that needs to be checked?

How to Check the Quality of an Outdoor Kitchen Countertop You Already Have?

a hand holding a cup of water against a white background

You could already have some of the best stone for outdoor kitchen countertops under your nose! The water test helps you figure out how many layers of sealer should be applied to your purchase (if any).

This time all you need is a cup of water and a clock:

  1. Make a dime-sized drop of the water, then watch closely.
  2. If the stone starts to darken immediately it’s not good! Multiple layers of sealer need to be applied yearly. Also, spills need to be wiped up quickly.
  3. Did your stone turn darker after 4-5 minutes? That is a way better result. Still, multiple layers of sealer need to be applied every 3-5 years, but staining shouldn’t be a big issue.
  4. Did the surface darken after 10 – 15 minutes? That’s pretty good! One layer of sealer is all you need to apply.
  5. If your stone didn’t darken until the 30-minute mark (or never)? You are the lucky owner of an excellent quality outdoor kitchen countertop!

The best stone for outdoor kitchen countertops doesn’t have to be ‘perfect’. If your stone needs a little help, you can find some extra sealer ideas here.

Which Stones Should You Avoid in Your Outdoor Kitchen?

dark green ivy in front of a white outdoor kitchen countertop

If you have an outdoor kitchen that isn’t covered, consider installing lighter shades of stone. Dark stones can get very hot from UV rays, making them painful to touch (and potentially melting any thin plastic items placed on them like bags or straws).

Lighter colors aren’t foolproof, though! While light colors won’t grow nearly as hot as dark colors, the flipside is they’re more likely to stain. If you’re a big fan of wine or coffee, be careful in your kitchen.

And the most important one: before picking a stone that is calcite-based, even if it’s ridiculously beautiful, it’s worth thinking twice. The tradeoff with the beautiful appearance is a high risk of scratching, etching, and staining that won’t look in a few years.

Got a better idea on the best stone for outdoor kitchen countertops now? Below are a few extra articles that’ll help you finish your project in style:

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