Outside living spaces are becoming increasingly important family spaces to relax and entertain – including the ability to prepare and cook delicious food in the outdoor setting. Outdoor kitchens are fully functional kitchens that are built outside of a home, often close to a grill or fire pit.
Outdoor kitchen cabinets are a great addition to any home, but it is important that the appropriate materials be used in order for them to function properly and stand up against the weather.
To help you when deciding what materials to use for your outdoor kitchen cabinets, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common materials, as well as their pros and cons, so that you can decide what’s best for your situation.
Composite is a material that has become increasingly popular in recent years, and we can definitely see why! It’s made up of 80% recycled materials. That means it’s environmentally friendly and promotes sustainability. Composite also features an attractive grain pattern which will make your kitchen cabinetry look even more appealing than before when you install them outdoors. This material is available in many colors including white, black, browns and greys as well as the ability to custom order color online or through a distributor for no additional charge if you have the dimensions ready (which they’ll need). Another pro with composite cabinets is that they’re easy to maintain – there are no worries about water damage since composites are waterproof! The only thing you should be aware of is that the composite cabinets will eventually wear out and need to be replaced, but they’re much more durable than any wood or metal alternative.
For example, Elementa Outdoor Modular Kitchens are an Australian company that is known for their composite modular cabinets. They offer high quality, durable and affordable outdoor kitchen cabinetry in a variety of styles to suit your needs.
Composites are durable and easy to maintain! They’re also environmentally friendly because they are made from recycled materials. Most composite cabinets come with a UV-resistant finish to protect against sun, rain and temperature variations.
Brick, Stucco Or Masonry
The masonry approach generally consists of starting with metal frames. They can incorporate cement blocks and then covered in brick, stucco, or stone. You can put appliances in them and they are one-piece structures that are built on site.
Pros of Masonry
- Weather factors and elements don’t really affect the sturdiness of these structures.
It has a substantial, built-in appearance. In this instance, it is a personal taste thing. (For some, it may be an advantage or detriment.)
Cons of Masonry
- It is a labor-intensive build, with the natural consequence that more labor hours will also mean a more expensive outcome.
- It requires more effort to install and is outside the DIY capabilities of many people.
- A masonary approach tends to use up a lot of space, so interior space can be limited due to the bulkiness of the main structure.
- Due to the tendency towards bulkiness, is some settings, the whole thing can look bulky, clunky, and out of place on your deck or another outdoor living area.
- In addition to the exterior materials, the homeowner must pay for the skeleton of the building and for the actual components of the cabinetry. This can significantly add up cost wise.
- Outdoor kitchens do not come out of the box like this. You need to get them custom made.
Basically, HDPE is a plastic material. In contrast to PVC and urethane foam, it has some great properties suitable for the purpose.
An example of a company that produces high quaility HDPE based outdoor kitchen cabinets is Outdoor Cabinets Direct. They are a Florida based company that manufactures outdoor cabinets and outdoor kitchens that are 100% weatherproof that were originally designed for the yachting industry, so are therefore designed to withstand harsh environmental conditions.
Pros of HDPE/Polymer
- It is a very durable material that resists flame and UV damage.
- It comes in many colors, including black which helps to make the outdoor kitchen more attractive.
- The thickness of HDPE materials range from standard .25mm up to hefty 12 mm for added durability.
- HDPE can be easily cleaned. To clean it, hose it down or use a mild soap and water combination.
- You don’t need to worry about corrosion with this material if you use corrosion-resistant attaching hardware.
- Water cannot penetrate HDPE, so you can use it in humid climates as well.
- The HDPE material is stain-resistant.
- HDPE offers a beautiful, rich, natural feel similar to wood.
Cons of HDPE/Polymer
- With this material, you may find your color options a bit limited. Depending on the space, this may or may not be a big issue.
- Due to the fact that it’s made of petrochemicals, this product isn’t the most environmentally friendly option.
- Although the material is somewhat fire resitant, combustible materials are used. It is crucial for homeowners to use stainless steel insulating sleeves with HDPE.
- Temperature fluctuations can affect the material. Bowing and rigidity are to be expected over time.
Wood is often the first material that comes to mind when thinking of cabinetry. The pros and cons of this material are particularly relevant to exterior conditions, however.
Durable untreated woods such as cedar and redwoodthat would work well in outdoor spaces given their natural resistance to decay and rot which makes them perfect for a damp environment like an outdoor setting.
Pros of Wood
- The warmth of wood is incomparable to many people.
- Unlike masonry or polymer cabinets, natural wood grain adds visual interest and detail
- It’s a renewable resource. It can also be stained to create beautiful and unique looks, but will need additional sealant for protection against the elements.
Cons of Wood
- Fading may occur depending on the type of finish and finish treatment used. Direct sunlight, for example, can aggravate this problem.
- The maintenance of wood cabinets is one of their biggest disadvantages. Maintaining cabinets requires regular maintenance (and the time and expense that goes with that).
- Harsh climates can cause wood to decay quite rapidly. A harsh environment can involve extreme heat and sun in the summer, as well as freezing temperatures and moisture in the winter. Wood cabinets last longer when you take good care of them, the type of wood used, and how the surface is treated.
When you consider the pros and cons of stainless steel cabinetry from brands like Danver Stainless Outdoor Kitchens, it’s not difficult to see why this material is becoming more and more popular.
Pros of Stainless Steel
- The look of stainless steel cabinets doesn’t have to be industrial. In addition to providing a range of colors, powder coat finishes can mimic wood, textured metal, and even sea glass.
- It can withstand fires and impacts and is noncorrosive with the proper care.
- If you consider stainless steel’s long-term value, it can be cheaper in the long run than other materials. By doing this, you save money on maintenance costs (for example) as well as replacement or repair costs.
- You can get a uniform look throughout your living space by using stainless steel grills and other outdoor kitchen appliances.
- Modern stainless steel cabinetry is universally viewed as attractive and modern.
- Stainless steel is a relatively easy material to keep stain-free, especially when paired with a protective finish.
- Rust-proof, durable and low maintenance.
Cons of Stainless Steel
- In comparison to other cabinetry, this material has a higher initial cost.
- In direct sunlight, stainless steel can become very hot. (Powder coat finishes can mitigate this problem.)
- Does not allow for as much customization (style, design) due to limited options in finishes and designs available. This is a drawback if you are looking for something unique or different from what is readily available on the market today.
It is possible to create your outdoor kitchen cabinets with aluminium doors. Aluminium is very lightweight and resistant to most substances, so is ideal for outdoor settings.
An example of a company who has such a product is Alsert Doors who manufacture doors that are guaranteed not to warp, rot or mildew. They come with a 10 year limited warranty.
Another option is plastics such as acrylic and polycarbonate which can be used for front panels on outdoor kitchen cabinets. They also work well in low-temperature areas like an unheated garage space where condensation could form with other materials due to the coldness of the space.
Important Things To Consider
Will your outdoor kitchen cabinets be lightweight enough to be put on your existing deck?
If yo are going the stainless steel route, are you using powder coated stainless steel to keep it protected from the elements and minimise maintainance requirements?
If you are a DIY type of person, have you considered getting a flat pack outdoor kitchen from a company like Claytons Alfresco and putting it together yourself?
So what are your thoughts? Do you like the idea of installing outdoor kitchen cabinetry made from composites instead of a traditional material? Composite has so many advantages over other materials which make it an ideal option for those looking to renovate their kitchen outdoors. It’s environmentally friendly, easy to maintain, can come in different colors and won’t rot! You’ll never have to worry about water damage either because composites are waterproof – making them perfect for kitchens located near pools or sitting on sloping ground. This means there’s no need for sealants since composites don’t absorb moisture whatsoever!
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