Outdoor kitchen cabinets: what to consider
by Karl Fendelander
Face Your Kitchen Columnist
Cooking outside is a wonderful way to celebrate the summer months, when the weather is toasty and evenings are long. Instead of wheeling out and cleaning off the old barbecue, consider upgrading to an outdoor kitchen this year to blow your guests away and take your backyard parties to the next level. A built-in grill, an outdoor sink, a bar replete with built-in mini-fridge -- you can cook and dine al fresco, eliminating the need to run back and forth to the kitchen and allowing you to be social while cooking up your culinary masterpiece.
Outdoor kitchen cabinet refacing materials that serve and protect
Whatever you choose to build in to your outdoor kitchen, you'll want it to be able to stand up to use during the warmer months and abuse through winter. Here's a breakdown of some of the most popular materials used for outdoor cabinetry:
- Stainless steel cabinetry can stand the test of time. It's impervious to (most) weather and scratch-resistant. It can't rot and it won't warp or bend because of moisture changes. The steel won't yellow or breakdown in direct sunlight -- although it can get blazing hot. It also can't be chewed through by local wildlife or pets, which means you can store food without worry. For refacing outdoor cabinets, adding stainless steel is like donning a suit of armor. While a pricier option, stainless can last through a lifetime of harsh weather and heavy use.
- Wood cabinets make it easier to continue an interior style out onto the patio. Wood needs to be taken care of. It'll do best out of direct sunlight and out of harm's way, weather-wise. Hot and dry areas are best for outdoor wood because rot and other moisture problems simply aren't issues -- cracking, however, can be. Wood is a classic choice and can be gorgeous when done well -- just be vigilant about sealing and cleaning if you go this route. And don't forget to consider reclaimed wood!
- Masonry/stone cabinetry stands up to the weather magnificently, looks great and doesn't require much in the way of upkeep (just keep an eye out for cracks). These materials can stand up to almost anything, making your outdoor kitchen more like a little culinary bunker. Cost can be prohibitive in some cases, so talk to your contractor about finding deals on materials, like local stone or reclaimed brick. You can reface existing outdoor kitchen cabinetry with a stone or brick facade, provided the frame is sturdy enough for the initial weight.
- Polymer cabinets are a great budget option because they take weather and abuse well and require little or no upkeep. UV breaks down most plastics, so avoid putting them in direct sun to nip yellowing and cracking in the bud.
Whatever cabinet material you choose, you'll no doubt want your new cabinets to be completed on schedule and built to last, so look for a bonded, licensed and insured* contractor with a proven track record of reliability.
*See terms and conditions: http://www.streetcertified.com/about/Terms.jsp
About the Author
Karl Fendelander cut his teeth on web writing in the late nineties and has been plugged in to the newest technology and tuned in to the latest trends ever since. With an eye for design and an ear for language, Karl has created content and managed digital media for startups and established companies alike. When he unplugs, Karl can be found biking about town and hiking and climbing throughout the West.
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