The outdoor kitchen cabinets are literally the star of the show. They can tie a design together, add a bright pop of color, or complement the landscape while offering additional storage space to the home. After you’ve decided upon a layout and general design scheme, you’ll want to think about what type of outdoor kitchen cabinetry will serve you best in your outdoor living area.
Whether you prefer the organic and rustic beauty of authentic teak, the traditional charm of brick, or the sophisticated appeal of powder-coated stainless steel, you’re one step closer to creating your own private sanctuary. Below is a list of the pros and cons of some of the best materials for outdoor kitchens and outdoor cabinets.
Outdoor Cabinet Materials
Boasting a wealth of perks, stainless steel has steadily risen in popularity and favor for designers and those seeking to upgrade their exterior kitchen cabinetry and related appliances. Besides the obvious wow-factor and high-end look, stainless steel cabinets are also easier to clean and maintain. Additionally, it’s easy to create a cohesive or luxurious style look with coordinating accessories and appliances.
- Can coordinate seamlessly with custom appliances and accessories
- Includes an assortment of textures & patterns for a designer look
- Sleek, urban appeal of metal with minimal maintenance (stays rust free for longer)
- Finish choices include a broad array of powder-coated colors, realistic wood grains, textures and customizable details to suit any taste and door style
- Durable in even the harshest climates from winter snowstorms to salty ocean air to summer heat. (Note, still requires some maintenance).
- Requires minimal maintenance & easy to clean (when powder coated)
- Environmentally-friendly material
- As with indoor stainless steel kitchens, outdoor stainless steel kitchens may be the pricier option compared to other materials
- Can become hot to the touch when exposed to direct sunlight (without powder coated finishes)
- Without a powder coat finish, stainless steel shows fingerprints, oils, bird residue etc. (i.e., requires light maintenance to keep completely smudge-free)
Although not quite as durable as its other material counterparts, certain types of wood are better suited for the outdoors; namely marine-grade lumber such as teak, cypress, and bamboo are typically the best wood for outside cabinets. If you incorporate a proper maintenance routine into the care and upkeep of your wooden cabinetry, you can enjoy them for many years to come.
Added benefits include ease of coordination into your architectural layout – because they can be stained and finished to suit nearly any design scheme, you can seamlessly coordinate your outside cabinets to adjacent structures, such as a built-in pergola, stained deck, siding, or other wooden structures.
- Effortlessly imparts a bespoke look & feel
- Eco-friendly options are available for the environmentally-conscious
- Regular maintenance & upkeep is essential
- Wooden cabinetry is prone to fading over time
- Dependent on wood type and/or lack of proper care may break down over time – warping, cracking and swelling.
- Most quality outdoor wooden cabinets are a more expensive option (for example, teak is a pricey material)
Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets Polymer
If you’re worried about the seasons wreaking havoc on your exterior kitchen cabinets, fear not – polymer (also referred to as high-density Polyethylene or HDPE) is a durable material. Initially fabricated for marine usage, this extremely tough plastic-like substance includes benefits such as UV inhibitors to protect against the sunlight’s harmful rays, while its ease of maintenance makes it a no-brainer for weekend warriors. Although polymer outdoor kitchen cabinets are more affordable there are a number of drawbacks to polymer for exterior cabinets. First off, let’s look at the advantages of polymer kitchen cabinets:
- Offers ease of maintenance and a simple cleaning surface
- Resistant to sun, rain, saltwater and snow; non-corrosive
- Stain and fade-resistant; will not crack, split or chalk despite exposure to the elements
- Waterproof; will not rot or rust
- Depending on the manufacturer, brand, and style, outdoor polymer cabinets may not appear as luxurious as wood, brick or stainless steel counterparts
- Lacks the depth and range of shades/colors/texture
- Unless specified as ‘eco-friendly’ by manufacturer, may contain petrochemicals (particularly notable for those seeking ‘green’ cabinet choices)
- Requires metal sleeves when used as a grill base
- Tends to warp and lose their shape, causing issues with the doors
Pro Tip: Make sure to take careful measurements to ensure all of the elements fit together seamlessly and complement your existing exterior décor or interior if you’re continuing the same theme for your outdoor space. Choose appliances accordingly and in advance – it’s important to do so before you order your outdoor cabinetry, as they’ll be housed inside built-ins and each component will have to fit according to existing factory specs and dimensions.
At Danver Stainless Outdoor Kitchens, we specialize in manufacturing stainless steel cabinets for outdoor kitchens that help transform your outdoor living space into the ultimate entertainment hub. Contact us today for a custom quote on your next project at 203-269-2300.
This article is based on industry knowledge and research by outdoor kitchen design professionals, including our in-house experts and engineers with decades of experience.
Our goal at Danver is to provide factual information on relevant topics to help readers make informed decisions about their outdoor living spaces.
This article uses trusted sources with references hyperlinked to the source material.