Outdoor Kitchen Cabinet Ideas

Learn about all of the materials available for outdoor kitchen cabinets in your quest to build the outdoor kitchen of your dreams.
By: Amy McEvoy

Depending on where you call home, outdoor cooking can be a major part of your family's culinary experience. New outdoor kitchen cabinet ideas are being used in home renovations, adding functional design space to many homes.

Gray Outdoor Kitchen

Gray Outdoor Kitchen With Gray Rug

Designer Orlando Soria gave this roof deck a total overhaul, creating three separate outdoor spaces: this gorgeous outdoor kitchen, a dining area and, up the stairs, an outdoor lounge-like living area.

Photo by: Zeke Ruelas

Zeke Ruelas

Outdoor kitchens can range from the simplest grill space to an elaborate dream kitchen with state-of-the-art appliances, countertop surfaces, and all the bells and whistles. Regardless of the size of your outdoor kitchen, there is one universal truth that all outdoor kitchen renovators must keep in mind: All building materials in an outdoor kitchen must be able to stand up to the elements. This is especially important when choosing your outdoor cabinets.

It is of utmost importance to keep the weather in your climate in mind when choosing materials for your outdoor kitchen cabinets. While most outdoor grills and appliances are going to be stainless steel, and most countertops will be stone to hold up to the weather, you have a few options for outdoor cabinet materials that are both weather- and termite-proof. Some of these materials include stainless steel, marine-grade polymer, teak and stone.

How to Plan and Build an Outdoor Kitchen

Aesthetics are important but when it comes to building an outdoor kitchen, functionality and durability reign supreme. Read our professional tips to budget, plan and design an outdoor kitchen that will add value to your home and lifestyle.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a good material for outdoor kitchen cabinets as it likely matches your grill and outdoor appliances, and it is weather- and bug-proof. The type or grade of metal typically used in outdoor cabinets is 304 stainless steel, as it is the most resistant to corrosion and staining. The construction of stainless steel is important to its durability over time. Welded corners are the best, with hardware and drawer pulls also made of the same material. You might want to incorporate wind chains into your stainless steel doors as well so that your cabinet doors don't blow open in extreme weather or storms. One consideration when choosing stainless steel outdoor cabinets is that they can get expensive depending on how many you need and the details you incorporate into their design. Also, they can get hot when exposed to the sun, which can make food prep more difficult on a very hot day.

Marine-Grade Polymer

Another popular outdoor kitchen cabinet material is marine-grade polymer. Polymer is a synthetic material similar to plastic. It stands up to all types of precipitation and is UV resistant. Plus it is easy to clean and stain-resistant. Marine-grade polymer cabinets come in a large variety of colors in case you want to break up the monotony of an all-stainless-steel look in your outdoor kitchen design.

Teak Wood

Teak is a desirable wood material used in outdoor kitchens; it gives a classic, sophisticated look that many homeowners find appealing. While teak is a wood, and therefore not as weather-resistant as steel or polymer, it possesses natural attributes that make it more weather-resistant than other forms of wood. Teak is a very expensive material to use in outdoor cabinets. It also can fade over time depending on the finish or stain used, similar to an outdoor deck or other outdoor furniture, making it a more high-maintenance material.

Masonry

Finally, for a completely custom outdoor cabinet look, consider masonry cabinets that use a cement block or metal frame covered in a decorative stone to create a natural stone look. Stone is also highly weather-resistant, and stone cabinets provide a built-in look that many homeowners like. Because of the custom nature of how these cabinets are built, labor costs can be significant when using these materials to create your cabinets.

Whether you want to create an outdoor kitchen for simple backyard gatherings or elegant parties and entertaining, finding the right materials for your outdoor kitchen cabinets — and therefore ensuring that they'll hold up to the weather where you live — is an essential step in creating a long-lasting and enjoyable outdoor cooking and dining space.

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