Here in Philadelphia, there are a lot of urban roof decks. These entertaining spaces are usually two floors above the kitchen and barbecuing becomes a marathon workout. Enter the Outdoor Kitchen. Todays home-cooks want a place to work around the BBQ, and keep their beer cold. Northeast weather is harsh though, so your indoor kitchen won't do. Here are the best (and worst) options:
Wood looks great and adds warmth to the space. Only a few wood types should be used for outdoor cabinetry, so make sure you buy from a reputable company. The negatives? Doors can warp and wood needs more upkeep than other options.
Stainless Steel Cabinets
Stainless is tough and we think it looks the best. It can be powder-coated many different colors and is low maintenance. However, it is the most expensive, and it gets hot in full sun.
Like wood, plastics come in different grades, so look for a quality material that won't fade or crack. Synthetic materials are low maintenance, easy to clean, and come in a variety of colors.
Counters, hardware and floors
We recommend a stone counter like marble, granite, soapstone or quartzite. Counters will need to be sealed for outdoor use. Avoid synthetic counters, as they can melt against a hot grill. All hardware should be stainless. Outdoor cabinet pulls can be wood or plastic, but stainless is best. Set your kitchen on a solid surface like a concrete pad or hardwood deck.
Only use outdoor rated appliances. The Northeast has harsh weather and indoor appliances won't cut it. Built-in grills can sit against stainless cabinets, but wood and synthetic cabinets should have a heat barrier. Any water will need to be shut off in the winter, so instal a shut-off valve in a convenient location.
Enjoy your outdoor kitchen. They are convenient and a great way to keep the party out of your house.