The type of material that best suits an outdoor kitchen’s cabinets depends largely on the climate of the home they’ll be installed in. Here are three of our favorite options, and the reasoning behind them.
All Climates: Stainless Steel
Stainless steel cabinets are timeless and professional. With the right design and accessories, such as fully-enclosed cabinets rather than relying on the countertop for top sealing, and weather-proof sealing around drawers and doors, stainless steel is the most popular choice of material for cabinets in outdoor kitchens for a reason.
The downsides? It’s expensive, for one. And it looks rather … industrial. If you’re a professional chef, and you want your friends and neighbors to know it, steel cabinets will definitely make that statement. But if you’re looking for something a little softer and inviting, maybe not so much.
Wet Extreme: Marine-Grade Polymer
If your home is in the Pacific Northwest, or another climate where frequent and unavoidable water is expected, cabinets of marine-grade polymer can be made more than just weather-resistant; they can be made practically weatherproof.
On the other hand, even the cheapest models cost nearly as much as stainless, and look obviously plastic. Higher-end models may include texturing to make them look a little bit like natural materials from a distance, but up close the bottom line is that it’s going to be pretty obvious you have plastic cabinets, and there’s not much you can do about that.
Moderate Climates: Wood Cabinets
Wood cabinets can’t be beat in terms of classic style. Warm and inviting, and available in a stunning array of designs with a wide variety of stained and painted finishes, wood cabinets are also the most budget-friendly option by a wide margin. In fact, some of our models can be less expensive for the entire kitchen’s-worth of cabinets than a single stainless steel or polymer cabinet!
While it’s true wood cabinets aren’t quite as durable as the alternatives, with the right sealants, whether painted or stained, wood cabinets can be made quite resilient—as resilient as your wooden deck or better, able to provide you with a pleasant, inviting, and functional outdoor kitchen atmosphere for many years to come. Just be sure to seal every piece, inside and out, before assembly, for maximum durability.