Outdoor kitchens and materials: better concrete or stainless steel?

When choosing between different features for your outdoor kitchen, you must first consider the material: which will be more durable, attractive and require minimal maintenance? So, if you are looking to add elements to your patio, rooftop, courtyard terrace or any other outdoor living space, we advise you to make sure you choose the right material. Sometimes customers are undecided between concrete and stainless steel. Here we compare them and explain why we at OF outdoorkitchens think stainless steel is better for your outdoor living space, as it is durable and withstands virtually any climate.

Concrete outdoor kitchen: high maintenance and low durability

Until a few years ago, concrete was chosen for its strength and durability. Of course, it represents a convenient option, and it is also fire resistant. It can be customized to a certain extent, as stones or tiles can be incorporated into it and painted in any colour you want. However, it has many disadvantages in outdoor kitchens. It is difficult to install and usually requires masonry skills. It is susceptible to cracking and breaking, and colours fade over time, due to atmospheric agents. The same applies to outdoor concrete ceilings. Even a concrete outdoor kitchen counter is difficult to clean, and then must be maintained regularly and sometimes parts require repair. Maintenance, therefore, is quite complex.

The best option? A stainless steel outdoor kitchen ​​​​​​​

The option of outdoor kitchen material that we recommend is stainless steel. Stainless steel is a metal alloy of iron and other metals, with a concentration of at least 10,5% of the chromium element, which prevents rusting. Outdoor kitchen cabinets are typically made using grade 304 or 316 (marine) stainless steel, and both are durable options, with 316 providing additional corrosion resistance. These types of stainless steel are heat and chemical resistant and do not fade or break. However, bare stainless steel is still susceptible to corrosion, rust, stains and scratches on the outside if not properly maintained. Powder coating, in these cases, is a highly recommended option to minimize maintenance.

The two materials in comparison: the characteristics to be assessed ​​​​​​​

Comparing concrete with stainless steel for a perfect outdoor kitchen design, you will have to determine which material will last longer, require less maintenance, be the most convenient in the long run, more beautiful and customizable and can withstand the elements. Although concrete is initially cheaper than stainless steel, it will end up being more expensive in the long run. A concrete outdoor kitchen will hold up quite well, especially if the space is protected from the elements. However, as the finish degrades, parts of the structure, particularly on a counter, will eventually need to be repaired or completely replaced to maintain the structural integrity. To help preserve the appearance, concrete and stainless steel can be painted. Painted concrete, however, will fade due to atmospheric agents and the porosity of concrete makes it extremely difficult to clean, especially during food preparation and cooking. Stainless steel components, on the other hand, are UV-resistant and require very little maintenance: regular cleaning with water and mild soap will do the rest. Our colour palette also includes light and dark colours, textures, metallics and even realistic woodgrain finishes for maximum customization. The finish of your furniture will thus remain brilliant despite years of atmospheric effects.