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Outdoor living continues to grow in popularity with more homeowners increasing their property value by upgrading their yards. Statistics show that along with kitchens and bathrooms, designed and curated outdoor living spaces can contribute to a strong return on investment upon selling.

One major aspect of outdoor decorating and design is selecting the appropriate material for countertops. For an enduring, low and/or maintenance-free counter consider their:

•    UV resistance

•    stain, scratch and chip resistance

•    ability to adapt to freezing and thawing cycles

Below are several countertop materials that would meet your outdoor living needs.

Man Made Solid Surfaces

Some man-made solid surfaces offer a significant breakthrough for indoors and outdoor countertops.  As an example, Dekton by Cosentino has a new product that is made from a mixture of inorganic raw materials found in glass, porcelain tile and natural quartz. Its technical characteristics support outdoor use:

•    unique UV resistance for colour stability

•    exceptional strength and performance.

•    highly resistant to impact, scratches and abrasion

•    provides thermal shock resistance against heat, frost and thawing

 

 

Photo credit: Dekton by Cosentino

Natural Stone: Granite, Marble, Soapstone, Travertine, Limestone

These stones will always be enduring and classic choices for both indoors and outdoors. As with other surface materials, a full-slab countertop is the most attractive and functional.

Granite in particular is popular for outdoor uses but you’ll want to be mindful of the porosity of the granite you choose as it will determine the level of maintenance required.  Granite is typically a silicate-based stone versus a calcite-based stone like: marble, travertine and limestone.  However, granite could also be a mix of silicate/calcite.  Which means that the surface could corrode or "etch" when exposed to acidic foods and liquids such as alcohol, lemon juice, vinaigrettes, etc. Sealing the stone will help prevent stains though many varieties are dense enough that you don't need to apply a sealer.

Photo credit: http://st.hzcdn.com/simgs/10c14ded000d9777_4-8023/traditional-outdoor-grills.jpg

Concrete

Concrete countertops are both highly functional and attractive because of their relatively maintenance-free properties and design flexibility. Like natural stone, concrete is porous and it’s recommended to protect the surface with a food-grade sealer, or finishing wax to prevent water and stain absorption. More noticeable with darker concretes is the tendency to fade and turn yellow in the sun.

Photo credit: http://st.hzcdn.com/simgs/fb51d0160f980174_4-7635/traditional-patio.jpg

Homeowners have a choice with the type of concrete to order: If sustainability and/or reducing the weight of the countertops is a concern, glass-fiber-reinforced concrete (GFRC) is a good option instead of conventional pre-cast concrete. GFRC uses significantly less portland cement than regular concrete, and it often incorporates large quantities of recycled materials. GFRC is also stronger than standard concrete allowing countertops to be cast in thinner slabs and weigh as much 75% less.

Porcelain

Porcelain is an excellent choice for outdoor countertops. It’s very dense, non-porous and it’s wears very well particularly with through-body tile.

Overly large formats and very thin profiles are now available with incredible density and strength.   Companies like Neolith provide ideal porcelain tile that’s rated for residential and commercial outdoor use.

NOT RATED FOR OUTDOORS

Corian and Quartz: colour will fade, prone to stains, burns and scratches.

 


 

Barbara Nyke is a guest contributor to media stories on interior decorating, outdoor decorating and sustainable design, Barbara’s outdoor decorating was featured on the cover of Our Homes, Mississauga in the Spring 2016 issue. She’s also been invited as a guest expert in Toronto Home magazine, on The Zoomer TV show, The National Post, CBC Radio and has been featured on many online sites.  She was a guest speaker at various GTA Home Shows, a spokesperson and brand ambassador for LG Canada and Johnson & Johnson Inc. She also gives tailored presentations on interior decorating trends and sustainable design to public and design industry groups’s talent, expertise and passion have contributed to her success designing functional and stylish interiors for her residential and commercial clients.

 

This article originally appeared in CDECA IDEAS Newsletter on Countertops. For member access to IDEAS and more click here to find our about our membership benefits.

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