An outdoor kitchen is a great feature to add to your home. A lot goes into picking the right elements for it. The appliances, the lighting, the furniture all have to be carefully picked out for both form and function. But one area that’s often overlooked is the surface on which everything else is built.
Starting From The Ground Up
A floor is a floor, you would think. As long as it’s level and doesn’t creak and isn’t slippery, we don’t generally think much of it. But there’s a lot more to it than that.
A floor should look great but also be safe as you walk on it. It needs to support a grill, cabinets, a refrigerator, a breakfast bar, tables, chairs, and whatever else you may choose to have in your outdoor kitchen area.
Choosing A Standout Color and Design
There are a lot of options for the design of your floor, as well as a broad range of materials to choose from. You can create the look you want. Most people will probably choose something that ties into the architectural features of their home and the neighborhood. On the other hand, you could elect to have something that really stands apart.
Of course, the appearance of the floor should be part of your overall outdoor kitchen design. What kind of ambiance are you trying to create? Rustic? Colonial? Modern? That, of course, will be reflected not just in the floor, but in the whole area.
One recommendation: try to choose colors and materials that are neither too dark nor too light. Dark colors will make the space hotter, which is never good in an area where you’re already turning up the heat to cook. But lighter colors or highly-reflective surfaces aren’t good either since you’ll have to deal with more sun glare. That makes it worthwhile to find colors and materials that will make the area more comfortable.
Easy Cleaning and Maintenance
You’ll also want to be sure your outdoor kitchen floor is easy to maintain and clean. Not only will you have to be concerned about normal kitchen cleaning, but you’ll also be dealing with falling leaves and all the elements.
Be careful to pick materials that won’t stain if food or drinks or spilled on them. That means you won’t want porous stone or other materials that will absorb spills.
Surfaces that are easy to sweep and mop off are best. Do your research to find out what cleaning supplies can be used on your surface since many cleaning chemicals are harmful to some surfaces.
Another important factor in choosing your surface is to pick one that is going to last a long time and is resistant to damage.
Any normal patio material is going to serve well, but you’ll want to be sure that it will support any furniture or appliance aren’t going to chip it. That’s especially important if you’re considering a surface that has any etching or “depth” to it. It’s easy for a chair leg or the foot of a grill to get stuck in grooves. That can lead to damage as well as being a safety hazard.
Your floor should hold up to weather as well as to the wear and tear of use and supporting outdoor kitchen appliances and furniture.
Hard surfaces such as concrete and stone are the most likely choices for an outdoor kitchen floor. That may be fine – but if you’re planning to do a lot of cooking and will be on your feet a lot – it can really tire out your legs and back.
This is a tough problem because most of the appropriate products that will hold up over time are going to be rather unforgiving. However, it’s worth considering. Wood is generally a bit less taxing on the joints, but may not go with your decor.
A good alternative might be investing in the type of pad that is used by cooks in restaurants and by cashiers. These thick rubber pads prove the cushioning you need if you’re going to be standing for long periods in the same place.
Some Great Materials for Outdoor Kitchen Floors
There are fortunately a number of options that will make great choices for your outdoor kitchen and dining area floor. You’ll definitely be able to find one that fits with your goals and will work well in the climate you live in. Here are a few examples.
One of the best-looking and most classic surfaces you can choose for a patio is natural stone. It works great in the area you devote to cooking al fresco too.
Stone goes well with almost any architecture and can be a fantastic way to highlight what you already have. Most types of stone are highly durable. Slate and marble are great options, but limestone and sandstone also do well.
Stone does tend to be one of the more expensive options, however. Also, most types are porous, which means oil and grease can seep into them and discolor them over time. However, there are also sealants available that can help make them more stain-resistant.
Traditional deck woods
Wood can be another great-looking choice. Redwood and cedar, as well as pressure-treated woods, can make a fantastic surface to enjoy.
Normally wood has to be elevated above the ground so you might want to have at least one step up to this area.
Wood is a little more forgiving than stone or concrete. That can make it more comfortable if you’re going to be standing on it for long periods.
While properly-treated wood is durable, you still need to be sure to seal it well every two to three years. That sealant also helps protect against stains
Bamboo is incredibly versatile. It’s also sustainable since it grows quickly and can be cultivated almost anywhere.
A bamboo floor is easy to care for and holds up well. It’s also water-resistant. On the other hand, it doesn’t do well in extremely humid areas.
Bamboo looks great, but if you do have movable furniture pieces – tables and chairs or other items -you do have to worry about it scratching the surface.
Finally, concrete is one of the most durable materials you can find for outdoor surfaces. While at first it might seem “plain” compared to other ideas, it actually has a lot to offer.
This material will hold up for a long time. Since it’s generally laid in one single slab, the surface is smoother than other options and there aren’t cracks where chair legs can get stuck. When properly sealed, it’s stain resistant too.
Concrete can be dyed or even stamped to convert it into a more attractive surface. Stamped concrete can even look like many other surface types.
While its default appearance might be rather humdrum, concrete is an economical alternative that definitely does the job.
When designing your outdoor kitchen, don’t underestimate the importance of the surface underfoot. The flooring is a key part of the appearance and comfort of the room. Fortunately, there are a lot of great options that are durable, easy to clean, and resistant to stains. Which one will be your choice?