How to prevent outdoor countertops from cracking & fading
Adding countertops to your outdoor space is a great way to add functionality as well as aesthetics. Unfortunately, just about all materials used to make these countertops, such as granite and marble, are susceptible to damage caused by the outdoor elements. Luckily this damage can be prevented.
It's especially important to take these steps to prevent cracking and fading in an outdoor kitchen.
What causes outdoor countertops to crack and fade?
There are generally two main causes of cracking and fading; sunlight and rain.
It may sound bizarre that sunlight can mess with your countertop, but the damage is caused by the UV rays contained within.
UV can damage just about anything, from your skin to concrete. A good example of this is how wood will gradually change color when it’s left outside for a long time. The same concept applies to your countertop.
Not only do you need to worry about fading, sunlight can also cause countertops to crack. Granite, for example, contains polymers which are particularly susceptible to damage from UV.
Unless your countertop is made from a material that is specifically resistant to UV rays, this is absolutely a factor you need to keep in mind.
You can read more about the effects of UV on countertops here.
Keep in mind, UV rays can also affect indoor countertops as well, when they are regularly exposed to sunlight coming in from a window or skylight.
The other big cause of cracking and fading is rain or any form of moisture. Many of the common countertop materials are porous, meaning when water is present it will begin to soak in.
Even though these materials are often sealed, prolonged exposure to water can, eventually, still get through.
Moisture will eventually cause both fading and accelerated weathering, which can subsequently cause cracks.
Which kinds of countertops fade when exposed to sun or rain?
Just about all stone countertops are porous and therefore vulnerable to moisture. This includes tile countertops, quartz countertops and even a popular choice for outdoor kitchens; granite countertops.
Again, if your countertop is not specially designed for outdoor usage (to resist UV rays), this is another thing to worry about too.
If your countertop is made from granite, marble, natural stone or quartz and it’s not intended for outdoor use, you should definitely take action to prevent these forms of damage.
How you can prevent damage to your countertop
Although additional sealing and shade can help in protecting your countertop from the natural elements, they are not perfect solutions.
Shade will prevent UV rays from being able to reach your counter, but shading your countertop in such a way that it’s shaded all day can be very tough as the angle of the sun is constantly changing.
Sealing is good for preventing moisture-related damage, but the problem with this method of protection is that water will degrade the sealant over time.
The best way to protect your outdoor countertops is a canvas cover.
By choosing a cover composed of a fabric that won’t allow water to get through, you will be preventing any form of water damage to your countertop.
The same thing also applies to sun-related damage. If the light from the sun cannot get through the cover, neither can the harmful UV rays.
If you're trying to protect an outdoor kitchen, a cover can be a good and possibly the best option as it will not only protect your countertops but also your outdoor kitchen appliances.
We recommend a custom-fabricated cover, as the fit will be near perfect and therefore the cover itself won’t be subjected to damage caused by wind, or water pooling. There are, however, prefabricated covers available, they just may not be the same quality.