Best Outdoor Bar Countertops Ideas: Pros and Cons

Written by: Nicole Cullum

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Time to read 8 min

What Is The Importance of Choosing The Right Outdoor Bar Countertop?


When it comes to transforming your outdoor space into a hub of relaxation, entertainment, and memorable gatherings, few elements can rival the impact of a well-designed outdoor bar. Whether you're a seasoned entertainer or simply love sipping your morning coffee in the fresh air, an outdoor bar can add both style and functionality to your outdoor lounge area.


One of the key elements that can make or break the aesthetics and functionality of your outdoor bar is the countertop. The right outdoor bar countertop not only complements your design vision but also stands up to the rigors of outdoor use. It's where you'll mix cocktails, serve appetizers, and create memories with friends and family. Your outdoor bar countertop needs to be durable not only to the elements, but also withstand acidic foods, scratch-resistant, and last for years.
 

We’ve done the deep dive on the best outdoor bar countertop ideas that will last the test of time and inspire you to elevate your outdoor space to new heights. Whether you prefer a natural look or a sleek, modern design, we've got you covered with a variety of materials, styles, and finishes that will help you achieve an outdoor bar that you and your guests can enjoy. 


Once you've selected your outdoor bar countertop, then comes the fun part of decorating it! Check out our post on the 75 Best Outdoor Fall Decor Ideas for designer-style decor that will finish the look and make your outdoor bar shine!

How to Choose the Best Outdoor Bar Countertops
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How to Choose the Right Outdoor Bar Countertop

When searching for outdoor bar countertop ideas, there are several important factors to keep in mind during the selection process. 


The first thing to consider is how you will be utilizing your outdoor bar, and how frequently it will be in use. If you entertain often, and  live in a warm climate, your bar will be in heavy use.  You'll want to focus your selections on scratch-resistant and heat-resistant surfaces, and extra-durability.


If you live in a cooler climate zone, you'll want to lean towards outdoor bar countertops that can handle cold weather, thawing, and fluctuations in temperature without cracking or discoloration.


As with all outdoor bar countertops, we'll focus on four main countertop goals in this post; durability, ease of cleaning, non-porous surfaces, and design and color options.


Each goal will help narrow down which countertop surface best suits your climate, usage, and design needs so you have the correct knowledge to make an informed decision. 

Best Overall Outdoor Bar Countertop

Outdoor Countertops Soapstone Pros and Cons
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Why Is Soapstone the Best Overall Countertop Idea?

When looking at the goals of durability, ease of cleaning, non-porous surfaces, and color options, soapstone checks almost all of the boxes. 

Soapstone is a natural, non-porous stone so you don't need to seal it for protection which means this countertop surface automatically requires less maintenance. 


Soapstone is heat, stain, and bacteria resistant, which makes it an excellent choice for bar and kitchen areas. It can stand up to acidic foods like lemon juice and wine spills without worry and is easy to clean. 


Although soapstone can withstand direct sunlight, this beautiful stone will  naturally patina over time for a more rustic look. With regular cleaning and application of mineral oil, this stone will darken over time so be sure to choose a color you like, or a little lighter.


  It is a slightly softer stone than granite or quartzite, and does scratch fairly easily, which adds to the natural patina.  Soapstone is only available in a limited range of monochromatic shades which can be restrictive to your overall design.


Best General Use Outdoor Bar Countertop

Outdoor Countertops Granite Pros and Cons
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Why is Granite the Best General Use Outdoor Bar Countertop?

Most people are familiar with granite and it is probably the most widely known and used kitchen and bar countertop surface. There are many benefits to granite that can make it an excellent choice for your outdoor bar or kitchen.


Granite is an extremely hard surface, natural stone. Granite rates a 6-6.5 on the Mohs Hardness scale making it very scratch-resistant and a durable choice for heavy use areas. For more information on the Mohs Hardness scale, check out this post from RSK Marble and Granite that goes into more detail.


Granite is easily cleaned with a mixture of warm water and dish soap, but be sure to avoid harsh chemicals, acidic cleansers, or abrasive scrubbing materials. Granite is available in a wide-range of colors which opens up more design options for your overall outdoor bar design.


Granite stands up well to the elements, and does not absorb stains or odors from food. Granite is a porous stone and will need to be sealed regularly. Once sealed, granite is nearly impervious to damage. 


Granite will not fade in the sun, but excessive heat and sun exposure will make the surface extremely hot to the touch and can burn you or your guests if not careful. When choosing your granite slabs, avoid heavily veined options as they have a negative reaction to UV rays and can slightly fade or become discolored.

Best Durable Outdoor Bar Countertop

Outdoor Countertops Quartzite Pros and Cons
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Why is Quartzite the Best Durable Outdoor Countertop?

Quartzite is a gorgeous natural stone that is harder than granite and extremely scratch resistant. Quartzite rates a 7 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, while granite falls around a 6 6.5. 

There is often confusion between Quartz countertops, and Quartzite countertops. Quartz is one of the most naturally-occurring abundant minerals on earth. Quartz can be found in onyx, granite, soapstone, and slate in different degrees. 


When someone refers to quartz countertops, they are referring to a manufactured stone, or sometimes referred to as an"engineered stone." Quartz countertops are loose and ground up quartz minerals combined with mineral pigments, polymers and resin binders. Although beautiful and available in a wide range of colors, quartz is not designed to withstand exposure to the elements, UV rays, or extreme heat and cold. For more information on the difference between quartz, and quartzite, check out this post by Blue Pearl Stone for a detailed breakdown.


Quartzite, on the other hand, is a naturally occurring metamorphic rock that endured extreme pressure and heat over millions of years to form from quartz sandstone into a hard, glimmering surface.


Quartzite is long-lasting, heat and UV resistant, and when sealed properly, is almost impervious to stains or damage.  Quartzite is a porous stone, so it will need to be sealed periodically. It is easily cleaned with simple mixture of dish soap and water.


Due to its natural origins, quartzite is available mostly in the white, beige, and gray color spectrum, with a few exceptions of reds and pink tones due to iron oxide present in the stone. 


This gorgeous natural stone will shimmer in the sunlight and give a beautiful glow. It is an extremely heavy material, and will require professional installation, so this is not a good choice if you are going the DIY route. Because quartzite is a sought-after natural stone, it is more on the expensive side so make sure your budget allows for this designer-level countertop.

Best Affordable Outdoor Bar Countertop

Outdoor Countertops Concrete Pros and Cons
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Why is Concrete the Best Affordable Outdoor Countertop?

Concrete is a versatile, tried and true outdoor material found in everything from building structures to outdoor decor.  Concrete is readily available at your local hardware store and can be easily customized in shape and color.


Concrete is is easily cleaned, extremely long-lasting, scratch-resistant, and heat and UV ray resistant. Concrete can add a modern, industrial look to our outdoor bar countertops, or give a rustic farmhouse feel. 


An added bonus is that concrete does not require professional installation, although it is highly recommended to find an experienced installer to make sure your countertops don't crack over time. If you choose to install the countertops yourself,  proper research on how to mix, pour, reinforce, and install concrete countertops is cannot be stressed enough.  If not installed properly, concrete can crack and must be internally supported with tensile steel due to its heavy weight.


Concrete can be prone to chipping and staining as it is a porous material. If not sealed regularly, concrete will absorb stains and odors from use. Overall, concrete is an extremely versatile option that can be colored with added pigments, sanded smooth for a crisp modern look, or left with some texture for a more rustic style.

Best DIY Outdoor Bar Countertop

Outdoor Countertops Tile Pros and Cons
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Why is Tile the Best DIY Outdoor Countertop?

Tile is the best DIY countertop because it can be easily installed and is extremely customizable. Tile comes in a wide range of colors and design options to suite your personal style. Due to its wide variety, tile can cover the range of price from very affordable, to very expensive. Tile is easy to change and doesn't require professional installation. Tile is easily cleaned and there are many products on the market that will help your tile last over the years. 


While there are many upsides to tile, there are a few things to note before selecting tile as your outdoor bar countertop. Tile can chip if you're not careful using it. It can also scratch and stain if not sealed properly.  The grout used with tile can crack with cold weather exposure and also stain from wine or foods.  


If you are in a cooler climate, make sure to select freeze-proof tiles instead of ceramic tiles that will be more resistant to cracking during the freeze-thaw cycle, and also fading or becoming discolored due to temperature fluctuations and sun exposure. 


Tile will need to be sealed regularly to maintain a beautiful, durable surface. When installing make sure to do proper research and use a waterproof base board that won't warp if exposed to water or humidity like the plywood base boards used for indoor spaces.

Conclusion

As we bring our exploration of the best outdoor bar countertop ideas to a close, we hope you've found inspiration and valuable insights for creating your own outdoor oasis. Remember, the outdoor bar is more than just a functional space – it's a canvas for your creativity and a reflection of your personal style.


 

From the timeless beauty of natural stone countertops to the contemporary allure of concrete and variety of tile, there's a countertop material and design aesthetic that suits every outdoor space. The key is to carefully consider your needs, usage, climate, and personal preferences when making your choice.


Outdoor surfaces must withstand the elements, and proper care and protection will ensure they retain their beauty for years to come. Keep in mind the importance of durability and maintenance.


Whether you opt for the elegance of soapstone, the versatility of  granite, the glimmer and shine quartzite, the customization of concrete, or the ease of use of tile, your choice of outdoor bar countertop will set the tone for your overall outdoor bar style that will guide other outdoor decor. Mix and match ideas, experiment with textures, and let your outdoor bar become a true reflection of your personality.
 

With the right outdoor bar countertop, your outdoor space can become an extension of your home, a place where memories are made, and a destination that draws friends and loved ones together.