Choosing Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets

Get tips on how to find the right cabinetry for your outdoor kitchen.

CI-Kalamazoo_outdoor-kitchen-seattle_s4x3 Photography courtesy of Kalamazoo

If you've ever designed an indoor kitchen, you've probably found yourself overwhelmed with options for everything from warming drawers to backsplash tile. Outdoor options are more limited. You'll still find yourself confronted with a wide range of possibilities. But here, you'll always have one basic principle to help you make the right choice. Just ask yourself this question: "Which will stand up to the elements better?"

Water-resistance is the name of the game when it comes to outdoor cabinets. Your best options are stainless steel, marine-grade polymer, and teak. "Whichever type you choose, evaluate the quality by looking inside the cabinet unit," says Russ Faulk, vice president of product development for Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet. "Look at whether the cabinet has a full box around it, or if it's open at the top."

Dust can fall from stone countertops, so it's better for the cabinet to be fully enclosed. Lesser materials for the interior fasteners and drawer slides might not last outdoors. Stainless steel is better than galvanized steel.

Stainless Steel

It's durable, weatherproof, and matches your grill, but not all stainless steel is created equal. Look for 304 stainless steel. "And check the rigidity," says Russ. "It should feel stiff, not flexible. Welded corners are the best, otherwise they can come apart if the patio or deck shifts."

Price: $1,000-$2,000 for base cabinet with full doors

Marine Grade Polymer

Easy to hose down and UV-resistant, marine-grade polymer cabinets are water-tight.

Price: $500-$2,300 for base-cabinet with full doors

Watch Tips on Picking Outdoor Materials


Desirable for their classic good looks, teak cabinets must be custom built for the space and sealed and resealed regularly, with a water-proof finish."If they're exposed to the sun, the cabinets may even need periodic refinishing," says landscape architect Richard Gibney of Gibney Design Group.

Price: Depends on your cabinetmaker

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