Wood Outdoor Kitchen vs. Stainless Steel

Published Categorized as outdoor kitchens
Stainless steel cabinetry in “Drift” powder coat – project by Distinctive Outdoor Kitchens

Interested in designing an outdoor kitchen but unsure where to start? For the best results, your choice of cabinetry material is the most important consideration. The highest quality materials will remain durable, will be attractive, and will have structural integrity for the life of your outdoor kitchen. Some of the most popular materials for outdoor kitchen cabinets include wood, plastic, and metal.

Once you decide to invest in an outdoor kitchen, you are mostly likely seeking a long term return on your investment. To that end, your cabinetry material should last a long time when exposed to all types of weather and fluctuations in temperature. In this article, we compare wood and stainless steel and discuss why the stainless steel cabinets manufactured by Trex® Outdoor Kitchens™ are the best choice for a long-lasting outdoor kitchen.

Wood Outdoor Kitchen

Wood is a natural material that is available in many varieties and finishes and can also be customized with paint or stain. Wood has applications both outdoors (fences and house siding) and indoors (kitchen cabinets). For an outdoorsy feel to their living spaces, many consumers seek to use wood for their outdoor kitchen cabinets.

While wood can be durable both indoors and outdoors, it possesses several properties that make it unsuitable for outdoor kitchen cabinetry. For instance, wood is not fireproof, making it a fire hazard to use wooden cabinet boxes for outdoor cooking appliances. It will easily burn and catch on fire when it is near the extreme temperatures and open flames of a grill.

When bare wood is exposed to moisture, it will rot and warp over time. It can also eventually crack from swelling and shrinking as it absorbs moisture and then dries out. If you choose to paint or stain the wood, it will require consistent upkeep to maintain the finish. These disadvantages are the main reason why companies such as Trex® offer composite materials that give the appearance of wood without these drawbacks.

Outdoor Stainless Steel Cabinets

Stainless steel is considered one of the most durable materials for outdoor use. In any outdoor cooking setup, you will commonly find stainless steel appliances, like grills. It is available in a variety of grades for different applications. As with any other iron-containing metal, stainless steel is susceptible to rusting when exposed to moisture.

However, stainless steel contains the element chromium, which is an important rust deterrent. For additional prevention of rust, corrosion, scratches, and stains, bare stainless steel should be regularly cleaned – especially in the outdoors. It can also be powder coated to reduce maintenance and add an attractive finish.

At Trex Outdoor Kitchens, our stainless steel cabinetry is manufactured using 304 and 316 (marine grade) stainless steel. 316 is less prone to corrosion, making it a more attractive option for applications near saltwater. With the addition of a powder coat finish in your choice of 50 shades, your outdoor cabinetry is virtually maintenance-free.

These grades of stainless steel will make your outdoor kitchen resistant to any negative effects of heat, making this material ideal for outdoor cooking. Stainless steel will not absorb moisture like wood, so there are no concerns of warping, cracking, swelling, or shrinking. Due to these qualities, stainless steel cabinet boxes and doors will maintain their structural integrity for the long life of your outdoor kitchen.

Choose Stainless Steel for the Best Return on Your Investment

In comparing wood vs. stainless steel for outdoor kitchen cabinetry, stainless steel is the clear winner. Wood cabinetry in the outdoors will be susceptible to rotting and degradation over time, necessitating constant maintenance and replacement of components. While the initial investment of a stainless steel outdoor kitchen is higher than a wood outdoor kitchen, choosing stainless steel means minimal upkeep and the highest return on your investment.

Trex Outdoor Kitchens’ stainless steel cabinetry is engineered to last for many years in the outdoors. With the application of powder coat, your cabinetry will be virtually maintenance-free. We even offer realistic wood grain powder coat finishes for the look of wood without the upkeep. Choose our stainless steel cabinetry for all the benefits:

  • 304 or 316 (marine) grades
  • A selection of cabinetry types, like base and appliance
  • Your choice of configuration to suit any size outdoor space
  • The option to incorporate a variety of amenities in your space, like a pool and bar

For a long-lasting outdoor kitchen, you will want to choose a cabinetry material that will remain durable in the outdoors. While consumers may want to opt for wood to mimic the feel of the indoors, stainless steel is a far superior material. Wood is likely to warp, crack, rot, and degrade over time in the outdoors. By contrast, stainless steel will maintain structural integrity and can be finished in a variety of colors to add beauty and reduce maintenance.

Call us for a quote to get started on your stainless steel outdoor kitchen project!

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