Outdoor Kitchens- Marine Grade Stainless Steel, Stainless Steel or Aluminum?

Outdoor Kitchens- Marine Grade Stainless Steel, Stainless Steel or Aluminum?

6 minute read

Numerous factors go into the selection of an outdoor kitchen long before the design even begins. 

The first consideration is, what type of material will last the longest for the environment for the environment your outdoor kitchen will be in?  This question applies not only to the outdoor kitchen cabinets, but also to the appliances you select for your outdoor kitchen.

At Riviera Outdoor Decor we are a three-time international, award-winning outdoor design firm that specializes in coastal outdoor furniture, kitchens and accessories.  We have a lifetime of experience living on the coast and over twenty-five years of experience in designing outdoor kitchens and spaces.  This article is based upon our years of experience living on the coast and designing outdoor kitchens.

Whichever material you select for your outdoor kitchen, you will need a powder coat finish.

Outdoor Kitchen, Danver, Riviera Outdoor Decor, Galveston, Texas

To further protect your outdoor kitchen, a powder coat is essential for both marine grade stainless steel, stainless steel and aluminum

  • A powder coat finish provides an additional layer of protection against corrosion, scratches/chipping and fading to further protect your outdoor kitchen;
  • It is one of the most economical, longest lasting, and most color-durable quality finishes available on virtually any type of metal;
  • A powder coat finish adds not only to the protection but the beauty of your outdoor kitchen, by applying a consistent colour finish across the metal;
  • Powder coatings can produce much thicker coatings than conventional liquid coatings without running or sagging;
  • Powder coat is non-toxic, and less flammable than wet spray paint finishes;
  • A wide range of textures and finishes can be achieved using this process;
  • A powder coated surface requires less maintenance and cleaning of fingerprints.

For purposes of this article, we will look at three different materials that we know stand up to the corrosive  coastal outdoor elements of salt and humidity.

Outdoor Kitchens, Coastal, Riviera Outdoor Decor Photo Credit: Brown Jordan Outdoor Kitchens

Marine Grade (316) Outdoor kitchens

The 'best of the best' for an outdoor kitchen on the coast is marine grade (316) Stainless Steel.  Near the coast or on the beach itself, or next to a pool, for an outdoor kitchen that that will stand up to tough coastal outdoor elements and heavy chlorine, you will need an outdoor kitchen to be made of marine grade (316) stainless steel.

Why select Marine Grade Stainless Steel?

Marine grade Stainless Steel 316 is preferred for most coastal applications, because it contains molybdenum, which increases resistance to pitting caused by salt exposure.  Compared to 304 stainless steel, the extra nickel and molybdenum content in 316 stainless improve the corrosion resistance, especially to pitting and crevice corrosion, but also make 316 Stainless Steel more expensive.

How much more will Marine Grade Stainless Steel Cost?

Expect to pay about 20-22% more for marine grade stainless steel for your outdoor kitchen.  It is a highly recommended investment if you want your outdoor cabinets to last.

Stainless Steel (304) Outdoor kitchens

Resistant to impact, corrosion and extreme temperatures, with strength and density, are key characteristics of 304 Stainless Steel.  Stainless Steel (304) is made up of 18% chromium, between 8% and 10% nickel, and a maximum carbon level 0f 0.0008%.  Stainless steel is extremely strong and dense. It will not budge easily even when up against heavy weights and powerful winds which are common in coastal environments.

Most importantly, stainless steel is corrosion resistant and does not easily rust.  In addition, stainless steel is non-porous which gives it more resistance to corrosion.  However, 304 grade stainless steel is more susceptible to corrosion than marine grade stainless steel due to the lack of molybdenum

Cast Aluminum

For the purpose of this article we will define aluminum as solid cast aluminum and not tubular aluminum.  Aluminum outdoor kitchens from Riviera Outdoor Decor are cast aluminum which means they are solid and characterized by their intricate detailing options similar to carved wood.  Our cast aluminum outdoor kitchens are made of solid and not hollow or tubular aluminum, making our outdoor kitchens more durability with a higher product weight. The higher weight ratio gives our cast aluminum outdoor kitchens the advantage to withstand windy conditions and not blow over.

The main characteristic of aluminum is corrosion resistance, making it capable of withstanding the outdoor elements.

How to maintain your outdoor kitchen from corrosion and rust 

Outdoor Cabinets

Finding time to clean is not always easy in our busy lives; powder coating your cabinets provides a lower maintenance solution while adding beautiful color and eliminating fingerprints.  A powder coat finish will seal the stainless steel or aluminum and eliminating the worry of pitting and surface rust.  However, because sea air and heavy chlorine from pools can still do damage, it’s important to wipe down the powder coated cabinets with a simple 1:1 filtered water and mild soap solution.  Always use a soft cloth  to clean the surfaces of the cabinets and maintain the color, style and design you love.  Additionally, it is recommended to wipe down any exposed stainless steel areas such as your outdoor appliances, including the inside of the outdoor cabinet, at least once a month.

Cabinet Handles or Pulls

Care should be taken with the handles.  We recommend handles that are  stainless steel, or solid bronze.  The  salt air, combined with oil on our hands or from cooking, can tarnish these finishes rather quickly especially with heavy use.  Our manufacturers recommend Sheila Shine to protect and hold against oxidation, pitting, or slight surface rust on stainless steel handles as well as the solid bronze handles.

Outdoor Cabinet Hinges

Care for hinges are often overlooked, even at our showroom.  C

Care should be taken with the hinges of your outdoor cabinets; they should be wiped and sprayed with WD-40, regardless of environment your outdoor kitchen may be in, but especially oceanfront or poolside. This will keep the cabinetry from binding or rusting at hinge-points that often go under-maintained or overlooked when cleaning.

Want to know more about our Outdoor Kitchens at Riviera Outdoor Decor?  Click here

Patio and Outdoor Kitchen Designers, Riviera Outdoor Decor, Corpus Christi, Texas

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