what materials are outdoor kitchen cabinets made of

What Are Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets Made From?

What are outdoor kitchen cabinets made of?

Outdoor kitchen cabinets are  made of wood, stainless steel, powder-coated aluminum, PVC, stucco, bricks and concrete hardscaping blocks. These are the most used materials for outdoor cabinetry because they are weatherproof, durable and suitable for DIY or professional builds. These material options also hold up well against dirt, mold, temperature extremes and rust.

DIY outdoor kitchen cabinetry is typically built from scratch on a pressure treated wood frame or steel frame.  Still other DIYers build their kitchen cabinetry frames from brick or stone or blocks. The outdoor kitchen island or base cabinetry is then encased with finishing materials such as wood, stucco, stone or other weatherproof material.

Outdoor cabinets are also available completely prebuilt in modular units.  The frame, doors, drawers and hardware are all included with each unit, just like buying prefinished indoor kitchen cabinetry.  All that is left is to install the cabinet sections in a configuration of your choosing.  These prebuilt cabinets are available in wood, stainless steel, aluminum and PVC.

We’ll take a more in-depth look at DIY vs pre-built options so you can decide which type of cabinet material is most suited to your lifestyle, skillsets and design aesthetic in the article below.

DIY and Built on Site Outdoor Cabinet Materials

1. Masonry

Building kitchen cabinets from scratch using masonry to construct the cabinet frames can be a DIY or professional job to complete your outdoor living space. These permanent installations are built from the ground up using bricks, paving blocks or stone.  The frames are then outfitted with doors, drawers or appliances as the design calls for.

These materials are weather proof and extremely sturdy.  If you have an outdoor fireplace, you can coordinate your outdoor kitchen cabinet materials with an existing fireplace or firepit to marry the spaces together visually. Aesthetically, masonry construction looks high-end and custom and is one reason so many homeowners opt for this look.

2. DIY Custom

For those with carpentry skills, building outdoor cabinet frames with pressure treated lumber or metal studs is the ultimate in outdoor home improvement projects. This option is less expensive than buying cabinets ready-made or hiring a contractor to construct the outdoor kitchen of your dreams.  You are only limited by space and your imagination to create a kitchen look and layout that is truly one-of-a-kind.

During construction, a frame is made for each run of base cabinets including corners or each island unit according to a pre-developed design schematic.  The base is subsequently covered with a weather resistant material such as wood, stucco or metal. Drawers, shelves and cabinet doors are added to complete the units.

Pre-Built Cabinet Materials

1. Stainless Steel Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets

Stainless steel outdoor kitchen cabinets are the most popular type of outdoor cabinetry because of its weather- and rust-resistant qualities. Most high-end outdoor appliance makers of warming drawer s,  grills, refrigerators and ice makers use 304 grade stainless steel in their construction and stainless steel cabinetry completes the sleek, contemporary look of the appliances. 316 marine grade stainless steel is also used in some cabinetry construction.

Outdoor stainless steel cabinetry usually comes in 3″ increments from 9″ to 39″ wide so they can fit into restricted outdoor spaces and can be arranged in any configuration you desire.  Cabinets can have drawers, doors, drawer grill cabinets and can accommodate sinks and trash cabinets.  There are also cabinets to mount grills and other appliances on top of.  With stainless steel cabinets, the sides are finished as are the backsides so that they can be used on islands as well as against a wall.

2.  Wood Cabinets

Cabinets made from bamboo, teak and cypress are suitable for, and built for, outdoor use.  These wooden cabinets  are rot resistant and sturdy enough to support countertops and outdoor kitchen appliances as well as being weatherproof choices. Wood will require more maintenance than other cabinet choices such as refinishing or sealing. Wood will also expand and contract with temperature and moisture level changes.

Teak is a hardwood that is known for its strength and attractive grain and has been used in shipbuilding over the centuries. Cypress is naturally resistant to the elements and repels bees and termites with its natural oils.  As it is native to the U.S., it can be a less expensive choice than teak which is imported.  Bamboo is the most eco-friendly option because of its sustainability and hardwood qualities for making wooden cabinets.

Real wood ‘s principle advantage is that it can be customized with paint or stain to coordinate with existing outdoor furnishings. It’s natural appearance is also an appealing look for wooden outdoor kitchen cabinets.  The type of wood you choose for your cabinets will in large part be determined by your location and the most suitable wood for your climate, pest situation and sun exposure.

3.  Powder Coated Aluminum

Modular outdoor powder coated kitchen cabinets have the advantage of being light weight.  This makes them suitable for balconies and rooftops.  They are also more easily moved than other types of outdoor cabinetry so they can be relocated on your patio depending on the season, the weather, or the occasion.

You’ll find a lot of options for aluminum kitchen kits that you can assemble yourself in a matter of hours.  Because of this versatility, a powder coated aluminum kitchen can be much less expensive than other options.  Powder coating is a durable finish and protects the aluminum from the weather and rust. With the wide range of powder coating finishes and colors, the design possibilities for aluminum outdoor cabinetry are much greater than other options.

There are also powder coated stainless steel cabinets made today, but are not as prevalent as powder coated aluminum options.

4.  PVC and HPDE

People often refer to cabinets made from any type of polymers as PVC cabinetry.  However, HPDE is a higher performance polymer for outdoor cabinetry because it is more resistant to temperature extremes, is stronger, it is FDA approved for food contact, and it won’t fade in the sun as PVC will.  HPDE (high density polyethylene) cabinets will last longer than outdoor cabinets made from PVC (poly vinyl chloride).  PVC cabinets usually carry a caution against using in direct sunlight.

The main advantages of cabinets made from polymers is their color versatility, ease of maintenance and water resistance.  Resin cabinets can also be engineered for strength and durability and have many different door profiles to choose from.  Resin cabinet manufacturers also use partially or fully recycled plastic materials in their manufacturing process.


With so many material options from which to choose, you can get the look you want at a price that fits your budget for your outdoor kitchen.  Whichever outdoor cabinet material you choose will  help you enjoy your backyard entertaining and family get togethers more as you spend more time outdoors.