outdoor counter tops


I am working on a outdoor kitchen / prep center which includes a 2x8 counter top. The countertop is covered, but in here in the pacific northwest it still tends to get damp, so I'm not even going to bother with the pre-made laminated counter tops (can you say particle board swells like a blow fish in heat).
So I'm looking for some advice on a reasonable priced countertop (can you say no stainless, no corian, no teak). I was thinking about tile... but would prefer to avoid it.. but may go back to it yet. I was also thinking about a laminate using a plywood base.
Has anyone had any experience with these for outdoor use, or can you suggest any other alternatives.
Thanks
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Have you considered concrete?
I have seen a couple concrete counter tops in kitchens and they were really nice. Definitely time and labor intensive in terms of creating the forms and doing the work. But the cost is fairly low and you end up with a surface that is basically bulletproof. Additives will help to make it any color you desire. The ones I saw were finished in black and almost looked like stone.
I see no reason why you couldn't come up with a concrete countertop for outdoor use.
There seems to be a fair amount of educational material on this too.
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This http://mortex.com/products/fs.html will make the form work easier. Concrete countertops are the wave of the future. For a real nice finished product, acid etch it. http://www.concretenetwork.com/concrete/acid_etch_staining /
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Great link! Thanks for that.
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[...]
Use just any reasonable wood. Outside the countertop will get dirty, so no-one will lay food directly onto it, and with no direct rain hitting it it should last long enough to satisfy any reasonable wishes.
--
Dr. Juergen Hannappel http://lisa2.physik.uni-bonn.de/~hannappe
mailto: snipped-for-privacy@physik.uni-bonn.de Phone: +49 228 73 2447 FAX ... 7869
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Rather than a plywood base, use MDO as it is made for outdoor use. I just completed a grill cart for prep/serving and the plans called for MDO and ceramic tile. Since it is only completed about a week ago, I have no practical experience with it but it was not difficult to do and looks pretty good. As for durability, I'll get back to you in September, 2011.
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Have you considered soap stone? It is affordable, it can be cut and workerd with common power tools (skill saw, router etc), and should provide the durability you want in an outdoor setting. The only downside I can see is that it is only available in dark colors.
Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

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Try some of your local cabinet shops for flawed or second counter tops. Might get a steal on a Corian or soapstone or something. Otherwise, if I was doing it I would go with the concrete.
Bill
JB wrote:

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I'm not the type who pays a lot of attention to people who tell me to say no to certain things, so.......
You'll find simple stainless to be a lot less money than you might think. That stuff gets expensive when you're dealing with fancy edges and sinks etc. but a straight run like that won't be much. I recently did an island 24 x 60. Slab-edge fold all around, 4 welded corners and ground and polished. $200.00 Canadian money. The material was 18 ga.. $110.00 dollars.. the rest labour. Find a small sheet metal shop. Try scrap yards. Some Staron distributors will sell 8-foot pieces of solid surface. Again, fancy treatments will cost more. Concrete will do, if you seal it properly and cast it on a form which is supported in all the right places...that is if your time isn't worth anything. VERY labour intensive. Laminated anything on anything in an out-door environment simply wouldn't be an option to me. BTDT.
Like my granma used to say: "I'm too poor to buy cheap stuff."
Mind you, she also used to say: "It doesn't matter if you're rich or poor, it's always nice to have a little money."
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I used to be a concrete finisher until I gave that up for a wood shop. I did a number of concrete counter tops. They work nicely BUT... You can do it yourself, but you have to know how to do concrete work, or you will be stuck with an ugly chunk of mud, unless you don't really care about how it looks. If you hire someone who really knows how to do the work, your prices will be comparable to granite and marble. If you dye the concrete, you get a solid even color. If you acid etch it, you get a mottled appearance. Then it needs to be sealed. Usually the slab or counter needs to cure for 30 days before etching and sealing. It can be textured to look like slate, brick, even wood.
Where in the Northwet are you, I anm in Eugene.
robo hippy
Robatoy wrote:

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polished concrete.
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snipped-for-privacy@all.costs wrote:

Soap stone is nice and soft enough to work with carbide tipped router bits IIRC.
Google it, a local quarry or stone place may even have it .
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