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Outdoor Kitchen Cover: The 2 Best Options To Keep Your Island Protected Year-Round

By Daniel Cdebaca

April 28, 2023

Does an outdoor kitchen need to be covered?

If you want every component of your grill station to last as long as possible… The answer is yes.

An outdoor kitchen cover is a necessity for maintaining your backyard BBQ setup. 

If you’re unsure of how to cover an outdoor kitchen… Don’t worry!

We’ve got you covered.

In this article, we’ll go into more detail on the different methods for covering an outdoor kitchen.

Let’s get to it!

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l shaped outdoor bar under gazebo

What Is An Outdoor Kitchen Cover?

small outdoor kitchen with outdoor seating under a pergola
rta outdoor kitchen with full kitchen cover

So, what is an outdoor kitchen cover, exactly?

To best answer this question, some clarification is in order.

There are a couple different ways to interpret the term outdoor kitchen cover.

Some may picture a roof structure, to deflect precipitation or cast some shade…

While for others, a removable tarp-like covering might come to mind, to throw over your kitchen when it’s not in use.

Both of these interpretations are correct, and both serve the same general purposes: To keep your outdoor kitchen protected from the elements, extend its longevity, and keep it looking great.

But, which outdoor kitchen cover (or covers) should you invest in?

Let’s take a closer look at the two types.

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Outdoor Kitchen Roofs

Outdoor kitchen roofs are structures built over a kitchen island.

They’ll protect your countertops, appliances, and the island itself from the rain, snow, or UV rays (or nasty bird droppings, for that matter).

Now, an outdoor kitchen roof won’t only benefit your summer kitchen!

It’ll also protect your patio and outdoor furniture from sun damage…

And most importantly, it’ll make outdoor cooking and entertaining much more enjoyable for you and your guests.

Whether you want to keep the party going during a rainstorm, or you simply need a cool escape on a hot summer day… An outdoor kitchen roof would certainly be useful.

If you’re considering an outdoor kitchen roof for your space… Let’s run through a few important considerations.

What Type of Outdoor Kitchen Roof Do You Need?

outdoor kitchen under gazebo with table and seating on patio

There are so many different types of outdoor roofs to choose from.

For full coverage against all the elements, you may consider a pavilion or gazebo. These are sturdy, permanent outdoor roof structures that’ll shield your kitchen from the elements, year-round.

But if you’re just looking for some shade coverage, an awning, canopy, or pergola may suffice! These won’t necessarily deflect rain or snow from your outdoor patio… But they will make outdoor hosting more comfortable on a hot summer day.

Point is, you need to think about why you want an outdoor kitchen roof.

And in doing so, don’t forget to consider your climate! This will help you determine what’ll best suit your outdoor living space (and most adequately protect your outdoor kitchen).

But no matter the type of roof you choose… Another crucial consideration is safety.

With an Outdoor Kitchen Roof, Safety is Key

linear grill island next to wall with vent hood

When covering your outdoor kitchen with a roof structure, safety should be at the forefront of your mind.

Especially if you’re planning to build a permanent structure to cover your outdoor kitchen… You should read up on your local codes!

These will provide you with important rules and specifications to follow.

But whether the roof is permanent or not (perhaps you’re leaning towards a canopy, awning, or even an umbrella)… You’ll want to do everything in your power to prevent potential safety hazards.

Your outdoor grill and other cooking appliances are going to get hot… Which means covering them with a flammable material will increase the risk of your kitchen going up in flames.

If you’re planning to cover your kitchen with a wood or fabric roof… Look for flame-resistant fabric or fire-retardant wood! Though these won’t completely eliminate safety hazards, they will drastically lower the risk of fire spread.

Or, go with an entirely fire-resistant material altogether! Plastic and metal are popular choices for many outdoor kitchen roofs… And these materials won’t catch fire.

But no matter the material… Proper ventilation will be critical for an outdoor kitchen with a  cover.

For more peace of mind… Consider installing a vent hood over your cooking appliances. Especially if you have a closed-off roof with little room for airflow, this is an essential investment! 

Alright. With these considerations in mind… Let’s take a look at a few roof ideas.

Outdoor Kitchen Roof Ideas

Need some outdoor kitchen cover ideas?

Let’s look at a few inspiring examples!

Outdoor Kitchen with a Gazebo

outdoor kitchen under a gazebo with outdoor lighting and seating

This outdoor patio has full roof coverage, complete with curtains for total privacy!

You’ll be able to comfortably cook in your outdoor kitchen, rain, snow, or shine.

And not only will the outdoor kitchen itself be protected from the elements… The bar seating and outdoor sofa will stay dry and shaded, making this the perfect spot to kick back and relax on a summer day.

Outdoor Kitchen Under a Pavilion

outdoor kitchen under a pavilion

Here’s another superb setup…

This vinyl pavilion attaches directly to the house, creating a comfy indoor outdoor space right on the back patio.

Whether you’re cooking, chatting with friends, or watching a game on the outdoor TV… You could enjoy this space no matter the weather.

Outdoor Kitchen with a Pergola

modern outdoor kitchen by pool in backyard under pergola

Just looking for an outdoor kitchen shade cover? 

A pergola may be just what you need! 

The slatted roof design will protect you (and your kitchen!) from most of the sun’s harsh rays… Allowing for more enjoyable outdoor cooking.

If you’re considering an outdoor kitchen roof, hopefully we’ve sparked some inspiration!

But wait… What if you don’t have the time, or the budget, to install a permanent roof?

Luckily, there’s another easy way to keep your kitchen shielded from the elements.

Let’s talk about a less involved type of outdoor kitchen cover. 

Throw-Over Outdoor Kitchen Island Covers

Let’s shift our focus to an impermanent type of outdoor cover… One more akin to a tarp for outdoor kitchens.

When you’re not using your grill station… You can tie down and secure an impermanent outdoor kitchen cover, to extend its longevity and keep it looking (and working) great.

Removable outdoor kitchen island covers are most commonly used for winterizing BBQ stations.

In the off-season, high quality covers will keep your kitchen dry… So water won’t be able to freeze in the countertops or frame, which can cause extensive damage (we’re talking cracked countertops, crumbling veneers, and other detrimental destruction).

But don’t think of these solely as winter tarps for outdoor kitchens… They should ideally be used year-round, to keep your kitchen looking good as new.

Especially if you live in a humid or coastal locale… A removable cover will give your kitchen island some much-needed respite from the elements. 

And no matter where you live… A cover will provide UV-protection… Prevent mold and mildew… And keep pests from moving in, regardless of the season! 

Now, if you have a heavy duty BBQ grill island, like a concrete kitchen… Cracking, crumbling, rust, and other weather-related issues really aren’t a concern.

But regardless of material, a removable outdoor kitchen cover is a worthwhile investment!

They’re a necessity for proper outdoor kitchen maintenance. 

Especially if you don’t have a permanent roof, an impermanent, tarp-like cover will ensure your kitchen is as well-protected as possible.

And even if you are considering an outdoor kitchen roof… It’s not a bad idea to have double-coverage! Especially if you live in a colder climate, with harsher weather conditions.

Now, as with outdoor kitchen roofs… There are a few things to be aware of before you purchase an impermanent outdoor kitchen island cover!

Let’s discuss.

Outdoor Kitchen Cover Materials

rta custom island cover on an l shaped island

The purpose of an outdoor kitchen cover is to provide protection from the elements… So of course it should have superior weather-resistance!

The most high quality, durable outdoor kitchen covers will be made with breathable, water-resistant materials.

Now, don’t confuse water-resistant for waterproof.

There’s actually a significant difference here!

A waterproof cover will prevent all water from passing through… But this means it will also trap in any moisture or condensation (especially in humid environments).

Since water won’t be able to evaporate… Waterproof covers will actually (ironically) result in water damage.

On the other hand, water-resistant covers will repel most of the water… But will still allow for enough air circulation to encourage evaporation, effectively keeping your kitchen island dry.

So as you shop for outdoor kitchen covers… Keep this distinction in mind!

Types of Outdoor Kitchen Island Covers

In your search for removable outdoor kitchen covers, you’ll have two choices.

There are options for completely covering your kitchen island, appliances and all…

Or, there are smaller covers for protecting specific appliances.

Now, we’d recommend going straight for the full cover for outdoor kitchen islands… This will protect your entire BBQ station, and eliminate any need for separate appliance or outdoor kitchen grill covers!

But if for some reason you do want a smaller cover (for your outdoor kitchen sink, pizza oven, or gas grill, for instance…), you should buy one directly from the appliance manufacturer.

This will ensure the cover fits properly, since it’ll be designed for that specific appliance.

As for full outdoor kitchen island covers… If you have a prefab or modular kitchen, you may be able to buy a kitchen cover straight from the manufacturer.

However, if you have a custom outdoor kitchen… You’ll need to have your island cover custom made to fit the exact dimensions of your grill station.

Luckily, there are a few brands who specialize in custom covers for outdoor kitchens!

A fully customized outdoor kitchen

Use our free 3D design tool to make the perfect outdoor kitchen that will last a lifetime. Get started today!

Outdoor Kitchen Covers Custom Brands

If you have a custom kitchen… It’s important that your outdoor kitchen cover is made to perfectly fit your BBQ island.

A secure fit will give you the most peace of mind that your kitchen is adequately protected!

So, where can you get custom outdoor kitchen covers?

Let’s discuss a few popular brands.

Covers & All

Covers & All offers a variety of products… From patio furniture covers, to BBQ grill covers… To custom outdoor kitchen island covers!

Their outdoor kitchen island covers, specifically, are “tailor-made to fit all shapes of outdoor kitchens.”

At checkout, you’ll be able to easily key in the exact BBQ cover dimensions you need.

You’ll also have the option to add zippers, tie downs, drawstrings, grommets, or slits for a faucet or side burner, if desired.

So, what level of protection can you expect from Covers & All?

It depends on the fabric you choose!

They offer three types: Cover Max, Cover Rite, and Cover Tuff.

Their Cover Max and Cover Tuff are made with a heavier, PVC coated polyester. These are, tear-, abrasion-, and UV-resistant.

Now, both of these fabrics are labeled as waterproof.

And if you remember what we said earlier… Waterproof isn’t ideal.

These materials may actually trap water in… Resulting in possible mold, mildew, or other damages.

If you live in a dry, arid climate and are simply looking for some UV-protection… These fabrics may be fine!

Just know that they won’t keep your kitchen dry.

On the other hand, their Cover Rite fabric is made with polyester. This is lightweight, tear-, abrasion-, UV-, and mildew-resistant.

It’s water repellent, rather than waterproof… So it should be better at keeping your kitchen island dry.

That said, there’s no clear info on breathability. For peace of mind, it’s worth checking this detail with Covers & All!

As for warranty, the Cover Rite fabric has two years of coverage. The Cover Max fabric is covered by a three year warranty, while the Cover Tuff is covered for five years.

CoverStore

coverstore outdoor kitchen covers

CoverStore provides both custom island and outdoor kitchen bar covers.

Whether you have a linear, L-shaped, U-shaped, or even a round outdoor kitchen… They can custom design a cover for your needs!

These covers come equipped with drawcord cinches and buckle straps, to keep them secure at all times.

As well as this, they come with an integrated, covered-mesh vent to improve breathability and prevent moisture buildup!

As with the previous option we discussed, there are three fabric options: Elite, Ultima, or Prestige.

All of these fabrics are made from sturdy, tear-, UV- and fade-resistant polyester.

This polyester is water-resistant, rather than waterproof… Looking good!

The Elite collection is made with a lightweight polyester… CoverStore recommends this material for climates with moderate to high winds, moderate to high rainfall, moderate sunlight or snowfall, and low to moderate humidity.

This is backed by a three year warranty.

The Ultima fabric is a bit more heavy duty… It’s recommended for areas with moderate to extreme winds, moderate to high rainfall, moderate to high sunlight, heavy to extreme snow, and moderate to high humidity levels.

The Ultima collection is covered by a seven year warranty.

The prestige collection is their most durable… With superior water-, UV-, wind-, and fade-resistance.

This is backed by a ten year warranty.

All in all, these covers should sufficiently keep your kitchen safely shielded from sun and precipitation!

Cover Pros

cover pros outdoor covers

Last but not least… Let’s talk about Cover Pros.

No matter the size or shape of your outdoor kitchen… Cover Pros can fashion a custom cover to meet your needs!

And we can say this with confidence! Here at RTA, we’ve actually partnered with Cover Pros to supply outdoor kitchen covers for our custom islands.

Cover Pros makes their covers with WeatherMax 80 fabric, which is lightweight, durable, abrasion-, UV-, and fade-resistant.

It’s also highly breathable, and water-resistant.

These covers are made from tiny, close-knit filaments… Which prevents them from separating and expanding, while still allowing the fabric to breathe.

A HydroMax+ finish also prevents moisture from getting under the fabric.

No matter your climate… You won’t have to worry about water damage, mold, or mildew!

And even better… WeatherMax fabric is a sustainable choice. It’s entirely recyclable!

Cover Pros covers come with adjustable shock cords, to tightly seal the cover around your kitchen.

There’s a three year warranty on their kitchen island covers.

Alright… You’ve seen a few brands.

Of those listed, who offers the best outdoor kitchen covers?

The Best Outdoor Kitchen Island Cover Brand

cover pros close up of materials

The best removable outdoor kitchen cover truly depends on your climate, and what level of protection from the elements you’ll require.

If you live in a dry, arid place… Really any of the covers listed may suit your needs!

But if you’re looking for maximum water-resistance (perhaps you live in a Northern climate)… We’d say the competition comes down to Cover Store vs. Cover Pros.

Both offer durable, water-resistant options for keeping your kitchen island safe and dry.

And honestly, if we had to select just one winner?

It’d be Cover Pros!

While Cover Store may have a better overall warranty, they simply make use of singular mesh vents for breathability.

On the other hand, every square inch of a Cover Pros cover will be entirely breathable!

There’s no doubt that your outside kitchen will stay dry.

Plus, Cover Pros has a sustainable approach, which is certainly appealing.

Really, you can’t go wrong!

At this point, we’ve covered a lot. From roofs to removable island covers… You should have a better feel for what’ll benefit your outdoor kitchen.

Now, there’s just one thing left to talk about… And that’s the kitchen itself!

An Outdoor Kitchen That’s Sure To Last

ward schraeders custom rta outdoor kitchen under awning roof structure

Whether with a roof, a removable island cover, or both… It’s always a good idea to cover your outdoor kitchen.

That said, it’d certainly make things easier if your outdoor kitchen itself was built to withstand the elements!

Even with the proper coverage, a low quality build can be detrimental.

Take outdoor kitchens made with wood or metal frames, for example.

If a wood outdoor kitchen takes on water… It’ll warp, swell, and rot.

And kitchens with metal frames are no match for cold or wet conditions, either! These face rust and corrosion, which will ultimately cause pieces of the exterior finish to fall right off your island.

Frames aside… Let’s not forget about your outdoor kitchen’s countertops. If these aren’t up to snuff, too much sun or water exposure can cause them to fade or crack.

So, is there a solution for all of this?

There is!

To eliminate all worries of rot, rust, corrosion, and other weather-related damages… Consider an RTA outdoor kitchen!

Here at RTA, we make our custom kitchens with high performance, reinforced concrete panels, and heavy duty concrete or granite countertops.

We offer an undeniably durable solution that’s impervious to the weather… And will stay structurally sound, regardless of where you live!

It’s important to us that you feel confident in your product’s quality… That’s why our kitchen islands come backed with a structural guarantee, are rated for 100 years, and are covered by a limited lifetime structural warranty.

Though your kitchen will last… You should still treat it with care! That’s why we’ve partnered with Cover Pros, to provide a convenient and reliable outdoor kitchen cover solution for all of our customers.

So, roof or no roof… Rain or shine… You can rest assured that your kitchen will last a lifetime!

Wondering how to begin?

You can check out our Learning Hub for more on all things outdoor kitchen related…

…Give our free online design tool a whirl to get a feel for our custom design options…

Or feel free to reach out! We’re more than happy to help you get started.

Need Help With Your Plans?

Talk to one of our expert designers and they will guide you from planning to installation. Schedule a call today.

FAQ

If you want to protect your outdoor kitchen from the elements year-round, you can install a permanent roofed cover (like a pavilion or gazebo)… You could invest in removable island covers… Or, for maximum protection, you could utilize both!

You should absolutely cover your outdoor kitchen in the winter, regardless of how durable it may be. This will give you peace of mind that your island is protected from the cold, wet conditions… It’ll keep pests out… And it’ll keep your kitchen dry until you’re ready to use it come warmer weather!

You can put a roof over an outdoor kitchen! This will protect your kitchen from the elements, as well as cast some shade for more enjoyable outdoor hosting.

But, just be sure to keep safety at the forefront of your mind!

To keep your family safe, be sure to read up on local codes, outdoor kitchen ventilation, and vent hoods before you install a roof over your grill station.

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