What Material is Best for a New Grill Island?

Grill islands are valuable additions to any backyard and come in all shapes and sizes. Whether purchasing prefab or designing custom, there are several materials to choose from for the walls of your grill island base. Each type of material has different degrees of durability, maintenance, cost, and difficulty to install, but in the end, it's about your personal preference and lifestyle. Even though the countertops and appliances often catch the eye first, the wall surface material equally contributes to the backdrop and look of the outdoor space.

Natural Stone

Natural stone is authentic, ageless, and custom, with no two pieces being the same. This lack of uniformity makes it elegant, genuine and needing of professional installation. Durable through any weather and climate, it is heavy and requires a formidable structure to support the weight.

Cultured Stone Veneer

Cultured stone veneer is manufactured and engineered from cement to look like their real stone counterparts. It looks stunning and lasts as long as natural stone, although, upon closer examination, repeated patterns of identical sections can be seen. It is a more flexible material because it is lighter and easy to cut, trim and manipulate for custom installations.


Tile is a favorite material for creating visually appealing displays of charm and tradition. Both ceramic and porcelain tile can be manipulated and cut to fit any installation. Porcelain tile is more expensive and durable due to a coating of liquified glass material. It can be engineered with designs or to look like other materials like stone or wood. Part of the charm of tile is the grout's geometric lines, which can also require more maintenance over time from discoloration and staining.


Brick is beautiful, rustic, cheap, and timeless. Enduring and iconic, brick structures communicate tradition but are often incorporated in transitional and industrial designs. Able to handle the most climates, brick wall construction can be a DYI alternative unless brick cutting is necessary.


Concrete can be a striking, modern-looking material when sleek and polished. It’s super heavy and requires professional help for vertical installations but can add the smooth silken look to make the island stand out. When properly sealed and maintained, concrete offers solid durability.


Stucco is one of the most flexible and customizable materials of the group. It is lightweight and comes in almost any color to fit your design. A cement-based finish popular in home construction, stucco can be manipulated to fit any style through staining and troweling, such as tinting to mimic terra-cotta for a rustic look.


Wood is warm and welcoming, especially when contrasted with stainless steel appliances. Outdoor-treated wood slatting can add long lines and scenic beauty. Wood will require more maintenance as it is susceptible to staining and discoloration but can be a welcome touch of contrast to a stone or concrete patio. Since it is combustible, insulated jackets for the cooking appliances are a must.

So, Which Material is Best?

Picking a suitable material for your grill island comes down to preference. Do you want minimal maintenance? Then natural stone or brick would be the right choice. If you prefer a more engineered look, certain types of stone veneer and concrete can deliver crisp precision. Stucco may be the right choice if you're on a budget and don't want the traditional look of brick. Each material can be used to complement your personal style and transform the aesthetic of your outdoor living retreat.