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Unlike other natural stones, it doesn't require yearly sealing but regular applications of mineral oil will help to disguise any surface scratches, add sheen and deepen the stone's color over time.

A creamy travertine countertop lends a classic Old World look to this neutral kitchen designed by Lisa Stanley.

The most appealing characteristic of this material is its ability to inhibit bacterial buildup, making it the most hygienic countertop available.

Aside from its sleek, streamlined appearance, glass countertops have many benefits.

Anthony and John, the Cousins on Call, installed wraparound wood countertops in this cozy kitchen, but most homeowners choose to mix wood countertops with other surfaces like natural or engineered stone to provide a variety of prep surfaces.

The current darling of the design world, the gray-toned veining in Carrara or Calacatta marble isn't just aesthetically pleasing, it also helps to disguise wear and hide light stains.

In most regions, the cost of granite and quartz are comparable but natural granite requires a bit more care than manufactured quartz to keep its good looks — wipe up all stains quickly, especially oils, wine, acids and soda, and follow a regular sealing routine — typically once a year.

Usually a mix of pre- and post-consumer products, recycled countertops are available in a wide range of colors and textures.

Glass can be cut into any shape and texture and the color options are endless.

Although it's a pricier option, the popularity of glass countertops is on the rise thanks to its modern look.

Both decorative and functional, this hardworking surface is ideal for food prep — properly sealed, wood countertops are sanitary even for chopping meat.

Unlike other budget-friendly options, like laminate, wood is highly heat-resistant so you don't have to worry about putting hot pots and pans on the surface.

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Retro, mid-century looks like the ubiquitous boomerang and bright, saturated colors are other trendy choices to consider.

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