Wood adds warmth to the kitchen, and is the most sanitary of all the countertop properties; its natural properties protect from bacteria build-up. To maintain the quality appearance, wood island countertops should be routinely treated with mineral oil. A cutting board should be used to avoid damage from knives, and hot pads/trivets eliminate damage from hot cookware.
Cleanup is simple with warm soapy water or ammonia. Avoid use of abrasive cleaners/pads for general cleaning. Extended contact with foods with a high-acid content causes stains. Stainless steel is competitively priced with wood and less expensive than marble and granite.
Granite and Marble
Granite is unique to its geological region, known for its inconsistent patterns, and is graded for density, strength, acid resistance, and water absorption. Granite countertops are sealed to resist damage; care needs to be taken when using knives, but granite resists heat damage. Cleanup is best done with a sponge dipped in a warm solution of water and anti-bacterial soap, rinsed and dried.
Marble is luxurious and provides a durable countertop surface when sealed, but is more porous and less stain-resistant than granite tops - acidic foods may cause stains. Marble is resistant to moderate heat and, if abused, will scratch.