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Counter revolution

Glass for kitchen counters is gaining in popularity as microbe-wary consumers seek the most sanitary countertops. Thick sheets are tempered to resist cracking and chipping and can be embedded with color and designs between the layers. (Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times)
This Lavastone counter is made from lava and is given an oven-fired enamel surface for durability and scratch-resistance. (Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times)
Stainless-steel countertops provide the biggest shield against microbes, but a high-quality model doesn’t come cheap. (Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times)
Synthetic counters like this CaesarStone provide a natural-stone look along with a nonporous, scratch-resistant surface. (Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times)
Metal counters should ideally be made and installed as one piece and glued down onto a wood subsurface, eliminating the need for seams, which could allow moisture to seep through and foster mold. (Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times)