Like natural granite, wood counters can vary widely in the uniformity and graining of their patterns. Counters of Carrara marble with a polished top function as beautifully as they look.
There was a time when tile countertops were all the rage.
To be safe and keep water from traveling behind my cabinets(and creating a mold problem), I filled those all up with a good amount of caulk. Because of the old bar and the way we built the columns I didn't want to remove the back splash directly behind our sink.
Since I was using the tile setting sheets instead of mortar this was fine.
Any burns, cuts, or chips will be filled, sanded and made level.
Different areas on the globe have different standards and different popular options when it comes to kitchen countertops.