5. Marble Countertops Stain Like Crazy

"Our Carrara countertops are great for rolling out pastry dough. But most of all, they're just so beautiful. Unfortunately, every time someone squeezes a lemon or pours a glass of red wine, I find myself racing up behind them with a wet cloth before spots or rings have a chance to form."

How to cope: A food-safe marble sealer can provide a barrier, but you still need to blot up acidic spills pronto and follow with a soapy sponge. If the red-wine ring is there to stay, try applying a bleaching poultice. (Find the how-to at This Old House Bonus.)

Next time: Consider engineered stone or solid surfacing. You won't really mistake the look or feel for marble, but you also won't have to wave around a sponge every time someone wants to slice a lime.
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