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Should You Use Glass to Protect a Wood Table?

About a year ago we purchased a new wooden kitchen table. Upon its arrival, I noticed that it didn’t have a thick clear coat like tables I’ve owned previously. My children are SUPER messy when they eat, especially with their cereal for some reason, so that means we have a constant mess on our kitchen table. Naturally, I started looking for a way to protect our new wood table from the mess. I searched around the internet a bit to see if you should use glass to protect a wood table, but didn’t come up with much information. I decided it would be the best solution anyway, ordered a custom piece of glass, and regretted it since day one. After reading this, you may still decide a glass table protector is right for your situation. I’m just here to tell you some of the reasons you might not want to go that route.

Should You Use Glass to Protect a Wood Table?

So let’s get straight into the “should you use glass to protect a wood table?” question.

I’ll answer that question with some other questions: Would you want a mirror as your tabletop? What would cleaning and maintaining that be like? Well, I don’t know if it’s just because the wood on my table is dark, but that’s what it felt and looked like to me. The highly reflective surface with the dark background means it shows every fingerprint, every crumb, and every streak even after cleaning it. I’ve got four kids that are constantly touching the table and putting dishes on it, which means my pretty table looked like garbage 24/7.

Should You Use Glass to Protect a Wood Table?

The only way to get it really clean was to use window cleaner, and even then it was still streaky and ugly. Some of this is on the surface, but a lot of it is also trapped underneath the glass that I couldn’t even get to for cleaning.

Glass for table

When the glass company first brought the glass over, they brought some clear spacers to go underneath. The spacers are supposed to allow airflow under the glass so it doesn’t ruin the tabletop. Well, that just made the top look even uglier, and the kids kept spilling stuff that would slide under the glass. I thought taking the spacers out would help, but it didn’t at all. No matter what I did, the food, especially anything liquid, still got under the glass. That spot on the left where the spill goes all the way to the edge goes under the glass, and the spot below it is actually under the glass. This happened daily with my kids.

Should You Use Glass to Protect a Wood Table?

Those wet spots mean I had to slide the heavy glass, carefully lift it, and clean and dry under it any time there was a spill. It was seriously the biggest pain, and sounds way easier said than done!!! And even after all that, the edges still had a constant supply of crumbs that somehow managed to make their way UNDER the glass! How does this even happen?! There were no spacers being used when I took these photos!

Glass table protector.

What did I do about it?

So I finally decided about a month ago that I’d had enough of fighting with this thing, and I’d rather have a ruined table. I took the glass off and gave it away on marketplace. I put a clear coat of something on it that I actually don’t recommend, so I won’t tell you what it was. Even though the clear coat I put on it doesn’t make it look great, it still looks a million times better than that stupid piece of glass that I had on it for a year. It’s so much easier to clean! Now we are using place mats and the the spills actually wipe up much easier. It’s not a perfect solution, but better than the glass.

What should I have done instead?

Bought a different table! Seriously though, I wish I had done a little more research and gotten something that had a better clear coat on the top to begin with. If you’re already stuck with a table that doesn’t have that, try looking up finishes you can apply yourself. I think I probably should have gone with a coat of polyurethane or varnish instead, but I was too irritated to research any more options. Glass for the table should NOT have been something I considered with my messy kids, so maybe it would work if you don’t have kids?? …but then you probably wouldn’t need to protect your table anyway, so maybe it should just never be an option.

Have you tried glass on a wood table? Did you love it? Hate it? Think I’m crazy and my kids are slobs? One or both of those might be right. Anyway, leave a comment with your suggestions and maybe we can collectively come up with a solution to have a nice looking kitchen table with kids. I’d love some other options!

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Tuesday 2nd of January 2024

Has anyone tried the 80 mil plastic covers for your table. We had glass on our table with some hand sketches under neath, we loved the look, and then the glass had gotten broken. We are now debating on the plastic or the glass.


Thursday 4th of April 2024

@Mike, YES!! I HATE IT!! Looks like one of those 70's couches wrapped in plastic. I bought a farm house table & matching island from Ashley's few yrs back and didn't realize it has groves in both tops. Which collects every crumb, every peice of play dough from my grandkids. It cheapest the look of both peices although I don't have anymore crumbs in my grooves the vynyl toppers lift at the ends and they have humps in it along the edges where it refuses to lay flat. I will prob sell this table and a very reduced price and go with a flat top one else where.


Wednesday 23rd of August 2023

No, do not use glass to protect a wooden table. I purchased a glass overlay for my dining room table because I was afraid our cats would jump on it and scratch the wood. Sadly, they were over 20 years old and did not live long after I put the glass on. Now, I'm stuck with this ugly top on my beautiful table. I can clean the top with glass cleaner all I want and the back of the glass is still cloudy. There must be dust underneath. I live alone and am afraid to take the class off myself because I don't want to slide it off and have it chip or scratch the edges of the table. If I ever could get it off I don't know what to do with it. I can't just throw it away without breaking it up and then it would be a danger to the garbage man. Do not do it.

Jessica @ Cutesy Crafts

Wednesday 30th of August 2023

Ugh, I feel your pain! I gave mine away to someone on Facebook marketplace. Not sure what they used it for, but I don't care. Haha!


Sunday 6th of August 2023

I am so happy to have found this post.

I too have a piece of glass on top of my wooden dining room table and just like most of the comments it's impossible to clean the dust and grime that has accumulated underneath the glass. Needless to say, it looks terrible, so I plan to remove the glass. I think applying a wax to the table or purchasing a table pad which was suggested by April. (See April's comment dated October 8, 2021) is a better option. Plus, it will be so much easier to clean.


Thursday 6th of July 2023

I put a tablecloth on the table, and then covered the tablecloth with glass. It looks incredible. The table underneath stays clean, the tablecloth stays clean, the glass looks clean - everything just looks better.


Friday 2nd of June 2023

I just purchased the dining table of my dreams (secondhand). I immediately ordered custom glass to protect the top, got it home and placed; I HATE IT! I see what you mean about “Would you put a mirror on your table?” No! I regret this decision but don’t want to waste the $350 I just spent. I got the little silicone bumpers too and it really makes it look cheap, so I am not going to use them. What a waste of time and money.

Jessica @ Cutesy Crafts

Tuesday 13th of June 2023

Ugh! I feel your pain! I gave my glass away on facebook marketplace, so at least I didn't feel bad about throwing it away. Maybe you could sell it? My table is holding up so nicely without it. I put a wax coating on it, which is a little cloudy, but looks much nicer than the glass did. My kids spill all over it and leave cups, and it's still fine.

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