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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!