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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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Lacey

Monday 11th of October 2021

I had glass and got rid of it for the same reasons!

Jessica @ Cutesy Crafts

Wednesday 13th of October 2021

So glad I'm not the only one! I had to write this post to warn people. Haha!

Veronica A Roessner

Saturday 9th of October 2021

Hello Jessica! Thank you for sharing your thought's about your glass table topper. It reminded me of why I didn't get one, like I wanted to, year's ago. I was aware of the liquid and crumb's getting under the glass no matter what you did to try to prevent. My dinner table has a polyurethane coat on it. I am not too thrilled with it because, like you, I want my table to stay pretty. You can see the scratches on it clearly, it doesn't like standing water for too long and a warm mug or plate seems to kind of melt the polyurethane a bit. Anyway, these thing's put mark's on the table. When I get around to it, was thinking I might sand the table down and put an oil varnish on it and protect it with a wood polishing compound. I really appreciate feeling the wood texture of a table and not the weird feel of a polyurethane coating. Am hoping this process will stand up better to warm dishes and condensation, from cup's and glasses, sitting on table. I do use coaster's, hot pad's and trivet's but, every now and then, you have that someone who either doesn't or forgets to use them. Hope you figure out a solution that makes you happy and your life with four children a little easier. Appreciate your insight on this topic, and thank you for all the great crafty link's. Wishing you a fine day!

~ Veronica

Jessica @ Cutesy Crafts

Wednesday 13th of October 2021

Glad it was helpful and good to know that the poly didn't work out for you either. I put wax on, and I'm having the same problem with marks and scratches. Oh well, still way better than the glass!

Julie K Whitmer

Saturday 9th of October 2021

Dear Jessica, Personally, leaving the table as is, is perfect. Over the years, the art work marks, homework marks, etc. from my siblings and myself made our dining room table so very special! And when it comes time to sell your table, if the table has good bones someone will come along like me who loves to refinish furniture. The new re-finish will then allow for someone else to tell their family table stories.

By the way, thank you for introducing me to the world of embroidery. You helped me to make terrific 60th birthday gifts for my twin sisters. You are so very talented both in your work and your teaching explanation. Very best to you, Julie

Jessica @ Cutesy Crafts

Wednesday 13th of October 2021

I love thinking about it like that! I'm so glad you are enjoying my embroidery tutorials. Thank you for the kind words!!

Marcie Adkins

Saturday 9th of October 2021

Or, put a table cloth over it. That's what I do. And then you can toss the tablecloth in the washer easily and it works as a nice rag to clean up spills. Ready in an instant.

Jessica @ Cutesy Crafts

Wednesday 13th of October 2021

Yeah, I'm thinking I might need to find a cute tablecloth.

Josefina F.

Friday 8th of October 2021

I had the same issue back in the 90’s when my children were young. I did apply 3 coats of polyurethane on the brand new wood table. It stayed in the garage for about 2 weeks until the smell of the polyurethane disappeared. It was the perfect solution. To this day, we still have the same wood table.

Jessica @ Cutesy Crafts

Wednesday 13th of October 2021

I knew I should have used some polyurethane! Next time!

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