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How to take care of Your Tables

Our houses are full of tables. Whether it’s a dining table, a card table, or a coffee table, this piece of furniture is found throughout most homes. How do you take care of them and what do you do when one is damaged? We’ll cover some of that here with the best advice from our manufacturers and more.

Damage

There are four main ways tables become damaged; sunlight, water or liquids, objects (sharp, rough or rubber feet), and humidity. Since most tables are made of wood, any of these environmental conditions or contacts when not addressed at the time can lead to visible damage that may require additional care.

First and foremost try to avoid all of these conditions. Keep your tables out of direct sunlight and keep them dry. Don’t subject them to extreme changes in temperature or humidity. Plastic and rubber bottoms found on lamps or accessories can leave a residue or damage the finish. Have pads, cloth, or felt pads underneath any object you will be leaving on the table that you’re unsure about.

  • Lift, don’t slide objects when moving them on a table.
  • Don’t let any family members write on a single sheet of paper on the table.
  • Clean spills immediately using a blotting rather than a wiping action. Alcohol, perfume, after-shave and medications can cause severe damage to some finishes.

Accidents do happen which we’ll address shortly. But first a word about daily upkeep.

Maintenance

Dust can damage your table. Regular dusting with a clean, soft, dry, lint-free cloth can work wonders. Periodically consider a furniture care product. These tend to fall into three categories; Polishes, Silicone cleaners and waxes. Polishes are the choice here because they are designed to clean only the surface of furniture (above the finish) and not into the finish, and not leave any buildup, particularly like waxes will.

Polishes will contain detergents, emulsifiers and mineral oil to clean, add body and leave a thin, remaining barrier respectively. Be sure your cloth has NO GRIT.

Different finishes from different manufactures may have specific considerations and insights as to what type of products to use for the best performance. If your coffee table and your dining room table are from different eras or makers, they may have different needs. In this case, prior to putting ANY product on your furniture, always try out the product in a place on your furniture where it will not be seen.

Protection

The best types of protection for tables are physical. When you spill water or when an ice-cold glass sweats onto the table, there is a chance that water if left there will eventually leave a mark. The very best way to avoid that outcome for wet glasses is with coasters.

It’s also worth looking at where your table is and if it is getting extended direct sunlight. This causes fading over time.

You may want to put hot plates on your table. In this case and many more, consider moving to custom-fitted pads.

For many people, the surface protection might be left to some sort of tablecloth or fabric cover.

On the positive side, the color of the fabric or the drape over the edge will completely change the look of your room. On the negative side, that cloth will hide a damp spot and can go unnoticed allowing the cloth to remain in contact with the surface long enough to create a stain. When that is not the design you want or outcome you can foresee in your home, consider a custom-fitted pad with a richly colored or textured surface, even wood grain. In our array of suppliers we have a custom pad company that can make a pad for a table, buffet or even a piano in order to safely protect 100% of the surface all the time.

These types of pads are custom created to fit the exact dimension of the furniture, even a piano or a non-symmetrical console table. These pads will make your tabletops virtually impervious to all the above damages. We are glad to discuss the possibilities for your furniture to have the ultimate protection of modern interlocking or magnetic connecting, furniture pads.

Repairs

Very few repairs in a table-top are things to try to fix at home. Depending on the furniture maker, different types of protectants in the applied finish can react badly to different efforts at restoration. Many of these efforts can leave additional damage that is not seen for a few months and then requires an entirely new finish.

Touching up scuffs on legs can be done by applying a readily available wood coloring product from your local hardware store. Always choose a lighter color than you think you have on your furniture. Always apply with a very THIN tip ONLY within the exposed wound and let the product dry one application at a time.

If you have damage to a table-top that you are not comfortable trying to fix, we suggest contacting an established local repairer who has good reviews. Over the years, their efforts have been shown to be very effective at restoring damaged furniture to its original luster.