Whether it’s during dinner with friends or a craft session with toddlers, all it takes is one clumsy move to stain or damage the surface of your wooden dining table. Here are some tips to prevent accidents, limit their impact and repair minor damage.
How to prevent damage to a wooden table
Avoid placing your dining table under direct sunlight
Over time, prolonged exposure to UV rays can dull the appearance of the wood. In the summer, the heat of the sun can also dry out the wood and cause cracks to form in the grain. Keep your dining table in the shade or close the curtains and blinds during hours of strong sunlight.
Another option is to choose a model with a tabletop that’s made of another material, such as Elkom’s Italian ceramics and glass.
Keep the room’s humidity at an adequate level
Wood expands when the ambient humidity is too high. Conversely, insufficient moisture makes it dry and can lead to the formation of cracks. That’s why it’s preferable to keep your dining table at a safe distance from heating sources. Use a humidifier or dehumidifier to keep your dining room humidity levels between 50-55%.
If your table is extendable (like the Nicolas model), store the unused sections horizontally and in a place with adequate humidity to prevent them from warping.
Use a tablecloth or placemats
A cloth or cotton tablecloth prevents utensils from scratching the surface of your dining table while adding texture and colour to your decor. Keep a few with varying colours and patterns, depending on the season or your mood. Use placemats for simple meals and everyday use, and bring out your tablecloths for bigger, more formal gatherings.
Add a glass tabletop
If your table has a distinctive surface that serves as the centerpiece of your decor, such as the knots and streaks of solid Acacia in the Jura model, you might not want to conceal it under a permanent tablecloth. Adding a custom glass table top protects your furniture from scratches and spills while enhancing its appearance.
Taking a dish out of the oven and placing it directly on the table can damage the varnish or leave burn marks in the wood. A simple tablecloth offers insufficient protection against such heat. Always slide a heat-resistant trivet under sharing dishes and hot plates for extra protection.
Keep coasters handy
Water condensation that forms on the surface of a cold beverage trickles down to its base. Without adequate protection, this liquid can then be absorbed by the wood, causing dark circles and stains. The best way to prevent this is to keep coasters in a handy place and use them whenever necessary.
Use mild cleaning products on your wooden table
Be sure to use an adequate cleaner for wood furniture. Many household cleaning products contain abrasives or chemical additives designed to remove stubborn stains, but may cause irreparable damage to the finish of your dining table.
Most of our wooden furniture is coated with a lacquer which does not need to be oiled and which, with proper maintenance, will protect the surface during normal use. If necessary, sand and apply a new coat of lacquer or varnish.
Repairing minor damage to your wooden table top
Clean up messes immediately
If a guest spills their glass of wine or drops a ladleful of soup while helping themselves, don’t wait to clean up the mess. Unless your tablecloth is covered with a stain-resistant treatment, it offers no protection against liquids and food – it might actually make matters worse by keeping them in contact with the wood.
Liquids and food left on the surface too long can penetrate deep into the wood and cause permanent damage. Acting quickly is a must.
Dry up water rings
If you spot a ring of water early enough, it might be possible to blow it out by drying the surface with a hair dryer. Applying controlled heat evaporates trapped surface water before it damages furniture.
Set your hair dryer to medium heat, hold it about 10cm from the blemish and blow dry with gentle, continuous side-to-side motions. After two or three minutes, the stain should begin to fade; continue until it disappears completely.
Despite these precautions, scratches or marks from drinks, food, burns or ink may still cause permanent damage to your wood furniture. Consider investing in a five-year protection plan at the time of purchase for added peace of mind.
Repair scratches with a wax crayon
You can restore wood surfaces by sanding and reapplying an oil or a finishing varnish, but this work is delicate. For many minor scratches, it’s easier to simply fill the gap with wax.
Wax furniture repair crayons are great for this task, as they contain additives that make them more durable. It’s usually easy to find one in a color that matches your dining table perfectly. And since these designed products are non-toxic, you don’t have to worry about food coming into contact with the repaired area.
Clean and dry the surface. Then rub the pencil over the damaged section to fill it with wax. Use a plastic spatula or a credit card to scrape off the excess material. Polish the filling with a cloth.
Slight wear marks and a few minor imperfections are inevitable and even add to the charm of wooden furniture. But by following the advice above, you will protect your furniture from the worst stains and deep scratches.