Teak table & plexiglass, separated by a common ??
August 25, 2009 7:48 AM   Subscribe

How do I attach plexiglass to a teak dining table?

Just moved, and I found a great deal on a teak dinner/kitchen table. The combination of teak + my carelessness means that I need to protect it. So I have a piece of plexiglass, 3mm (just under 1/8'') thick to go on top.

1. Clearly I can't just lay it down on top of the table. How do I attach it?

2. What else do I need to know about keeping the table safe, even with the plexiglass? I'll be using trivets/runners for hot dishes of course.

3. I'm pretty sure I shouldn't be using normal glass cleaner stuff to clean plexiglass. What do I use?

I've got hammer, screwdrivers, drill, other basic stuff. I'm reasonably competent physically if I know what needs to be done, but I have no clue what that is.

posted by Lemurrhea to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
It won't take much. Little squares of clear, double-sided tape under the corners will do it.
You know Plexiglas will scratch easily, right? So a bit of soapy water on a soft cloth will clean it.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:57 AM on August 25, 2009

If I were you, I'd avoid "destructively" attaching the plexi with nails/screws/etc. Throw it on there as is and see if it is going to slide around too much for you. If it does, just get some small pieces of anti-slip shelf liner and put a 2" square in each corner.

The plexi is going to scratch immediately (as in, the first time you set something on it). Hot pots will melt it. Sharp objects that are dropped corner first may crack it.

Windex is fine on plexi. Just make sure that you keep your cloth/paper towel nice and moist do it won't scuff the material.
posted by davey_darling at 7:57 AM on August 25, 2009

1. You certainly don't screw it down; there's no point protecting the table top if you're going to make holes in it. If you'd had a safety glass top made, you'd just be able to rely on the weight. A plexiglass top will probably need some sort of clip - maybe the metal clips used to hold tablecloths in place might work, if you can find strong ones.

2. The tabletop should be pretty well protected by the plexiglass. Obviously don't put anything directly from the oven or the stove on it - use a trivet. The plexiglass will inevitably scratch, but that's about all. Oh, and make sure the table is really clean before you put the plexiglass on it - a speck of grit can cause a nasty scratch.

3. A damp cloth and some dish soap.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 8:06 AM on August 25, 2009

Teak is a very oily wood, very water resistant and very hard. The wood itself should take a lot of abuse, the finish, of course, not so much.

Felt pads attached to the plexi would be best, just to keep it from moving, that plexi will scratch faster than your teak btw.
posted by Max Power at 8:14 AM on August 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Rather than plexiglass, why not use a tablecloth with a silencer underneath? It'll protect the surface from just as much damage as plexi, but will look a hell of a lot better.
posted by fatbird at 8:28 AM on August 25, 2009

are you worried more about the teak being damaged from like impact, or like stains? Teak is pretty durable, thats why people use it for outdoor stuff where the teak's going to be in the rain all the time. My mom had a teak table she left outside all the time for years and it looked great, and I don't think she sealed it, but usually when we ate on it, she put a tablecloth on it and we used placemats. Is it actually 1/8" plexi or some other kind of polycarbonate? Plexi looks kind of assy as it wears (yellows, gets scratches, hairline cracks), whereas teak looks nice.

Basically, I'm suggesting skipping the plexiglass. I think it will be way less attractive. Another alternative is to buy one of those pads that you put on the table when you are using it, like people get for their high-gloss-finished dining room tables.

If you go with the plexi, why not try not actually attaching it and just sticking some rubber feet to the plexi? Gravity+friction will keep it from sliding around, and that way if you change your mind you can get rid of it.

If you must attach it, you _can_ drill and screw 1/8" plexi but its a PITA. Make sure you drill pilot holes. Plexi is easy to melt and easy to crack. So you gotta be careful on the holes, and then when you get them in there, you really want to make sure you don't overtighten. A good way to attach plexi to wood is they sell these little washers that have kind of a rampart profile to them for use with plexi, the screw tops sit down in the washer, and the washer's springiness spreads the load around the plexi and cushions you against accidental overtightening. Might want to through some sili sealant on those to keep liquids from getting in between the layers or into the screw holes in the wood.
posted by jeb at 8:28 AM on August 25, 2009

3mm is not very thick. As the pads that Max Power suggests are probably 1mm thick, you may have problems with the plexiglas going wavy, or at least not staying flat. I would use a piece of 1/4" tempered glass cut to size, with 1/2" green felt pads at the corners (and perhaps the middle of long sides depending on how big the table is). It'd certainly be more permanent and stable.
posted by rhizome at 8:32 AM on August 25, 2009

Clearly I can't just lay it down on top of the table.

Why not? It's a solution that works fairly well and doesn't damage the table top at all, which all of the other solutions will do to some degree. Even anti-slip pads will stick to and damage an oiled surface like teak over time. Perhaps the least invasive option would be those clips used to hold down picnic table covers, or a small c-clamp.

Plexiglass is also a problematic surface in some respects. Don't use solvent based cleaners on it or it will cloud. It will scratch with use. I'd agree that 3 millimeters is also pretty thin. I'd figure on 5 or 6 mm at least.

Personally, I'd look at 1/4" (6 mm) plate glass. It's a very hard, durable surface that's easy to clean. Tempered glass would be preferable, but that's quite an expensive option.
posted by bonehead at 8:48 AM on August 25, 2009

Give the teak some credit - it will hold up to spills / moisture and scratching really well and I think you would be doing a disservice to the beauty of the wood to cover it with plexiglass. Enjoy the table and maybe restain it every 3-4 years.
posted by WeekendJen at 9:03 AM on August 25, 2009

I've used plexi a fair bit in projects, and it does tend to cheapen the look of things when used as a simple cover as it scratches easily and seems to fog up after repeated cleanings. Also, the 3mm thickness, as mentioned above is too thin to make it look like a "solid" covering. If you really, really want to cover it with something clear then go for glass, which will also stay put without any additional attachments.

Finally, as mentioned by others, teak is a lovely wood that's durable and easy to take care of. nth-ing the suggestion to go with the bare top and perhaps suitable cloth covering as desired.
posted by sub-culture at 1:05 PM on August 25, 2009

Teak can take anything you can dish out. I would never cover a teak table with plexiglass unless I was planning to use it as a workbench. In fact I'm surprised you're considering it as an indoor table since it's qualities make it ideal for a deck or patio. It is a naturally oily wood that repels water and is extremely hard which is why is is often used as decking on expensive yachts. You can supplement the oil in the wood with a teak oil application now and then. You can get teak oil at most boat maintenance stores or maybe Home Depot/Lowes. If you do manage to stain it, use a fine grit sandpaper to remove the stain and then oil the top again.
posted by birdwatcher at 1:16 PM on August 25, 2009

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