Got Furniture? A Dining Table Buying Guide

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Got Furniture? A Dining Table Buying Guide

Thursday, October 04, 2012

A dining table is one of the most widely used items in any home, and with wood dining tables costing hundreds or even thousands of dollars, consumers need be aware of what they are really buying. Why do prices vary so greatly, and what should one stay away from when shopping? For an item used as much as a table, it is about far more than just the look; one must also strongly consider core material, construction, finish, maintenance and care to name a few. Here are some important factors to help consumers make a purchasing decision.

Tip 1 - Buy 100-percent Wood: Remember the dining table is one of the most used pieces of furniture in your home. It will need to be more durable, and most often times child resistant. For this reason, go with 100-percent wood, specifically pine, which is very durable, relatively inexpensive, and its style and charm is universal for any home. Alternatively, oak, chestnut and walnut are also highly durable woods, however, heavier than pine, so expect extra costs associated with these denser wood types. The trick here is to not be fooled into buying a table that looks like 100-percent wood, but is actually made with veneers, medium density fiberboard (MDF), or particleboard. The reason to stay away from these lesser quality materials is that they are far more prone to chips and scratches, thus a shorter life span than tables made from 100-percent solid wood. In addition, cleaning solutions, such as water, can often damage veneer and particleboard if not cared for properly. A well-built, solid wood table should last generations. Prepare accordingly by buying one made from the longest lasting materials.

Tip 2 - Ensure Durable Finishes: The finish will be paramount to the table's longevity and charm, as this is the frontline defense against dings, scratches and chips. For this reason, stay away from veneers as they can easily separate or chip, which inevitably will happen with an item as widely used as a dining table. As a result, this will lead to a shortened life span for your table. It is recommended to choose a dining table with multiple coats of stain, or paint finishes. Specifically, the more layers of finish that are applied, the more of a barrier you will have to protect your investment. It is the finishing process, and multiple layers, which are your true defense against scratches, stains, and water marks, which in turn will maintain your table's charm, and keep it looking like new. A true farm table is American made, built from reclaimed wood, and thus, eco-friendly. For authenticity purposes, ask where the manufacturing and finishing take place, and if their materials are eco-friendly.

Tip 3 - Check Maintenance and Care: Always ask what the cleaning and maintenance instructions are for your table. This can be a tell-tale sign of the materials used and the steps taken during the finishing process. As a buyer, this should raise questions about both materials and finishes being used. A well-made and durable wood dining table should not stain, should be resistant to both wet and dry marks, and should be able to be cleaned by only water or a dry rag.

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