best finish for restaurant tables

Top 5 Best Finish For Restaurant Tables (Reviews & Buying Guide 2021)

Just as your bed is the first conspicuous thing you see when you enter your room, know that your restaurant table is one of the obvious things people see as soon as they step into your restaurant. We know from your bed if your room is kept neat and organized. The same thing applies to your restaurant.

A table with growing molds and harmful bacterial is a big turn off to your customers. The condition of your table finishes is one of the things people notice. Hence, the type of finish you use for your restaurant table goes a long way in determining how neat and sparkling your restaurant looks. This is the reason why getting the best finish for your restaurant table is essential.

A restaurant table or door with long stayed and stubborn stains from food, with odors can cost you a lot of profit. You do not want to send your customers off into the streets to another restaurant. Applying the right finish to your table is as important as choosing the best finish for your restaurant table.

For this reason, this article will help you understand why you should apply finish to your table and how to apply it. We have also talked about food-safe conversion varnish, what type of finishes you can use on your restaurant and how to select the best finish for your restaurant table

Finishing Restaurant Tables

Finishing your restaurant tables add color and bring out the beauty of your restaurant table. It also protects and enhances its beauty. Most clear finishes, otherwise called “topcoats” gives your table a glossy appearance. They protect your table against damage from water, household chemicals and everyday wear, making your wood come alive.

There are many finishes you can use to finish your restaurant table. There are three types of finish you can get in the market: Varnish, Lacquer and Polyurethane. However, the two types of finish we review here are varnish and polyurethane. The type of finish that you should use depends on your preference and some factors including:

Exposure to sunlight and humidity: For woods such as restaurant tables, doors, windows, outdoor furniture, bathroom cabinets, kitchen countertops that are usually exposed to sunlight and humidity, you need to protect them with a finish that has ultraviolet blockers and special oils that expand and contrasts with temperature changes

Project Type: Project such as a restaurant table undergo heavy use and be subjected to wear and tear. Using a finish such as polyurethane is a better option.

Easy Application: Some finish, such as Minwax clear, can be easily applied with a cloth without the risk of having brush marks on your restaurant table. You can clean some with ordinary soap and water while others need to be sanded. You have to use a finish that you find friendly.

Crystal clear or Amber Tone: Some finish gives a crystal exact color after application while others give a warm amber tone to your table.

Choose from our top 3 Picks

Product
Best Buy
Good Stuff Wood Finish
Editor's Pick
Minwax 630500444
Flexible
Epifane Varnish
Image
Wood Welded Emmet's Good Stuff Wood Finish - Quart
Minwax 630500444 Water Based Helmsman Spar Urethane, quart, Gloss
Epifanes Clear Varnish
Size
1 Quart
1 Quart
250 ml
Prime Status
-
-
Star Ratings
Best Buy
Product
Good Stuff Wood Finish
Image
Wood Welded Emmet's Good Stuff Wood Finish - Quart
Size
1 Quart
Prime Status
-
Star Ratings
Where to Buy
Editor's Pick
Product
Minwax 630500444
Image
Minwax 630500444 Water Based Helmsman Spar Urethane, quart, Gloss
Size
1 Quart
Prime Status
Star Ratings
Where to Buy
Flexible
Product
Epifane Varnish
Image
Epifanes Clear Varnish
Size
250 ml
Prime Status
-
Star Ratings
Where to Buy

Last update on 2021-09-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Applying Finish to Your Restaurant Tables

Each finish has a specific method of application. Be sure you follow the directions on the finish you are applying before using. Some finish dries quickly while others take more extended hours. . However, most finish requires that you add more coats other than the first one for durability.

Most clear finishes are applied with a brush by applying in the direction of the wood’s grain. After it dries, you should sand lightly and apply more coats. Generally, in applying any type of finish, ensure the following:

  • Stir and mix finish that may settle at the bottom of the can well before and during use.
  • Do not shake a can of finish to avoid bubbles in your finished tables.
  • Apply coats in thin depths for quick drying. The thick coat takes longer time to dry and attracts dust more.
  • Tip-off your wood at a 45-degree angle and lightly run your brushes over the entire length of your wood to minimize brush marks.
  • Test before you sand.

Food safe Conversion varnish: Best Finish For Restaurant Tables

Conversion varnish is said to be the gold standard and the most durable finish for all restaurant tables. They are considered the most food-safe. Conversion varnish is chemically cured. This means that a second chemical called a catalyzer or hardener is added to the mixture to cure the solid material in the finish to make it more durable.

Conversion varnish is commonly applied with a spray gun in a spray booth. This gives your restaurant table an even appearance. The brush is not recommended because it leaves brush mark.

Some conversion varnish has been tested to be compatible with Ecolab’s most common cleaning agent used in restaurants. This finish has also been tested to be compatible with alcohol, citrus, wine, vinegar, ammonia, mustard, ketchup, typical bleach rags.

However, conversion varnish has a few disadvantages, including instability to ultraviolet rays, limited chemical resistance. Other food-safe finishes include shellac, walnut oil, carnauba wax, food-grade mineral oil, raw linseed oil, bee-wax, pure tung oil, paraffin wax etc.

1. Good Stuff Wood Finish- Grizzly Industrial H2372

Special Features: Dimension: 10 x 14 x 6 inches, Weight: 2.05 pounds, Model Number: H2372, Item Quantity: 1, Color- Maple, Material- Oil Based Non- Toxic Urethane, Volume: 1 Quart, Components: Non-volatile Substance: 45% Oil modified polyurethane resin, Volatile: 55% Mineral Spirits, Pseudocumene, Xylene, Manganese, 25% Cobalt, MEK, Ethylbenzene Mesitylene.

Good Stuff wood finish is a wood finish from the Grizzl Industrial manufacturing company. It is made of non-natural or very green ingredients. It is a good finish for raw or an unfinished wood surface. It enhances the natural beauty of woods, producing beautiful and protective finishing.

Good Stuff wood finish is a perfect finish for finishing or refinishing your kitchen cabinets, wooden cooking utensils, butcher block cutting boards, countertops, salad bowls.

This finish is formulated with fast-drying agents such as synthetic oils so that you do not have a smeared wood surface after a few hours of its application. If you want to apply Good Stuff Wood Finish to your butcher block cutting boards, for a neat result, we advise you to wipe off the excess after about 5 minutes of application.

Also, you can use a microfiber cloth to apply in a small circular motion. Then starting at one end of the wood, you smoothen it out evenly and run the cloth across to the end of the wood without letting up to void streaks. Do not use a brush, roller or pad.
Furthermore, Good Stuff wood finish repels water, which means that it is highly hydrophobic.

Wood Welded Emmet's Good Stuff Wood Finish - Quart
  • Safe for Food Contact
  • Fast Drying - No Brushing
  • Water and Alcohol Resistant
  • Volume - 1 Quart

Last update on 2021-09-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

It offers finishing on your woods, protecting your woods and offering resistance against water, stain and alcohol. You should know that one of the functions that this product offers is that it is safe for food, hence coating it with a water-based poly is tantamount to defeating this purpose.

Pros

  • Fast drying
  • Food safe
  • Easy to apply
  • Epoxy fill
  • Cheaper
  • Water-Resistant
  • Stain Resistant
  • Alcohol Resistant
  • No smell
  • Recommended mostly for the butcher block top
  • Non-sticky
  • Perfect for raw
  • Safe for Food Contact

Cons

  • Application may leave visible streaks and uneven areas.
  • Sanding is needed before reapplying on old coats.
  • It gives no gloss appearance.
  • Not suitable for outdoor use
  • It may eat away gloves.
  • Cannot be sprayed
  • It scratches easily

2. Epifanes Clear Vanish

Special Features: Dimension: 4 x 4 x 3.6 inches, Weight: 1 Pound, Color: Clear, Material: Water Based, Ambient Temperature: 65-75 degrees F, Humidity: Approximately 80-85%, Long-oil varnish, Phenolytic-modify Resin, Ultraviolet Filters, Indoor and Outdoor Use

Epifanes Clear Varnish has a high reputation among those experienced in applying marine/ spar varnish. It is a high quality vanish furnished with tung oil, phenolic and alkyds resins. It gives a durable result and a glossy appearance when applied.

This varnish is believed to be the best type of finish for exterior woods suffering from sun and weather exposure and when a clear finish is desired. This varnish has ultraviolent filters that offer protection from sunlight; hence, your wood can be used for both indoor and outdoor.

You can use Epifanes Clear Vanish on both new and old wood surfaces. You can also use it on softwood and hardwood, marine and household applications.

Whether you are planning on painting your new wood surfaces or considering repainting your wood say kitchen cabinet, Epifanes Clear Vanish can help you get a beautiful and glossy look such that your wood takes up a new appearance!

It is perfect for softwood and hardwoods. You can apply it with brushed, rolled, sprayed. Whenever you use a brush in its application, it eliminates most of if not all brush marks.

This varnish is a long-oil varnish with phenolytic-modifies resin. This implies that Epifanes Clear Varnish dries to a more flexible and softer film than short-oil varnishes and urethane (polyurethane) resins. So, if you purchase this product, it is an advantage over other vanishes. Suppose you want to use this varnish for outdoor purpose.

In that case, we will encourage you to go ahead because flexibility is essential in exterior applications and woods tend to expand and contract more outdoor with temperature and humidity changes.

In addition to this, Epifanes have a higher total reliable of 62% than most spar varnish. Total solids mean what is left after the varnish dries on the wood you painted. This is a significant indicator of what you get for your money.

Epifanes Clear Varnish
  • World famous, highest quality traditional tung oil marine spar varnish.
  • Formulated with tung oil, phenolic and alkyd resins resulting in a finish that has superior flow, gloss, durability, and exceptional longevity.
  • UV filters for superior protection with an ultra high gloss finish
  • Used in many applications, both exterior and interior, household or marine, brushed, sprayed, or rolled and tipped.
  • Use on new wood or restoring old wood to a deep clear finish, softwood or hardwood, marine or household applications.

Last update on 2021-09-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

However, Epifanes recommended eight coat applications, much more than the three that most parishes recommend. The development of bubble can also constitute a minor disaster when you use this product. This alone can be frustrating if you have no prior experience applying traditional varnishes, and you may have to sand the coated area before starting again. However, you can overcome this if you can avoid shaking the can.

Read Also: Top 8 Best HVLP Spray Gun for Latex Paint (Reviews & Buyer’s Guide)

Pros

  • Durable
  • Glossy appearance
  • High total solid
  • Long-oil varnish
  • Easy to use
  • Compatible with brushes
  • UV filters for protection
  • Longevity
  • Sheerness
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
  • Perfect for new and restoring wood surfaces

Cons

  • High cost
  • More coat application
  • Difficulty of application
  • Bubble development
  • Gloss sheen magnifies flaws.


3. Minwax 630500444 Water Based Helmsman Spar Urethane

Special features: Dimension: 5 x 5 x 5 inches, Weight: 2.25 Pounds, Color: Crystal Clear Gloss, Material- Water-Based Ambient Temperature: 65-75 degrees, Humidity: Approximately 80-85%, UV blockers, Spar Urethane, Indoor/Outdoor use, Low odor, Wood only.

Minwax 630500444 Water Based Helmsman Spar Urethane is another thick water-based finish that features special oils that permits the finish to expand and contracts with the wood with changes in temperatures and seasons. It is a crystal clear gloss finish perfect for painting light-colored woods and stains.

This varnish also contains UV blockers that help to reduce the greying and fading effects of the sun. The same feature also forms a protective barrier against rain and moisture. If you have a boat coated with Minwax water-based finish, you can keep your boar at the dock with all seasons still shining brightly.

Minwax 630500444 Water Based Helmsman Spar Urethane can be used on your windows, doors, kitchen cabinets, kitchen countertops, boats, outdoor furniture, trim, bathroom cabinets.

Sale
Minwax 630500444 Water Based Helmsman Spar Urethane, quart, Gloss
  • Contains UV blockers to reduce the sun's graying and fading effects
  • Forms a protective barrier against rain and moisture
  • Special oils allow the finish to expand and contract with the wood as seasons and temperatures change
  • Ideal for use on doors, windows, trim, bathroom cabinets, bar tops, kitchen countertops, outdoor furniture
  • Crystal clear finish is ideal for use over light-colored woods and stains. Dries quickly and cleans up easily with warm water

Last update on 2021-09-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Unlike the regular polyurethane finishes, Minwax 630500444 Water Based Helmsman Spar Urethane can be used over latex paint, providing excellent protection for latex paint on furniture. \You can clean this product with water and soap if you do not get the first coating right, so it doesn’t have to be sanded. Furthermore, Minwax Water Based Helmsman Spar Urethane finish can be applied with a brush, sprayer, and foam brush.

Pros

  • UV blockers
  • Fast drying
  • Thick
  • Durable
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to clean
  • Easy to spray on
  • Great value
  • Low in odor
  • Indoor and outdoor use
  • Perfect for light colored woods
  • Can be cleaned with soap and water

Cons

  • Terrible brush marks
  • Bad package (leaking can)
  • Yellow tint on white signs

4. Pettit 1- Spar Captain’s Varnish Quart

Special features: Brand Name: Pettit, Dimension: 7 x 7 x 5 inches, Package Weight: 1.02 kilograms, Weight: 2 Pounds, Color: Gloss, Material- Water-Based, Interior and Outdoor use, UV Inhibitors, Long-Lasting Protection, Humid Resistant.

Pettit 1- Spar Captain’s Varnish Quart is water-based polyurethane gloss that is perfect for interior and exterior brightwork applications. It produces a rich, and high quality finish well for every woodwork. It is an excellent finish for fine coat. This Pettit 1- Spar Captain’s Varnish Quart finish when used on woods produce a smooth, clear surface that brings out the wood’s natural beauty.

It has also given long-lasting protection from harsh humid or marine environment. In addition to all these, Pettit 1- Spar Captain’s Varnish Quart Finish has unique UV inhibitors that protect the wood it is used on from harsh ultraviolent actions. However, this finish cannot be used on pavers because of its smooth and glossy finish as that will make pavers pretty slick if not an outright hazard.

When applied, it takes a few hours to begin to dry. It often requires a good technique and skill to apply; however, it leaves a beautiful glossy finish. When used on a boat, you should not wax on this varnish that you don’t wax varnish.

Last update on 2021-09-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Use a soft cloth and not a scrub brush and a chamois dry. In applying Pettit 1- Spar Captain’s Varnish Quart Finish, make sure you follow the drying time recommendations for additional. You can apply it on doors, boat teak, and restaurant tables.

Pros

  • Easy to apply
  • Very smooth
  • Glossy
  • Satisfying
  • Long-lasting protection
  • UV inhibitors
  • Handles weather and heat condition
  • Excellent finish for a final coat

Cons

  • Pretty expensive
  • Cannot be used on pavers
  • Recoating is needed every six months.
  • It needs to be lightly sanded.

5. Varathane Rust-Oleum 250041H Ultimate Spar Urethane

Special Features: Brand Name: Rust-Oleum, Dimension: 5 x 5 x 5 inches, Weight: 2.25 Pounds, Color: Crystal Clear Gloss, Material: Water Based, Ultraviolet Resistant, Weather Resistant, Volume: 1 quart, Coverage capacity: 87 sq. ft., Outdoor Use only, Low Odor, Non –Yellowing formula, No-Brush Strokes.

Varathane Rust-Oleum 250041H Ultimate Spar Urethane is yet another finish for your restaurant table. This finish is a water-based spar urethane protects your outdoor wood surfaces such as furniture, fences, trim, doors, windows, etc. From the harsh effects of the sun with the superior ultraviolet protection it offers. You can use it on metals and fiber glass door! It is also a mold and mildew resistant finish.

This finish also has a crystal clear color to give your wood a gloss finish and polished appearance. Varathane Rust-Oleum 250041H Ultimate Spar Urethane has a unique non-yellowing formula that prevents yellow tint on white signs, a deficient common to finish that have a crystal clear color.

Also, Varathane finish is specifically going well for only outdoor purposes. It has a low odor so you can comfortably apply without holding your breath in between. It is also easy to apply and dries faster within a short time, say 30 minutes. 1quart Varathane can cover up to 87 sq. ft. Do not shake the finish to avoid bubbles instead stir it.

Rust-Oleum 250041H Ultimate Spar Urethane Water Based, Quart, Gloss Finish
  • Durable, protective poly for outdoor wood surfaces such as furniture, doors, windows, fences, trim and more
  • Low odor, water based formula is easy to apply and cleans up with soap and water
  • Dries to the touch in 30 minutes and covers up to 87 sq. ft. per quart, recoat after 2 hours
  • Weather and UV resistant top coat does not yellow and protects against mold and mildew
  • Crystal clear, gloss finish creates a polished and clean look

Last update on 2021-09-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

When applying Varathane finish, do not over brush to prevent brush marks. Varathane finish seems a little thin, so an extra coat is needed. 4 extra coats are recommended. Be sure also to rinse hands and cloth immediately after use as this finish is very sticky. Furthermore, the coating peels with painter’s tape so you can run a box cutter along the line to make sure it comes off clean.

Pros

  • Easy to clean
  • Easy to apply
  • Fast and even drying
  • UV resistant
  • Water-resistant
  • Good finish
  • Sheerness
  • Durability
  • No brush strokes
  • No fumes
  • Smooth finish
  • Can be used on metal

Cons

  • Forms bubble
  • Turns milky when wet
  • No gloss
  • Sticky
  • Thin
  • Coating peels off with painter’s tape.

Conclusion – Best Finish For Restaurant Tables

In general, polyurethane finish is the best finish for a restaurant table than varnish because of its similarity to plastic. Most oil-based polyurethane is a better option for a restaurant tabletop than water-based polyurethane. Oil-based polyurethane table dries harder. It provides an impenetrable surface that protects the table against moisture and food stains. Oil-based polyurethane also lasts longer than the water-based.

Also in choosing between spar urethane and polyurethane, we rate spar urethane finish above polyurethane because polyurethane contains toxic substances that can build up in the air over time. This is a drawback because You will use your restaurant table to build up toxic elements in an interior environment.

Ever sat on a restaurant table that was sticky even when dry? This is because the cleaning agents commonly used in restaurants break down polyurethane finish. Bleach and sanitizers used in restaurants eat through polyurethane finish leaving tabletops tacky. Not suitable for your health. Polyurethane also was developed for floor and not tabletops.

On this note, we rank these products as follows:

Good Stuff Wood Finish- Grizzly Industrial H2372 ranks higher because it is an oil-based finish. It contains 45% Oil modified polyurethane resin that protects your restaurant table against moisture and food stains. It is formulated with fast-drying agents such as synthetic oils to not have a smeared wood surface after a few hours of its application.

Minwax 630500444 Water Based Helmsman Spar Urethane comes second. Although it is a water-based finish, the fact that it is a spar urethane finish ranks it higher than Epifane varnish. It has a low amount of toxic substances which is just perfect for your restaurant table. It also does not produce strong fumes.

It features special oils that permit the finish to expand and contracts with the wood with changes in temperatures and seasons. It is a crystal clear gloss finish perfect for painting light-colored woods and stains.

Epifane Varnish ranks third. It is a long-oil varnish (spar urethane). With phenolytic-modifies resin, Epifanes clear varnish dries to a more flexible and softer film than short-oil varnishes and urethane (polyurethane) resins. It is also suitable for outdoor, unlike the excellent stuff wood finish, because it features ultraviolent filters against sunlight.

Also, Epifanes have a higher total reliable of 62% when compared to most spar varnish. However, if you are not a pro for Epifanes varnish, it can get you frustrated because it produces a bubble. It also requires application up to eight times.

Varathane Rust-Oleum 250041H Ultimate Spar Urethane: One advantage Varathane has over the Minwax finish is the unique non-yellowing formula that prevents yellow tint on white signs, a deficient common to finish that has a crystal clear color. Varathane finish, however, goes well for only outdoor purposes. It has a low odor so you can comfortably apply without holding your breathe in between.

Pettit 1- Spar Captain’s Varnish Quart is water-based polyurethane gloss. It is costly. However, it also gives long-lasting protection from harsh humid or marine environment. You should also know that this finish cannot be used on pavers because of its smooth and glossy finish as that will make pavers pretty slick if not an outright hazard.

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