Do Glass Coffee Tables Scratch Easily?

Sup bro! If you’re thinking about getting a glass coffee table for your living room, one of the biggest things you’re probably wondering is whether it will get scratched up super easily.  After all, glass seems …

Do Glass Coffee Tables Scratch Easily

Sup bro! If you’re thinking about getting a glass coffee table for your living room, one of the biggest things you’re probably wondering is whether it will get scratched up super easily. 

After all, glass seems so nice and shiny when it’s new, but it also looks like it could scratch real quick. Am I right?

Totally understandable, fam. A scratched-up coffee table just looks tacky and cheap. So before you drop your hard-earned cash on one, you’ll wanna know what you’re getting into with a glass top. Let’s break this down so you’ve got all the deets.

Why do Glass Coffee Tables Scratch

There are a couple of reasons glass coffee tables are prone to scratches:

Glass is naturally soft.

On the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, glass ranks around 5.5-6. To compare, iron is 4-5, and diamond is a 10. So glass is definitely on the softer side. It’s softer than a lot of common materials – wood, metal, stone, etc. So those materials can scratch up the surface if they rub against it.

The table gets a lot of use

Coffee tables see a ton of action. You’re constantly placing down drinks, remotes, books, feet, etc. Lots of potential to scratch the surface over time. Wood or metal could better handle the wear and tear. But glass is more delicate.

The glass shows scratches more

Even tiny scratches are super visible on the glass. A minor scratch on wood or metal blends into the surface. But on clear glass, it stands out. So every little nick and scrape is out there for the world to see. Just a small scratch makes the whole table look junky and cheap.

Factors That Impact Scratching

How easily your glass coffee table gets scratched depends on a few key factors:

Type of glass

There are a few varieties of glass used for coffee tables:

  • Tempered glass – Most commonly used. Tempering strengthens it and makes it ~4x stronger than regular glass. Less likely to fully shatter. But does scratch fairly easily.
  • Laminated glass – Two pieces of glass with a plastic layer in between. The plastic helps hold it together if it is shattered. It also resists scratches better than tempered.
  • Acrylic glass – Not a true glass but a plastic substitute. Scratches are the easiest of all. Cheaper option.

So laminated glass is your best bet for scratch resistance. Tempered will also work decently. Acrylic is prone to lots of scrapes.

Glass thickness

Thicker glass is more durable and scratch-resistant:

  • 1/8 inch – Will scratch the easiest
  • 3/16 inch – Much better. This is a good minimum thickness.
  • 1/4 inch+ – Extremely durable and hard to scratch

Aim for 1/4 inch if you want maximum scratch protection. 3/16 is decent too. Avoid 1/8 inch if you can.

Quality of construction

A well-made glass coffee table will hold up better. Things to look for:

  • Edges are polished smooth – Preventing chips and cracks
  • Reinforced with steel underneath – Adds strength
  • High-quality joins and seams – Enhances durability
  • Embedded into a wood base – Extra stability and support

Take time to inspect the quality before purchasing. A table that feels sturdy and stable will resist scratching.

Coasters and tablecloths

Use coasters under drinks, pots, ceramics, etc. And put down a tablecloth for protection during heavy use. This prevents direct contact with the glass surface.

Best Practices to Avoid Scratches

clean the glass by some paste

Here are some pro tips to keep your glass coffee table looking squeaky clean:

  • Dust frequently with a microfiber cloth to avoid the buildup of abrasive particles
  • Clean spills ASAP to prevent staining or etching of the surface
  • Avoid using abrasive cleaners or scrub brushes that can wear down the glass
  • Lift items to move rather than sliding across the surface
  • Use padded tablecloths and felt bottom coasters
  • Keep nails trimmed short to avoid scratches if hands come in contact
  • Apply wax occasionally to fill in and mask fine scratches
  • Consider a glass protection film to prevent wear and tear over time

With some basic care and maintenance, it’s definitely possible to minimize scratching and scrapes.

What If It Already Has Scratches?

Uh oh, are you reading this after your glass coffee table is already scratched up? Don’t sweat it! Here are some solid options to make it look fresh again:

  • Glass polish – Special polishes like Cerium Oxide can buff out light scratches
  • DIY toothpaste scrub – Gently rub with toothpaste using a microfiber cloth
  • Take it to a glass shop – For deeper scratches, and professionals have specialty machines to resurface the glass
  • Embrace the distressed look – Add some character by distressing the whole table intentionally
  • Replace just the glass – Much cheaper than a whole new table. Easy switch out.

With a little work, you can often remove or minimize the look of scratches. No need to replace the whole darn coffee table.


1. Can I repair scratches on a glass coffee table?

Repairing scratches on a glass coffee table can be challenging, especially if they are deep or extensive. However, for minor scratches, there are certain DIY methods you can try.

One option is to use toothpaste or baking soda paste and gently rub it onto the scratch with a soft cloth. Another option is to apply a glass scratch repair kit, which includes specialized compounds to buff out the scratches.

2. Is it safe to place hot objects on a glass coffee table?

While tempered glass is designed to withstand higher temperatures, it is still recommended to use trivets or coasters under hot objects to protect the glass surface. Sudden changes in temperature can cause stress on the glass, leading to potential cracks or breakage.

3. Are there any alternatives to glass coffee tables?

If you are concerned about scratches or prefer alternative materials, there are several options available. Some popular alternatives to glass coffee tables include wood, metal, or acrylic.

These materials offer different aesthetics and durability levels, so you can choose the one that best suits your preferences and needs.

4. Can I use glass coffee tables in homes with children or pets?

Glass coffee tables can be used in homes with children or pets, but it’s essential to take precautions. Avoid sharp-edged tables and opt for rounded or beveled edges instead.

Additionally, consider placing soft corner guards on the table to minimize the risk of accidents. Always supervise children and train pets to prevent them from jumping or scratching the table.

5. How do I maintain the shine and clarity of my glass coffee table?

Regular maintenance is key to preserving the shine and clarity of your glass coffee table. Clean it regularly with a mild glass cleaner and a soft cloth.

Avoid using abrasive materials or harsh chemicals that can damage the surface. Wiping away spills and fingerprints promptly will help maintain its pristine appearance.

6. Can I use glass coffee tables outdoors?

Glass coffee tables are not typically designed for outdoor use due to exposure to the elements. Moisture, extreme temperatures, and environmental factors can deteriorate the glass and compromise its integrity.

It is best to choose outdoor furniture specifically designed for outdoor use, such as tables made from weather-resistant materials like aluminum or synthetic wicker.

The Bottom Line

So what’s the final verdict, bro? Will your sweet new glass-top coffee table get scratched up beyond belief?

The honest truth is glass will never be as resistant as wood, metal, or stone when it comes to scratches. It can get dinged up over time. But there’s also plenty you can do to prevent major damage.

  • Get thicker, high-quality glass – 1⁄4 inch is ideal
  • Use tempered or laminated glass for strength
  • Inspect the construction quality before buying
  • Follow basic care guidelines and use protectants
  • Apply polish or DIY fixes for light scratches

If you take some precautions and care for it properly, a glass coffee table can stay looking awesome for years. Minor scratches and wear are expected. But it won’t be ruined beyond hope with a little maintenance.

So don’t let fears of scratches stop you from the glass look you love! As long as you know what to expect and how to care for it, your glass-top coffee table can withstand the test of time. Get that sleek glass style you’re going for without worry.

Let us know if this helps explain whether glass coffee tables scratch easily, fam! Drop us a comment with your thoughts. And hit us up anytime for more sweet home furniture insights. Stay breezy!

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