Heat Testing Timeworn’s Restaurant Table Tops

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Mostly red wall coverings. Walnut and oak mixed butcher block restaurant dining tables.

Restaurant table tops must be durable enough to stand up to the everyday chaos of a restaurant environment. On any given day, the average restaurant table can host well over 40 meals. That’s 280 meals a week or 14,600 meals a year! That’s a lot of opportunities for spilled sauces, hot plates, and sharp utensils to damage or ruin a wooden table top.

Here at Timeworn, we take pride in saying that our wooden table tops are some of the most durable in the industry. Each of our table tops are sealed with a catalyzed urethane that helps guard the wood from everyday leaks and spills. This finish also makes cleaning a breeze by preventing liquids from seeping into the table’s wooden staves, allowing servers to simply wipe up spills.

But can our Table Tops Handle the Heat?

In the restaurant industry, there’s no avoiding hot plates and dishes. In fact, one of the most common questions we hear from our clients is “How well do your tables handle heat?” To best answer this question, we decided to heat test our restaurant table tops by simulating the type of hotplates commonly found in restaurants, bars, and coffee shops. Some of the results were surprising but overall, we were impressed at how well our wooden table tops stood the heat!

The Process:

Using an oven to heat to the appropriate temperature, we simulated three different types of “hot” items commonly found in a restaurant:

  1. Hot water in a glass (like tea or coffee)
  2. Hot ceramic bowl (filled with water to simulate soup)
  3. Hot steel pizza pan (weight was added to simulate a pizza)

Each of the items above were heated to temperature and left to sit in the oven for no less than 15 minutes to ensure accuracy. Once at the desired temperature, each item was then placed on three different species of wood table tops:

  1. Oak table top
  2. Pine table top
  3. Walnut table top


Observations were noted after each hot item had rested on the table tops for approximately two minutes. Below are the final results of our Timeworn restaurant table top heat test. Note: Temperature is in degrees Fahrenheit.

Restaurant Table Top Heat Test Results. Hot pans, dishes on restaurant tables.


The results were fairly consistent across each species of wood as no one table top species proved more heat resistant than the others. Each table did withstand temperatures well beyond what would be typically found on items on restaurant tables.

The most surprising finding for our team was how well our tables stood up to the extreme heat of the ceramic bowl. It took over twice the temperature of boiling point before any burns or irregularities were observed in the wooden table tops. As ceramic dishes, bowls, and plates are used very commonly throughout the food and dining industry, this was exciting news for us and our clients!

Recommendations for Handling Heat on our Table Tops
  • Each owner should heat test their wooden table tops with the dinnerware that will be used daily to ensure the most accurate and appropriate results for their specific circumstance.
  • Only place heated plates and dishes on “fully cured” wooden table tops (tables that have been at the restaurant for 28 days are considered to be fully cured). 
  • Avoid direct heat to the table tops by using a trivet or similar device as often as possible. 

For more information on this heat test or to learn how well your restaurant tables can withstand heat, please contact the Timeworn team today!

Disclaimer: Results can vary from those above and Timeworn cannot be held responsible for burnt finish on our table tops caused by excessive heat. It is the ultimate responsibility of the owner of the tables to perform their own tests and to make informed decisions on best practices for use of the table tops in their establishment.

Contact Timeworn

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