Choosing the right Table top Material

Choosing the right table top for a contract setting can make or break a project – not only the aesthetics of your chosen finish, but its durability, practicality, and price point.

We’ve put together a guide to some of the most popular table top materials that we offer at Telegraph Contract Furniture, to make selecting your table the easiest it’s ever been.

Solid Timber

A classic choice, solid timber brings an ageless, natural look to any contract setting. The unique grain pattern of natural wood can elevate your table tops, and with such an array to choose from, it’s not hard to get the perfect look.

Each piece has its own unique grain patterns and natural marks, and can be sanded down, re-finished, or re-purposed to reduce waste. Stained solid wood releases sap as it ages, ensuring a beautifully rich colour that improves as it develops. Our most popular solid timbers to choose from are Ash, Beech, and Oak.

One thing to consider when using solid timber for your table top is that it expands and contracts based on the humidity in its environment, meaning that it’s not recommended for use with metal edging.


A more cost-effective alternative to solid timber, veneers are thin layers of natural wood layered over MDF or ply cores. For a tighter budget project, a veneered table top can add the same beautiful grain and timeless appeal as a solid timber.

Due to its composition, veneered table tops cannot be sanded down and re-finished, making them harder to recycle or repurpose. This does mean however that it’s much better suited for metal edging than a solid timber, as it does not shrink or warp over time. Commercial sanitisers should also be avoided, as they can cause surface damage or peeling.


Even more suitable to a value-engineered project, laminated table tops are MDF or ply cores printed to have the appearance of wood. While the range of laminate options has come a long way, some find that they have a more synthetic look than a veneer or solid timber top.

Laminates are decidedly more durable than other natural wood options, being very easy to clean and having a long-lasting finish. Laminate table tops are also staining and heat resistant as standard – making highly-trafficked tables easier to clean and maintain for regular use.


With its iconic veined appearance, marble surfaces are synonymous with luxury and elegance. Marble table tops are a stunning addition to any contract setting, with differing colours and vein intensities available to suit a range of looks.

Because it’s a natural stone, marble is porous, and its surface can easily become marked or ‘etched’ if exposed to acidic substances. An unsealed marble table top will withstand heat well but will be susceptible to staining and should be protected with a contract use sealant. You should also consider that a larger table size may require multiple pieces of marble, causing a seam to appear in the surface of the table.



With its speckled surface and wide variety of colours and finishes, Terrazzo offers a striking stone aesthetic while being a more sustainable option than traditional marble. Made from pieces of natural stone bonded together with a cement or resin mixture, Terrazzo is a product that creates minimal waste.

Due to its composition it can sometimes be fragile or susceptible to chipping and should be contract sealed and well maintained to prevent any staining. While it has been reformed with a cement or resin mixture, remember that Terrazzo is still a natural stone product and so is naturally porous.



Resin table tops are a man-made marble alternative, much less porous than natural stone with similar striking visual appeal. Resin table tops are fully bespoke and can feature a wide variety of colours and patterns, including glitters and metallic vein effects.

As a synthetic material resin is very stain-resistant and durable and can be regularly sanitised. In fact, the resin products we offer at Telegraph now have anti-microbial protection as standard. They can however be prone to scratching, so darker colours where scratching is more visible are not recommended for use in high-traffic areas.



Last but by no means least, we have a wide range metal table tops – with a diverse range of metals and finishes, you’ll be spoilt for choice. While the most popular choices for metal table tops are zinc, brass, and copper, we offer many other options including steel, aluminium, bronze, and pewter.

Metal tables are available in many finishes – aged, brushed, polish, beaten – and weather over time, adding character and creating a totally uniquely finished piece of furniture. Durable and long-lasting, metal tables can be prone to marking, this is part of the weathering process and adds personality to the surface of the table.

For more information contact us on 0161 832 8080 or email [email protected]

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