Commercial Park Bench Primary Material Options
Park benches are offered in a wide-variety of primary raw materials. The type of materials used in commercial bench applications are usually driven from either cost/budget, quality, and/or durability.
- Thermoplastic: Thermoplastic is an environmentally friendly coating for metal benches. Thermoplastic benches are very popular and have been on the scene within the site furnishings industry since the early 1990's. Thermoplastic coated park benches are located in facilities ranging from schools, parks, recreational spaces and office buildings. The benefits of thermoplastic coatings is endless - the material itself is graffiti resistant and easily repairable, as opposed to other metal coatings and, with a thorough coat, will help a metal bench withstand a variety of climates. There are endless color options and six different common pattern styles: expanded metal, perforated metal, strap style, welded wire, diamond pattern and rod style. Expanded metal is often seen in casual park settings, featuring a lattice-like look while strap style can be commonly featured trail side or embellishing a sidewalk. Also, one of the biggest benefits of thermoplastic coated benches is the fact that the majority offered online or through catalogs are proudly made in the U.S.A. with facilities in North Carolina and Oklahoma just to name a few.
- Aluminum/Cast Aluminum: Aluminum park benches are most popular throughout recreational sporting venues, tennis courts, or other outdoor settings. Because traditional aluminum is so pliable when hot, it can be molded into some very stylish designs and shapes making it a favorite with upscale designers. Different grades of aluminum allows park benches made of aluminum to be affordable, maintenance free (non-corrosive), and lightweight. Being both portable and economical, aluminum benches easily work in many different indoor and outdoor applications. Cast aluminum has many advantages with the main one being durability. Cast aluminum park benches usually last forever and carry lifetime warranties. However, cast aluminum is heavy to ship and sometimes gets overlooked due to the total out-of-pocket expense of the bench when you include shipping cost.
- Steel/Wrought-Iron: Without a doubt, commercial park benches made of steel or wrought iron have stood the test of time in every application worldwide. The downside of the material is the surface issues from high humidity climates to other diverse weather conditions causing rust, mold/mildew, and other surface growths from environment conditions. The upside is the durability, unlimited weight restrictions for the most part, and simply ways to revitalize steel or wrought iron with primer and paint. Also, imported wrought-iron is usually competitively prices while steel varies with supply & demand nationwide.
- Fiberglass: The strongest attribute of fiberglass is its versatility. Park benches made primarily of fiberglass benches can come in a variety of designs and finishes or colors. The material is great for indoor or outdoor use because it will not corrode or rust, is very low maintenance, and can be manufactured to compliment any facility. Common places where fiberglass benches are installed include food courts, restaurants, and office buildings. The downside of fiberglass benches is splinters. Over time, the poly-urethane coating on top of the fiberglass can rub off over time due to the weather elements causing the fiberglass to create splints in some places. However, if constructed correctly, fiberglass benches can last a very long time without the discomfort of splinters or sharp edges.
- Powder-coated Steel/Metal: Powder coating is a process of coating various metal types with a plastic finish applied in a powder form and then baked to fluid state to bond to the metal surface. The best attribute of powder coated park benches is how long they can last in any kind of weather - powder coating can maintain its finish up to 20 years depending on the prep pre-treatment and the type of powder used in the process. Powder coated metal park benches are often found lining entryways for different venues like retail centers, medical facilities and country clubs. While powder-coat is a common finish on many commercial site furnishings benches, it is often featured on strap metal benches because of its anti-corrosive qualities and ability to strongly bond to heavy duty steel constructions. Powder-coated benches also come in a variety of colors and designs, from classic strap metal benches to extremely intricate designs.
- Recycled plastic: Recycled plastic benches growing in popularity for obvious reasons. With the one-use plastic epidemic we have worldwide, a lot of site furnishing projects are requiring a certain percentage of recycled plastic furniture represented in their final purchase. Since the mid-1990's, recycled plastic site furnishings, especially park benches, demand continues to grow. With prices coming down with more manufacturers in play along with the low maintenance required, it is becoming an easy choice. With availability in a variety of colors and styles, recycled plastic benches are appropriate for any environment, including typically-corrosive salty, ocean side facilities. Recycled plastic components can vary based on the manufacturer, but it is commonplace that a high percentage is post-consumer material and will substantiate a LEED certification. For these reasons, they are commonly found at a wide range of venues, including convention centers, office buildings, universities, retail centers, schools and stadiums. There are many state and federal site furnishings RFQ's requiring recycled plastic be a part of the final bid.
- Wood: Wood park benches are a very high maintenance option because they need to be maintained on a regular basis due to termites and other insects. Wood bench maintenance includes repellents or coating processes with polyurethane or similar coatings to maximize the life of the wood bench material. There are exceptions to this but it is with costly commercial teak wood benches that are 30-70% more in cost vs. other popular wood benches made of oak and yellow pine which represents the lower quality/lower priced wood park bench. While higher-quality wood benches made from teak, redwood and mahogany are commonly found in residential furniture lines, resorts and restaurant settings. Wood park benches are typically found along popular walking trails found in state and federal parks, school grounds, and dog parks.
- Concrete: Park benches made primarily of concrete are very heavy and are a more permanent furnishing. They are often installed in facilities that are not expected to change or transition often due to weight, size, and how fragile concrete can be if moved. Concrete benches are often seen at state & federal parks, military bases, state parks and official state capitol buildings. Concrete is very durable, so it is appropriate for any climate. Concrete can be composed of many different materials to afford benches different accents from combining the concrete with wood, aluminum, and even recycled plastic just to name a few. Due to its heavy weight, concrete park benches are very difficult to ship and often costs more to ship than the actual cost of the bench.