By Patricia Holland

Metal benches have long since replaced wooden benches as the preferred form of outdoor seating. Todays benches are made from galvanized steel and are often coated with a protective substance known as Thermoplastic. This makes them far more weather resistant and vandal resistant than wood. Because metal does not splinter, and because the coatings used to protect the metal tend to feature something of a soft, outer surface, benches that are made out of metal are far more comfortable to sit on.

Attraction factor is yet another reason why benches made from metal have all but replaced those that were made from wood. Metal is much easier to mold, and therefore can be adapted to any number of bench designs that feature seats both with and without back rests. New color choices also make benches made from metal much more attractive than standard or plain wood.

Wood was once the preferred material for the building of outdoor furniture. Prior to cost effective and ready availability of stainless steel, poor quality metal benches had the tendency to rust very quickly when exposed to salt air, constant rainfall, or even high humidity. In spite of the fact that wood eventually split, splintered, and rotted, it was still considered by many to be the better material. Most wooden benches were simply refinished or repainted when they became damaged, until it was no longer practical to do so and the bench eventually had to be replaced.

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This, of course, offered no solution to the problems of comfort and aesthetics associated with damaged wooden benches in between repairs. Additionally, it did nothing to alleviate the cost of repairs and eventual replacement for damaged outdoor furniture.

Then stainless steel became much more readily available at cost effective prices. Galvanization and powder coating soon followed, making metal benches resistant to the age-old problem of rust. Now, metal could be left out in the rain, mounted near a beach, or placed in a park near a heavily polluted area without any fear of corrosion. Suddenly, the advantages of metal became very clear compared to the perceived advantages of wood.

New designs have also made these benches far more attractive than their wooden predecessors. The many shapes that metal can be worked into allow for benches to be made that feature everything from traditional to contemporary designs. 16 color options also allow for the natural color of wood to be imitated, along with the colors of foliage, lawns, and hedges. Schools, churches, city governments, theme parks, and businesses can now match their metal benches to any style of building architecture and any style of commercial landscaping.

If this is still not enough to convince business owners to invest in metal benches, the promise of low maintenance and vandal resistance should be. New Thermoplastic coating is used to protect the majority of the benches and picnic tables now being manufactured in the US. This substance does not require painting, is UV and moisture resistant, and features a reasonable vandal resistance as well. Benches coated with Thermoplastic can last for decades without losing their attraction factor, and without costing any significant amount of money on repairs.

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