How to choose a bench seat for urban use? Now we will discuss the materials used for fabrication.
It is not an easy task to choose the right bench seat from a large variety of products presented on the market. Special attention is to be paid to the materials used for manufacture of park furniture. Let us individually discuss their advantages and disadvantages. A bench seat — is a necessary attribute of city beautification. We can determine the economic and financial position of a city or its municipal formation from the number and quality of bench seats in the streets. The parks, squares, public transport stops, stations are to be fitted with bench seats for rest. The quantity and quality of bench seats implicitly demonstrate the social attitude of municipal authorities towards the citizen. Obviously, public recreation areas should be available close to public places and thus provide adequate relaxation to the citizens.
Usually a bench seat consists of two to five components including supports, a seat and a back rest made from beams or planks or boards, and fasteners such as couplers or frames and fastening accessories. Bench supports. Mostly the supports are manufactured from steel, cast iron and concrete. Sometimes natural stones such as granites, wood and aluminum are also used. These items have both advantages and disadvantages.
Steel supports represent a welded structure made of round or square profile pipe of various cross-sections with forged elements needed to complement design of the structure. The disadvantage of this material is that a bench seat is light and it is not robust enough as compared to other materials. These factors are very important in selection of bench seats for use in popular public places. Anti-vandal properties of steel benches are low despite a relatively large service life. As a rule, properly maintained items serve for up to 15 years. It is impossible to improve vandal-proof properties of a steel-frame bench seat. « Its light weight », may be compensated for by fixing it to ground using concreting or anchor bolts.
A major advantage of steel bench seats is their low production cost which offsets all disadvantages in full. The urban bench seats with steel supports are mostly used in courtyards, mini-parks and streets of the cities.
Probably cast iron is one of the most desired materials for production of urban bench seat supports. The unique durability, vandal resistance, remarkable aesthetic features and heavy weight are the most valuable advantages of this material for fabrication of bench seats. But their production cost is slightly higher as compared to products with steel supports. Benches with cast iron supports for municipal purposes are normally used in the parks, squares and public recreation areas.
As a material for fabrication of bench seats concrete is probably less attractive owning to low durability and unsatisfactory aesthetic features. The cityscape appearance of concrete bench seats and litter bins is poor and unattractive. The only advantages of concrete are low cost and large weight making them more vandal resistant.
Benches with granite supports fit well for exterior surroundings with granite elements. These bench seats will be ideal for locating in the exterior with granite pavements and granite-finished building facades. Normally, they include major downtown squares and trade and entertainment complex areas. The disadvantages of this material are high production cost and poor design owning to a complicated process of stone processing.
Aluminum is a costly and valuable non-corrosive metal. Its plasticity allows fabrication of bench seat supports of any design. Disadvantages are light weight and high production cost. Bench seats with aluminum supports are mainly used in guarded areas or inside the premises, for example in trade centers. When installing these bench seats in the streets or public areas we recommend that they be secured to ground using concrete or anchor bolts.
Backrests and seats
The most popular materials for production of bench seats are beams from coniferous wood. Foliage trees are very susceptible to rot and thus their timber is not used for this purpose. The coniferous species are pine, fir and larch.
The size of beams and planks is of little importance provided that they are of proper thickness. Too thin beams can break and too thick beams will look ridiculously like logs on top of sticks. What really matters are the harmony and the proportion between durability and aesthetics. For many years of experiments with the materials we reached the conclusion that the optimum size of a bench beam is 35 x 60 mm. This is really the best choice!
Pine and fir wood varieties are most widely used materials for manufacture of municipal park furniture. The low cost and availability of this material make it most attractive for production of bench seats. The size of beams and planks does not matter much unless they are too thin or too thick. Thin beams can break and thick beams will look ridiculously like logs on top of sticks. What really matters are the harmony and the proportion between durability and aesthetic properties of the product. During many years of experimenting with the materials we came to a conclusion that the optimum size of a bench beam is 35х60 mm. This is really the best choice!
Larch is really the most desirable material for production of urban decorations. High resistance to temperature drops and change of weather conditions and high rot-proof properties are major advantages of larch wood. The only negative exception is high cost of this material.
Little can be said on this issue. The only thing to keep in mind is that hardware should be zinc-coated. There are no other parameters critical for the quality of the product.