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Blog posts tagged with 'what are park benches made of'

What Are Park Benches Made Of: Choosing the Right Materials
What Are Park Benches Made Of: Choosing the Right Materials

Park benches are a common sight in outdoor public spaces like parks, gardens, trails, and town squares. But have you ever wondered what material park benches are constructed from?


The material a bench is made of impacts everything from appearance, cost, comfort, and maintenance requirements to durability and weather resistance. This guide will overview the most popular materials for outdoor benches and what you need to know about choosing the right one.


Park Bench Materials


Park benches serve the straightforward yet important purpose of providing seating space so people can relax comfortably outdoors. The first consideration when selecting bench material is durability. As park benches are exposed to the elements year-round, they need to stand up to rain, sun, snow, and year-round temperature fluctuations. Aesthetic appearance and cost also come into play.


The most common materials used to construct sturdy, durable park benches suitable for public outdoor spaces include:

  • Wood
  • Metal
  • Concrete
  • Stone
  • Plastic/Resin
  • Recycled Materials


The Pros and Cons of Wood Park Benches


Wood is a traditional and attractive choice for park benches. Wooden benches with backrests crafted from durable hardwoods can be quite comfortable. They also warm nicely in the sun compared to metal or stone. However, wood requires more maintenance to keep it looking pristine and weather-resistant year after year.


Types of Wood for Benches

The most common woods used for outdoor benches are:

  • Teak: A tropical luxury hardwood that is dense, strong, and naturally weather resistant. Pure teak is expensive but long-lasting, requiring almost no maintenance beyond occasional cleaning. Often used for the slats on more affordable composite teak benches.
  • Cedar: An aromatic softwood that is naturally resistant to decay and insect damage with a distinctive scent. Needs a protective stain or sealant. Cedar is a more affordable domestic wood.
  • Oak: A very dense and durable domestic hardwood that lends a traditional, classic look. Needs ample weather protection.
  • Pine: An affordable softwood used for painted park benches. It is softer than oak or cedar and requires more maintenance over time.
  • Eco-friendly Composite: Composite wood benches consist of recycled plastic and reclaimed wood fibers to provide environmental benefits. Greater durability and less maintenance than solid wood.


The Pros of Wood Benches

Wood park benches offer aesthetic appeal, warmth, and comfort through natural grain patterns, slat-style seating, and contoured backrest designs. Customizable stains and finishes complement any landscape. Eco-options like bamboo or FSC-certified lumber provide environmental benefits. Some composite wood slats also incorporate recycled plastic. With sustainability, customizability, and inherent comfort, wood makes attractive, inviting outdoor seating.


The Cons of Wood Benches

Though beautiful, wooden benches require refinishing every few years when exposed continuously outdoors, as no wood resists warping, cracking, or decay indefinitely. Exotic wood and composite options also cost more upfront than basic pine or plastic. Regular staining/sealing to protect wood adds labor and expenses over time, especially for large installations. While composites slash ongoing maintenance needs via recycled plastic content, they still carry higher initial costs than basic bench materials.


The Benefits of Metal Park Benches


From sleek modern styles to classic designs that call to mind iconic municipal park benches, metal is commonly used for its strength, durability, and low maintenance. Metal benches withstand heavy use with less wear and tear than wood or plastic. Most metal benches have galvanized or stainless steel frames paired with wood, plastic, or metal slat seating.


Choosing the Right Metal

Here are some of the most common metals used:

  • Galvanized Steel: Steel coated in zinc to resist rust and corrosion. One of the most budget-friendly metals. Requires some periodic sealing/touch-up of paint chips over time.
  • Clean Stainless Steel: Extremely durable for corrosive conditions like ocean fronts. It was more expensive but virtually maintenance-free for decades. Stainless has a modern, high-end aesthetic.
  • Aluminum Benches: Lightweight but very sturdy, aluminum has good weather resistance and pairs well with wood slats. Some maintenance is required, but less than galvanized steel. It's an affordable metal option.
  • Iron/Cast Iron: Looks classic but prone to rusting without diligent paint maintenance. Cast iron offers great strength for custom designs but is heavy. Wrought iron is lighter weight but less durable.
  • Powder Coated Metal: Many metal bench frames are coated in epoxy powder for further protection on top of the base galvanization or stainless steel. This helps limit chipping.


The Pros of Metal Benches

Metal benches deliver durable, stylish seating for parks and public spaces. Metal withstands prolonged outdoor use and moisture better than wood or plastic, with stainless steel offering maximum longevity. Metal construction also eliminates the intensive staining and sealing of wood benches. When coupled with composite or plastic slats, metal benches become ultra-low-maintenance. The strength of metal also enables the creation of custom designs from contemporary to traditional.


The Cons of Metal Benches

Though strong, metal benches conduct temperature extremes, feeling hot or cold with various weather conditions. Aesthetics degrade over time with paint chipping and metal fatigue unless benches are repainted periodically. Cost can also be prohibitive for pricier stainless steel or custom designs, along with added shipping expenses from bench weight. Considering long-term reconditioning and freight costs helps determine total metal bench investment accurately.


Concrete & Stone Bench Material Options


For a classic, substantial style statement, concrete and stone benches feature prominently in many municipal and private landscapes. These exceptionally durable, weather-resistant materials do come with some functional drawbacks regarding comfort. Place padded seat covers over concrete or stone benches to enhance user comfort.


Concrete Park Benches

Poured concrete benches offer creative latitude in shapes and profiles. Concrete can be tinted, textured, and stamped to achieve a variety of polished looks, imitating stone, wood grain, cobblestones, etc. Concrete stands up well to heavy use with little maintenance required beyond cleaning.



  • Highly durable, weatherproof, and scratch/damage resistant.
  • Staining and sealing are not required.
  • Creative customization in shapes, textures, and colors.



  • Discomfort from the hard, cold surface.
  • Heavy weight makes relocation difficult.
  • Higher cost for custom designs and shipping.


Natural Stone Benches

Stone benches made from granite, marble, sandstone, or other natural stones have an impressive, substantial presence that flatters both classical and contemporary surroundings. Stone offers creative variety in appearance with unique natural veining, colors, and surface textures. It also stands the test of time, often lasting decades with minimal care needed.



  • Unmatched durability over centuries.
  • Stunning natural beauty in colors and veining.
  • Requires little to no maintenance.



  • Very heavy permanence makes relocating hard.
  • Expensive, especially for large custom sizes.
  • Surfaces remain cold and can be uncomfortable.


Plastic & Resin Bench Materials


Recyclable plastic and resin benches offer affordability, low maintenance, and design versatility. Molded plastic and resin benches are seamless, so they lock out water. Some styles offer metal or wood accents. Resins and recycled plastics provide environmental sustainability benefits.


Types of Plastics for Benches

  • Polyethylene (PE): This plastic has good weather resistance at a budget price but can show some wear over years of UV exposure. Often used for colored slats.
  • Polypropylene (PP): Slightly more durable than polyethylene and used for some molded bench seats and backs. Offers good stain resistance.
  • Resins: Special composite resin materials mix plastic polymers and fillers to create benches that mimic wood, stone, or metal at a lighter weight for easy relocation. The resin won't rot, crack, or splinter.


The Pros of Plastic Benches

Plastic and resin bench materials make upkeep easy with hardly any maintenance while offering lots of creative design potential on a budget. Polyethylene and polypropylene plastics simplify manufacturing, passing substantial cost savings along with affordable pricing for buyers looking to maximize landscape seating capacity per dollar.


Once installed, easy-care plastic benches require only an occasional soap and water wipe-down to stay looking vibrant for years while resisting fading, rot, cracks, mold, or scratches. Beyond fuss-free functionality, plastic opens up diverse aesthetic possibilities as well. Through molded construction, plastic can readily produce bold one-color benches or chic two-tone designs.


The Cons of Plastic Benches

Though affordable and low-maintenance, plastic benches degrade more quickly than wood/metal, showing visible damage in 5-10 years outdoors. Plastic also transmits extreme temperatures, causing user discomfort. Lower-grade plastic can look obviously mass-produced, detracting from refined gardens. Higher quality recycled resin lumber offers more natural wood grain appeal at a sustainable cost. Considering plastic's faster weathering helps set realistic expectations.


Eco-Friendly Recycled Material Options


Sustainable bench materials made from recycled plastic or reclaimed materials appeal to environmentally-conscious buyers. Benches constructed from recycled materials include:


  • Recycled Plastic Slats: Molded from recycled consumer plastics, these sturdy slats can form both bench seating and backs. Pair colored slats with galvanized or powder-coated frames.
  • Recycled Tire Benches: Tires are ingeniously repurposed into durable, long-lasting benches by slicing crosswise and adhering to metal or wooden frames. The material won't degrade or leach chemicals.
  • Reclaimed Wood Benches: Benches utilizing salvaged barn beams, wine barrels, pallet wood, and other pre-used lumber make good, sustainable use of materials headed toward landfills. Staining is recommended.
  • Milk Jug Benches: Injected plastic from recycled milk jugs and detergent bottles creates weatherproof colored lumber perfect for low-maintenance outdoor seating slats and tabletops.


The Pros of Recycled Benches

Recycled benches repurpose plastic, wood, and tires into durable, eco-friendly seating. Diverting waste into weather-resistant benches made of colorful plastic slats, reclaimed wood, or upcycled tires, they deliver sustainable yet comfortable outdoor seating without using additional virgin materials. The recycled component enhances affordability as well. Transforming landfill-bound materials into responsible and enjoyable public seating, recycled benches align sustainability with quality.


The Cons of Recycled Benches

Recycled benches have some customization limits, standardizing style and restricting modifications beyond color options. The durability of recycled plastics and rubber stays intact, but reclaimed wood sources may decay more over time. Sourcing recycled wood benches consistently also proves challenging since material streams vary.


How to Choose the Best Material for Park Benches


Determining ideal bench construction materials for your unique needs and environment comes down to asking the right questions:


What Are the Key Priorities?

Start by deciding what matters most - budget, low maintenance, style/appearance, comfort, eco-friendliness, durability over decades, and custom design flexibility. Rank these in order of importance. Consider if you will need to secure benches to prevent theft.


What Climate Conditions Exist?

Factor in the year-round weather plus levels of rain, snow, and humidity. Materials like pine don't fare as well in very wet or humid southern regions, while teak excels in such environments. Metal and stone/concrete hold up better overall.


How Much Usage Will Benches Get?

Benches in popular central city parks see far more wear and tear than a rural walking trail. Recycled plastics and wood may not endure extremely heavy long-term use. Teak, stainless steel, or stone lasts longest under continual use.


Does Relocating Benches Matter?

Another consideration is whether benches will stay permanently put over the years or ever need moving. Heavy concrete and stone benches don't transplant well at all. Light metals, plastic, or wood can be relocated more easily if needed.


Are There Maintenance Limitations?

Factor in realistic maintenance capabilities, too. Re-staining wood benches annually provides protection from weathering but becomes labor-intensive for large public parks, whereas stainless steel and composite wood need little upkeep.


Evaluating bench style priorities, placement environment, usage levels, maintenance abilities, and expected longevity leads to clearer decisions on appropriate construction materials. There are durable, budget-friendly options for all needs that balance aesthetic style, comfort, and weather resistance. Just align expected costs, efforts, and usage requirements to pick bench materials that are able to deliver satisfactory performance long-term.


About Furniture Leisure


For over a decade, Furniture Leisure has provided commercial buyers access to the widest online selection of durable, dependable park benches suitable for public spaces and commercial facilities. We offer attractive seating crafted from virtuous materials like eco-friendly woods, 100% recycled plastic lumber, weatherproof concrete, and maintenance-free aluminum. Our benches grace parks, trails, restaurant patios, and hospitality properties across the country.


The Furniture Leisure difference lies in our consultative approach to matching you with optimal benches for your spatial needs, climate, usage levels, and budget. Our team brings decades of collective experience outfitting landscapes, small and large, with worry-free outdoor seating. Whether planning a small-scale pocket park or a large public recreation space, we invite you to leverage our product expertise and attentive customer service. Contact us today to explore how our benches can become long-lasting focal points welcoming your patrons.


Upgrade your space with commercial benches.


Frequently Asked Questions


What material is most durable for park benches?

Stainless steel bench frames paired with either stainless steel, teak, or composite slat seating make the longest-lasting, low-maintenance combinations able to withstand decades of regular use. The strength of metal coupled with resilient seats can readily handle weather fluctuations plus wear and tear from consistent public traffic.


What is the most comfortable park bench material?

For cushy seating comfort, wood or plastic slats paired with contoured metal or concrete legs provide support while the wood/plastic flex slightly. Teak, cedar, oak, or eco-friendly composite wood slats encourage relaxed sitting thanks to their ability to mold to unique body shapes and absorb - rather than transmit - temperature extremes.


Which material works best for rainy climates?

Teak is a prime rainy climate wood, given its dense oil content, which makes it naturally water- and insect-resistant. Eco-friendly composite wood also excels in wet regions since recycled plastic is impervious to moisture. Waterproof concrete plus aluminum or stainless steel holds up well to heavy rainfall, too. Avoid ordinary steel, which can rust over time from excess precipitation exposure.

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