Aluminum benches do not rust, are very durable, require minimal maintenance, and have the ability to take on any style or fashion and appearance that a furniture designer has the imagination to create. These benches can be categorized into different construction methods. When buying aluminum benches and choosing the best construction method for you, there are some important things to note before your purchase:
- Stainless steel nuts and bolts on frames which are not fully welded
- Smooth welds that do not appear globular or like gumballs
- Heavy weight, solid feel without rattles
- Comfortable cushions that will not quickly flatten out and are covered in solution-dyed outdoor fabric
The state of the art finishing technique used on most metal frames is called powder coating. Dry paint particles are ionized and sprayed onto the frames. The paint is then baked, which results in a very durable and thick finish that provides a more comprehensive coating than a wet paint finish. The painted finish is the barrier that keeps aluminum from oxidizing. A good quality powder coat finish is very resistant to peeling, cracking, chipping and fading.
When looking at the primary aluminum furniture construction methods, it is important to remember that each method has characteristics, advantages and features that are unique to that certain type of aluminum furniture construction. The basic method of choosing one over another is to choose the design style that pleases you most and is comfortable for you. More thought, though, should be given to the area where you will use your furniture and the particular needs for your lifestyle.
Tubular Aluminum Benches
In tubular aluminum furniture, the frame is made from extruded tubing that is formed when molten metal is forced through a die that shapes it into a hollow tube. The various shapes that can be created from this is unlimited, ranging from simple round tubing like the Sun Day R Sun Recliner by Lebello to wide racetrack extrusions and everything in between.
Tubular aluminum construction usually includes vinyl straps, fabric slings or cushions for the seat and back portion of the outdoor furniture. All of these three are replaceable over time should the need arise. On a good quality aluminum frame, the metal frame will far outlast the softer material used for the seat and back. When investing in this type of furniture, it is a good idea to ask how easy it is to buy these replacement parts when needed.
Cast Aluminum Benches
In this construction method, molten aluminum is poured into molds and cooled. Parts of the whole are separately cast and bolted or welded together to form the piece of furniture. With the ability to create any shape or detail in a casting, this method is unlimited in the realm of design creativity. Designs are usually made in traditional styles like the Valentino Patio Arm Chair by Meadow Decor because of the ability to make great detail in the castings. However, contemporary designs that are sleeker and reflect more modern tastes are being manufactured as well.
It is very important to maintain the finish on cast aluminum. During the molding process, little air pockets form in the cast metal. Any amount of moisture that gets into the bare metal can cause peeling and blistering of the paint around it. If you are choosing this type of outdoor furniture for an extreme climate condition where sand and salt can abrade the finish, consider buying the best quality you can afford as the powder coat finish will be thicker and of the highest quality.
Wrought Aluminum Benches
Wrought aluminum outdoor benches are essentially like wrought iron with aluminum used in place of iron. Aluminum stock is forged, hammered, and welded into a design in the same method that has been used for thousands of years with iron. The welded frame are cleaned and finished with a powder coat paint process to give protection from the elements.
Generally, aluminum benches require little maintenance. However, although aluminum outdoor furniture will not rust, exposed and unfinished aluminum will oxidize. Therefore maintaining the finish is important to lengthen the life of your outdoor furniture. Check the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations before performing any maintenance. It is very important to follow the manufacturer guidelines so any warranties provided is not negated.Cleaning may be as simple as washing with mild soap and water solution. For tougher cleaning issues, a specialty cleaning product can make your job a snap.