Rain, snow, sleet, or hail—your outdoor venue’s seating has to weather it all. Different geographic areas are prone to different weather events, and making the right seating choices can help you get the longest life out of your venue's seating. Let’s talk about how materials, components, and chair styles that have to face more than foot traffic and also cover maintenance for outdoor venues to extend the life of seating.
Elements That Can Degrade Your Seats
Sun is the biggest foe when it comes to outdoor use. UV light can cause fading, as well as cracking over time.
Rust is another issue that can develop. There are few areas where outdoor seating will not be subject to moisture. When maintenance is properly performed, however, rust can be stopped in its tracks.
Venues that are close to the shore are also subject to harsher demands. Coastal climates introduce not just moisture, but salt air that can accelerate wear. Being aware of the elements can help you keep up with maintenance and extend the life of your seating.
Seating Components & the Weather
Starting with the right components is key to outdoor durability. The platforms that are used for outdoor seating are usually cast iron, and receive an e-coat treatment and paint to seal it and protect them from the moisture. In some cases, stainless steel is also sometimes used outdoors. Our Patriot seat is one example of a seat on a steel platform that holds up well outside.
Outdoor chair seats and backs are always plastic. These stand up to the elements well and allow for far more wear and tear. Blow mold or 12S with a cushion are common choices. Outdoor plastic components are UV treated to slow color fade and allow components to stand up to the sun for longer. There is no finish that will stand up to the sun forever, but the protections and treatments we use provide the longest life for plastic seating components.
The seats feature coated metal brackets that avoid corrosion when exposed to moisture and the elements. Rubber washers are often installed to keep metal surfaces from coming into contact with one another.
Signature and Citation are both great choices for outdoor seating. These seats offer different foam choices that will weather well outdoors. This allows you to have a cohesive look in venues that offer both indoor and outdoor seating. The seating is treated for the environment where it will be used. The seats perform for the section they are made for, offering a great look in both indoor and outdoor areas.
The fabric choice for outdoors is nearly always vinyl. This provides protection against moisture and great wear.
Wide Arrays of Choices Are Still Available
Having an area that is well-prepared to stand up to the elements does not mean settling for fewer choices. Many seating styles can be adapted for outdoor use. To maintain the look and feel you want, indoor and outdoor seating can be made to look the same. The differences come down to treatments that allow the seating to stand up to heat, sunlight, moisture and more.
When Seating is Not Protected
In one case, we had a client make an error with their installation; they'd mistaken indoor seats for ones that belonged outdoors. The error was not evident immediately; however, after about a year, the seats began to fade and turn white at the tops.
This demonstrated in a very clear way just how beneficial the special coatings and treatments for outdoor seating can be. The story has a happy ending. We worked with the customer on the terms of our warranty to get new outdoor-appropriate seating into the space. We stand behind our product and like to ensure that, even when mistakes happen, our clients are happy with the products that they buy from us.
Maintenance is Key
Often, problems are easiest to solve when they are addressed as quickly as possible. Spotting weather-related wear early is key to preventing further damage. At least every three months, take some time for inspections. Look for items that are loose, missing hardware or any other issues that can accelerate wear. By spotting and addressing those potential issues, you can keep your seating in great condition for years.
We supply an outdoor kit for touch-ups. Nicks and chips can, if left unattended, lead to rust. When customers follow up with good maintenance, they can significantly increase the life of their seating.
With our expertise and experience, we help our customers understand which seats hold up to whatever environmental stresses you can throw at them. Get in touch today to discuss your outdoor seating needs.