Church Chairs – Metal Frame versus Wood Frame

Church Chairs / Worship Seating

“Should we purchase new church chairs with wood frames or metal frames? As churches begin the journey of acquiring new church chairs, the wood frame versus metal frame choice comes up early in the process. Here are three considerations that will be helpful in determining which church chair frame will be best for your church.

  1. What style of seating has your church been using to this point?

When your church makes its church chair purchase, those new church chairs will likely be taking the place of your current worship seating. If your church has been utilizing wooden pews for many years, moving to church chairs (which is very prevalent these days) can result in many struggling with such a transition. We have often found that because church pews are made out of wood, purchasing wood-framed church chairs can receive a higher degree of acceptance and willingness among the people of your church. For whatever reason, the jump from wooden pews to wood-framed church chairs, does not seem as large as the move from wooden pews to metal-framed church chairs. Many churches have told us that while there were those in their church who did not want to make any change, there seemed to be a far greater willingness to “meet in the middle” with wood-framed church chairs than moving to metal-framed church chairs. A sense of compromise seemed to allow the entire transition to be more positively accepted.

  1. What has your church budgeted for their new church chairs?

If your church has not allocated a significant amount of dollars toward your new church chairs, the likelihood is that wood-framed church chairs will need to be eliminated from consideration. The reality is that when you compare a quality church chair with a metal frame to a quality church chair with a wood frame, you will find that your church is able to acquire two to three church chairs with metal frames for every one church chair with a wood frame. It is important though to not conclude that the chairs with metal frames are of less quality than the chairs with metal frames. Wood as a raw material is simply far more expensive than steel, and also the labor costs working with wood are higher than when working with metal. So unless your church places a high value on having church chairs with wood frames, your best use of available resources will drive you toward church chairs with metal frames.

  1. What will our church experience with either frame choice over the coming years?

Your new church chairs will be used by your church over the next two to three decades. Here is what you should expect:

  • You should expect that if you choose a quality church chair, — that both metal-framed church chairs and those constructed with wood frames will hold up in a similar fashion. Church chairs with wood frames are subject to “nicks” as you move them around since wood is softer than metal. But church chairs with metal frames tend to be prone to “scuffs” as they are moved around. However, if your church chairs are set up and rarely repositioned, stacked and moved, then nicking and scuffing does not take place except rarely.
  • You should also expect that if for some reason, your church would decide to sell your church chairs, the chairs with metal frames will be far easier to sell and you will also regain a far higher percentage of your purchase price. A while back we assisted a church in selling 420 church chairs with wood frames they had purchased more than twenty years ago. Their chairs were in great shape! But though they had spent about $125.00 a chair for them twenty plus years ago they were able to only obtain about $20.00 each for them in our day. Our experience suggests that if they had been selling metal framed church chairs in a similar condition, they probably could have charged the same $20.00 for each chair even though they might have purchased these chairs twenty plus years ago for $40.00 each versus the $125.00 each.
  • You should expect that most people visiting your church will have a more contemporary impression from chairs with metal frames than from church chairs with wood frames. As we partner with architectural firms, interior design teams, and construction firms from around the country, our experience is that the great majority of present day new church construction is utilizing church chairs with metal frames.

The bottom line is we hope that as your church processes the decision of whether to purchase new church chairs with wood frames or metal frames, that the above information will assist you.