While some folks enjoy the classic appeal of wooden beach chairs, others favor metal chairs for their durability and superior strength. You know what? I have one of each, and I use them interchangeably! The metal beach chairs, in particular, are unique, especially considering their design. So, what type of metals exist in beach chairs?
Beach chairs comprise of either aluminum or steel metals. Aluminum does not require paint, is more costly yet lightweight, and is resistant to scratches, rust, and corrosion. Steel is stronger, heavier, and less expensive but susceptible to rust & corrosion unless treated with a protective coating.
While aluminum and steel beach chairs vary, understanding why they flourish under certain conditions will make your next purchase more meaningful. Let’s explore the characteristics of these metals, what makes them unique, and weigh their attributes to determine the best choice for you.
What Metal Types Exist In Beach Chairs?
Manufacturers use one of two metals when producing beach chairs: steel or aluminum. They differ in strength, cost, weight, and lifespan, especially when you place them both in a coastal climate.
Aluminum Beach Chairs
Aluminum’s greatest attribute is its innate affinity to resist corrosive effects without further treatment after its creation. It also boasts properties that make it immune to rust, and it doesn’t have paint or other coatings that can scratch off after a while. Thus, an exceptional choice for the beach or coastal areas.
When it comes to the elements, aluminum beach chairs hold up much longer than those with steel frames due to their production process, which gives them innate rust and corrosion-resistant properties. As such, they are typically the go-to for outside furniture.
Coastal areas have a lot of moisture and salt in the air because they’re near the ocean, but aluminum remains unaffected by these factors. It’s also resistant to the sun and rot-resistant, and you won’t need to worry about insects.
Steel Beach Chairs
Steel is different from aluminum in that it requires paint and special treatments to shield it from the effects of rust and corrosion. Even then, it does not make it entirely immune like aluminum, meaning steel will rust if you leave it out in the rain.
It’s usually good to practice storing your steel beach chair in an enclosed area like a closet or garage. It will protect the steel from the salty coastal air and the moisture in the air from the ocean. Of course, applying a protecting coating will further increase its lifespan and prevent rust and corrosion from taking effect.
As such, it’s risky to keep steel beach chairs in moist, damp, or abrasive environments. If you’re planning on spending countless hours outside or at the beach, it’s in your best interest to get an aluminum beach chair rather than one with steel. Leaving a steel-framed chair out won’t spell doom, but it will start to accumulate rust, given enough time.
Steel Vs. Aluminum Beach Chairs: Which Is Heavier?
Even though steel is susceptible to corrosion, it remains more durable than aluminum. In fact, most metals that contain aluminum ding, scratch, or dent more easily than steel. Steel is at a lower risk of bending, deforming, or warping when under an immense load, force, or heat.
Nevertheless, despite its superiority over aluminum, steel is substantially heavier than aluminum, measuring two and half times denser. If you plan to move your beach chair to different locations, or you want it to double as a hiking chair, then the odds are that you’ll find a lightweight, aluminum option.
Steel Vs. Aluminum Beach Chairs: Which Is More Expensive?
Aluminum products are almost always more expensive because they require more raw materials to produce. More specifically, aluminum requires Bauxites – aluminum oxide mixed with other minerals. You must extract them from the ground, which is costly and time-consuming. As a result, you can expect to pay more for an aluminum beach chair!
Steel Vs. Aluminum Beach Chairs: Which Is Easier To Repair?
Aluminum, unlike steel, tends to lean toward the “stubborn” side, refusing to return to its former shape after being damaged. It will prefer to stay in its broken condition, so you’ll have to use various advanced techniques to help it go back to its normal state. The process takes a reasonable amount of time and involves delicate work that makes it challenging.
Having said that, repairing aluminum is not inherently more complex than mending steel, but it does need specialized welding equipment and an awareness of specific aluminum properties to fix it properly. As a result, it can also cost more money to repair than steel.
Can You Keep A Steel Beach Chair From Rusting?
If you own a steel beach chair and notice rust starting to form, you can remove the rust and add a protective layer to protect the steel and prevent the rust from spreading, albeit only temporarily. Zinc, aluminum, and chromium are among the metals utilized in protective coatings.
Zinc, in particular, is an example of a reactive protective on steel. Since zinc interacts with the environment more readily than steel, it prevents the steel from oxidizing.
A protective coating can apply to material in various ways, including spraying, plating, painting, and even welding. Polymer (plastic), for example, gets applied by spraying it. Electroplating or hot dipping are the most common methods for applying zinc protective coatings.
A protective layer can help to improve the wear resistance and visual appeal of a material. Furthermore, the coating can bolster water resistance or electrical qualities that it didn’t have before the coating application. A protective coating’s purpose isn’t always to prevent rust or corrosion.
The choice of metals for beach chairs is aluminum and steel. They’re both robust enough to support someone’s entire weight, but steel chairs are heavier than aluminum. Aluminum is also more resilient to the elements and better suited to coastal areas than steel. On the other hand, steel beach chairs are cheaper because steel is easier to produce.