Porch benches are available in many different materials and styles. They are commonly made of plastic, wood, wicker, or metal. Many porch benches are constructed out of a combination of metal and wood, like the traditional park bench that has a cast iron frame and arms, a slatted wooden seat, and backrest. Backless cement garden benches are also an option for a porch with a sturdy floor, such as one made of concrete, although they aren’t as comfortable as furniture that provides back support. Porch benches can be found with or without backrests, and the do-it-yourselfer can build a simple bench from plans freely available on the Internet.
Cast iron and aluminum are the metals most commonly used in the construction of porch seating. Iron is heavier than aluminum, and cast iron porch benches need to be painted periodically if exposed to the elements to retain their beauty and prevent rust. Aluminum is a lighter weight than cast iron and doesn’t rust, but it can corrode when exposed to salt and some other contaminants. Metal porch benches have hard seats and will require cushions for comfort, and wood is the more popular material for porch benches.
Porch benches are available in a variety of woods. Eucalyptus and cedar are good choices for a porch bench since they resist insect infestations. Teak and eucalyptus contain oils that help resist water, making these woods a good choice for furniture in an outdoor environment like a porch. Wooden benches can be either flat or designed with curved seats and backrests to provide more comfort and support. They can be found in styles with or without armrests.
Plastic resin benches are available in different styles. Some are made of one solid piece of plastic with back and armrests, and some are woven to resemble wicker. They come in a variety of colors. Plastic benches generally don’t last as long as metal or wooden furniture, but they have the advantages of being lightweight and low maintenance, only requiring an occasional cleaning. Recycled plastic furniture is also available for the environmentally conscious consumer.
Some specialty benches that work well for a porch are the corner bench, storage bench, and glider. The corner bench can be a good option for a small porch with a limited seating area. Storage benches are generally designed with a seat that lifts up, exposing the compartment underneath that can be used to store cushions, tools, and other items. The glider offers a comfortable rocking motion, and a regular bench can be transformed into a glider using dowels and hardware that can be purchased at any home improvement store.