Believe It Or Not, Concrete Garden Benches Are Hot!
See also: How to Build a Concrete Bench
Cheap, Durable, Versatile - What Else You May Want From Your Bench?
"I'm here out of habit"
Photo by pupski
"To sit on a stone? Thanks, but no thanks!".
If that's what you think when you hear about concrete benches, keep reading. You may be surprised to learn how wrong this concept is. Concrete benches aren't cold or uncomfortable. They can be
just as good as wooden or metal benches- or even better for many reasons.
But let's see what do we call a concrete bench at first place. This is a bench that is made entirely of concrete or have some small parts (the seat, the arms, or the back) made of wood or metal. For a bench to be considered concrete, its main conctruction should definitely be of concrete.
This kind of benches fit almost every garden because of their natural look and feel. There is no specific garden design that is required to have or some speicfic colors etc. Most often they fit next to asphalth or gravelly pathways and less often are used in patios or green areas. Althought a well situated concrete bench can make a green area look enchantingly.
The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Concrete Benches
Like with any type of benches (or can I say "any type of anything"?), not everything is nice and cool. The concrete garden benches have some disadvantages. For example, they can't be moved (at least not easy) - once installed, the bench sits there for life. In places with severe cold the concrete benches can receive cranks, the cranks are filled with water and when water turns to ice the cranks become bigger and bigger until the bench die with a scream. Well, this is a bit of a horror story but you got the idea. Once broken
a concrete bench is hard to fixwithout losing its consistent look.
Fortunately the advantages of concrete benches are more and well worth mention:
- They are affordable. The materials used to make them are cheaper than wood, metal or plastic. Even when bought from your local home improvement store they are likely to be cheap - there's no upper limit of course, but on the low end they can be as cheap as $50. And if you are making the benches yourself you can use all kinds of concrete material: sand & gravel, cement, trash, just anything. They can be almost free (well, most are not anyway)
- Large variety. Concrete is easy to form in different shapes which allows these benches to have many different designs. And because it's a durable material this makes it even easier - shapes that are not achievable with other materials (especially wood) are a cake for concrete benches.
- Durability. Concrete is what most of your house is likely made of. It's a material created to last - whatever is made of concrete can live a hundred years or more. This is also valid for the quality concrete benches - when ten wooden benches have rot and five metal ones have rust, your quality concrete bench will still be there. Please note the cursive on "quality".
- No maintenance required. Besides cleaning there isn't much you need to do for your concrete garden bench. If you have painted it, you will need to take care for the paint from time to time, but basically that's all.
If this has convinced you that concrete benches have more advantages you are probably asking the next question:
Where To Find Concrete Garden Benches And How Much Do They Cost?
Actually, I'd be a bit surprised if you are asking this. If you search the web with your favorite search engine you will find at least few thousand online stores that sell outdoor benches of all kinds, including concrete ones. The prices vary a lot -
from $50 to $500or even $5,000. The question is how do you choose the store which isn't going to rip you off and will offer good quality and good service. Here is a quick checklist:
- Choose reliable store. See the site age, check if there are comments online about the company and so on. If the site looks bad to you and has spelling mistakes you can imagine the quality of the service will be similar.
- Check the location. If you live in the USA it won't be very wise to purchase a concrete bench from Australia. The shipping will cost a lot so choose a store near you.
- Prefer big variety. Not only that you'll have more options to choose, but these stores will usually have more experience and trained staff.
- Of course reaearch the costs. Some web stores will try to sell you same benches with 20% or so more than others. So spend some time to research.
Of course you may just go to your local offline store - that's sometimes a good idea because the sellers there can be educated and offer you good options. Sometimes it is not such a good idea if they have very few models or high prices. In every case you just need to reaearch before buying - if you plan buying at all. Because you can have a concrete bench even if you don't buy it. You can just build it yourself.
Can You Build A Concrete Bench Yourself?
The answer is not just "yes". It's "yes, you can do it easier than building a bench of some other type". Most people are afraid to work with concrete because it's something used in professional construction works which makes them feel like playing with something which is not for them. The truth is that
working with concrete is nothing special- it's easy, safe and even if you waste the material you aren't going to lose much money. It's much harder to make a high quality wooden bench without wasting expensive wood material.
The process of making a concrete bench starts with designing your bench, buying cement or concrete, mixing it, preparing the foundations on the soil, pouring the concrete in shapes, cleaning the surface and eventually painting.
I'd recommend you to visit this guide on eHow.com for more details. The guide isn't perfect but at least until we publish our own one with drawings, it is a good starting point.
Wait! Out guide is ready: learn how to build a concrete bench yourself!