In some constant-use facilities such as cafeterias, healthcare spaces and correctional environments, having residential chairs that pull up easily to wood tables would be a luxury. In fact, it wouldn’t even be a luxury. Fantasy might be a better word.
After all, most commercial residential furniture can break easily after just a little wear and tear, and can often be picked apart and its pieces used as a weapon. In other cases, chairs and tables can be moved around to places you don’t want them to be, or can be picked up and used to harm others. The financial burden and safety hazards are enormous.
For environments such as these – where safety is paramount and products need to last and stay in one place – fixed seating tables are a viable option that can provide a furniture solution for years to come. This kind of furniture product features seats that are attached to the table that is being used, often with no moving parts.
But not all fixed seating is made alike. Some products are manufactured with inferior materials and are not engineered to withstand the strains of constant use. So if your facility is ready to invest in fixed seating that stands up to abuse while also remaining aesthetically pleasing and humanizing for your environment, consider these five attributes before buying.
The foundation, literarily, of any fixed seating table are the legs that support the seats and the support beams that attach the legs to the table top. Think of these pieces as the product’s skeleton – that which holds all parts together. For constant-use environments, we recommend 2 ½- to 3-inch diameter, 14 gauge tubular steel that features welded steel plates that mount to the seat and table top. This creates a seating product that has no holes for hiding contraband. Finally, look for seating that features steel that comes powder-coated for a long-lasting finish. Want to learn more? Check out our Max-Master (pictured above) and Econo-Max Series, both of which feature seats and support beams as described above.
Fixed seating table tops take a lot of abuse and often are in need of serious cleaning. Think about it. It’s the part of the product where food is eaten, tableware is dropped, games are played and dirty hands are placed. It’s also often the target of willful abuse for those who are intent on trying to damage the surface. For these reasons it is important to choose tops that are made for institutional use. We suggest selecting either a decorative high-pressure laminate or stainless steel inlay with a highly durable molded urethane edge that has a radius profile for safety and comfort, making it exceptional for food service applications. This top is featured on our Max-Master Series. You can also choose an 18-gauge stainless steel top surface wrapped around a sound-deadening particle board core with embedded T-nuts. This top helps reduce noise in loud facilities and is highly durable as well (see our Econo-Max Series for an example).
The area where you place your behind also takes a lot of abuse. Think about the number of times users sit up and down on seats in constant-use environments. All day. All night. For this reason, the seat needs to be just as durable as the table top and legs. We recommend purchasing seats made of high density, color-impregnated compression-molded composite that is highly scratch and stain resistant. Additionally, the seats should have at least four molded-in threaded inserts for superior metal-to-metal connections.
Cleanability, Hygiene Friendly
Infection control and cleanability are quite the challenge in high-use spaces due to the fact that many people are using the furniture products. Food. Dirt. Grime. Bodily fluids. All of these can wreak havoc on inferior fixed-seating products that are not suited for constant-use environments. So when searching for the proper furniture for your facility, be sure that you choose a table with no holes or openings that debris or fluids can fall or be stuck into. Also, be certain that you pick products that have no exposed particle board or wood that can become wet and expand. Choose table tops, legs and connection beams made of high-density laminates or heavy-steel construction. These materials repel dirt, grime and fluids and are easy to clean with the appropriate solution and applicator. Finally, an edge around the table top can add a nice aesthetic touch to any fixed seating. But the space between the edge and table can become a lodging area for pesky crumbs, dirt and other foreign objects. That makes it imperative to purchase tables that are equipped with a permanently affixed edge that prevents anything from becoming lodged in between the edge and table top.
Options. Options. Options. No one wants a one-size fits all product that doesn’t blend in with the look and feel of the facility. In order to make your facility as humanized, residential and efficient as possible, look for the following in your fixed-seating table:
- Seats that come in a variety of colors.
- Table tops made of different materials to choose from.
- Tables with a game top option.
- Fixed seating with 4, 6 or 8 seat options depending on your needs.
- Tables that come in a variety of shapes and sizes so you can use your space efficiently.
- Sound-deadening top options that include particle board interiors to reduce noise.
- Fixed seating that can be fastened to the floor so the product can’t be moved.
Great products are made using great designs and superior materials, with evidence-based research as their basis. Ask the furniture manufacturer to discuss these three items with you before you buy. And always ensure your product has a warranty and is made with eco-friendly materials so you can assist in creating healthy environments in your facility.
Learn more about Norix Furniture’s fixed seating options.