Having worked with churches for more than 25 years we know that buying new church chairs can be a big investment.
For a church community we know chairs are more than just practical items and therefore we understand that it takes some time to make a decision on what kind to buy and where to buy them.
To help you work through this decision we have drawn on our experience and pulled together our ultimate guide to buying church chairs.
1. Start with the priorities
As always, start with the basics and write up your list of priorities. Think about the number of people you need to seat, do you need the space to be flexible or will the chairs remain in place permanently? For bigger churches, do you require auditorium or theatre style seating?
2. Quality and return on investment
Chairs can be a significant financial investment for a church community and that is exactly the right way to view it, an investment. We always encourage churches to buy quality. The risk when going for the cheapest option is that after a year or two you are looking for replacements or to have them reupholstered. Unfortunately, we hear those stories all the time. Investing even just slightly more upfront can ensure the chairs you choose last far longer.
It’s not about where they are made, it is how and with what, which we will touch on further below.
Linked to the point above, long-term warranties aren’t just a nice to have, they also demonstrate how confident a supplier is in the product they are selling. For example, at Alloyfold, we stand by our product, with a 25-year warranty on our church chair frame.
Obviously comfort is crucial and that mainly comes down to the design of the chairs and the foam used. We know it’s a pretty niche topic but always ask a supplier what foam is used.
As standard we offer cold molded foam in our church chairs, which provides outstanding comfort and performance in addition to being water and dust resistant (helpful for those coffee and tea spillages). If you want, you can read more about this on our blog outlining the differences in foam or get in touch with one of our friendly team.
5. The chair build
The quality of a church chair will be found in the small details. For example screws placed directly into the wood seat back can unthread over time, eventually falling out. Alloyfold chairs use T-nuts which attach the seat and back to the frame with a 'metal to metal' nut providing a strong and neat hold.
Other things to ask about are powder coating on the frames for rust prevention, chair testing to pass fire regulations, fabric protection and knowing the UV rating/effects on your fabrics.
A church can be many things to a community, therefore flexibility is important. When buying chairs this means considering stackable options which can be easily moved. You may also want to consider retractable seating systems which can be expanded or retracted as needed.
An often overlooked point, but one we know is hugely important to church communities, is understanding the ethos of suppliers. At Alloyfold we are proud to be a social enterprise, which means when you work with us your investment goes toward helping people make a fresh start in life. The money we make funds rehabilitation, reintegration, affordable housing, training programmes and other social work.
Don’t hesitate to ask suppliers if they have a community ethos or social giving aspect to their business.
8. A track record
When looking for a trusted chair supplier be sure to learn about other churches they have worked with and the different projects they have been involved with. If you have time, reach out to a number of those churches to see how the chairs have performed.
The look and feel of church chairs will significantly impact the overall feel of your church. It’s important to consider colour, fabric and chair design. We offer numerous different church chairs and provide a range of options to customise them to suit your needs. You can also get some inspiration from the previous projects we have worked on.
10. Functionality for the whole community
Simple things make a huge difference, for example a chair with arms can make it much easier for older church members to get in and out of their chair. We have worked with churches that have bought a mixture of chairs, some with arms and some without to ensure it meets the needs of the whole community.