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Folding Tables and Chairs

At first, buying folding tables and chairs may seem like a quick task to check off your to-do list. But, given all the diverse occasions for which your church uses folding tables and chairs, it is an important purchase that should warrant some research before your purchase to ensure you make an investment that can last your church for many years.

Before you make a folding table and chair purchase, ponder these questions to help determine the right folding tables and chairs for your church needs.

How do we plan to use these folding tables and chairs?
Sunday School classrooms, wedding receptions, holiday craft shows, Scout meetings, Vacation Bible School, and potluck dinners are just a few popular uses for folding tables and chairs at churches. Think of all possible events throughout the entire year that you may need folding tables and chairs.

What size and shape of folding tables best suits our needs?
Folding tables are available in both rectangular and round shapes. Some uses and room layouts may lend themselves better to certain shapes and sizes of folding tables than others. Round tables can create a more formal feel for eating occasions, yet also create warm conversational settings.

Rectangular folding tables are ideal when you want a "lecture room" setting or need to place tables end-to-end. Round tables most often are available in 48", 60" and 72" sizes, which fit 6, 8, or 10 chairs, respectively. Rectangular tables typically range in length from 4' to 8', seating anywhere from 4 to 8 people. The standard height for folding tables is 29" height.

However, rectangular tables are also available in adjustable height styles that allow you to lower the table to children's height (24"), raise it to table height (29"), and on up to counter height (36") to make your table purchase even more versatile. Always purchase from a manufacturer who makes a variety of sizes and shapes, so you can vary your selection while still having all products coordinate in color, style, and material.

Do we plan to move the tables and chairs around a lot?
If so, purchasing lightweight tables will help make moving and storing them easier. Gone are the days of needing two strong people to carry a wood laminate table with sharp metal edges that often cut fingers.

Today, blow-molded polyethylene tables are the folding table standard. They are the lightest weight folding tables available with one person easily able to carry an 8' table. However, even though they are lightweight, it is important to note they are actually stronger and more durable than traditional wood and other laminate tabletops.

How durable do we need our tables to be?
Figuring out your uses will help you determine how durable of a table you will need. Many manufacturers will include a weight rating on the table label to determine how much the table can hold. In addition, look for folding tables and chairs that meet or exceed BIFMA furniture test standards to ensure they are commercial quality products. Purchasing folding tables and chairs that are both stain resistant and easy to clean, such as those made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), will keep them looking new even after craft sessions with smeared markers or dinners with spilled ketchup.

Since some events may be outside, also look for weather-resistant features that protect against harsh elements and water damage, such as powder-coated steel frames with UV-inhibitors to prevent against scratches, rust, and fading; and high-density polyethylene tabletops with UV-inhibitors to prevent cracking, peeling, and warping.

Will we add to our folding table and chair inventory in the future?
Obviously, it's hard to predict future needs and growth now. However, plan ahead as much as possible by avoiding trendy colors and fabrics to help ensure you will easily be able to purchase more matching pieces in the future.

In addition, where you purchase can help make it easier to acquire additional pieces. Affordable bulk sale solutions are often available directly through manufacturers, while warehouse clubs are ideal to purchase large quantities, as well as individual pieces at later times.

Do we plan to store our folding tables and chairs?
Finally, remember to examine your storage space before purchasing folding tables and chairs. If you have limited space, it may be best to purchase smaller sized tables or longer tables in fold-in-half styles.

However, if you have large storage space, consider purchasing folding tables and chairs that have rolling carts available for purchase to conveniently store and transport dozens of tables and chairs at one time.

This article was contributed by Lifetime Products, Inc., a large manufacturer of polyethylene folding tables and chairs and inventor of the first blow-molded polyethylene tabletop, www.lifetime.com.

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Religious Product News