Material Matters: Metal, Wood and Outdoor Plastic Picnic Tables

The first step in choosing outdoor picnic tables is deciding what material will work best in your setting. Consider what elements your tables will be exposed to, who will be using your tables and how much time you're willing to spend maintaining your table. Here's a rundown of your choices, along with the benefits and drawbacks:

  1. Wood: Picnic tables made of lumber are the traditional choice. They fit nicely in parks and other natural settings and are comparatively inexpensive. Keep in mind that wooden outdoor picnic tables will require more time and effort to maintain. For example, you'll need to bleach them every year to block mildew growth and use a water-based sealant to keep the elements at bay. Wooden picnic tables should be taken off the ground in the winter, since moisture that wicks into the legs during freeze/thaw causes extreme damage to wooden legs. A fitted cover is a good idea when your wooden table is not in use. And protect the surface with a tablecloth to prevent damage from food and drink.
  2. Aluminum: Outdoor picnic tables constructed of aluminum can resist corrosion and typically have a clear coat protecting the surface. Aluminum picnic tables hold up well in harsh weather, although you'll want to be careful–a strong wind may carry your aluminum picnic table onto a neighboring property. Remember to watch out for sharp corners that can cause injury to small children. To ensure the longevity of your aluminum table, make certain the frame and hardware are high quality.
  3. Concrete: Durability is a big benefit of concrete outdoor picnic tables. They are the preferred table of seaside parks for this very reason. Another advantage is their heavy weight prevents them from being vandalized. This advantage becomes a disadvantage if you need to move your picnic table to cut the grass or for any other reason. Also, you'll pay higher shipping costs for concrete outdoor picnic tables due to their excessive weight. And because they're very difficult and costly to place, extra material handling equipment will be required for installation.
  4. Recycled Plastic: If you lean to the green, recycled outdoor plastic picnic tables are your best bet. Recycled plastic has the look of wood without the fussy upkeep required of a wood picnic table. Attractive and durable, recycled outdoor plastic picnic tables are made from premium quality HDPE plastic lumber. So there's no need to worry about splinters, cracks or rot. You'll never need to put a paintbrush to its surface. And by using quality stainless steel fasteners, you can be assured that your recycled plastic picnic tables will bring many years of maintenance-free enjoyment. Fun fact…each of our plastic picnic tables is made with over 1,300 milk jugs!
Various outdoor picnic tables

Shaping Up: Rectangle, Square or Round Outdoor Picnic Tables

While you may have visions of a family barbecue with everyone gathered around a classic rectangular picnic table, you do have other options. Let's take a look at outdoor picnic table styles, from classic to contemporary:

  1. Rectangular: The traditional picnic table style, rectangular outdoor picnic tables are typically chosen for larger groupings. Rectangular 8 ft. or 6 ft. picnic tables are the norm. Modified versions include the step-through picnic table for easier access. Other modern options include white or other color choices and tables designed to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). A handicap picnic table will be a welcome addition, particularly in public venues.
  2. Round/Hexagonal: Perfect for smaller groupings, the cozy seating arrangement of a round or hexagonal table enables people to chat comfortably with one another. Hex picnic tables seat six diners and are at home in any setting, particularly backyards, playgrounds and schools.
  3. Square: Like a round table, modern square picnic tables create an inviting, intimate atmosphere.

What's Your Setting?

If you're choosing commercial outdoor picnic tables, your focus may be entirely different from someone who is looking for outdoor picnic tables for schools. You'll need to consider these options before you make your final decision, whether you're shopping for a picnic table for your backyard or purchasing outdoor picnic tables for parks.

  1. Who's Sitting at the Table? Outdoor picnic tables are typically designed for adults, but child-size versions will work beautifully in schoolyards or at family functions where little ones will be present. Kids are frequently injured on adult picnic tables, either while climbing into their seats or bumping their heads on a sharp corner of the table.
  2. Where is it Situated? If you're choosing outdoor restaurant picnic tables, you are probably looking for round, hexagonal or square options, which enable guests to chat without shouting down the table. Alfresco dining has become a popular option, and many modern picnic tables come in your choice of color to add flair and style to your outside seating venue.
  3. Weather or not? Outdoor park picnic tables need to be especially durable, given that they're exposed to the elements day in and day out. Maintenance is also an issue–business owners, park employees and homeowners have better things to do than maintain outdoor picnic tables.

Serving up the Right Outdoor Picnic Tables for Your Space

Following are some suggestions on choosing the right outdoor picnic tables for your venue:

A hexagonal bar height picnic table is perfect for restaurant and bar patios. In fact, the product designer and the marketplace feel this is the best craft brewery picnic table on the planet! These outdoor commercial picnic tables also make a great addition to places like zoos, college campuses and office break areas. The raised height (or "pub height") offers the best, unobstructed view of lovely vistas, oceans, valleys, and breathtaking sunsets.

hexagonal bar height picnic table
kids' picnic table

Specially made for pint-sized diners, kids' picnic tables provide a child-friendly version of the traditional picnic table. Ideal for backyards and schoolyards.

City parks and other public areas are well-served by mission park picnic tables. Able to withstand the elements and heavy enough to resist thievery, these outdoor plastic picnic tables are a solid choice for your space.

mission park picnic tables
Park Scape picnic tables

An upscale look that beautifully complements business settings, Park Avenue plastic picnic tables bring a touch of class to any outdoor environment. Park Scape picnic tables share the same separate-bench feature that provides placement flexibility.

Yes, there are wheelchair & ADA compliant picnic tables that afford accessibility without sacrificing style. An ADA picnic table is an inclusive addition to any venue. And some public spaces may mandate the inclusion of a handicap accessible picnic table, so it's something to consider.

wheelchair & ADA compliant picnic table

Find the Best Outdoor Picnic Tables at Bright Idea Shops

Now that you've had a chance to explore our Outdoor Picnic Tables Buying Guide, we hope you'll agree that tables made with recycled plastic are your best bet. Durable and virtually maintenance-free, recycled plastic picnic tables offer flexibility of color and design. You'll feel good knowing our picnic tables are made from premium quality HDPE plastic lumber. Good for the environment, great for your business or backyard! Outdoor plastic picnic tables from Bright Idea Shops are the right idea. Shop for yours today.

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