Aluminum Bleachers – The Ultimate FAQ Guide
Aluminum bleachers, aka metal bleachers, have been a staple of high school football fields, race tracks, stadiums, ballparks, and many other venues for decades. You can consider bleachers as common as a scoreboard at a sports field. Although there are several different materials to choose from (wood, plastic, etc.), aluminum has forever been the ideal seating arrangement for nearly all events.
If you plan to invest in aluminum bleachers for your venue, read this guide till the end.
Why Are Aluminum Bleachers Considered as Ideal Seating Arrangement for Both Indoor and Outdoor Events?
Aluminum bleacher series is suitable for both of your indoor and outdoor events. Our bleachers come in many sizes and several styles you can choose for different venue
- Low-rise aluminum bleachers
- Elevated aluminum bleachers
- Angle frame steel bleachers
- Leg truss metal bleachers
- I-beam metal bleachers
Besides, they are more comfortable, and durable compared with wooden or other material bleachers; therefore, they are considered as ideal seating arrangement for long hours of seating of your indoor and outdoor events.
Furthermore, installing and assembling aluminum bleachers is not as intensive as required in other forms of unit. It can be quickly accomplished (without any hassle).
What Is Aluminum Bleacher Made From?
As the name suggests, the aluminum bleacher’s manufacturing process begins with heating “logs” of aluminum, also known as billets.
When we heat billets at higher temperatures, it becomes remarkably malleable same as plastic-like consistency, which then sends off to the next stage for cutting into more manageable lengths. Once cut, these pieces (aluminum planks) are then milled and shaped–––the extrusion technology.
Figure 1 Aluminum Plank
For small bleachers of 2- 15 rows, the benches and tread are made of aluminum planks, however, its understructure is made of steel (angle steel, square steel).
For high capacity bleachers (grandstands), which accommodates more than 5000 people, the tread is also made of steel, and its understructure is made of I-beam steel.
The key point of the aluminum extrusion manufacturing process is that this technique results in a faster way to create multiple versions of aluminum bleachers Therefore, it is no surprise that aluminum (compared to all other metals) can extrude the most and so used for a wide range of purposes.
To resist corrosion, aluminum parts are anodized, and steel parts are hot-dip galvanized for extra protection and longevity; however, they both can adopt powder coating treatment.
There are many ways to galvanize steel, but the hot-dip galvanization method is the best finish treatment to prevent corrosion. This method helps obtain the thickest layer of zinc over the steel parts and so you can keep your bleachers safe from corrosion for about 50 years.
What Type of Floor Do You Need to Accommodate Aluminum Bleachers?
Hard floors can best accommodate massive bleacher seating. Examples of hard floors are as follows.
- Concrete cement floors
- PVC floor
- Marble floor
- Parquet and
- Sports floor
However, you should test soil conditions before installing aluminum bleachers.
What Is the Soil Load-Bearing Volume?
It is between 2,500 and 3,000, as per the industry standard regulations.
Testing Soil Conditions Is Mandatory
Before installing massive aluminum bleachers, it’s recommended to have your soil tested so you can become sure that your ground is able to withstand the weight of the unit.
Why Are Aluminum Bleachers Better Than Wooden Bleachers?
Both wood and aluminum bleachers serve the same purpose; however, wooden seating is becoming a thing of the past, and people are now turning to aluminum bleachers for the following 3 main reasons.
- The inspection and replacement of wooden bleachers are more frequent than required in aluminum. Therefore, you can save hefty repairs and maintenance charges.
- The aluminum bleachers are lightweight, durable, and more comfortable to transport.
- Safety and strength are the two main features that make aluminum the best choice. Aluminum is a non-conductive material, so it can protect spectators against fallen wires or lightning strikes. Likewise, on weight to strength ratio, it’s apparent that aluminum is tough to beat.
What Are the Different Types of Aluminum Bleachers?
Though aluminum bleachers provide an affordable yet comfortable seating system for your basic bleacher’s needs, there’s an incredible variety of options you can choose from. They are generally manufactured into the following five categories:
Standard Non-Elevated Bleachers
These bleachers are set at ground level and are most common among all other bleacher types. The structure is typically configured in 2 to 15 rows––lengths ranging from 7.5 to 33 ft, 10-inch-wide seats, or as per your demand.
Figure 2 Non-Elevated Bleachers
These bleachers have rows similar to non-elevated bleachers and are ideal for your football, baseball, and other similar games and events. The entire structure is raised (30 to 40 ft) above the ground so you can view better (over people or other obstacles). Moreover, these bleachers often include stairs, ramps, front walkways, wheelchair areas, guardrails, and press boxes – additional bleacher accessories.
Figure 3 Elevated Bleachers
As the name indicates, these bleachers are movable from one area to another (within your ground) but not over roads.
The structure is typically configured in 5 to 10 rows––lengths ranging from 15 to 24 ft, or as per your demand.
For events that are non-repetitive and require a one-time seating solution, temporary aluminum bleachers are an ideal solution. For example, portable bleachers are perfect for major public announcements, outdoor celebrations, holiday gatherings, parades, fairs, community happenings, or other stand-alone scheduled events.
Transportable bleachers incorporate additional accessories such as wheels, casters, lifting braces towing tongue, rubber footpads, and jack to move the bleacher without damaging the floor.
Figure 4 Portable Bleachers
Tip and Roll Bleachers
These bleachers are usually small in size, so you can easily roll on a floor. They have rubber foot pads that don’t damage the floor.
The structure is typically configured in 2 or 3 rows, so they may easily fit through doorways.
The length ranges from 7.5 to 21 ft, seating capacity for a single unit is 10 to 48 people – considered best for indoors events.
Figure 5 Tip And Roll Bleachers
Grandstands (larger and permanent seating solution)
We also have the ability to build large I-Beam permanent grandstands to meet your seating requirements for 500 to 50,000 spectators.
Grandstands are mostly applied to outdoor sports venues and have options to add roofing over seating areas, aluminum seat boards, riser boards, footboards, press box support structures, and VIP stadium chair seating.
Our grandstands have standard designs; if they cannot meet your needs, our professional engineers can construct a new design.
Figure 6 I Beam Grandstands
How to Determine the Seating Capacity of Aluminum Bleachers?
As a rule of thumb, to determine the seating capacity of aluminum bleachers, first you’ll need to determine the number of spectators you will need to accommodate.
Industry-standard for a single seating space is 18 inches. This means that the size of one seat is equal to 18 inches.
Let suppose you required to seat 25 spectators but not sure what bleacher length to request. We will now check whether a 3-row, 15-foot bleacher unit will meet your need to seat 25 spectators.
Here’s how we compute the number of spectators you can accommodate in the given size.
First, we convert the length (15 feet) to inches to make computation easier.
15-ft x 12 inches=180 inches (15 ft =180 inches)
18” = 1 seat, so we divide total inches by 18” to get the number of seats per row.
180/18=10 seats per row
To get total seats, we multiply 10 to the total number of rows in a unit, i.e., 3
10 X 3=30 spectators
3-row, 15-ft bleacher unit will accommodate 30 spectators.
How Much Do 3 to 15 Row Aluminum Bleachers Weigh?
The weight of aluminum bleachers depends on the number of rows and length of unit required by the customer. Based on these two factors, we compute the total weight of bleachers.
What Is the Key Factor to Check When Buying Aluminum Bleachers?
The secret to buying quality aluminum bleachers lies in one word, “fit.” You have a responsibility to provide maximum safety to your spectators.
Before purchasing bleachers, what you need to check are the pieces such as the planks, seats, guardrails, frames, braces, and risers are all aligned and safe to use?
Remember, when bleachers are poorly constructed, this can cause headaches for you and for spectators too. Therefore, you need to sure that aluminum bleachers you will invest in are International Building Code compliant (IBC) and have all these qualities:
- Welds are smooth.
- Planks are properly installed, and there’s no gap in between.
- Planks are covered (to prevent corrosion) with an anodized coating.
- Guardrails don’t have rough surfaces.
- Stairs are straight.
- Aisles have the correct width––no obstructions or gaps.
- The welding of understructure braces should be proper and capable of meeting load-bearing specifications.
- End caps fit squarely.
- Sharp edges are eliminated.
- Rubber nosing is applied smoothly and isn’t just taped on.
- Bleachers are compliant with the ICC.
Watch the video above to understand more about Bleachers and Grandstands Risk Management
In What Circumstances you’ll need to Buy Customized Aluminum Bleachers?
You can purchase bleachers in our available standard sizes or customize it according to your location or seating requirements.
We understand no two venues are alike, and sometimes customization is a smart alternative.
We have highly experienced designers and engineers who can fulfill your bleacher’s specific requirements. Here, you’ll learn possible reasons why you may need customized aluminum bleachers for your site:
- Need for more seating capacity.
- The length of required rows exceeds the standard size.
- Need to access existing press boxes.
- Requests for closed decking or non-standard items.
- Certain types of ramps, stairs, walkways,egress, etc.
- Need for specific kinds of vomitories (a passage for exits and entrances).
- Requirements for band platforms.
- Handicap access for people with disabilities– ramps, companion seating (people who accompany handicaps), and cut-outs for wheelchairs.
In addition to custom design, you can also ask us to add colors to the bleachers. Avant uses a powder-coated pigment powder (which is more durable than conventional paint) to paint a metal surface. High schools prefer adding colors to the bleacher’s planks to match their team colors.
Figure 7 Colored Aluminum Bleachers
How Much Does Aluminum Bleacher Cost?
The price is anywhere from $100 a seat to $500 a seat. The price can go $1000 a seat, if you want to install full VIP grandstand seats with armrests.
Over 3 decades of sales experience, this is a question clients ask a lot. The quick answer is – it depends.
The aluminum bleachers cost are typically estimated by the number of seats you may require, length of bleachers, type of bleacher seating, and other additional accessories. The more you add options, the more price increases.
Are Aluminum Bleachers Subject to Changing Environmental Conditions?
Yes, aluminum bleachers are subject to changing environmental conditions such as intense sun, snow, wind, rain, and sleet.
These seasonal changes cause the walkways and stairways to get wet, especially the flat areas. The same condition will happen if anyone spilled a drink on your bleachers.
Before the bleachers installed
Taking a proactive safety approach to correct this possibility will not only make your aluminum bleachers safe, but it will also save you from lawsuits.
Make sure the company you’re buying bleachers from uses safe, slip-resistant materials and conducts proper slip resistance testing of their bleacher’s walking platforms, giving you peace of mind that the bleachers you installed are safe. Failure to provide this will certainly put you in liabilities.
Figure 8 Slip Resistant Aluminum Bleachers
After the bleachers installed
Although you can increase the slip resistance once your aluminum bleachers are installed in the field. This is possible with powder coatings (spraying a fine powder onto the metal for increased protection) and aluminum plank treatments.
At Avant, we believe that professionally manufactured and finished aluminum bleachers not only ensure user safety and satisfaction but increase the lifespan of your bleachers.
Does Anodizing give Your Aluminum Bleachers a Protective Finish?
Anodizing is an electrochemical process that transforms the aluminum bleachers into a more durable, corrosion-resistant, anodic oxide (yet thin) finish.
This oxide coating is natural, integrates perfectly with the mill finished aluminum (a chalky type of residue that builds up on seat planks when the metal oxidizes).
The process protects seat planks from the constant exposure to harsh environmental conditions, and works as a protecting coating on the aluminum; hence, increases the durability and longevity of bleachers.
Figure 9 Anodized Aluminum Bleachers
How Should You Care for Anodized Aluminum Bleachers?
Although there are many reasons for anodizing aluminum, one reason that anodized bleachers last longer is because they are super easy to clean and maintain.
For cleaning bleachers, you can use any one or two products that you probably have around.
- Remove dirt on the surface by wiping it down with a soft, damp sponge. Repeat, if necessary. Then dry the surface to prevent further dirt buildup.
- For cleaning on stained areas, you can use mild detergent and clean with a scrubbing pad or abrasive sponge. Usually, dishwashing detergents work best for cleaning aluminum bleachers. Never use harsh cleaning or bleaching products.
- Perform a deeper cleansing on all anodized parts of bleachers and towel dry.
Regular cleaning and maintaining your aluminum bleachers will not only keep it looking great for decades but also increases longevity.
How to Stay Warm in the Aluminum Bleachers when it’s freezing cold?
Cheering on your favorite team while sitting on aluminum bleachers can be a frigid affair for the sports fan! Aluminum bleachers are a safe option for your seating needs. However, they are notoriously cold in winters, especially if you’re living in the northern states. Don’t worry. Avant Seating has a solution for you.
Our Vogue Series offers you a high-class seating experience. It incorporates special webbing (with cold mold foam) in the seat’s base to provide you cozy superior comfort for an extended period.
Add Bleacher Covers for Warmth
To protect from sitting directly on the aluminum surface, you can advise your spectators to bring vinyl bleacher covers along with them as vinylis capable to cut down on the cold.
Moreover, we’ve some best tips that will help you and your spectators stay warm in aluminum bleachers–from head to toe–throughout the game.
Read the post for more tips
How Can You Protect Aluminum Bleachers from Theft?
It’s true that shiny metal bleachers are tempting for some people and is famous for scrap metal thieves. But a few simple steps can protect your aluminum bleachers from theft.
Always post warnings and put marks (identifying where the metal originated) all over the bleachers so that thieves know they can’t sell it. This way, recycling centers can recognize it stolen item and will not accept it.
In the event of a theft, you should contact the police immediately. And you can report the theft on ScrapTheftAlert.com – a national website where a network of companies will be notified about theft.
How Ada-Compliant Aluminum Bleachers Are Different from Standard Ones?
The ADA requires some provisions for wheelchair access and companion seating. Standard aluminum bleachers do not meet ADA requirements, so your request for ADA-compliant bleachers will require customization.
Avast design ramps with a slip-resistant coating for wheelchairs to pass through safely. The stairs of bleachers are properly installed with handrails on both sides of the stairway so that people who have prosthetic limbs, vision impairment, or any other disability can conveniently pass stairways leading up to aluminum bleacher seating.
Figure 10 Ada-Compliant Aluminum Bleachers
How to Maintain Aluminum Bleachers?
Avant Seating is a leading manufacturer of aluminum bleachers. All bleachers are built following industry standards. However, customers are advised to check any obvious signs of disrepair regularly.
To ensure the safety of your audience and the longevity of the bleacher seating, you are recommended to inspect the system at least quarterly or every 6 months.
Furthermore, you must carry out an overall inspection by professionals every two years to avoid any bleacher-related injuries that may occur due to lack of maintenance.
Keep inspection records for at least 3 years.
Aluminum Bleachers Maintenance Checklist
- Check for handrail and guardrails
- Check for wheels, if the bleachers are movable
- Check for other moving mechanisms. Replace worn wheels when needed.
- Check all moving, and friction-based parts (locks, chains, latches, gates, etc.) need quality lubrication. The right type of lubrication will keep bleachers parts moving.
Structure and Integrity
- Check the frames and braces for broken or cracked welds.
- Check seatbacks, the bottom edge of seats, and all sharp edges that will come in contact with the audience. There should be no room for sharp edges.
- Inspect decking and adjoining panels, main supports, and uprights.
- Check planks and risers for weak spots and damage.
We hope this informative guide will help you make the right choice.