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Metal vs wood sofa frame: What is the difference?

When buying a new sofa, the internal frame and materials used in construction are key to its longevity. Typically, wood and metal are used for sofa frames, both of which provide durable and comfortable seating. Pelican sofas uses high-grade galvanised steel for precision engineering, while other respected furniture brands opt for wood. Let's compare the sustainability, affordability, and durability of metal and wood sofa frames.

How do metal and wood sofa frames compare on sustainability.
Metals are mined from the Earth's crust, making them non-renewable and highly emission-intensive.
However, metals are some of the most recyclable materials and can be repurposed for multiple uses.
Steel is entirely recyclable and can be reused infinite times, making it sustainable.
Recycling steel saves around 950 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.
The steel industry is one of the largest producers of CO2 emissions, but using scrap in production can avoid the emission of 1.5 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of scrap.
Sustainable mining practices, such as scrap metal and advanced land rehabilitation techniques, exist.
Metal is not susceptible to rot, termites, or mould, and tends to be more durable and fire-resistant compared to wood or plastic.

Not all wood is equal in terms of ethical standards and sustainability.
Certified sustainable wood is harvested from sustainably managed forests with regeneration and conservation efforts.
Wood from unsustainable sources is logged without any regeneration or forest conservation considerations, leading to destruction of habitats and communities.
Illegal logging has significant impacts, including deforestation, conflicts with indigenous and local populations, human rights abuses, loss of biodiversity, and greenhouse gas emissions.
Just 20% of the world's forest area is legally protected from destruction.
Look for Responsible Wood or Forest Stewardship Council logos when buying wood furniture or products to ensure ethical and sustainable sourcing.
These leading bodies also regulate the use of illegal chemicals and conservation efforts.

How do metal and wood sofa frames compare on durability

Metals offer strength and long lifespan in furniture design.
Iron, aluminium, and stainless steel are common metals used.
Quality and durability vary depending on chemical compounds and heat treatment.
Galvanised steel furniture is resistant to humidity and erosion.
The Pelican sofa frame is precision engineered from high-grade galvanised steel.
The frame is precision spot welded at key stress and weight-bearing areas for additional strength.

Wooden sofa frames can be susceptible to warping, breaking, and flaws, but using high-quality hardwood and traditional carpentry methods can result in a strong and durable frame. Cheaper and softer woods may be more prone to splintering and warping, while composite wood is not as robust as hardwood. Kiln-dried hardwood, such as walnut, maple, birch, oak, and bamboo, is considered the most durable and suitable for furniture construction as it is less likely to warp or bow. Sturdy joints are critical to prevent wobbling and breakage.

How do metal and wood sofa frames compare on affordability

Metal frame sofas are generally more expensive due to their longevity, with factors like quality of metal, raw materials, powder coating, and construction methods impacting the price.

The durability of a wooden sofa frame depends on the construction methods and the type of wood used. Cheaper woods are more susceptible to warping and breaking. Mortise-and-tenon joinery and traditional carpentry make for stronger frames than glue and nails. Composite woods like MDF, plywood, and particleboard are less durable than hardwoods such as walnut, maple, birch, oak, and bamboo. Kiln-dried hardwood is considered the most durable for furniture as it removes up to 80% of the wood's moisture to prevent warping.

How do metal and wood sofa frames compare on affordability

Metal frame sofas are more expensive but built to last a lifetime. All sofas come with a 10-year frame warranty. Factors that affect the price include metal quality, origin of raw materials, powder coating, and construction methods. You can expect to pay thousands for a quality metal frame sofa.

Wooden sofa frames vary in durability depending on the wood and construction methods used. Cheaper and softer woods are less durable, while traditional carpentry with mortise-and-tenon joinery leads to stronger frames. Kiln-dried hardwood is typically the most durable option, with walnut, maple, birch, oak, and bamboo being common choices. Composite wood like MDF, plywood, and particleboard is inferior to hardwoods.

Factors such as raw materials and joinery methods impact the price of a wooden sofa frame. Cheaper sofas often rely on glue, staples, and nails, while more expensive ones use traditional mortise-and-tenon joinery. Some woods, such as mahogany and oak, are more expensive than others. High-quality and durable wooden sofas can cost thousands of dollars.

Metal vs wood sofa frame: which is right for you?
Craftsmanship and engineering are crucial for the quality, longevity, and comfort of a sofa. Consider the origin and sustainability of materials, expected longevity, and construction methods when assessing the internal structure of a sofa. For families or frequent hosts, a modular metal frame sofa like Pelican can be a more suitable option. To ensure sustainability, research sustainable wood furniture or choose a sofa with a metal frame. Discover the top considerations for buying sustainable furniture.