All church chairs can boast large numbers when it comes to how much weight they can hold, usually between 500lbs – 800lbs. However, when it comes to the chair you put in your sanctuary or worship center you will want to also know its lateral strength.
All church chairs will be manufactured with good vertical strength – the chair isn’t going to collapse under the weight of a single person. And while vertical strength is important of course, it is also very important to have solid lateral strength.
Lateral strength basically refers to how the left side of the chair frame connects to the right side. Church chairs use cross-members to connect the two sides of the chair and, generally speaking, the more (solid) cross-members there are, the better the lateral stability of the chair. This is very important because as people stand up and sit down on the chairs (as well as when the turn their heads) they actually pull or push on the frame of the chair causing lateral stress — there is pressure on the chair moving side-to-side.
Chairs without sufficient cross-members will start to weaken over time and twist-and-bend. Have you ever sat is a chair that gave a slight side-to-side sway? To avoid this be sure to invest in a well-build chair with sufficient cross-members.
Some church chairs come with a built-in book rack required because the thin metal of the rack itself is being used to connect the sides of the chairs. We would strongly advise against this build of chair as that think book rack does not provide the proper strength for good lateral stability.
When it comes to the lateral support of your church chairs, don’t guess – ask! It is a very important question.