Nothing makes furniture seem more residential than wood. The curve of the grain. The shade of the wood. The endless wood types to choose from. The options and aesthetic qualities of wood make it a wise choose for many spaces.

However, in constant-use environments – such as correctional, healthcare and shelter facilities – wood products, if broken, can pose serious safety and security risks for those who live and work in these environments.

Steel, on the other hand, offers these facilities the durability – along with some peace of mind – needed to ensure products are long lasting and safe. And if you pick the right manufacturer, you are likely to get the aesthetic options such as rounded edges, a variety of colors to choose from, and laminate accents that will give your facility a residential touch.

Below, you will find five scenarios in which steel furniture should be used in place of wood.

When You Face the Possibility of Bed Bugs

It’s an unfortunate circumstance, but a reality nonetheless: Shelters house those who may have spent time living on the streets or in other unhygienic places where bed bugs are found. Inevitably, bed bugs make their way into shelters by traveling on the clothes, baggage or on a person’s body once they enter the facility. What’s also inevitable is that bed bugs will make their way on to the furnishings.

And shelters aren’t the only facilities that face this crisis. Hospitals and any commercial facility that sees a steady stream of people using their furniture may also be at risk of a bed-bug outbreak. The insects often find refuge in the crevices and grain in wood furniture, but since bed bugs can’t penetrate steel, they have nowhere to burrow and hide. Although no furniture is completely bed-bug proof, steel furniture is your best option and is easy to clean, treat and reuse if your facility, mattresses or bed linens become havens for these pests.

When Your Wood Furniture Begins to Fall Apart

Those who are housed in intensive- and constant-use environments may not treat furniture as gently as they would the chairs, beds and tables in their own homes. Although wood can sometimes be very heavy and strong, nothing says “durable” like steel.

For example, Norix Furniture’s Protégé Dorm Beds have a sleep surface that has been thoroughly tested to stand a static load of 600 pounds, although the single beds weigh in at only 78 pounds. These beds are engineered for durability and are made of fully welded 18-gauge steel end frames that are bolted to a 14-gauge welded mattress deck. They are also equipped with 24-gauge tubular steel cross-rods with tamper resistant hex fasteners.

So while you might find durable furniture made of extremely thick wood, there is still no guarantee that the wood won’t split, be drilled into or otherwise tampered with. Steel, on the other hand, stands the test of time and provides you with a safety and durability solution – opposed to a concern or problem.

When You are Eco-Conscious

Some wood materials are recyclable and biodegradable. But not all wood can be re-used and it takes many years for these products to turn back to earth. Secondly, if wood furniture parts are broken or busted, it’s highly unlikely that they will be reclaimed and used to build another product.

Steel, however, can be recycled and used again for a variety of products, even if it somehow manages to become damaged. Since there are an abundance of recycling centers across the country, dropping off your product should be easy. In fact, steel is the most recycled material on earth, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

And if you do choose steel products, be sure to choose furniture that is GREENGUARD certified. Recognized throughout the world, UL Environment’s GREENGUARD Certification recognizes products with low chemical emissions, which can contribute to healthier indoor environments.

Representative samples of products that have achieved certifications through this program have been tested and verified to meet some of the world’s most rigorous, third-party chemical emissions’ standards—helping reduce indoor air pollution and the risk of chemical exposure.

When You Want the Option of Residential Accents

Fortunately, there are steel products on the market for those facilities that want residential aesthetics with their furniture. One option is the addition of laminate. But not all laminates are made the same. Some of these products are made of inferior materials and can cause the same troubles in your facility that you are trying to combat in the first place by buying steel furniture.

However, Norix Furniture’s Titan Dorm Furniture Series gives customers several laminate options. But it’s not just any laminate. The materials we use are 45-pound density particle board on the inside, which is covered in a high-pressure laminate surface, with a 2 mm PVC edge. And – we are proud to say – our laminate is made in the United States. The laminate also comes in a variety of colors including Wild Cherry, Kensington Maple and Solar Oak.

Titans laminate accents include head and footboards on beds; drawer faces and tops on lockers and wardrobes; and table tops for desks, among other choices – all of which give that residential feel.

When you need furniture that is pick-proof

This post has mentioned in brief how steel makes facilities more safe and secure. Now let’s get into the details. It is very unlikely that steel furniture – at least those products that are properly manufactured – will be picked apart or broken and then turned into a weapon by someone who aims to hurt themselves or someone else.

The same can’t be said for wood, which can be broken into pieces and turned into shanks or other weapons. In correctional facilities, steel furniture is a must.

As mentioned before, our Titan Series is highly durable and keeps your facility safe and secure. The beds in this series are made with a fully welded 12-gauge bed beck connected to 16 gauge frame legs with 3/8 inch thick connector brackets. It also is tested to hold a static load of 1,000 pounds and is certified to pass GSA 3FNE-99-582D Safety and Performance Test Requirement for Bunkable and Loftable Beds.


Wood is nice. Wood can be pretty. Wood can be used for many facilities and environments. But when safety, security and durability is top of mind, steel furniture stands the test of time, and provides the best value option, day in and day out – year after year.

 Additional Resource: Norix Furniture’s Titan and Protégé steel furniture.