Restaurant Tables: Cast Iron vs. Steel Table Bases

by Andrea Reynolds

Tables bases rarely get any of the credit. Most fanfare is put squarely on the table tops. But let’s think about this. Table bases play a vital role in the overall design and durability of a restaurant. A table base—rather 20 bases—can make or break the success of a busy dining space.

At Grand Rapids Chair, we offer many different base styles in a variety of sizes, shapes, and materials. All of our table bases are made of either high-strength structural steel or heavy-duty cast iron.

With a plethora of options, which table base do you choose?  No sweat. Let’s start from the basics and compare and contrast cast iron vs steel bases. Below, we created a simple list of the pros and cons of each. 


Long the QSR mainstay, cast iron is strong, heavy, and durable. It has a rough, textured finish that offers a rustic quality. We offer cast iron in five different styles.


  • Durable, heavy-duty
  • Cast iron allows for ornate designs, like our Tilly
  • Our powder coating systems provides a layer impermeable to water—ensuring it won’t rust
  • Powder coated colors look good here. Custom colors are also welcome. However, we suggest going with darker, non-gloss finishes like Ink Black or Black Wrinkle to hide imperfections of cast iron.
  • Self-leveling glides help eliminate wobbling. Available on most models
  • Most models come with Labor Saver*
  • While any color can be applied via our powder coat system, some smooth, light finishes (think White, Sparkle Silver, etc) will show the natural imperfections on cast iron, and we don’t necessarily recommend it
  • May require more cleaning because of the natural nooks and crannies

Our Favorite Cast Iron Looks

Cast iron restaurant table base

Cast Iron base, Spartan


Cast iron base, Kalypso


A little more sleek and sophisticated, steel bases offer more flexibility in design and finish. This collection is a little more expansive, offering six styles and a communal table.


  • Extremely durable
  • Our powder coating systems provides a layer impermeable to water—ensuring it won’t rust
  • Clean up is a breeze. Just use a clean washcloth with warm soapy water. See our full cleaning guide here
  • Powder coated colors look fantastic here. Custom colors are also welcome.
  • Steel contains a minimum of 30% recycled content
  • Self-leveling glides help eliminate wobbling. Available on most models
  • Most bases come with Labor Saver*
  • Heavy weight can make it difficult to maneuver

Our Favorite Steel Looks


Steel base, Brady Pedestal


Steel base, Somerset


Steel base, Brady Communal


We build our table tops and bases in our Grand Rapids, Michigan, facility. Our tables are known for quality and superior strength and durability.

The columns used on on our bases are made of ultra-tough 14-gauge steel.  All connections are hard welded using state-of-the-art machinery and a deep-penetration welding process that maximizes strength. Bases are cleaned and primed before paint is applied via our powder coat system, ensuring a consistent, durable, and color-rich finish every time.


All columnar bases come with our Labor Saver attachment for easy assembly. The Labor Saver uses a fixed, hardened 1/2” bolt that is hard welded into a heavy plate inside the bottom of the column. The bolt simply attaches to the base and is tightened by a nut and washer. Compared to a complicated thru-rod and bolt assembly mechanisms, this unique attachment can save you hours on large installations. All other table bases are just as easily assembled on site using a 5/16” nut driver and a wrench. Top mounting plates, made of stamped, high-strength 12-gauge steel are hard welded to the top of the column for easy attachment to our pre-drilled tops.

Rustic restaurant tables by Grand Rapids Chair Co.