How to Build Wood Bleachers in Gym Design

By Lea Saray

A set of wooden bleachers can be a valuable addition to any gymnasium. A set can be constructed easily out of 2-by-4's for supports and 2-by-10's for benches. The construction should be done in the gym, as doorways may be too small to bring the bleachers in previously assembled. One could also perform all the cutting and measuring off site and assemble the pieces in the gym. The decision of where to construct the bleachers is an important one and should not be overlooked.

Build the base of the gymnasium bleachers. Use the 2-by-4's to construct a frame with supports no more than 18 inches apart. Make the base square to prevent wobbling. Screw the 2-by-4's together using long deck screws. This will ensure that the frame will be able to support a large amount of spectators.

Build risers as supports for the benches. The risers will support the benches and footrests, so they must be very strong. Make the first set of risers 18 inches tall. This will be for the first bench; fans sitting on this row will use the gymnasium floor as their foot rest. Measure 18 inches behind these risers, and construct risers that are only 12 inches tall. These risers will support the footrest for fans sitting on the second row of seats. Now install risers that are 36 inches from the first set and 24 inches tall. This will be the second row of sitting.

Install risers moving toward the back of the frame for more benches and footrests. Alternate benches and footrests and elevate each bench 6 inches higher than the last and each footrest higher than the last. This will create staggered bleachers, which tend to work effectively. Again, place many more supports than seem necessary, as the bleachers will be under lots of stress from the weight of fans.

Saw the 2-by-10's into lengths that are 12 inches longer than that of the frame. These 2-by-10's will serve as both benches and footrests. Use the deck screws to attach the 2-by-10's to the framing. Be sure to use many screws to add to stability. This is a good time to install any supports that appear necessary to keep the bleachers together.

Sand the bleachers. Use a coarse-grit sandpaper at first and work your way up to a fine-grit sandpaper. This will make the bleachers smooth to the touch. Next, use a wood stain to finish the bleachers. Try to find a stain that matches the wood in the gymnasium, as this will add to the appearance of authenticity. Be sure to ventilate the gym well while staining. After applying several coats and allowing adequate time for drying, the bleachers are complete and ready to use.

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