Adirondack Chairs: Painted Or Not?

Submitted By: Jesse Akre

ome of you may shudder at the idea of painting premium Adirondack chairs—be they made from pine or teak. However, while it is possible to use beautiful Adirondack chairs both inside and outdoors, most people like their chairs out on the patio or deck. Therefore, like any exterior furniture, most Adirondack chairs are exposed to the elements. As wood is prone to rotting and decay when exposed to water, some kind of sealer will be necessary to keep the furniture from being damage by the elements. Some people prefer staining, others like painting their Adirondack chairs.

     In truth, wood does not breathe as well when covered by a layer or two of paint. This means that the paint will probably bubble and blister because of the gases and moisture released by the wood. Stains are specifically designed to breathe with the wood and are a better sealer for your premium Adirondack chairs than paint. However, for those that want to color coordinate their beautiful Adirondack chairs with other furnishings or décor, a quality paint job can protect your furniture for up to 7 or 8 years.

     When painting Adirondack chairs or any wood furniture, be sure to clean the pieces first. In some cases, you may be trying to paint chairs that already have a coat or two on them. You will need to strip away any paint or sealer that is already on the chair before sanding.

     Once the old paint has been removed and the furniture is clean, you can begin sanding.

      At this early stage, you will want to begin with a coarse sandpaper such as 80-grit. Smooth away any rough edges and be sure to sand around any scratches in the wood with the 80-grit as this will help remove the scratches. Then, use progressively finer sandpapers until you end up finishing with 320 or finer. All of the wood on the Adirondack chair should be smooth without any rough edges (the rough edges will not disappear after painting so be sure to get them in the sanding process!). Quality Adirondack chairs will require a lot of hand sanding to get in between the gaps in the wood.

     Once you are satisfied that the wood on your Adirondack furniture has no more rough edges, it is time to paint. A latex paint should be fine so long as you apply 2-3 even coats. Be sure to allow 10-15 minutes in between coats for the paint to become tacky to the touch. After you are satisfied that the Adirondack chair has enough paint on it, allow the paint to dry. A day later, apply a 2 coats of clear polyurethane sealer so that your Adirondack chair will have more protection against the elements and need repainting less often.