If you like to relax and enjoy the outdoors, then chances are you have Adirondack chairs on your deck. Like other outdoor furniture, these chairs can require a little maintenance to keep them looking great for years to come. Read below for advice and some Q&A on how to clean, protect, and finish Adirondack chairs and keep them looking great for years to come.
Maintaining Wood Adirondack Chairs
Adirondack chairs are designed mainly for outdoor use, but which woods fair best in the elements? There are several great choices. Western red cedar is as close as you will get to naturally weatherproof Adirondack chairs. This fine-grain, dimensionally stable wood is weather-resistant and will last a lifetime. Cypress Adirondack chairs are made from a beautiful, distinctive and durable wood that assures years of trouble-free satisfaction. Our alder Adirondack chairs are painted with a high-gloss, two-coat, water-based enamel and are a very stable choice. Mahogany Adirondack chairs also season/weather well with minimal shrinkage and checking. Other popular choices include pine, teak, oak, fir, shorea, and eucalyptus woods.
How often should I refinish my wood chair?
To keep a like-new look, your painted or stained Adirondack chairs should be refinished every 1 – 5 years, with touch-ups as needed. However, there are many factors that may affect this timing. Is the weather where you live sunny and hot, or cool and wet? Do you store your Adirondack chairs in the winter or keep them covered in the off season? Sun and exposure will weather the surface color of unfinished Adirondack chairs but does not affect the structural integrity of the wood. If you decide not to refinish, for example, teak or shorea Adirondack chairs, you may let them slowly weather to a silvery gray. Many of our customers love this look, while others prefer to maintain a painted or stained chair.
What’s the best finish for outdoor Adirondack chairs?
While there are many good products available, there are particular features that you should look for in a good weather finish. Read on for more details on choices that range from exterior paint to spar varnish or tung oil.
Can I paint my Adirondack chairs?
You can certainly paint your wood Adirondack chairs if you so desire. Be sure to use a good primer on clean, bare wood before applying the finish coat to your painted Adirondack chairs. Of any exterior finish, paint offers the best form of protection. However, paint will eventually peel and will need to be refreshed. In fact, most outdoor finishes on wood Adirondack chairs will only last 1 – 3 years before they need to be renewed.
Should I use oil or water-based paint on Adirondack chairs?
Typically oil-based products last longer on wood Adirondack chairs, but they are usually harder to clean up and more toxic to you and the environment. Water-based products are generally easier to use and clean up. For a more environmentally friendly oil-based finish, consider using tung oil or linseed oil, both derived from natural seeds.
What are the best wood finishes for a wet climate?
Look for a product with a mold inhibitor. Consider a spar varnish, formulated with the boating industry in mind, and designed to withstand marine conditions.
Do I need a special finish for a hot and sunny climate?
Choose a wood finish with UV protection, and a yearly application is recommended. Whatever finish you decide to use, always consider your health and safety and follow all manufacturers’ directions.
If you don’t intend to renew the finish on your wood Adirondack chairs, the wood will turn a silvery gray color. Once the exterior of the wood is gray, the rate of wood deterioration to the wooden Adirondack chairs slows tremendously. (The damage to the surface actually prevents UV light from penetrating to the interior of the wood.) So it’s fine to let the wood’s natural properties protect against decay, rot and insect infestation.
How do I clean my wooden Adirondack chair?
Whether you decide to keep the ‘like-new’ wood color or let it gray over time, it is important to clean outdoor Adirondack chairs at least once a year. A pressure washer makes cleaning super easy. Otherwise you can clean your chairs with a soft brush and a good wood cleaner. You can find these supplies at any hardware store. Be sure to rinse well and allow the wood to dry thoroughly before applying any finish.
A mild soap and water bath once every couple of weeks is a good, inexpensive way to start your wooden Adirondack chairs’ care program. Just use a bucket of warm sudsy water and a cloth. Follow up with a bucket of clear water (or hose) and rinse the soap off so that you don’t end up with a film on your chairs. Be sure that the surface is dry after washing.
Spills on your wood chairs should be wiped up as soon as they happen, especially carbonated beverage spills, which can be very hard on clear finishes and paint if left sitting.
Do I need to store my wooden Adirondack chairs in the winter?
It is always best if you can put wood Adirondack chairs away in the garage or shed for the winter. If you do not have a place to store them, and you would like them covered, just remember to make sure the furniture is dry before you cover it. Plastic tarps often can promote mold growth or will leak, so be careful and check their condition mid-season. For the best results, choose Adirondack chair covers that are fitted for your chair’s style and size.
Caring for Plastic Adirondack Chairs
Recycled plastic Adirondack chairs never need staining or waterproofing because, even though they look like they are made of wood, these eco-friendly chairs are made from 90% recycled plastics. Extremely weather-resistant, materials like POLYWOOD® will not warp, splinter, crack, or support bacterial growth. These features not only make plastic chairs easy to care for, but long-lasting and budget-friendly, too!
Since they don’t need to be maintained like real wood, recycled plastic chairs come clean with a little soapy water, followed by a quick rinse and a dry towel. To protect the chair’s finish, just avoid cleaning with harsh solvents or abrasives. All-weather plastic chairs can even be left outside year round with no deterioration or wear.
Adirondack chairs are a great addition to any outdoor space. By following these Adirondack chair cleaning and finishing tips, you’ll have a sweet spot to sit and enjoy your yard, entertain, and relax for years to come.