How to Refinish Wood Adirondack Chairs

How to Refinish Wood Adirondack Chairs
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Adirondack style chairs are incredibly popular due to their classic good looks and comfort levels. They make the perfect chair for use on a deck, in a garden or for days spent by the beach since they are both stylish as well as incredible hardy. The original Adirondack chair was produced by Thomas Lee in 1903 as a seating solution for family and friends visiting his mountain cottage retreat in upstate New York. He fashioned what is today the iconic slated wood or polywood chair from local knot-free wood, giving it a broad, comfortable seated base and generously proportioned armrests. It quickly became recognized as a fashionable and relaxing armchair, perfect for long summer evenings spent lounging in comfort.

Little has been done to significantly change the design since then; such a timeless and iconic piece of furniture it has become. Although these days the Adirondack chair can be found in a range of recyclable and weather resistant environment-friendly poly-lumber, wood does still remain a popular and durable choice with plenty of contemporary color washes being used.

If you already own one of this beloved outdoor chairs and it needs some seasonal TLC, or perhaps you fancy experimenting with your backyard decor by giving your garden furniture a new lick of paint in order to up-cycle it for spring-summer 2019, then you are going to need to know how to refinish a wood Adirondack chair. You’ll be pleased to know then that we are covering off that exact subject today, so we encourage you to read on to discover more.

If you own one of these classic outdoor wooden plank-style armchairs that’s been sadly neglected for the last few years, we’re here with a few professional pointers that will have your Adirondack chair looking pristine. Maybe you have an untreated natural wood chair that you’d like to seal and protect against the elements; or perhaps you own a chair that’s already been painted and has started to crack and peel from regular exposure to the elements. If so, then it’s time to get out the paintbrush and give your Adirondack chair a bit of a mini makeover.

Simple Steps to Follow to Refinish Wood Adirondack Chairs

Before you get started with the much-needed maintenance or refinishing your armchair, we recommend that you first pull together any essential equipment, materials and tools of the trade to accomplish your latest DIY mission. Put a day aside on the weekend, ensuring you’ve checked that the weather is going to be fine so that you can enjoy your up-cycling task outdoors.

Decide what color you want to go for – you can go for something bright and beautiful that adds a pop of interest to your backyard, a classic and timeless white that will suit any decorative setting, or something more contemporary. We’ll leave that choice entirely up down to you. However, we have to say, that a beautiful blue always looks elegant and stylish, in our opinion.

Things You Will Need

Do yourself a favor and save on both wasted time and frustration by pulling together the essentials for the job before you get started.

  • Household cleaner
  • Damp rag
  • Tarp or drop cloth
  • Screwdriver
  • Sanding paper
  • Tack cloth
  • Paint tray
  • Paintbrush and roller
  • Oil-based or latex weather resistant exterior primer and paint

Step-by-Step Instructions on the Best Refinishing Process

Clean your chair

Before you get started, you are going to need to thoroughly clean your chosen chair with some household cleaner and a damp cloth. It it has been left abandoned in the backyard for the last year it’s going to need an extensive clean to remove dirt, debris, mildew and potentially any moss that might have built up. You might have to wipe it over several times to get your chair really clean. Once you’re happy that you’ve removed everything you can, allow it to dry off completely before proceeding any further.

Prep your area and do a safety check

If you’re working outside, go ahead and put down a tarp or cloth on the ground then take your chair and place it upside down and give it a thorough examination. Check that it’s all intact and that any screws that have become loose are tightened up. You don’t want to spend precious time painting your chair only for the first person to come along and sit on it to collapse on the floor in a heap. Correct and tighten anything that has come loose.

Sand and prep before painting

Taking a medium or fine grit sanding block or some sanding paper, remove any existing loose paint and create a good even and consistent surface that the new color is going to be easily able to adhere to. Pay careful attention to any gnarly rough spots or splinters to create as even a surface as possible for painting.

Be sure to do both the top and bottom as well as the sides, front and back so that you have the best surface for your paint to stick to. Give your chair a complete wipe over with tack cloth to remove any remnants of dust then flip your chair over ready to be painted and refinished.

Prepare your chosen paint

We recommend you use an all-in-one exterior latex primer and paint product which will save you both time and money. If you prefer to work with two separate products, you will need to prime first and wait for a day for this coat to dry before you go ahead and finish with your top layer of paint.

It’s always a good idea to give your paint a thoroughly stir to mix any pigment that has settled or product that may have separated then pour into a paint tray which is more practical to handle and less messy than trying to work with the can of paint itself. For a chair that has slatted features, a paintbrush is overall going to deliver the best and most even, professional looking result.

Be sure to completely paint the underside of the chair and not just all the exposed visible areas. Continue to carefully paint until you are satisfied that you’ve given everything a smooth coating, then allow your paint to dry, preferably overnight. Inspect your handiwork and if necessary, complete the process with a second coat of paint or as desired until you’ve achieved a final finish that you are happy with. It’s an especially good idea to give the top side of your chair, which will be more regularly exposed to the elements, some extra TLC.

Some Top Tips for Achieving a Professional Looking Finish

For extra durability and longevity, how about applying a further top coat of polyurethane sealer entirely over your freshly (dry) painted Adirondack chair? We particularly recommend you consider using a sealer if you live in a wetter or more hostile and extreme climate. That way, you are going to prolong the life of your paint for longer. You could also swap out latex paint for oil paint if you prefer, but we generally recommend latex-based paint because it has the advantage of being water based, easy to clean up and also doesn’t emit any harmful or toxic fumes.

Now all you need to do is sit back, relax, kick off your shoes and enjoy an ice cold glass of your favorite beverage while reclining in your freshly refinished Adirondack chair. Happy days!

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