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How to Restore and Repaint Adirondack Chairs

How to Restore and Repaint Adirondack Chairs

Adding some beautiful Adirondack chairs to your outdoor space can add charm and style to the area.  Most people love this style of chair so if you are going to add them to your own outdoor space, be sure to add more than one or everyone will be fighting over the same chair!

Classic Adirondack chairs were made of wood and are usually very sturdy but wood can weather over time.  If you have a few chairs that need new life or you have found some Adirondack chairs that someone else wants to get rid of you can restore them to like new appearance with a little bit of patience and elbow grease.

If there is major structural damage, you may not be able to do much unless you are an experienced carpenter, but for cosmetic weathering and even chairs that have some cracks or holes in them, you can fix those problems and have chairs that people will think you bought brand new.  This article will provide the steps for you to restore and repaint wooden Adirondack chairs.  The process is not complicated but it does take a little time so don’t rush through the process.

  1. Repair any cracks and holes – The first thing you want to do is examine the chairs carefully, looking for any cracks, holes, or damaged boards. You can also look for missing hardware. If you find missing hardware, replace it.  Once you have located any cracks or holes, patch them with wood filler and let dry thoroughly.
  1. Time for Sanding – Once you have repairs any cracks and holes it’s time to sand the entire surface area of the chairs. The objective of sanding is to remove old paint, stain, and imperfections that have developed over time. Sanding will smooth the wood grain as well.

Most people use a power sander with a finger attachment so you can get between the slats. Don’t forget to wear eye protection while sanding and use a dust mask.  Once you are finished sanding, wipe the chair down thoroughly to get rid of all the dust.  This will need to be done BEFORE the next step. 

  1. Priming the Wood – Priming the chair before you paint it is very important. Priming will protect the wood and give the paint a smooth surface to adhere to. A good priming job will prolong the time between having to repaint your chairs.  The easiest method for priming is to use a spray primer.  They cut down on the amount of equipment needed and they are simple to use.

Apply the primer to the bottom and top of the chairs.  Make sure you have applied plenty of primer to the seating area as this gets the most wear.  Keep in mind that once you have applied the primer the wood grain will be rough and need a second sanding but this sanding will go much faster than the first one.

Use a fine-grit sanding block or sponge and take extra time sanding the seat and armrests so people don’t get splinters.  Once you have completed the second sanding, wipe the entire chair down again to get rid of the dust.

How to Restore and Repaint Adirondack Chairs

  1. Painting your Adirondack chairs – Now it’s time to paint your chairs. Place a drop cloth on the ground where you will be painting. A tarp will work fine as well. Clean the entire chair with a damp rag and mild household cleaner. Rinse the cleaner out of the rag and wipe the chair again with just a damp rag.  Let the chair air dry thoroughly. Make sure the chair doesn’t need any hardware tightened and correct any that do before you start painting.  Stir your paint with a paint stick and then pour a small amount into your paint tray.

Start painting the underside of the chair first including the exposed areas between the wooden slats. (Turn the chair upside down before you begin painting.) Use the paint brush to get any drips that reach the top of the chair.  Continue painting until the whole underside is painted. This includes where the legs meet the ground. Carefully flip the chair over and paint all areas of the top. Don’t forget in between the slats.

Once the entire chair is painted, top and bottom, let it dry thoroughly. You may want to wait 12-24 hours before adding a second coat of paint.  Spray paint is not recommended for painting wood chairs because it is not usually thick enough to create a solid, uniform color.  If the paint you used requires a sealant that will be the next step but not all paint does so check the label on your paint can before bothering with sealing.  If you have extreme weather conditions in your area you may want to consider sealing anyway to extend the time between paint jobs.