Is it Better to Paint or Stain Adirondack Chairs?
Wood Adirondack chairs are one of the best seating options you can choose for your outdoor living space. They are beautiful, durable, and with the proper treatment, they will last a lifetime. Part of the long-term care of wood Adirondack furniture is finishing it often to prevent water, sun, and pests from causing damage that can threaten the look and even the structure of your chair. When it came time for me to finish my chairs, I found that there is more than one way to finish the wood. So, I started to wonder; Is it better to paint or stain Adirondack chairs?
I have put together a comparison along with a few other ideas to consider when thinking about finishing your chairs.
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Painting My Adirondack Chair?
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Staining My Adirondack Chair?
How Do I Paint My Chair?
Once you decide that paint is the best option for your Adirondack chair, you are going to want to know the best way to paint it. Following these steps helps get the job done efficiently and increases the longevity of your paint job.
How Do I Stain My Chair?
Staining a chair is similar to painting, but with enough differences to have separate instructions. Oil based stain is always the best choice when staining outdoor furniture.
Do I Have to Paint or Stain My Chair?
The short answer is yes, with a few exceptions. Finishing your chair is important for several reasons, but all are important for the stability and longevity of your chair. Finishing your chair protects it from looking dull and weathered. It also helps protect from outside forces like bugs or water that can cause instability and make your chair breakdown far before its time. There is one situation where you don’t have to finish your chair.
If you are willing to pay a little more, you can buy hardwood chairs that you don’t have to finish. Hardwoods like Teak and Shorea emit their oils even after they have been cut and shaped which naturally protect the wood the same way that finishing it would. This route isn’t immune from disadvantages though.
If you choose hardwood, you need to consider that it will only come in the color of the wood. Also, the natural oils protect from outside factors that will affect the structure of the chair, but it does not protect from natural fading that happens from sunlight.
Are There Other Ways to Protect My Chair?
There is no substitute for finishing your chair with paint or stain, but there are a few more steps you can take to add extra protection to your chairs.
It’s pretty rudimentary, but cushions do a lot to protect your chair. By covering major areas of the chair, cushions take the brunt of dirt, water, and sun that hit your chair each season. The nice part is that they are machine washable so you can just toss them in the washer and dryer then put them right back out there to keep protecting your seat.
If you ever do feel the need to replace your cushions, you will most likely only need to replace the cushion cover which is much less expensive than replacing an entire chair.
For some reason, people scoff at the idea of covering their furniture in the offseason, but one of the smartest things you can do is buy covers for your outdoor furniture. Covering your furniture over the winter protects it from sitting under piles of wet, cold snow all season.
Covers come in handy just as much during the season. Putting covers on your furniture before a big storm protects them from pounding rain and high winds that can damage the finish or the structure of the furniture in some extreme situations.
Though a good portion of protecting outdoor furniture is about keeping water off of it, it doesn’t hurt to get your furniture a little wet every once in a while. Cleaning your furniture regularly with soap and water or a pressure washer keeps problem causing dirt and grime out of all the crevices in your chair.
It’s best to do it on a sunny day, so the chairs dry quickly.
How Do I Protect My Outdoor Cushions?
Cushions add comfort and protection to your chair, but if they don’t have the protection of their own, you are going to spend a lot of money replacing them.
Are Oil-Based or Water-Based Stains Better?
I thought there was a clear winner between the two, but specific needs may swing your preference one way or the other.
Water-based stains dry quickly and have a fainter odor which allows for quick finishing jobs that no one will notice. Water-based stains also keep their color longer, though they don’t always dry as evenly. Most importantly, water-based stains are not flammable making them perfect for wood furniture that spends a lot of time around the fire.
On the other hand, oil-based stains take longer to dry, but that means that they have a more even finish. Oil-based products protect better from the elements and in doing so, last longer than water-based stains, so your chair does not need refinishing as often.
When Should I Replace My Chair?
Adirondack chairs are sturdy and when well-maintained they can last generations, but everything has an expiration date. To know if it is time for you to replace your chair you should ask yourself a few important questions.