How To Paint An Adirondack Chair {Explained!}


Whether you are repainting an old and faded Adirondack chair or you want a new color on your chair, the most important thing is to choose the right kind of primer and paint.

In this DIY guide, we explain how to paint an Adirondack chair and how to choose the right paint for the type of chair you are painting.

What Color Adirondack Chair Should I Get?

What Color Adirondack Chair Should I Get?

If you are shopping for a new Adirondack chair or paint color for your old chair, think carefully about the color you choose.

Plastic (polywood or plastic resin) Adirondack chairs are available in a wide range of colors. Most of these colors are wood tones like mahogany, walnut and cherry, meant to mimic the look of real wood.

If you are buying paint, there are plenty of wood tone colors that will make your plastic chair appear more rustic.

If you prefer bright furniture that makes a statement in your patio or garden, go with vivid colors like red, yellow, and purple.

For a more relaxed feel, choose light and neutral colors like blue, gray, white, and black.

If you are not sure which color will look best in your backyard, you can’t go wrong with a white, blue or gray Adirondack chair. These colors match any environment and they go well with any cushion color and pattern.

Keep in mind that dark colored Adirondack chairs will fade faster compared to lighter colored ones. Red outdoor furniture fades the fastest. Yellow and orange Adirondack chairs also fade quicker than other colors.

If you are planning to have the chair completely outdoors (rather than under a cover like a patio or gazebo), it’s best to choose a lighter color.

If you still want deep vivid colors like red and yellow, keep the chairs covered when not in use and bring them inside for storage during winter.

In addition, you can spray a UV-resistant clear coat finish on the chairs to make them more fade-resistant.

Can You Paint A Plastic Adirondack Chair?

Can You Paint A Plastic Adirondack Chair?

Wood furniture is easy to paint. Primer and paint sticks easily onto the rough surface of wood.

Plastic furniture is smoother and regular primers may not hold firm onto it, causing flaking and peeling.

Fortunately, there have been major improvements in paint technology over the last couple of decades.

Paints and coating manufacturers like Rust-Oleum and Krylon have created paints and primers that can be applied on various types of plastics.

Today, it’s easy to get a paint that works and looks great on your polywood or plastic resin Adirondack chair.

What Kind Of Paint Is Best For Adirondack Chairs?

If you have a plastic Adirondack chair, then you need a paint and primer formulated for plastic surfaces. This will ensure it sticks on the chair and lasts a long time.

Another thing to check is that the paint is suitable for exterior furniture. It needs to be UV-resistant and offer protection against the elements.

One of the highest rated primers suitable for plastic is the Rust-Oleum 249058 Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover.

It’s ideal for different kinds of surfaces including plastic, metal, and wood. So it’s also a good choice if you are repainting a wooden Adirondack chair.

You can then top up the primer with a coat or two of any exterior-rated paint.

To save time and money, consider getting a paint plus primer like the Rust-Oleum 249126 Matte Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover.

You can then finish with a layer of UV-resistant clear coat like Krylon K01305.

How To Paint A Plastic Adirondack Chair?

Follow these steps when spray painting a polywood or plastic Adirondack chair.

  • Thoroughly clean the chair with water to remove dust, stains and anything that can keep paint from adhering.
  • Sand the chair with fine grit (180-220) sandpaper. Many people skip this step, but it’s important if you want the paint to stick and last a long time without peeling and flaking.
  • Wipe the chair with a tack cloth to get rid of the sanding dust.
  • Place the chair outside on the lawn or on an old sheet. Spray paint it with a primer first. Use a side to side or up and down motion to evenly apply the primer.
  • Let the primer dry then apply a coat or two of spray paint.
  • Alternatively, use a paint plus primer and apply two coats of it.
  • Let the paint completely dry before sitting on the chair.

Tip: Get a paint spray grip. It turns the spray can into a spray gun and makes it much easier to spray quickly and evenly without tiring.

Here’s a video showing a paint spray grip in action. See how easy it makes painting Adirondack chairs.

How To Paint A Wooden Adirondack Chair?

The process is the same with wooden Adirondack chairs – prep work then priming and painting.

Most of the spray paints for plastic are also suitable for wood and other types of surfaces. But check the label or product description to be sure. Also, check that the paint is ideal for exterior surfaces.

You can also get a brush-on paint, but most people find spray paints to be easier and faster to apply.

  • Inspect the chair for any damage and repair it before repairing. This may include re-tightening screws, replacing rusted nuts, or sealing cracks with epoxy.
  • If the chair has paint or staining on it, you’ll need to remove it before you can repaint the chair. Use a rough grit sandpaper (80 grit should work) to remove the paint. You can also use paint stripping chemicals to save time and effort.
  • Smoothen the chair with a smooth grit sandpaper. This will ensure the paint finish looks smooth and sleek.
  • Clean the chair with a tack cloth to remove all the dust.
  • To save time we really recommend a combo paint plus primer. Start by painting the underside of the chair. Once it’s dry to the touch, place the chair upright and spray paint the rest of the surface. Add a second coat of spray paint if necessary.
  • If you want, you can finish with a UV resistant and water repellent clear coat or sealant.

If you prefer brushing the paint on rather than spray painting, here’s a helpful video guide.

Tip: Certain woods like cedar and redwood can ‘bleed’ and stain the finished paint. Use a sealing primer like the Zinsser 3608 to prevent stains from bleeding through to your new paint.

How To Prevent Adirondack Chairs From Fading?

Without proper care, you’ll find yourself repainting your Adirondack chairs every couple of years, which is expensive and a lot of work.

So here are some tips on how to keep your Adirondack chairs from fading.

  • The most important step is picking the right paint. Look for a paint formulated for the surface you are painting (plastic or wood) and make sure it’s rated for exterior use.
  • Seal the paint with a clear coat that offers UV and water protection.
  • Get a cover for the chair and put it on if you won’t be using the chair for some time.
  • During winter, store the Adirondack chair inside the house or a shed. If that’s not possible, at least keep the chair under partial cover like the patio or porch.
  • If you are not using the chair in a covered patio or gazebo, consider getting a garden umbrella. It’ll protect you as well as the chair from UV and the elements.

Eventually, however, most Adirondack chairs will show some fading and wear. Be ready to repaint the chairs after a few years.

Following the above tips will reduce how often you need to repaint them.