Is It Better To Paint Or Stain An Adirondack Chair?

Is It Better To Paint Or Stain An Adirondack Chair?

13 Jun, 2024

Adirondack chairs are a timeless addition to any outdoor space, offering both comfort and aesthetic appeal. However, to keep their beauty and durability, you must decide whether to paint or stain your Adirondack chairs. This article will explore the advantages and disadvantages of both options, providing a comprehensive guide to help you make an informed choice.

Understanding The Basics

Before diving into the pros and cons, it's essential to understand what painting and staining entail.


Painting involves applying a layer of color to the surface of the wood. This layer acts as a barrier, protecting the wood from external elements such as moisture, UV rays, and pests. Paint is available in a variety of colors and finishes, allowing for extensive customization.


Staining, on the other hand, penetrates the wood, enhancing its natural grain and providing a more subtle color change. Stains can be oil-based or water-based and are available in different opacities, from transparent to solid.

Advantages Of Painting Adirondack Chairs

Protection From Elements

One of the primary benefits of painting Adirondack chairs is the protection it offers. A high-quality external paint can protect the wood from moisture, UV rays, and bugs, greatly increasing the chair's life.


Painting allows for extensive customization. You can choose from a wide range of colors and finishes to match your outdoor decor. Additionally, paint can be used to create artistic designs and patterns, adding a unique touch to your furniture.

Adirondack Chair Modern

Adirondack Chair Modern

Vibrant Colors

Paint provides deeper and more vibrant colors compared to stains. This can help your Adirondack chairs stand out and become the focal point of your outside space.

Disadvantages Of Painting Adirondack Chairs


Painted surfaces require more maintenance. Over time, paint can chip, peel, or fade, necessitating regular touch-ups or complete repainting every few years.


The process of painting can be more labor-intensive than staining. Sanding, priming, painting, and, on occasion, adding a topcoat are all part of the process.

Unnatural Look

For those who prefer a natural look, paint may not be the best option. It covers the wood grain, which can detract from the chair's natural beauty.

Advantages Of Staining Adirondack Chairs

Natural Appearance

Staining brings out the natural beauty of the wood by emphasizing its grain and texture. This can give your Adirondack chairs a more rustic and organic look.


Stains, especially oil-based ones, penetrate the wood and provide long-lasting protection against moisture, UV rays, and pests. They generally require less frequent reapplication compared to paint.

Adirondack Chair Factory

Adirondack Chair Factory

Less Maintenance

Stains don't chip or peel like paint. Instead, they fade with time, making maintenance easier. A simple reapplication of stain can refresh the look of your chairs without extensive preparation.

Disadvantages Of Staining Adirondack Chairs

Limited Color Options

Stains offer fewer color options compared to paint. While they can improve the wood's natural hue, they do not offer the same amount of customization.


Stains can highlight imperfections in the wood, such as knots or uneven grain. This can be a disadvantage if you prefer a more uniform appearance.

Initial Application

The initial application of stain can be tricky. It takes meticulous preparation and application to guarantee even coverage and avoid blotches.

Step-by-Step Guide To Painting Adirondack Chairs

Step 1: Preparation

Start by cleaning the chairs thoroughly with mild soapy water or a cleaning solution. Remove any dirt, dust, or loose paint using a sponge or soft brush. Rinse them off with water and let them dry completely.

Step 2: Sanding

Use medium-grit sandpaper to sand down the chairs, removing any rough patches or imperfections. Wipe away the sanding dust with a damp cloth.

Step 3: Priming

Apply a coat of primer to the chairs. Primer helps create a smooth surface for the paint to adhere to, improves durability, and enhances the color payoff. Choose a primer suitable for outdoor use and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application. Allow the primer to dry completely before proceeding.

Step 4: Painting

Apply the first coat of exterior paint using a wide paintbrush for large areas and a smaller brush for details. Allow the paint to completely dry before adding the second coat. To achieve the best results, softly sand between layers with fine-grit sandpaper.

Step 5: Sealing

For added protection, apply a urethane sealant once the final coat of paint is dry. This will help protect the paint from chipping and fading.

Wholesale Adirondack Chair

Wholesale Adirondack Chair

Step-by-Step Guide to Staining Adirondack Chairs

Step 1: Preparation

Clean the chairs thoroughly with mild soapy water or a cleaning solution. Remove any dirt, dust, or loose paint using a sponge or soft brush. Rinse them off with water and let them dry completely.

Step 2: Sanding

Sand the chairs down with medium-grit sandpaper, removing any rough areas or defects. Wipe away the sanding dust with a damp cloth.

Step 3: Conditioning

Apply a wood conditioner to the chairs. This helps the stain penetrate the wood evenly and prevents blotches. Allow the conditioner to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 4: Staining

Apply the stain with a brush, sponge, or cloth, following the direction of the wood grain. Allow the stain to dry completely before applying a second coat if needed.

Step 5: Sealing

For added protection, apply a clear sealant once the stain is dry. This will help protect the wood from moisture and UV rays.


Both painting and staining have their advantages and disadvantages. The choice ultimately depends on your aesthetic preferences, the level of maintenance you are willing to undertake, and the specific conditions your Adirondack chairs will be exposed to. If you are looking for a new Adirondack chair in the market, look no further than Birdies Outdoor! We have various Adirondack chairs to fit different applications. Please feel free to visit our site for more product details!

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