Refinishing Wood Adirondack Chairs | DIY Guide

Refinishing Wood Adirondack Chair

Adirondack chairs are one of the most popular types of outdoor lounging chairs available. Not only are wooden Adirondack chairs great for idling and relaxation, but they also provide a look of classic elegance to your balcony, patio, or garden.

However, like any other wooden furniture, they need proper maintenance and care. If not cared for during the winter months, your best friends for summer lounging may become unusable over time.

So, if you already own or are planning to buy them, you need to know how to refinish wood Adirondack chairs. Here we will give you a detailed guide to refinishing your chairs.

Which Refinishing Material Should You Use?

For refinishing your wooden Adirondack chairs, there are 3 main options you should consider.


Stains are absorbed into the wood of your furniture and can offer decent protection to your furniture. It is a budget-friendly option when it comes to finishing. Stains are easier to apply than paints. You can also paint over them if you want to.


Paints are very commonly used for finishing Adirondack chairs. They give you the option to customize the look of your furniture as you see fit. Paints last longer than stains and require much less maintenance.

And paints will cover up your wooden texture and the natural look of your furniture, which might not be suitable for you. You can paint over stains, but not over an oil finish.


Oils get absorbed into your wood but also remain on the exterior like a coating. When it comes to showing off the natural good looks and elegance of the chair on your wooden furniture, oils are the best option. You will need an oil that works with a specific kind of wood for your furniture.

Tools You Need for Refinishing Wood Adirondack Chairs

Before getting started, make sure you have all the tools you need for the refinishing chairs. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself searching for things that you remember buying but can’t quite find around the house.

  • Screwdriver
  • Dish soap or household cleaners
  • Rags for wetting and drying
  • Scrubbing brush and an old toothbrush
  • Sandpaper of coarse to fine grits
  • Sanding blocks
  • Finishing block
  • Micro zip sander (optional)
  • Sanding sponge
  • Tack cloth or vacuum cleaner
  • Finishing primer/conditioner – paint or stain
  • Finishing – oil, paint, or stain

Step-by-Step Guide to Refinishing Wood Adirondack Chairs

With your tools ready, let’s get started on refinishing your furniture, one step at a time.

Step 1: Inspect Your Chairs

Check to see how much damage the furniture has sustained. First, inspect outer surfaces and then turn the chair over and inspect the interior and bottom surfaces. Tighten any loose screws and take note of rough edges.

Step 2: Cleaning the Dirt and Gunk

If your chair hasn’t been used in a while, it will need to be cleaned properly first.

  • Mix dish soap or any other household cleaner with water
  • With a scrubbing brush, scrub of any loose dirt or slime
  • Use an old toothbrush to get into the corners and in between the slats
  • After scrubbing well, clean the chair with a damp rag
  • Wipe the exterior with a dry rag as many times as needed to get rid of excess moisture
  • Let the furniture completely dry out overnight
  • If there are any resistant dirty patches or discolored wood, use an 80-100 grit sanding paper to sand it out
  • Clean the dust off with a tack cloth or a vacuum cleaner

Step 3: Sanding and Prepping for Applying Finishing

Before you apply your finishing, you need to make sure all the surfaces and all the rough edges are taken care of. This part of the process will be the hardest and most time-consuming. However, it is absolutely necessary.

  • Always try to sand with the grain
  • First, sand with 120 grit paper and gradually move up to 180 grits
  • Start with the hardest parts – the small gaps between the slated boards and other such small gaps
  • You can use a micro zip sander to get into the narrow gaps
  • Using a finishing block on the larger surfaces will cut your workload by a lot
  • Use the sanding sponge to smoothen out the rounded corners
  • Sand all parts of your chair so that a fresh wood becomes visible
  • Make all the surfaces as flat and smooth as possible
  • Thoroughly clean out the dust from all the part of the chair using tack cloths or a vacuum cleaner

Step 4: Apply Your Preferred Finishing

At this stage, you will apply the finishing material you want. Make sure to apply finishing to all parts of your Adirondack chairs, not just the outer, visible surface.

You will need to follow different procedures depending on the material you want to use.


Here’s how you can apply a stain.

  • Use a piece of cloth to apply the stain conditioner everywhere you want to stain
  • With a thin piece of cloth, apply the stain on the conditioned surfaces
  • Wipe with a dry rag to get rid of any excess
  • Wipe in the direction of the grain


It’s recommended that you use latex paint. You will need to apply a primer before you apply the paint. And you can also use an all-in-one paint and primer solution for cutting the workload and time needed.

  • Apply a coat of paint primer and dry the chair out overnight or for 24 hours
  • Lay down a tarp on the floor of your working area before painting
  • Thoroughly mix your paint into the solvent so that no lumps of pigment remain
  • Use a paintbrush apply a modest coating of paint to both the bottom and exterior surface
  • Dry out the paint


Below, I’ll detail how to apply oil.

  • Choose a good quality exterior oil that is suitable for your wood – teak, mahogany, etc.
  • For the first coat, generously apply oil to the furniture
  • Use a rag for larger surfaces
  • Use a paintbrush for the narrow gaps and corners
  • Let the chair dry completely and then gently polish with a dry cloth
  • From the second coat onwards, use a foam brush for the best finish
  • Apply and dry the coats for 4-5 times total

After applying any of the finishing, you can use a sealing agent to completely lock your furniture in from dust, dirt, and moisture.

Final Tips after Refinishing

Following this guide will surely inform you of everything about refinish wooden Adirondack chairs. After you refinish, make sure to maintain your chair well. Keep the chairs in your garage, or cover them during the harmful seasons for your wood – so you can enjoy your summer lounger.

Read More Article : Adirondack Chair Vs Muskoka Chair

1 thought on “Refinishing Wood Adirondack Chairs | DIY Guide”

  1. Such an awesome blog! All the information provided by you is really very helpful for all. I agreed that we should keep our project dust-free with the piece of tack cloth and these are perfect for this and pick up basically every last piece of dust and dirt from the surface. Everyone should follow the tips provided by you, it will make their work easier. Keep Posting! Keep Sharing!


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