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Adirondack Chair Refresher

Over seven years ago I was given two beautiful painted wooden Adirondack chairs as a wedding present. I sat in the chairs basking in the warm sun or curled up next to the fire pit. Over time, rain and sunlight took a toll on the chairs so they were no longer cozy and a bit of a splinter hazard. They were once great, sturdy chairs, and I wasn’t ready to chuck them to the curb, so I decided to refinish them. Taking something old and making it new is so rewarding. If you have something in your house that you’ve been thinking about refinishing, do it! After just a little sanding and a couple coats of paint, you’ll love the results, guaranteed.


First wipe off all dirt and spiderwebs that have accumulated over the years. Then, using an orbital sander and 100 grit sandpaper, smooth out all rough spots on the seat, back, and arm rests. Notice below how I didn’t sand off all the paint, I stopped once the surface was smooth. Finish with a 180 grit sandpaper to really smooth out the surface.


I unscrewed the seat back and the arms from the base so that I had four separate pieces laid out across two tables. I decided to use a KILZ primer to help weather-proof the wood and cover up the dark blue paint that remained. See how it covers up the blue paint so well? It’s amazing.

Using a 1″ angled brush, prime the undersides of each piece first (the back of the chair, the underside of the base, the underside of both arm rests). The small brush was helpful when painting in between the slats. Just slop the primer on, then while it’s still wet, smooth each surface with long, fluid brushstrokes. Be sure to check for drips once you’re done. Once the back sides dry, flip the chairs and prime the top sides.

Step Three: PAINT

I used a Porch and Floor Enamel from Sherwin Williams in a blue-green color called “Little Blue Box” because I thought it would hold up well outdoors. It is an excellent paint. It covers well and dries smooth. Plus, if it’s meant to be painted on the floor, it must be super durable and hardy. I only painted one coat. I have used a lot of other paint brands, but recently have only used Sherwin Williams– I highly recommend this paint.

Go about painting each piece just like how you primed them– backs first followed by the front sides. Tighten up any loose screws. If any of your screws are spinning and not sticking, add a glob of wood glue to the hole, replace the screw, and clamp the joint to make sure it drys tight. Finally, reassemble your chairs  (add the seat back to the base and then add the arm rests) and enjoy!

It’s really that simple! Now I have a cozy spot to unwind with a glass of wine while watching the sun set over the lake. Life is good.




2 thoughts on “Adirondack Chair Refresher

    • Thank you! The primer really helped out. It did a great job of covering up the different colors of wood and old paint while adding an additional protective layer against outdoor elements. I used to think all paints were the same, but the more projects I do, I’m finding favorites that I won’t work without.


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