Asked on Aug 2, 2013

Can I use wood chairs outdoors?

KMS WoodworksAlfred R. Van Swearingen, IncCarole


I have 2 cute wood slatted chairs I bought at a yard sale. I was wanting to put them on my covered front porch with some pillows. Is it OK to put wood chairs outside? Will the outdoor humidity and weather ruin them?
4 answers
  • I would spray them with a few coats of poly, shellac, or anything to seal them ~many of these things now come in a spray paint can. They will last a couple years but not forever outside. I would also go buy those plastic chair leg protectors that hammer on to keep chair off floor/ground could have moisture and wick up the chair leg. Good luck!

  • Carole
    on Aug 4, 2013

    Some wood is meant for outdoor use and some is more for indoor use. This is usually hard wood for outdoors rather than soft wood (soft wood eg. pine). Cedar, Merbau (or Kwila as it is sometimes known) is good for outdoor use as the natural oils in the wood repel water to some extent. Merbau is very heavy in oils/tannins which generally means that you would not paint it (the oils will leach through the paint). If the wood is not painted, you can use weather proof stain/oil similar to that which you would paint a wooden fence with. This is not kreosote, but a modern version that does the same protective thing, without the smell and to a more visually pleasing effect. Most hardware stores can mix a tint of your choosing into the oil based protector. This stuff is very thin to apply and soaks into the wood to protect it. If your wood is painted, then as the previous respondent has noted, it is a good idea to protect it with something over the paint. Hope this helps

  • A good way to preserve wood that is going to be exposed to moisture from being outdoors is to use a good wood preservative on a regular basis. Before there were commercial wood cleaner/preservatives we used a mixture of 1/2 paint thinner and 1/2 linseed oil brushed on a regular basis, of course let it soak in before sitting on it.

  • KMS Woodworks
    on Aug 4, 2013

    If they are not seeing direct "rain" from your covered porch they should be fine. The humidity indoors and outdoors is often the same (for those that do not have AC). I have Ipe wood chairs that live on my deck for 4-5 months a rain and sun. I finished them with a outdoor penetrating oil finish.

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