Adirondack Chair Renovation

9 Materials
1 Week

These chairs were destined for the dump, but I saw life still to be lived in all those slats! It took some time and elbow grease, but it was well worth it!

These chairs have been on my mom's patio for several years, and although they looked pretty shabby, the wood underneath was in relatively good condition. So I decided to take a shot at cleaning them up!

Pressure Washing

Normally, you don't necessarily need to remove the previous paint when repainting furniture. But the mauve paint on these was already peeling off in chunks, so I used the pressure washer to get as much off as I could. I spent 4-5 hours with the pressure washer that day!


I wasn't planning to take these apart, so I started sanding any exposed areas I could reach with my DeWalt palm sander and 80 grit sandpaper. Pretty soon I realized that in order to do these chairs justice, I would have to take them apart completely and sand them properly.

My Blue Ridge Tools Socket Wrench Set was really helpful in getting the carriage bolts off, and my DeWalt gyroscopic screwdriver did wonders on all those rusty screws.

Once the chairs were completely taken apart, I sanded each and every piece until all of the mauve paint was removed. These chairs were originally green, but that appeared to be an oil-based paint that was not in danger of peeling off.


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Most of the wood was in decent condition, but there was one bracing piece under one arm that was rotted to the point of being unusable. Luckily, I had a piece of pine on hand that could be cut to match, and my Blue Ridge Tools Jig Saw to do the cutting.

There were also a few spots that could use a little bit of wood filler, which I made myself with some sawdust and wood glue. I find that this is more paintable/stainable than store-bought wood filler that comes in a tube.


After about 4 days of pressure washing, sanding, and minor repairs, it was finally time to start painting! I started off with putting on a coat of Zinsser 1-2-3 water-based primer with a foam roller.


For this project, I used something I already had on-hand: Sherwin Williams Duration exterior acrylic latex trim paint left over from when the outside of our house was painted. An oil-based paint would have been more ideal, but it takes a lot longer to dry, and I didn't have any in the house (this project was done during COVID-19 social distancing, so I was limiting my trips to Home Depot). I painted two coats quickly, then let the pieces dry for a couple of days before reassembling the chairs.


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There was A LOT of pieces to deal with, but luckily I took some pictures (and a lot of video) during the process, so I was able to get them back together fairly easily. I reused the original carriage bolts, but I replaced all of the screws with new ones. This was easy because all of the screws were the same size (1 5/8 inch), and I had a box of those already in my workshop!

I love having these chairs to relax on the front porch, especially now that we are spending so much time at home.

Like that planter between the chairs? Check out how I made it here:

Watch the full video of the renovation!

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Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • KB
    on May 19, 2020

    I found two similar chairs at a recycle shop for $5 each. I have always loved this design for the yard and wanted to jump up and down while talking my husband into bringing home this beat up furniture. They need more work than yours, but at such a bargain price, even to use as a pattern to make new ones if all else fails. Wondering what you think of using a good quality outdoor stain after sanding and repair and some cushions for older folks? You have inspired me to work on them and replace needed parts, maybe even from old pallets... Thanks for the beautiful results!

    • ChickFix
      on May 19, 2020

      I think sanding them down and then maybe putting a top coat on them is a great idea! I just didn't want to do that on these. Also if you use a cushion on them, but don't tie them to the chair itself, it gives you a little something to help slide out of the chair.

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