Care & Maintenance: Wood v. Poly Lumber

Trying to decide between a wooden Adirondack chair and a poly lumber one?  One thing you’ll need to consider is your new chair’s care and maintenance requirements. Cleaning an Adirondack chair You want to keep your outdoor furniture looking new for a long time, so here are some tips.

For any outdoor Adirondack furniture, you shouldn’t rest flower pots or other stain-inducing items right on the surface.  Plus, always use a heat barrier with hot plates or mugs.  Don’t put the chair too close to a patio heater or other direct heat source (wood will burn or singe, and poly lumber may melt if the direct temperature is too hot).  Also, if you are in a coastal region, it is recommended that you spray the hardware off with some fresh water from time to time to cast off any salt residue that may be building up.  A little bit of love will go a long way.


Wooden Adirondack Furniture

Real wooden furniture can be very appealing.  More affordable than poly lumber, wooden Adirondack chairs allow you to get creative with your own paint color.  But they also demand a little TLC in order to stay new looking.

If you purchase an unfinished cedar or pine Adirondack chair, you’ll need to either finish it with appropriate outside paint or stain, or apply a good quality wood sealer within the first year.  You can pick up wood sealer at your local hardware store.

All outdoor wooden furniture should be dusted with a soft cloth regularly.  Just use water and a soft brush to clean any spills or stains, and let air dry.

Because wood will expand and contract, you will need to make sure all screws are snugged up regularly. Don’t over-tighten, just keep the screws snug.

Painted or stained furniture will need to have a coat of polyurethane applied every year for the entire lifetime of the chair to prevent against weather, rain, heat, and sunlight.  You may need to re-paint or re-stain if the surface color begins to fade or chip.

If you see the wood begin to splinter, sand down to a nice smooth surface, so no one gets hurt!


Poly Lumber Adirondack Furniture

Poly lumber requires a little less maintenance than wood, but they are also usually a little more expensive.

To maintain the beauty of your poly lumber Adirondack chair, dust or clean it regularly with a mild soap and water.  Most colors will only need cleaned a few times a year, but some colors (such as white) may need to be cleaned more frequently. For a more thorough clean or to address a spill or stain, use a soft bristle brush. The poly lumber is strong enough to be power washed.  Just spray the furniture with nonabrasive cleaner and wash it using a high pressure washer, keeping the tip of the pressure washer at least 8 – 12 inches from the surface of the furniture.

And that’s it!

Check out the video below to see our tips in action!


How  much care you’re willing to give your new outdoor furniture is up to you.  Just be aware of what your new Adirondack chair may expect in terms of your love and commitment. Then, settle in for a long marriage, because if properly cared for, your new outdoor furniture will last for many years to come!


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