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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Weather-Proofing the Adirondacks

So about those Adirondack chairs I talked about WEEKS ago!

Ta Da!

For those of you who maybe missed it.  About a month ago I posted about how we found these chairs in my mother-in-law's garage.

She didn't want them. 
We did. 

But they needed some fixing...
The finish was pretty weathered and not at all weather-resistant. So the solutions I came up with were: stain them, paint them red, or paint them yellow.  I couldn't decide so I asked for your vote! 

The overwhelming majority of you said "YELLOW! We want yellow!"

Then a good solid number of you said "stain 'em!"

And then just a few of you said "red."

And I said "ok, yellow it is!"

... until it wasn't.

You see, when we went in to start looking at yellow colors for the chairs, we were quickly discouraged from painting our chairs both red or yellow...apparently those are the two hardest colors to keep vibrant.  (And that was basically the main purpose behind painting them - bold and vibrant).

But what about all those vibrantly painted Adirondack chairs you see around?  Well they are either some type of plastic/pvc material, or they are not kept out in the sun - where ours will be. 

So I guess, by default, we were going to stain them!

We are hyper-practical people and if I am going to spend the time to refinish these chairs, I want to be happy about how long my hard work lasts!  Durability and longevity - it matters people.

While I was at our favorite paint store, I discussed options for staining the chairs.  And as much as I value their advice, I also value my time.  So when he told me to use 3 coats of gel stain and at least two coats of polyurethane on them... I said no thanks! If you figure that out, between the two chairs, that is ten coats!!! Ain't no way.  There had to be a better option. 

So I started thinking.. These chairs are wood.  Decks are made out of wood.  People stain decks.  Maybe I could stain these with a deck stain that has a built in sealant. 

And that's the direction I went.  I found on Consumer Reports** (all hail Consumer Reports! we love it!) that Behr** makes an extremely durable semitransparent deck stain.  You can get it in a number of colors... so what color did we decide on?  Chocolate of course! Chocolate ain't never let me down before, I don't expect it to start now.

So getting started, the first thing I had to do was clean the chairs. 

See? Dirty...

We grabbed a bottle of the Behr #63 All-In-One wood cleaner.  The stain directions recommend cleaning the chairs first with this cleaner to get the dirt, mold, etc off of the wood so that it is ready to go to receive the stain. (Note: if your piece already has a finish on it, Behr recommends you clean it first with #64 to strip it down to the wood. Ours was already bare wood so we could skip this step.)

I sprayed the chairs down with water, got some acid resistant gloves on and got to work. This cleaner worked really well.  It foamed up right away and then the dirt just sort of pealed off as I scrubbed it. To get the tighter nooks and crannies of the chair I used my husband's tooth brush. - just don't forget to put it back when you are done so he doesn't' get mad.  Kidding, kidding! Better clean it first before you put it back.  ;-)
Cleaning the chairs was a very satisfying process.  Like peeling off dead skin... are you with me? Maybe you are not one of those people... sorry. #itsthenurseinme

I let them dry overnight.  Check out the difference already!

After they dried, I noticed the wood was a bit fuzzy...
To get rid of the fuzz I sanded them down with a 150 grit sandpaper.  Then I gave them a good sweeping to remove the sanding dust.  Not the most fun part of the project but definitely necessary!

To stain them I used a 2 inch angled brush and covered every area I could reach, especially the part that would touch the ground.  This staining process is different than the last time I stained my dining room table.  You don't coat generously and then wipe off excess stain.  You just paint on thin, even coats.  It's important to coat all sides since that is what is sealing the wood. It was pretty challenging at times to coat every nook and cranny, keep my strokes even and straight (since its semitransparent, you have to be a bit more careful in avoiding seeing brush strokes), and avoid drips.  The directions noted that if you apply too thick of coats your finish is more susceptible to cracking and failure in the sealant - so keep your stain application even and thin. 

Here's a couple of examples of difference between the raw wood and one coat of stain. You can see what I mean about the brush strokes.
Also, See that drip there!? I caught it a bit late and couldn't get it smoothed out with my brush all the way.  So after I let the first coat dry, I just lightly sanded it.  And now you can barely notice there was a huge drip there. 

Oh that reminds me! I also did a quick light sanding between coats - just on the areas that you would touch with your skin - the arms, seat, and backrest.  I'm glad I did because it definitely feels softer than areas I didn't do that.  Are you an overachiever? Then sand the whole thing - be my guest!

Apply the second coat.  You can re-coat as early as 1-2hrs.
After the second coat, the brush strokes are much less noticeable - but still noticeable.  And that is especially true if you aren't careful about your application on your first coat.  There were a couple areas on the underside I got a bit sloppy and the finish is not quite as neat and even as I would like.  But really, if you are looking at the underside of my Adirondack chairs... I'm not sure you should be at my house. Creeper.

Then I let it cure for 72hrs.

And now we can fully enjoy these pretty boys. 
And I know ya'll love some before and after pictures!
Here ya go...

And because I was feeling pretty guilty that I asked for your vote and then didn't go with it - I bought yellow outdoor pillows to make up for it.  I got these cuties from an Etsy shop called SayItWithPillows**. 

 Aren't they just the happiest?

They are made of outdoor fabric, meaning they are water and fade resistant. (Also, in the picture above, notice how well the color of the chairs goes with the color of our door!)

So the rest of the summer, if you are looking for me, I'll be sitting out in front of our blue house, sipping on a yummy drink (with a fun straw, no doubt) and reading a good book!

And look who's coming to join me! 

Fun.  Love him!

**This post does not contain any affiliated links.  Nor did I receive any free products or compensation for writing this post.  Just wanting to share my purchase experiences with my faithful and wonderful readers.  

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