We found a lot of questions about the materials used in constructing Adirondack chairs and which options are considered superior. Here our answer to tackle these questions.

Adirondack furniture can be made from a range of materials, including wood (typically teak, cedar, or pine), recycled plastics, and metals, each offering unique benefits.

4 Adirondack chairs on a deck overlooking a beach
Adirondack Chairs

When it comes to outdoor furniture, few designs can match the classic appeal of Adirondack chairs, especially the new trend of tall ones. However, while style and comfort are crucial, the material these pieces are made from plays an equally significant role in determining their longevity, maintenance, and overall appearance. In this article, we delve into the various materials used in the production of Adirondack furniture, exploring their unique advantages and disadvantages. Additionally, as a special treat, we will present a comprehensive guide on how to complete unfinished wood chairs if you decide to pursue that option.

Materials Used to Construct Most Adirondack Chairs

So here is a break down of materials used in the construction of Adirondack chairs with the pros and cons of each:

Two wood Adirondack chairs on lawn
Wood Chairs


Often regarded as the traditional material for Adirondack furniture, wood offers a beautiful, natural aesthetic that's hard to replicate.

Pros: Wood Adirondack chairs, particularly those made from teak, cedar, or acacia, are known for their durability and strength. They offer a unique, rustic charm that seamlessly blends into outdoor environments. Plus, they can be painted or stained to match any color scheme. If you would like to consider purchasing unfinished chairs/table and want to tackle finishing the furniture as a DIY project, see our step-by-step guide below!

Cons: Wood furniture requires regular maintenance, including periodic sealing or painting to protect it from elements like moisture and UV rays. Without proper care, wooden pieces may be prone to rot, warping, or insect infestation.

So What's the Best Wood for Adirondack Chairs?

When choosing an Adirondack chair, the type of wood used is crucial, as it will impact the chair's durability and appearance. Cedar, teak, and acacia are excellent options due to their natural resistance to decay, pests, and weather elements.

According to The Charming Bench Company: When it comes to Adirondack chairs, you want nothing but the best wood. Opt for teak, cedar, or yellow pine, as they offer exceptional durability and resistance to rot, splitting, cracking, and pesky insects. Remember, not all wood is created equal, so make sure your Adirondack chairs are crafted from one of these top-notch options. Rest assured, they will stand the test of time and provide lasting comfort.


Teak, the ultimate choice for a classic Adirondack chair, has stood the test of time. With its water and insect-resistant properties, teak is a hardwood that keeps moisture and bugs at bay, ensuring durability and longevity — a perfect fit for outdoor spaces. Notably, teak wood's resistance to sand and salt makes it an excellent choice for beach houses.

In terms of appearance, teak wood can be stained or left unstained, and it exudes beauty either way. It's important to note that teak is a higher-priced option, but rest assured, the investment is well worth it.


Acacia wood is also a fantastic option! It's highly resistant to water, rot, and pesky insects, making it perfect for any climate. The best part? It's budget-friendly, so you can furnish your space without breaking the bank!


If you're contemplating Adirondack chairs, cedar is definitely a material worth considering! Similar to teak, cedar possesses natural water-resistance and insect-repelling properties. The best part? It's grown right here in the U.S., making it more affordable than teak. Additionally, cedar boasts a stunning reddish hue that can be left unfinished or enhanced with a stain, adding a touch of warmth to your outdoor space.

Yellow Pine

When it comes to Adirondack chairs, yellow pine stands out as a top choice for its strength and thickness, making it an excellent option for outdoor seating. It's worth noting, however, that yellow pine is not as water-resistant as teak or cedar. To safeguard against water damage, it is recommended to treat it with a water protective coating. Additionally, yellow pine boasts a light color and can be enhanced with stain or paint. So, if you're in search of a durable and visually appealing chair, yellow pine is certainly a worthy contender!


Acacia wood is also a fantastic option! It's highly resistant to water, rot, and pesky insects, making it perfect for any climate. The best part? It's budget-friendly, so you can furnish your space without breaking the bank!

Red, blue, yellow, and green polywood Adirondack chairs displayed on a rug
Polywood Adirondack Chairs


Polywood, a type of plastic designed to resemble real wood, is a modern material often used in Adirondack furniture production.

Pros: Polywood is extremely durable, weather-resistant, and virtually maintenance-free. It does not rot, warp, or crack, making it ideal for outdoor furniture. It's also available in a wide range of colors and doesn't require painting or staining.

Cons: While it's eco-friendly since it's often made from recycled materials, Polywood doesn't have the same natural feel or look as real wood. It's also generally more expensive than other plastic options.

Resin and Other Plastic (Polyethylene)

Resin and Plastics, especially recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE), is a popular choice for modern Adirondack furniture due to its durability and low maintenance.

Pros: HDPE is resistant to cracking, peeling, and chipping, making it exceptionally durable. It's also weather-resistant and easy to clean. Additionally, plastic furniture is available in a wide range of colors and is often more affordable than wood or metal counterparts. Plus, they can come in sets that are stackable as shown in the snowy image!

Cons: While HDPE offers excellent longevity, it lacks the natural aesthetic of wood. Additionally, cheaper plastic alternatives may fade in the sun over time or become brittle in colder weather.

Pair of blue and black aluminum Adirondack chairs on balcony deck.
Pair of aluminum Adirondacks

Metal (Aluminum and Steel)

Metal is a less commonly used material in Adirondack furniture, but when incorporated, it adds a touch of modernity and sleekness to the timeless and classic design. The combination of metal with the traditional elements creates a unique and contemporary twist that effortlessly blends the old with the new, making it a standout choice for those seeking a fresh and stylish aesthetic.

Pros: Both aluminum and steel are robust and durable, with aluminum being particularly resistant to rust. Metal furniture is easy to clean and typically more sturdy, making it less likely to topple in windy conditions.

Cons: Metal furniture can get very hot in the sun, making it uncomfortable to use without cushions. Furthermore, it may require occasional treatment to prevent rust, particularly in the case of steel.

Pair of lime green composite Adirondack chairs with matching table on deck at beach.
Pair of composite Adirondack chairs


Composite materials, which are frequently composed of a harmonious blend of wood fibers and plastic resins, are increasingly gaining popularity in various industries. These materials offer a remarkable balance of aesthetic appeal and long-lasting durability, making them a sought-after choice for architects, designers, and manufacturers alike. With their ability to seamlessly combine the natural warmth and charm of wood with the strength and resilience of plastic, composite materials have become a fascinating innovation that continues to shape the future of construction and design.

Pros: Composite furniture has the appealing look of wood with the durability and low maintenance of plastic. It's resistant to weather, rot, and insect damage.

Cons: Composite Adirondack furniture can be quite expensive. Additionally, while it's more resistant than wood to environmental damage, it may still fade or stain over time, requiring occasional maintenance.

Man asking "Wait...there's a difference?!" - gif

What's the difference in Polywood and Composite?

Polywood outdoor materials are occasionally used interchangeably with composite materials due to their shared use of recycled polyethylene. However, Polywood differentiates itself by exclusively utilizing high-density polyethylene, whereas composite decking materials may incorporate both polyethylene and residual wood components. Always read the fine print carefully on what goes into the manufacturing of your future furniture!

Choosing the right material for your Adirondack tall tables and chairs ultimately comes down to your specific needs, aesthetic preferences, and budget. By understanding the pros and cons of each material, you can make an informed decision that will allow you to enjoy your outdoor space for years to come.

Do It Yourself Couple with paintbrushes!

A Comprehensive Guide to Finishing Unfinished Wood Adirondack Chairs

Finished vs. Unfinished: Which is Better?

When it comes to buying Adirondack chairs, both finished and unfinished options have their merits. Finished chairs are ready-to-use and often have a polished, consistent look. However, they are typically more expensive, and your color choices may be limited.

On the other hand, unfinished chairs give you the flexibility to customize the finish according to your aesthetic preference. Plus, they're often less expensive, making them a great choice for DIY enthusiasts.

So you've read all of the pros and cons of materials used in constructing Adirondack chairs (and tables) and you've decided to go the route of unfinished wood. Great choice as finishing your own Adirondack chair allows you to put a personal touch on your outdoor furniture.

Whether you choose to stain, paint, or seal your chair, the process can be rewarding, and with a few tools and the right techniques, even a beginner can achieve professional-looking results. Let's delve into the how-to of finishing unfinished wood Adirondack chairs with a few considerations.

To Stain or to Paint?

Both staining and painting have their advantages:

Staining penetrates the wood, enhancing its natural beauty and grain pattern. It's typically more weather-resistant and requires less maintenance than paint. However, stain options are limited in colors and you will probably want to seal the wood after it is stained for protection from the weather.

Painting allows for a wider range of colors and finishes. It also provides an additional protective layer against UV rays and weather damage. However, painted surfaces may chip or peel over time and require more maintenance.

Gif with man in sweat shirt asking "Hot To Do It?

How to Finish Your Unfinished Adirondack Chair

What You'll Need

1. Sandpaper (120-grit and 220-grit)

2. Wood stain or paint of your choice

3. Wood sealer (for stained chairs)

4. Paintbrushes

5. Clean rags

6. Protective gloves

7. Safety goggles

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Prep Your Chair and Table (if you have one)

Start by sanding your chair with the 120-grit sandpaper to remove any rough spots. Always sand in the direction of the wood grain to avoid scratches. After the initial sanding, use the finer 220-grit sandpaper to smooth the surface further.

Step 2: Apply the Stain or Paint

If you're staining your chair, use a paintbrush to apply a thin, even layer of stain. Wipe off excess stain with a clean rag, again following the direction of the wood grain. Apply additional coats as desired for a darker color, allowing the stain to dry between coats. Read the directions on the label and follow those carefully for a perfect job.

If you're painting, apply a primer first, let it dry, then apply the paint with smooth, even strokes. Allow the paint to dry before applying a second coat if needed. Here, again, follow the manufacturer's instructions on the can to be assured of a good finished job.

Step 3: Seal the Wood

For stained chairs, apply a clear wood sealer after the stain has fully dried. This will protect the wood from moisture and UV damage. Painted chairs usually don't require a separate sealer, as most exterior paints include a protective finish.

Step 4: Allow to Dry

Let your chair dry completely before using it. This process may take a few days, depending on the weather and humidity.

Finishing your own Adirondack chair is an endeavor that marries creativity and practicality. Not only does it allow you to customize your outdoor furniture to your taste and existing decor, but it also gives you a sense of accomplishment and ownership over the piece. Whether you choose to stain or paint your chair, the process will require some patience and attention to detail, but the end product—a beautifully finished chair that's protected from the elements and ready for years of enjoyment—is well worth the effort.

By following the step-by-step instructions in this guide, you'll be able to navigate the process with confidence, even if you're a novice. Remember, the key to success lies in meticulous preparation, the right choice of wood, and the careful application of your chosen finish. So, roll up your sleeves and let your creativity flow as you transform your unfinished Adirondack chair into a masterpiece that complements your outdoor living space and reflects your personal style.

And there you have it! Soon, you'll have a beautifully finished Adirondack chair that reflects your personal style and stands up to outdoor conditions. Remember, the key to a good finish is patience and attention to detail. Happy DIY-ing!

Beautiful lake scene at sunset with Adirondack chair on grassy slope

Choosing the right Adirondack chair involves more than just finding a style that fits your aesthetic; it's about understanding the materials that make these chairs durable, comfortable, and lasting. From teak to cedar, from yellow pine to acacia, each wood type has its unique set of advantages, balancing factors like water-resistance, insect-resistance, strength, and aesthetics.

With the information provided, you're now equipped to make a well-informed selection, ensuring you end up with an Adirondack chair that fits perfectly in your outdoor space and stands the test of time. Enjoy the comfort and charm of your new Adirondack chair whether you've decided on the tall ones or regular ones, knowing that you've made a worthwhile investment in your outdoor living space.

If you're in the market for high-top or tall Adirondack chairs, check out our article: Adirondack High Top Table and Chairs: the New Black in Patio Decor.

We also have another great article on the history of the Adirondack chair: The Evolution of Adirondack Chairs: A Century of Comfort and Style.

Thanks for reading our article about the materials used in making Adirondack chairs!


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