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Choosing Adirondack Chairs

Adirondack Chair

What Are Adirondack Chairs?

Most people will recognize an Adirondack chair when they see it, but may not know the history of the chair or why it is so popular in certain parts of the country. Adirondack chairs have been around for a long time, and are now sold in stores all over the world.

Where Did Adirondack Chairs Come From?

In 1903, the Adirondack chair was design by Thomas Lee while on vacation in the Adirondack Mountains. Mr. Lee offered his pattern for this chair to a friend, Harry Bunnell, who was unemployed at the time. Soon Mr. Bunnell saw that this chair was becoming popular and filed for a patent, apparently without Mr. Lee’s permission. Mr. Bunnell was a visionary since this chair is still very popular today. You just hear the word Adirondack and you think of a comfortable and relaxing chair.

What Options Are Available?

Both Hemlock and Pine were the original wood used for the Adirondack chairs. However, this wood is prone to mildew, rot and termites. An ongoing maintenance should be followed seal the chair with a UV (ultra violet) protected varnish. This will keep moisture out and keeps the mildew, termites and rot from taking over and destroying the chair. If not sealed with varnish this chair will turn a gray color as well. Some people like this rustic gray look and choose to varnish it after it is weathered into this desirable gray color.
Today the most popular material used to make Adirondack outdoor furniture is Cedar, which is resistant to rot. The most popular of the Cedar woods is the Western Cedar for its color and natural resistance to moisture.Another material used to make this chair is Cypress, it is a light weight wood and also resistant to rot and will weather into a gray color like the Cedar.
Imported Teak is yet another wood used in building this chair. However, this is not the preferred choice because it is a very heavy wood and it is more expensive than the Cedar and Pine and does not take well to varnish or paint.
Today, plastic lumber (resin) or engineered wood is the material that is popular. It is virtually maintenance free, light in weight and comes in many different colors. However, some say that it just does not feel like the sturdy and strong wood used in the original Adirondack chair. So if you like the look and feel of real wood, just remember there may be some maintenance involved.

Is Adirondack Outdoor Furniture A Good Choice?

If you have ever tried relaxing in an Adirondack chair, you will agree that they conform to your body and instantly feel like no other chair. The feel of this chair instantly makes you feel like you are on vacation, you can almost hear the waves crashing on the shore.
To determine if this is the right chair for you, you must weigh the options. If you like the feel of wood in this chair, then just be prepared to do some maintenance on it, or buy already protected chairs with a UV protectant, varnish or buy it pre-painted. On the pro side, if you like the do-it-yourself idea you can paint it in different colors to match your outdoor theme, or the colors in your cushions. To have a pop of color in your back yard can really complete your outdoor living space.
You will also need to consider your back yard space. Will your chairs be on a porch and protected somewhat from the elements or will they be out in the sun all or most of the time? Consider the climate where you live, does it snow in your area, or do you live in the dry desert?
All of these factors should be weighed before purchasing these chairs. A cushion is recommended for comfort, will you have to remove the cushions every day or if in a protected area you may be able to forgo that chore. Also, do your homework and read what the manufacturer suggests on the care and maintenance.

Can Adirondack Plastic Chairs Actually Look Great?

You can find resin Adirondack chairs to look like real wood, they are somewhat sturdy and comfortable because they have the same style and look of the wooden chairs. The up side is that they only need a wipe down or a spray of the garden hose to clean them. The down side is that some Adirondack plastic chairs may degrade and crack if they are in the sun for a few years.
If you have a climate with cold weather and snow, you may consider putting them in your garage or storage area to keep them from the harsh weather. Again, the best thing is to check the manufacturer’s care and warranty instructions.