There’s something about classic Adirondack chairs that’s instantly relaxing. I’ve never spent more than a long weekend in New England, but the sight of those iconic chairs transports me to cool summer nights, perhaps in Maine or New Hampshire, listening to the waves crash while curled up with a light linen blanket and a fire pit, ready for s’mores.
So when my city-dwelling self bought a small cottage in Virginia with a full acre of land, the first thing I imagined was a row of Adirondack chairs, lined up and ready for crisp early mornings with a cup of coffee, warm afternoons, and evenings spent with good friends. Geography aside, I wanted to channel that New England vision.
But here’s the thing about buying—and renovating—an old cottage. It takes money. Way more money than you initially plan once you start rolling back foundation issues, leaks, and appliances in need of replacing. Once I moved on to the furnishing, almost everything was done secondhand. Except the Adirondack chairs.
I couldn’t find a single, let alone four, Adirondack chairs at any thrift store, antique shop, or anywhere within a 50-mile radius on Facebook Marketplace. I accepted my harsh reality: I was going to have to buy my dream chairs new.
POLYWOOD Classic Folding Adirondack
I looked at my options. I could go with the wood Adirondack chairs for under $120 a piece. More expensive than I would have liked, but manageable.
Or I could splurge on Polywood. My neighbor swore she’d had her Polywood Adirondack chairs sitting outside her home for five years and they looked as good as new. But she warned me they came at a price. $299 each, to be exact. Multiply that times four and I was about to spend nearly $1,200—on outdoor chairs.
I weighed my options. The wood chairs were timeless. They were the original. But they would also show wear and tear. The finish or paint would need to be touched up year-after-year. The wood might splinter. I wasn’t sure how they’d hold up if a hurricane happened to come through and I wasn’t around to stash them in the shed. Plus, I know my DIY skills have their limitations. The minute sanding, refinishing, and painting come into play, things get questionable.
The Polywood Adirondack chairs, on the other hand, come in a rainbow of fade-proof colors and are reportedly indestructible. They bill themselves as lumber made from a “proprietary plastic plastic containing recycled milk jugs and detergent bottles" that is weatherproof across all climates from snow to sun to wind. Polywood says the chairs won’t splinter, crack, or rot, even when left outside full-time. In theory, the $299 price tag guarantees you won’t have to replace, refinish, or worry about ever bringing them inside.
I went back and forth, revisiting the pros and cons—namely the con on my wallet. I kept thinking about my neighbor’s rave review. And I decided to go for it.
The Polywood Adirondack chairs arrived flat packed, but were incredibly easy and simple to put together. They took just a few minutes each. I immediately noticed how heavy they are—these guys aren’t going anywhere once you have them in place, which is key if you plan on setting them outside and never moving them again (pro tip: build them in place). They are crisp, white, and classic, exactly what I’d envisioned. All lined up in a row, they’re my taste of New England coastal in Virginia.
Nearly two years later, they still look as good as the day they arrived. All of those five star reviews online are the real deal. The screws haven’t even needed tightening. The most maintenance I’ve had to do was a power wash earlier this spring to get them back to their pristine white (there’s an argument to be made for opting for a darker color!). Each time I sit in them, they’re exactly as relaxing as I’d imagined. Even if I only get a few minutes in the morning with a cup of coffee to enjoy them, that’s enough to make them worth it.
This is all to say, I’m officially on board with Polywood. Since splurging on these chairs, I’ve added two more chairs and two loungers to the mix. All of them look as good as the day I bought them.
However, before you think I’ve gone too far, I had to draw the line at the Polywood picnic table. At $1,659 versus $150 for a wood picnic table, I could refinish or replace my table too many times over to justify the cost, for now. But check back with me in a year—we’ll see if my Polywood obsession wins out in the end.