Project tutorial

How to Stain an Adirondack Chair

$45+ plus chair
Project cost
2 hours
Estimated time

I found the perfect Adirondack chair online. It's sturdy, comfortable, and folds-up for off-season storage. Most importantly, I got it for a steal because it comes unfinished. To make sure it's ready for its new life outdoors, I’m teaming up with our friends at Olympic to apply a durable finish.  

I’ve often applied stain and polyurethane to my projects, but Olympic offers a great one-step solution that let’s me skip the steps of applying and wiping off stain, and waiting for it to dry so I can apply a coat of poly.

The product is called Olympic® ELITE Stain and Sealant in One. It’s an exterior product that allows me to show off the wood grain with a semi-transparent finish, while giving the surface waterproofing protection in just one coat. Read on to see how easy it is to apply!

This project is sponsored by Olympic. All opinions are our own.

*this post contains affiliate links


  • Synthetic Bristle Brush
  • Paint Stir Stick
Step 1

Prep for Staining

Ensure the chair is clean, dry, and free of dust. Lay down a drop cloth. Consider placing the chair up on blocks to make it easier to stain the base of each leg.

Step 2

Open and Stir the Stain

Slowly open the can of stain. Using a stir stick, slowly stir the stain, making sure not to create bubbles, and to scratch the base of the can to mix in any settled pigment.

Step 3

Apply the Stain

Dip a high-quality synthetic bristle brush into the stain, coating half the length of the bristles.

Step 4

Apply the Stain

Pull the brush across each board with a sweeping motion.

Step 5

Tip-off the Edges

As the brush empties, run over the edges at a 45-degree angle to tip off drips.

Step 6

Coat the Gaps

When possible, work in gaps first and then over flat surfaces. Finish coating the chair, and let dry for 24 hours. If needed, flip the chair once dry to coat the underside, being careful not to drip stain to the finished surfaces.

Jenn Largesse
Jenn Largesse is the editor and creator of House One. As the daughter of a carpenter and an english teacher, she has been honing her love for woodworking and writing her entire life. After nearly a decade as a writer and producer for This Old House, she bought her first home in rural New England and launched her blog, Build Basic.

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