Can You Paint POLYWOOD Outdoor Furniture?

Last updated on December 7th, 2022

POLYWOOD® is a type of outdoor furniture made from high-density polyethylene found in recycled plastics like milk gallons and detergent bottles. After a long process in the recycling facility, POLYWOOD lumber is extracted from the moulding machine, cooled down, and cut for assembly.

POLYWOOD® lumbers come in different colors to fit the aesthetic you want for your backyard. However, you might not like the color selections that are available in the manufacturer’s gallery or from other vendors.

There’s also the fact that POLYWOOD®’s color fades over time just like any plastic product. Once this happens, your patio furniture set will look weathered and dull. These problems can only be fixed by repainting.

The question is: Can you paint POLYWOOD? Better yet: Can you paint POLYWOOD outdoor furniture? To find out the answer, focus on reading this article until the end.

Is it okay to paint POLYWOOD?

Painting POLYWOOD® is okay if you know the right mixture, paint formula, and techniques to use. Chemicals such as paint thinners can attack the plastic’s molecular structure, causing the surfaces to become abrasive.

As a result, sitting on a piece of POLYWOOD® furniture after being painted the wrong way will feel very uncomfortable. Worse, the furniture would damage your clothes due to the high friction caused by rubbing.

Can you spray paint POLYWOOD®?

Yes, you can spray paint POLYWOOD. There is a variety of spray paint formulated specifically for plastic use. They’re also widely available in home improvement centers, and you can quickly buy one just by asking for assistance from salespeople.

Known spray paint brands for plastic lumber are Krylon Fusion, Rust-Oleum, and Valspar. Remember these names, as you’ll need them for reference on your next trip to a home improvement center.

Why paint POLYWOOD® outdoor furniture?

If you don’t like the color of the new outdoor furniture set from POLYWOOD or the set has been a part of your backyard for years that the color has faded, then it would be best to repaint it.

When does POLYWOOD usually start to fade?

POLYWOOD is created with UV-inhibiting pigment systems that resist fading for up to 15 years. If you bought your set of POLYWOOD furniture somewhere between the year 2006 to 2008, you’re likely to notice any color fading by now, and you may want to restore it back by painting.

What are the dangers of painting POLYWOOD®?

Painting POLYWOOD without the right skills and knowledge would often result in recycled plastic wood being damaged. There are also instances that the wrong mixture of chemicals would create toxic fumes that would cause you to become high or experience respiratory problems.

Another problem is that painting POLYWOOD lumber would void its warranty. This makes any attempt highly discouraged, especially if your POLYWOOD® furniture set was recently bought.

How do you paint POLYWOOD® outdoor furniture?

Now that you know the answer to the question: “Can POLYWOOD® be painted?”, the next step is to know the right ways to paint recycled plastic wood. How to paint POLYWOOD®? Let’s start with cleaning the recycled plastic furniture lumber thoroughly.

Remove all the mold, mildew, and dirt, especially in areas that aren’t easily reached by a clean cloth when wiping. If you’re a handy person, then great news. We recommend disassembling every piece of plastic lumber using a wrench or hex key.

Can You Paint POLYWOOD Outdoor Furniture

Once you’re done, leave the high-density polyethylene lumbers for an hour until they are completely dry. Before spraying POLYWOOD® plastic lumber, test the paint to confirm the color. For example, you can spray paint the underside of the furniture.

Then wait for another hour to let the paint dry. Did you buy the right formula and color of paint? To know if you bought the right formula, use masking tape (the stickier, the better) and stick it to the area that you painted for color confirmation.

Now remove the tape by pulling it using a steady out-and-away motion. If you bought the wrong paint type, a little or plenty of the paint pigments will get stripped by the tape, and you should buy paint that’s specifically formulated for plastic surfaces.

Otherwise, spray paint the rest of the POLYWOOD® plastic parts. It’s important that you paint POLYWOOD® Adirondack chairs on a warm and sunny day, as the rain will interfere with the drying process.

The best way to paint POLYWOOD® chairs is to spray a light coat and repeat the process until the furniture parts are well covered as well as every nook and cranny. Spray painting with one or two thick strokes would cause obvious spray markings, drippings, and premature chipping.

After you’ve painted POLYWOOD® outdoor furniture with your desired color, leave it to dry under the elements for a few days. Although it’s okay to use the outdoor furniture pieces a day after the painting work, it’s still better to leave them untouched to let the paint achieve a solid grip on the plastic surface.

Should I Sand POLYWOOD®Before Painting?

No. Sanding POLYWOOD® outdoor furniture before painting would create a fine and smooth surface, making it hard for the paint to stick. Sanding should only be done in specific areas that have scratches.

Tips to paint POLYWOOD® properly

Buy the right paint mixture and brushes

Paints are specifically formulated for different types of surfaces. The ones you should look for at home improvement stores are oil, alkyd, and shellac-based paints. Water-based paints don’t adhere to plastics, take a long time to dry, and easily chip off.

You can use any type of brush to paint POLYWOOD® furniture. But it’s better to buy different sizes to easily cover small and large areas with paint, especially during the final coating.

Scoop the right amount of paint on the bristles and follow the proper painting strokes

You don’t want to put too much paint on the brush because you’d cause the excess paint to form drippings. Remember that paint is a highly viscous product. If the drippings don’t fall, they will harden and make your POLYWOOD® furniture set look like it’s melting.

When painting, applying color through one or two strokes is enough to create an even to smooth finish.

Clean the surface thoroughly before you start painting

Excess dirt and contaminants can ruin the outcome of your paint job. So, before you spray paint or apply the first brush stroke, make sure your POLYWOOD surface is clean and dry. You can use warm water to remove dirt. After then, allow it to dry completely before you start painting.

Remember not to apply paint directly on the POLYWOOD surface

The last thing you want to do is apply any kind of paint on the surface of POLYWOOD, not even when it’s an exterior paint or chalk paint. It simply won’t stick! The same thing applies to a paint and primer combo. Even if you succeed in getting any of these coverings on the surface, once it dries, it will start to peel and chip. The right procedure, as described above, is to first apply primer before painting. Allow the primer to dry completely before you apply the paint. You can either use spray paint or a brush.

How to preserve POLYWOOD®’s furniture color

Although POLYWOOD lumber is infused with UV stabilizers to protect its color, it can still fade to some degree upon continuous exposure to the sun rays. The best way to prevent this is to cover your furniture when it’s not in use. This will keep the color intact for a longer period and make cleaning much easier.

If you don’t have an outdoor furniture cover or anything else you can use as a cover, such as a tarp or cloth, then we suggest placing the furniture under a shade. This could be a shed, canopy, pergola, or even tree. The idea is to keep the furniture out of direct sunlight, which can encourage fading.

Another thing you could do to preserve the color of your POLYWOOD furniture is to USE it. Yes, that’s right, use the chair. The more time you spend on the furniture, the lesser it’s exposed to direct sunlight. This helps to minimize fading. That is the more reason why you should cover the furniture or store it away whenever you don’t plan to use it for a long time.

Applying some kind of UV protectant can also help. There are products that act as sunscreens that help reflect UV rays from the sun. You can apply these a few times a year, especially during the hotter months. This will help protect your furniture from significant sun damage.

Lastly, keep your POLYWOOD furniture clean. Outdoor pieces tend to attract dirt and grime, which accumulate on the surface. Over time, this can wear down the finish and increase fading. So, regular cleaning can help maintain the color of your POLYWOOD furniture and prevent fading.

FAQs – Can You Paint POLYWOOD outdoor furniture

What should you avoid when painting POLYWOOD® furniture?

Avoid applying any paint or chemical directly on the POLYWOOD surface. Instead, opt for a high-quality primer specifically formulated for outdoor plastics, and be sure to clean and dry the surface thoroughly before coating it with primer.

When should you paint POLYWOOD® outdoor furniture?

You can paint your POLYWOOD furniture anytime you want to change its color. Painting is also a good way to restore old faded lumber.

How long does POLYWOOD outdoor furniture last outside?

According to the manufacturer, POLYWOOD furniture can last as long as 20 years under normal use and serving conditions. With proper care and maintenance, it can actually last a lifetime. This is because even though POLYWOOD looks like wood, it is not real wood, so it won’t weather or rot like wood.

Can Polywood furniture be left outside in the winter?

Yes, you can. POLYWOOD material is designed to weather through all four seasons in a year, including winter. However, it’s best to cover it or pack it into storage before the winter season to minimize cleaning times and prevent damage from prolonged exposure to bad weather.

Can you clean Polywood with bleach?

Yes, you can use bleach for deep cleaning of your POLYWOOD furniture. This can be done annually or every once in a while. Bleach can help remove mold and most fungus stains. But make sure you dilute it with water. We recommended mixing two-thirds water and one-third bleach, but this can vary depending on the product.


So, can you paint POLYWOOD outdoor furniture? The simple answer is YES, and that is what you should do. Painting POLYWOOD is a nice way to give it a facelift and make it last longer. You could either use a paintbrush, or you can apply spray paint such as gloss, matte, and crackle.

But make sure you follow the right steps. Don’t apply paint directly; start with a good primer, then spray paint. It’s best to apply a light coat first, then repeat the process until you cover every part of the furniture.

Let us know if you have any more questions. Until then, happy POLYWOOD painting.


1 thought on “Can You Paint POLYWOOD Outdoor Furniture?”

  1. I just realized that the primer is used on my polywood rocking chair is waterbased. I applied a thin coat of the Zinszer primer. Can I now go over this with the oil based primer before I paint and make it work out okay?

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