Can You Paint Polywood Furniture Safely

FTC and Amazon Associates Disclaimer: We earn commissions (at no additional cost to you) if you purchase products from retailers after clicking on a link from our site. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Last updated: April 19, 2023

Polywood furniture is gaining more popularity among homeowners for a good reason. This type of synthetic wood resembles natural wood. Since it got all the aesthetic qualities of oak, pine, and cedar, people often wonder if they can also paint or stain Polywood, but this really isn’t required as a key sealing feature. Think of it as plastic wood. 🙂

The great news is, yes, you can paint polywood furniture, as long as you don’t use harsh chemicals or paint strippers. The main secret is to pick a high-quality coat of primer used explicitly for exterior plastics. You also need to thoroughly dry and clean the surface before applying the primer. And spray painting is a good idea so that the coats of paint from a regular top coat are not thick or heavy.

To learn more about Polywood and how to paint it properly, read on, and good luck!

Table of Contents

  1. Can you paint polywood furniture
  2. Can you use spray paint on polywood
  3. Should you sand polywood before painting
  4. How do you paint polywood material
  5. Frequently Asked Questions
    1. Is it safe to paint polywood outdoor furniture
    2. Why should you consider painting your polywood outdoor furniture
    3. What is the best way of cleaning polywood outdoor furniture
    4. Can power wash polywood material

Can you paint polywood furniture

From an environmental point of view, polywood lumber is recycled from plastic containers. Did you know almost half a million plastic containers are produced every day and due to ineffective recycling processes, end up ocean-bound or to a land-fill in far-off countries in Asia? Since polywood is made from a proprietary blend of sawdust, recycled plastic, and reclaimed timber. Since it’s 95% recycled materials, mainly from common household plastic items, it’s still polywood plastic lumber. It’s durable and easy to clean and for outdoor settings where the weather is involved, the mill plastic can withstand strong winds, hot sun, and winters.

In more technical terms, genuine polywood lumber is made of high density polyethylene or HDPE. It is durable and as we already mentioned, comes from materials fond milk jugs, bottle caps, and laundry detergent bottles. Polywood, despite its name, doesn’t contain any natural fibers or wood. 

By nature, HDPE is a durable plastic easy to clean and resistant to the harshest weather conditions like solid winds, snowy winters, and hot sun. HDPE is an ideal material for outdoor patio furniture.  Aside from high-density polyethylene, Poly lumber also includes UV-inhibited pigment systems that help maintain the Polywood lumber colors all over the material and not only on the surface.  Aside from being impervious to sun, rain, snow, ice, and saltwater, this unique recycled furniture and industrial material are also highly valued because of its eco-friendliness. 

POLYWOOD GNB60MA Vineyard 60" Bench, Mahogany

Considering new outdoor furniture? You might want to look at plastic Adirondack chairs. Beyond their minimal assembly (simple instructions !), the Polywood material can take any kind of paint to give a fresh look to plastic outdoor furniture. Don’t forget to add some Polywood cushions after you decide to paint plastic outdoor chairs. It is also important to note that this is not inexpensive furniture. The majority of Trex outdoor furniture is constructed of solid POLYWOOD recyclable lumber and Poly furniture also performs better than traditional plastic furniture or even lumber outdoor furniture. 

Row of Muskoka Adirondack chairs on the dock in the summer sunshine

I have seen Adirondack chairs in white, red, blue, pink and numerous other colors. Running a promotion or just like your favorite color, you have choices.

When you are ready for new furniture, consider Trex decking for the backyard porch. Any residual dirt will be easy to clean with basic tools such as a high-pressure power washer compared to teak wood.

Trex Outdoor Furniture Cape Cod Adirondack Chair, Sand Castle

Polywood has dozens of furniture styles. You’ll discover the famous Polywood rocking chairs, Polywood chairs, Polywood picnic tables, Polywood Adirondack chairs, and more. Thanks to their exceptional durability, the durable dining tables, bar sets, and poolside chaise lounges are also popular options for commercial and residential use. 

Can you use spray paint on polywood

Instead of just being stained on the outer surface, the color of Polywood is infused all over the material. You don’t need to paint products made from this particular material. 

However, if you want to try to spray paint Polywood, yes, you can do so. A spray paint application can create a reliable finish with a second coat. Aim for a satin finish if you do not want to reflect as much light as compared to gloss. The type of paint matters so aim for higher quality paint for such coverings. It will bring outstanding coverage and enhanced aesthetics to your furniture.

POLYWOOD® Lakeside Dining Table, Slate Grey

The type of spray paint applied may even help breathe new life into the product and make it last longer.  It is also better to use spray paint instead of a soft bristle brush to speed up the painting process.  A couple of options exist? Krylon and Rust-Oleum have primer paint formulas that allow a coat of spray paint to stick to most plastics, like polypropylene. Krylon released its Fusion All plastic spray paint back in 2004. Whereas, Rust-Oleum released the Touch 2X Ultra Cover product which offers a simple way to add loose paint to plastic.

However, remember that the specific type of paint you use matters here and that you only use spray paint specifically formulated to be used on plastics.

Should you sand polywood before painting

You should avoid using sandpaper to completely resurface Polywood because it will end up scratching the exterior or surface of the material. You need to clean the material before painting it. 

However, suppose there are already minor scratches on your Poly chairs. It might be acceptable to buff the Polywood plastic with a light sanding before painting to help get that smooth, even surface. It would be best to do it in moderation to avoid differences in texture and color.

How do you paint polywood material

Consider these things before painting Polywood to ensure things get done correctly. It can be pretty tricky to paint Polywood. 

First, you should prep the surface.
Clean it thoroughly using warm water to get rid of any contaminants or excess dirt because it can ruin and affect the finishing of your painted Polywood. The surface should dry before you start painting. 
Remember not to directly apply any paint, including chalk paint, on Polywood’s surface. It is also not recommended to combine primer and paint. These coverings will not adhere to the surface, and the exterior of Polywood helps repel and resist such products.
If you directly apply paint or use a primer and paint in one, this may dry up on the surface but may start peeling and chipping immediately.  
You should first apply the correct primer that will serve as a double-stick tape and offer an adhering surface where the paint can lock on.
Let the primer dry completely, and apply the paint using spray paint or brush. A brush will let you control the finish better; it consumes more time than spray paint.

POLYWOOD NCC2280-WH Nautical Arms Chaise, White

You can choose what method works for you better. Again, make sure you use the right paint formulated for plastic chairs and plastic bottles since Polywood is entirely HDPE plastic.  

Following these steps will make your old chairs made from Polywood look new all over again that won’t peel off easily. Exterior paint can also protect the Polywood items or furniture and make them last a long time. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to paint polywood outdoor furniture

The short answer is yes, it is safe to paint your Polywood outdoor furniture. The full answer is that this is good news if you wish to change the aesthetics of their furniture, update its texture, and ensure the best year-round performance. We’ve written a blog post here and there about upcycling furniture items for home decor and these have been some of our most popular posts!

Why should you consider painting your polywood outdoor furniture

While polywood may be better than resin furniture for outdoor use, your furniture may take a severe battering from the different elements if you live in a coastal area with frequent salt spray and strong coastal winds. Painting your polywood furniture can give it a fresh update with a new color

What is the best way of cleaning polywood outdoor furniture

POLYWOOD GNS60WH Vineyard 60" Swing, White

There are a couple of options for cleaning Polywood, and this is very easy to do because it requires low maintenance, and there is no risk of removing paint. All you need is water and mild dish soap to clean these pieces. 

Can power wash polywood material

Yes, it is safe to power wash Polywood for easier maintenance. Just make sure you don’t go beyond 1,500 psi. An annual blast from a power washer will be enough to ensure that no dirt forms in gaps or joints and prevent critters from living in the hidden nooks of the furniture

Ronin Consulting Inc., operating as Media, makes no representation or warranty, express or implied. Your use of the site is solely at your own risk. This site may contain links to third party content, which we do not warrant, endorse, or assume liability for.