Wood type/paint for outdoor furniture

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Forum topic by governor posted 12-04-2014 12:33 AM 1374 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View governor's profile


4 posts in 1574 days

12-04-2014 12:33 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question finishing arts and crafts

Hello All,
I am looking for some advice on both wood and paint for outdoor furniture.
I work for an artist that mostly makes outdoor sculptures that are typically made of different types of metal but has recently been commissioned to make some furniture for a public outdoor space. This is way out of his/my comfort zone.
Due to many reasons, not worth boring you all with, they HAVE to be made of wood.
These chairs will be outside for about 8 months, rain or shine during the spring/summer/fall seasons in Philadelphia. They will have thousands of people using them so they have to be as resilient as possible.
After doing some research on type of paint and wood to use I have some basic questions.

Teak vs Marine Ply
I understand that teak plywood is quite resilient to weather. This is obviously a plus. However the chairs will be painted and I was wondering if teak ply is even paintable as I’ve read that it is very oily.
Also, because the teak would be painted, I am wondering if this would completely override the point of using teak in the first place since all the wear and tear would be placed on the finishing (paint) not the actual wood.
Has anyone had any experience with teak ply for outdoor use? Also any experience painting it?

I have worked a little with Marine ply for my own projects so I understand it’s strengths and weaknesses.
My question is is Teak ply really any more resilient than Marine ply? I am looking for the most structurally weather resistant wood, however if it is being painted I wonder if Teak is unnecessary.

Lastly, the type of paint we use on the wood is crucial.
I understand this might be the wrong place to ask about paint. But any suggestions/referrals would be greatly appreciated!
I have read/been told both the benefits of alkyd vs water based paints however I am not totally convinced on which one to use. I understand that alkyd is stronger however more prone to chipping (and harder to handle). I know that water based enamels remain flexible yet tend to wear down quicker.
Could anyone recommend what they would think is the best type of paint to use in this situation?
Remembering that these chair will we used by many many people and will also be outside for 8 months.

Thank you in advance for the help. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!
Many many thanks.

6 replies so far

View WDHLT15's profile


1731 posts in 2441 days

#1 posted 12-04-2014 01:50 AM

Black locust or osage orange would be the most rot resistant of the native hardwoods. I cannot help with the paint.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

View AandCstyle's profile


3027 posts in 2222 days

#2 posted 12-04-2014 02:01 AM

The furniture needs to be wood, but does it need to be painted? A number of weather resistant woods will develop a nice silver/gray color when unfinished in the elements. In addition to the woods Danny mentioned, you might also consider white oak. Black locust is probably the best domestic wood for weather resistance, but might be hard to find. Ipe would be another to consider although it is not a domestic if that is an issue for you. FWIW

-- Art

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2647 posts in 2887 days

#3 posted 12-04-2014 02:03 AM

I have read that you can use un-pigmented outdoor paint as a clear finish. I have use it but not for outdoor use. It paints on white and dries clear.

-- Website is

View governor's profile


4 posts in 1574 days

#4 posted 12-04-2014 04:07 AM

Thanks so much for the responses everyone.
The chairs need to be made of some sort of ply, not lumber and will be painted opaque colors.

View ScottyJ's profile


1 post in 1197 days

#5 posted 01-10-2015 05:52 PM

I’m interested in this topic because I am new to woodworking and trying to develop a plan to build a set of Adirondack style chairs with a New York Yankees theme, and thus I want the project to be as weather resistant as possible (since it is outdoors), and if I go to the trouble of painting the chairs blue & white, plus pinstripes, I don’t want to have to paint it over and over again in subsequent years.

What I have read so far about woods seems to point to teak (of course) and cedar (Western Red, Northern White, and Spanish Cedar) as being good for resistance to rotting, but I’m also interested in how well it holds paint (or perhaps, is is all tied up in the choice of paint and method of application?). That part I do not know much about, but I’m looking for guidance.

View bondogaposis's profile


4682 posts in 2316 days

#6 posted 01-10-2015 07:35 PM

I’ve found milk paint to be a very durable outdoor finish.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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