Seal and protect...
May 11, 2009 6:56 AM   Subscribe

What is the best way to protect wooden outdoor chair legs from rotting?

Mrs. Genefinder and I bought two LL Bean painted Adirondack chairs to use outdoors. The product info states that these chairs are best used on a deck or patio, but we will be using them out on the back lawn. As such, the legs will get wet and muddy from contact with the ground, and will potentially split and rot over time. A chair cover will protect the chairs themselves, but not the feet.

I haven't been able to find any type of adirondack chair booties, so am thinking I must seal the bottoms somehow. Does anyone have any suggestions for the best way to do this?
posted by genefinder to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You could always seal them with some marine-grade varnish.
posted by Ostara at 7:10 AM on May 11, 2009

You could set a brick under each chair leg, buried so the face is flush with the surface of the lawn. This would limit direct contact to the soil, but the chairs would slip off from time to time.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 7:14 AM on May 11, 2009

Seconding Varnishing, or wood oil. You could also screw metal or plastic plates to the bottom of each leg, cut to size.
posted by Happy Dave at 7:32 AM on May 11, 2009

The LL Bean chairs should be well made to resist the weather for many years. I doubt if you have to do much more than touch them up every few years. Of course, if you are paranoid, you could add a rubberized coating to the feet.
posted by JJ86 at 7:53 AM on May 11, 2009

End grain like you are likely to have at the end of a leg will wick moisture into the wood from the ground. That is the risk you need to mitigate, the water/mud hitting the side of the leg isn't a real problem. Best thing to seal the ends is a clear penetrating epoxy (CPES). It's easy to apply and will strengthen the wood at the same time. Ideal for painted furniture as you can paint right over it. I don't know how it'd react to a painted surface. If foot of the leg is painted you might need to sand the paint off first.

Second best would be a penetrating, film forming oil like tung oil. This is a good choice if you want an oil finish on your chairs as it is easily renewable without scraping. Set each leg into a bowl of oil until it has absorbed as much as it can; wipe the oil over the rest of the chair; resoak the legs; wait for the chair to dry. Less than ideal on your chairs as they are painted.
posted by Mitheral at 8:12 AM on May 11, 2009

Mitheral is correct, epoxy is the way to go. An outstanding resource for all things epoxy is Epoxyworks, which is full of projects that involve wood exposed to harsh conditions.
posted by Tube at 5:32 PM on May 11, 2009

just a warning from experience: avoid any sort up cap that is not totally flush with the wood, like rubber feet that you buy and pop on the legs. i had a friend who inherited some patio furniture with a new condo and the chairs had little cups on the feet that actually collected water and compounded the problem they were supposed to be solving.
posted by dahliachewswell at 10:56 PM on May 11, 2009

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