Can I use the ikea poang chair outdoors? Or make it useable outdoors?
May 12, 2019 8:35 AM   Subscribe

I have an ikea poang chair. I want to use it outside. Is it possible? What should I do, if anything, to make it durable for outside use?

It looks like it is lacquered already. There are some untreated wood parts but I presume I can cover it with some sort of stain to weatherproof it. Is this possible? Is there anything else I should consider? I live in a fairly wet climate for most of the year, but can cover the furniture when that happens.
posted by cyml to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The lacquer that's existing likely won't hold up. If you want to do it right, you'd sand the wood parts then cover with an exterior grade spar urethane or varnish like epifanes.

I'd separately be concerned about the cushion not being able to stand up to the elements - but if you're diligent about bringing that in or buying an aftermarket cover that's exterior rated you'd extend it's life a lot longer.
posted by Karaage at 9:14 AM on May 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

Ikea makes an outdoor stain called Varda that you could apply to the wood. But I agree with Karaage that the state of the cushions might be more of a concern.
posted by zadcat at 9:22 AM on May 12, 2019 [2 favorites]

Several coats of spar urethane on the wood, and I think you'll probably want to replace the indoor cushion with an appropriately sized outdoor patio chair cushion. Especially in a damp climate, humid air can lead to condensation and mildew even if it's protected from rainfall.
posted by drlith at 9:32 AM on May 12, 2019

Anything plywood is going to delaminate in the elements unless you’re constantly and meticulously sealing it. Even ikea’s outdoor stuff is solid wood or metal. It’ll probably work for a season or two.
posted by supercres at 9:33 AM on May 12, 2019 [3 favorites]

This falls a little outside your request, but why not make an offer on some appropriate local board to trade the Poang for a piece of outdoor furniture?
posted by zadcat at 9:37 AM on May 12, 2019

The weak point (ah, i SEE: that's the literal translation of the Swedish "poäng") is the bent and laminated frame that's supposed to support the seated person's weight.

The problem here will likely be that even before the ply starts to actually delaminate, ambient humidity is going to enter the wood, reducing the springiness of the frame. There's little in terms of varnish that can fully prevent at least some humidity from entering the wood on continuous exposure...And even if you were to apply several thick layers of boat varnish, as soon as you sit down, the varnish will crack because the frame flexes...
posted by Namlit at 10:28 AM on May 12, 2019 [3 favorites]

If you like the feel of the Poang, Adirondack chairs offer a somewhat similar experience in terms of how the seat is angled. You can buy a plastic/resin one designed to be kept outside--they're fairly inexpensive.
posted by needs more cowbell at 10:44 AM on May 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

We kept one outside for three or four months in Southern California and in that time, it essentially disintegrated. I don’t recall what season, just the alarming speed of the decrepitude.
posted by samthemander at 11:00 AM on May 12, 2019 [6 favorites]

Echoing the reality that the laminated parts (which are all of them in this chair) will fail, and quite quickly. There will be enough friction on the bottom of the chair to degrade the urethane and allow moisture in. The nature of the wood product will effectively slurp the water into the layers.

My vote is a plastic Adirondack, as mentioned above.
posted by bilabial at 11:59 AM on May 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

We have the foot rests from our poangs in a three season room - the wood is definitely vulnerable to mildew even in that more sheltered environment - I can see how the mildew has penetrated the finish on the wood. So I don't think these would make it outside.

We have the leather cushions and they seem to be holding up ok against mildew.
posted by Tandem Affinity at 12:30 PM on May 12, 2019

Sort of by accident, I had a Poang outside on my balcony is Oakland, CA for something like two years. It got wet during the winter and sun during the summer. I didn't see mildew, even though it got significantly wet during the rainy season, but it's not very humid here. It didn't look awesome after that time, but it was still solid enough to sit on.

Laminate is going to breakdown under the elements, but if you're not picky about beauty and cool with replacing your outdoor Poang every couple of years, this could work. Varnish or sealant of some kind sounds smart, as does covering it when it rains (but uncovering quickly to avoid mildew if your climate is prone to that). I spent a little time looking for a a weather-friendly cushion that would work on the Poang, and that was a total dead end, so that might be an even trickier problem to solve.
posted by mostlymartha at 1:22 PM on May 12, 2019

Like samthemander our Poang chair disintegrated outside in California. The plywood delaminated, so the whole thing was landfill. Stain won't waterproof the laminate enough, nor even polyurethane sealer I suspect.
posted by anadem at 5:09 PM on May 12, 2019

I picked one of these up for free from the sidewalk about 6 years ago. It's been on my San Francisco porch ever since. The lacquer is peeling in places and the fabric piping around the seat edge is starting to fray, but it's still super comfy. I'd poly varnish it if I started over again, and for the last couple years I've kept a homemade last quilt on the seat to cut down on the fabric wear.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 8:29 PM on May 12, 2019

« Older I Haven't Played Video Games For Decades. How Do I...   |   Doing business in Uganda Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.