How to Paint Polywood: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Paint Polywood: A Step-by-Step Guide


When it comes to outdoor living spaces, Polywood furniture has become a household name, offering durability and weather resistance that stand the test of time. But what happens when your beloved patio set starts to look a bit tired? The good news is that by painting polywood, you can rejuvenate your outdoor furniture, extending not just its life but also enhancing its beauty.

Here’s why painting your Polywood furniture is a smart move:

  • Revitalize Your Outdoor Space: Just like a fresh coat of paint can transform a room, painting Polywood can inject new life into your garden or patio area.
  • Longevity: Regular maintenance, including painting, protects the furniture from wear and tear, keeping it in top-notch condition for years to come.
  • Professional Finish: With the right paint and preparation, you can achieve a finish that’s both attractive and durable.

What is Polywood?

Polywood is an innovative material crafted from recycled plastics like milk jugs and detergent bottles. It’s engineered to endure harsh weather conditions without rotting, splintering, or fading, making Polywood furniture an environmentally friendly option for those who are conscious of sustainability.

The Benefits of Polywood Furniture

Choosing Polywood for your outdoor furniture comes with several advantages:

  • Resilient Against the Elements: Rain or shine, Polywood withstands the vagaries of weather without losing its charm.
  • Low Maintenance: Unlike traditional wood, it doesn’t require staining or waterproofing.
  • Sustainable: Made from recycled materials, it’s a choice you can feel good about.

Why Paint Polywood Furniture?

While inherently low-maintenance, even Polywood can benefit from a fresh coat of paint:

  • Aesthetic Appeal: Update the color scheme to match your current style or landscape design.
  • Protective Layer: Paint adds an extra layer of protection against UV rays and potential staining.
  • Customization: Make your outdoor set one-of-a-kind with a color that reflects your personality.

Selecting suitable paints and primers specifically designed for plastic materials ensures that the paint job will last. Acrylic latex paint or specially formulated spray paints offer excellent adhesion and durability on Polywood surfaces.

Understanding Polywood

Let’s explore Polywood. Polywood outdoor furniture is a great choice for those who want a combination of durability and environmental friendliness. It’s made from High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), a type of plastic that’s strong and resistant to weather conditions, making it perfect for outdoor use.

Trex Board, another popular brand in outdoor furniture, is similar to Polywood. Both brands offer high-quality and long-lasting features, making them great options for your outdoor space. However, there are differences between the two. While both are made from recycled materials, Trex Board is mainly made of wood particles and plastic, while Polywood is made entirely from HDPE.

Understanding that Polywood is made from recycled plastic helps us appreciate its strength and eco-friendly qualities. The manufacturing process involves turning recycled HDPE materials (like milk jugs and detergent bottles) into durable lumber substitutes.

What Makes Polywood Special?

The composition of Polywood goes beyond just HDPE. It also includes UV inhibitors that help it withstand prolonged exposure to harsh sun rays without deteriorating or fading. This unique combination gives Polywood its characteristic strength and longevity.

Advantages of Polywood Outdoor Furniture

There are several benefits to using Polywood for outdoor furniture:

  1. Durability: Thanks to its sturdy composition, it can withstand heavy use and harsh weather conditions.
  2. Weather Resistance: It can resist rain, snow, sun, and more without cracking or fading.
  3. Low Maintenance: Unlike traditional wood furniture that needs regular painting or sealing, Polywood requires little maintenance.
  4. Eco-Friendly: Made from recycled materials, it’s a sustainable choice for environmentally conscious consumers.

How Does Polywood Compare to Other Materials?

Comparing Polywood to other materials like traditional wood or even Trex Board reveals distinct advantages:

  1. Traditional wood furniture may have a classic appeal, but it requires regular maintenance and isn’t as weather-resistant as Polywood.
  2. On the other hand, Trex Board, while also durable and weather-resistant, is not as eco-friendly since it isn’t made entirely from recycled materials.

So, whether you’re looking for a sturdy piece of furniture to withstand the elements or seeking to make an environmentally responsible choice, Polywood offers a compelling option.

Can You Paint Polywood?

The short answer to the question, Can you paint Polywood? is yes. It is entirely possible to paint Polywood furniture, and doing so can breathe new life into your outdoor pieces. This can be an excellent opportunity for a DIY outdoor furniture makeover project that not only saves money but also allows you to personalize your outdoor space.

There are several reasons why painting Polywood furniture can be beneficial:

  1. Longevity: Painting Polywood extends its lifespan. The added layer of paint provides extra protection against elements that may cause wear and tear.
  2. Aesthetics: Painting allows you to customize your furniture to match your style or adapt to changing design trends.
  3. Cost-effectiveness: Instead of buying new furniture when you’re tired of the old look, you can repaint it for a fresh new appearance.

While the idea of painting Polywood might seem daunting, especially if it’s your first time, don’t worry. The process is straightforward and includes the right preparation and materials. Here are some benefits of undertaking this project:

  • Customization: You have complete control over the color and finish of your furniture. This makes it easy to match your outdoor decor or even experiment with fun and bold colors.
  • Savings: As mentioned earlier, painting is often cheaper than buying new furniture. Plus, it’s a fun DIY project that can bring satisfaction once completed.
  • Refreshed aesthetics: If your Polywood furniture looks dull or worn out, painting can give it a fresh look.

It’s important to remember that while it is possible to paint Polywood, manufacturers do not always recommend it, as it may void the warranty on some products. Always check with the manufacturer beforehand if you’re unsure.

Preparing the Surface

Before you start your painting project, it’s important to prepare the Polywood surface properly. This is crucial to make sure that the primer and paint will adhere well to the furniture, creating a strong and long-lasting finish.

Cleaning the Polywood

To begin with, use a mixture of mild soap and water to clean the Polywood thoroughly. This step removes any dirt, debris, or grime that can prevent the paint from sticking properly.

Here’s a simple process to follow:

  1. Mix some mild soap with water in a bucket.
  2. Use a soft-bristle brush or sponge to scrub the Polywood furniture gently.
  3. Pay extra attention to corners, crevices, and recessed areas where dirt might be hiding.

Dealing with Mold and Mildew

After cleaning with soap and water, you may notice some mold or mildew growth on your Polywood furniture. This is common for outdoor furniture exposed to moisture and humidity.

To address this issue:

  1. Use a mold and mildew cleaner specifically made for outdoor furniture.
  2. Follow the instructions on the cleaner’s bottle carefully.

Rinsing Off Residual Soap or Cleaner

After your thorough cleaning routine, it’s essential to rinse off any leftover soap or cleaner from the Polywood surface. Use clean water for this process, and make sure no cleaning agents are left behind, as they can affect your painting job.

Once you’ve rinsed your furniture:

  1. Allow it to dry completely before starting the painting process.
  2. If possible, place it under direct sunlight for faster drying.


Thorough surface preparation is key when painting Polywood.

A clean, dry surface ensures optimal adhesion of primer and paint.

Cleaning also helps in revealing any hidden damages that might need repair before painting.

Now that you’ve learned how important—and easy—it is to prepare the surface of your Polywood furniture for painting, let’s move on to selecting the right type of paint for your project.

Choosing the Right Paint for Polywood

Selecting the appropriate paint and primer for your Polywood furniture is crucial. The right choice will ensure not only a beautiful finish but also a lasting one that can withstand outdoor elements.

Use a High-Quality Primer Designed for Plastics

Why a Quality Primer Matters

Primer is the foundation of a durable paint job. A high-quality primer designed for plastics provides strong adhesion to the Polywood surface, creating an ideal base for the paint to stick.

Benefits of using a quality primer:

  • Enhances paint durability
  • Improves adhesion, reducing the likelihood of peeling or flaking
  • Can help conceal any minor imperfections on the furniture’s surface

Select a Paint Formulated for Plastic Materials

Two main types of paint work well on Polywood:

  1. Acrylic Latex Paint: This type of paint has good adhesive properties and flexibility, which makes it suitable for materials like Polywood that are exposed to variable outdoor conditions.
  2. Spray Paint for Plastics: Offers convenience and ease of use. It delivers a smooth, even coat without brush marks and is available in various colors and finishes.

Consider Paint with Built-In Primer

Combining primer and paint can be a time-saver, streamlining the painting process. It also ensures compatibility between primer and paint layers.

Advantages of using paint with built-in primer:

  • Simplifies application by combining two steps into one
  • Ensures compatibility between primer and paint layers

Ensure Proper Adhesion with Plastic-Specific Products

To guarantee proper adhesion, use only primers and paints specifically formulated for plastic surfaces.

This attention to detail will extend the life of your painted Polywood furniture by preventing premature wear.

Why Spray Paint Can Be an Excellent Choice

Spray paints designed for plastics often have modifications to better adhere to plastic surfaces such as Polywood. They also make it easier to achieve a smooth, brushstroke-free finish.

Key Considerations When Selecting Paint and Primer

When choosing products to use on your Polywood furniture, keep these factors in mind:

  1. Compatibility with Plastics: Check labels to confirm that both primer and paint bond with plastic materials.
  2. Outdoor Durability: Opt for products that can withstand UV rays, moisture, temperature changes, and other outdoor conditions.
  3. Finish Options: Glossy, satin, or matte? Based on your aesthetic preference and practicality, decide on the desired sheen level.
  4. Color Selection: Consider the color scheme of your outdoor space. Choose hues that complement your surroundings and reflect your style.

Remember, quality counts when it comes to painting outdoor furniture. Investing in high-quality primers and paints designed specifically for plastics like Polywood will pay off in appearance and longevity. With these considerations in place, you’re ready to move forward with transforming your Polywood furniture into standout pieces for your outdoor living space.

Step-by-Step Guide to Painting Polywood Furniture

It’s time to roll up your sleeves and get started with the actual painting process. Whether you’re looking to refresh old furniture or change up the color for a brand-new look, this step-by-step guide will help you navigate the process.

Prepare the Polywood Furniture

Before we can get into painting, we need to prepare the plywood surface. This involves cleaning and sanding down any rough spots that might interfere with the smooth application of primer and paint.

  1. Cleaning: Use a mild soap and water solution to remove any dirt or grime from the plywood surface. Be sure to clean all areas, even those that are hidden or hard to reach. Rinse thoroughly and let it dry completely before moving on.
  2. Sanding: If there are any rough spots on your furniture, sand them down gently using fine-grit sandpaper. Remember, you want a smooth surface to which your paint can adhere.

Apply Water-Based Primer

Next up is priming your polywood furniture. A high-quality water-based primer is crucial here as it provides a smooth base for the paint to adhere to and helps enhance the color of your final finish.

  1. Applying Primer: Apply the primer evenly over the entire surface of your polywood furniture using a brush or roller as per your convenience. Make sure not to miss any spots!
  2. Drying Time: Allow the primer to dry completely before painting. The drying time can vary depending on weather conditions, so be sure to follow the instructions on your primer’s label.

Choose Outdoor Plastic Paint

Now comes the exciting part – painting! Choose a high-quality paint designed specifically for outdoor plastic furniture like polywood.

  1. Color Selection: This is where you can get creative! Choose a color that fits your style preferences and complements your outdoor space.
  2. Paint Application: Apply thin, even coats of paint to your polywood furniture. Make sure each coat is completely dry before applying the next. This will result in a smoother finish and better color saturation.

Step-by-Step Painting Instructions

Let’s break down the painting process into manageable steps:

  1. Gather Materials: Collect all necessary materials, including your chosen paint, primer, brushes or rollers, sandpaper, and cleaning supplies. Set up a workspace in a well-ventilated area.
  2. Apply Primer: Use a brush or roller to apply the water-based primer evenly on all surfaces of your polywood furniture.
  3. Paint Polywood Furniture: After the primer is completely dry, apply your chosen paint using the same technique as for the primer. Remember to apply multiple thin coats for the best results.
  4. Add Finishing Touches (Optional): Once you’re satisfied with the paint job, you may want to consider adding sealants or protective coatings to prolong the life of the paint finish and enhance its durability against weather conditions.

Remember, patience is key when painting polywood furniture. By following these step-by-step instructions carefully and giving each coat of primer and paint enough time to dry, you’ll end up with beautifully painted polywood furniture that reflects your style while standing up to outdoor elements!

Tips and Tricks for Maintaining Painted Polywood

Maintaining outdoor furniture, especially painted Polywood, is crucial to ensure it lasts through the seasons while looking its best. Here are some detailed guidelines on how to care for your painted Polywood furniture:

Regular Cleaning

  • Mild Soap Solution: Use a gentle soap mixed with water to wipe down your Polywood pieces. This simple solution can effectively lift dirt and debris without harming the paint.
  • Soft Cloth or Sponge: A non-abrasive cloth or sponge is ideal for cleaning. Avoid using rough materials that could scratch the paint surface.
  • Rinse Thoroughly: After cleaning, rinse the furniture with clean water to remove any soap residue.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals

  • Protect the Finish: Avoid using strong solvents or abrasive cleaners that can strip the paint or damage the finish.
  • Spot Test Cleaners: If you must use a new cleaning product, test it on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t harm the paint.

Touch-Ups and Repaints

  • Inspect Regularly: Check for chips or peeling in the paint. Addressing these early can prevent further damage.
  • Color Matching: If touch-ups are needed, match the paint color precisely for a seamless look.
  • Thin Coats: Apply thin layers of paint to build up coverage without creating drips or texture differences.

Protective Measures

  • Sealants: To add an extra layer of protection against UV rays and moisture, use a clear polyurethane sealant or topcoat designed for outdoor use.
  • Reapply as Needed: Depending on exposure to elements, reapply sealants or protective coatings every few years.

Furniture Placement

  • Mindful Positioning: Place furniture out of direct harsh sunlight when possible to minimize fading and wear from UV exposure.
  • Under Cover: Utilize patio covers or place furniture under a gazebo or pergola for added protection.

Seasonal Care

  • Winter Storage: If possible, store painted Polywood furniture indoors during winter months to protect it from extreme temperatures and conditions.
  • Protective Covers: When storage isn’t an option, invest in quality outdoor furniture covers that provide a barrier against snow and rain.

Regular Maintenance Checks

Perform routine inspections of your Polywood furniture. Look out for:

  • Loose screws or hardware that may need tightening.
  • Surface cracks that could indicate areas requiring more attention.

By adhering to these maintenance tips, you can preserve the vibrant appearance and structural integrity of your painted Polywood outdoor furniture. Remember, a little care goes a long way in extending the life and beauty of your investment.


Mastering the art of painting Polywood furniture adds a personalized touch to your outdoor space and breathes new life into durable, built-to-last pieces. Embracing this DIY painting project not only saves money but also allows for creative expression in furniture restoration.

Here are the key takeaways from this guide:

  1. Refresh Your Space: Transform your Polywood furniture with a fresh coat of paint, selecting colors that match your unique style or the latest design trends.
  2. Extend Furniture Life: By maintaining and painting your Polywood, you’re investing in its longevity, ensuring it remains a part of your outdoor setting for years to come.
  3. Make It Your Own: DIY projects like painting Polywood allow you to customize your furniture, making it truly one-of-a-kind.

Remember, patience and attention to detail are your best friends when it comes to achieving a professional finish. With the right preparation, paints, and techniques, you’ll have outdoor furniture that stands out and withstands time. Whether you’re updating an old favorite or trying something new, the possibilities are endless. Your refreshed Polywood pieces will be ready to impress at your next BBQ or garden party.