Within the world of Adirondack chairs, two major brands stand at the forefront for today’s luxury outdoor living enthusiasts: Polywood and Serwall.
Both offer classic sloped seat, curved back Adirondack style rendered through proprietary lumber materials promising all-weather resilience without the need for annual maintenance inherent to traditional wooden furniture.
Yet when comparing Serwall and Polywood adirondack chairs, distinct differences emerge that make one or the other a better match depending on your priorities…especially concerning durability, affordability and overall value.
In the battle of Polywood vs Serwall, there’s no universal winner. The right brand for your needs depends on careful consideration of the factors below:
- Weather Durability
- Material Quality & Construction
- Maintenance Requirements
- Style Customization & Color Options
- Comfort Considerations
- Costs, Value & Investment Horizon
Let’s dive in-depth across all these comparison points between Serwall and Polywood patio chairs.
A Brief Comparison Table
|Proprietary polystyrene lumber
|Recycled plastic reinforced with wood fibers
|Extremely durable and weather resistant, 10 year warranty
|More prone to cracking/fading, shorter lifespan
|Zero maintenance needed
|Periodic sealing required in harsh weather
|Traditional wooden look, 7 neutral colors
|20+ bright and trendy color options
|Cushions, tables, ottomans available
|Contoured seat/back, lumbar support
|Flat panel seating can get uncomfortable
|$350+ per chair
|$130-$250 per chair
|Value Over Time
|Highest long-term value, heirloom quality
|Low upfront cost but may need replacing
|Durability and comfort are top priority
|Tight budget or changing style preferences
Unpacking Serwall’s Total Durability Offerings
Founded in 2004, Serwall rapidly emerged as a premium brand in the synthetic lumber furniture space. Serwall’s founders leveraged relationships in the marine construction industry to adapt state-of-the-art polystyrene lumber technologies into elegant, high-performance patio chairs.
The dense polystyrene formula imbues Serwall chairs incredible advantages in foulest climates known to rapidly corrode wooden furniture.
Comparing Key Materials & Construction
Now that we’ve weighed both brands’ promises around weatherproofing and real-world longevity, let’s do a side by side materials and construction quality analysis so we can better contextualize pricing and value factors later on.
Serwall’s Polystyrene Lumber Makeup
Serwall utilizes a proprietary marine-grade polystyrene plastic lumber refered to as Densetec for crafting their patio chairs.
Polystyrene plastic you likely recognize from disposable cutlery and take out food containers known for extreme rigidity and durability protecting substances inside through all transportation shocks and abuse.
In lumber form factor produced for infrastructure and construction usage, polystyrene offers weather and corrosion resistance comparable to metals without hefty weight.
It’s precisely that extreme climate resilience found in marina and coastline projects that makes polystyrene perfect crafting chairs.
Key qualities around Serwall’s polystyrene chemistry and composition include:
- Dense homogenous structure with same molecular formulation throughout rather than weaker boundary layers prone on painted or coextruded plastics vulnerable chipping, peeling and separations after years exposed to elements and UV.
- Pigments permeate entirely through polystyrene lumber rather than existing only surface level in painted Woods requiring frequent reapplication of sealants and varnishes or cheaper plastics using thin dye topcoats that quickly get bleached out by solar radiation over initial 12 months outside.
- Represents engineered thermoplastic lumber rather than pseudo-composite recycled plastic and wood or reclaimed fiber lumber dependent upon secondary glues, fillers and stabilizing agents to augment structural rigidity which degrade faster outdoors shedding microplastics and chemicals.
- Made fully impermeable to moisture, chlorine and corrosive salts thanks to non-porous polystyrene Iumber makeup avoiding mold buildup, warping or cupping issues plaguing woods requiring meticulous sealing maintenance.
Clearly polystyrene lumber constitutes the ideal base material foundation to craft generational-quality outdoor chairs if your budget allows for the premium. Next we’ll contrast Serwall’s construction approach against budget rival Polywood’s…
Polywood’s Recycled Plastic Makeup
Rather than utilizing virgin plastic polymers like Serwall, sustainability minded Polywood manufacturers use a proprietary “HDPE” recycled plastic lumber reinforced by various wood fibers, oils and mixed cellulose.
The resulting hybrid composite attempts balancing cost efficiencies, structural rigidity and weather resistance reaching mainstream patio furniture price points after the high expense obtaining raw polystyrene lumber inputs.
Their recycled plastic sourcing pipeline does deserve admiration diverting millions of gallons of containers and bottles from landfills yearly. Although let’s detail resulting lumber performance compromises tied to inputs centered around post-consumer plastic waste streams:
- Heavy reliance upon recycled plastic milk jugs, laundry detergent bottles and similar containers limits engineering towards optimal structural stiffness to mimic natural wood lightness after such products get shredded, melted and remolded since original chemical properties become permanently altered after initial usage cycle.
- Wood fibers utilized provide needed stiffness but also invite long term issues. Since these porous composites soak in ambient humidity then dry out inconsistently through seasonal shifts causing microscopic cracking and separation between wood component adhesion points and plastic foundation.
- Painting coloring and faux wood grain textures risks chipping, flaking or bleaching out faster than Serwall’s pigments penetrating polystyrene lumber makeup completely across chair surfaces since these exist only superficially without uniform mixture into core material.
- Weaker boundary strength than pure dense plastic lumber means screws securing slats together gradually loosen over repetitive freeze/thaw cycles along hot and cold seasons presenting replacement hassles.
In summary, Polywood does an admirable job stretching recycled consumer waste into sturdy, stylish outdoor patio furniture most owners appreciate greatly during initial 5-10 year lifespan.
Yet performance inevitably proves limited long-term next Serwall’s uncompromising construction standards and high performance materials more comparable to metals and stone rather than woods or polymers alone.
But next we’ll see how such compromises allow Polywood delivering immense diversity around style options most homeowners yearn for when envisioning their perfect custom getaway no matter the budget.
Style Customization, Color Options & Creativity Differences
Beyond core furniture construction and longevity factors, personalized style stands equally crucial selecting patio chairs matching your outdoor vision. So let’s compare what Polywood and Serwall each offer around:
- Color Availability
- Patterns & Textures
- Customizations & Add-ons
- Overall Aesthetic Variety
Budget minded Polywood makes prudent manufacturing investments offering the widest variety furniture pieces, build combinations and color options right out the box.
Their 20+ solid shade options from subdued earth tones to bright primaries paired with different wood grain finishes and table accessorizes provides endless custom patio configurations.
Further uniqueness comes from interchangeably swapping Polywood’s dozens of seat, table and ottoman offerings freely thanks to their signature fastening system allowing families selectively upgrading individual items each season without having mismatched sets.
Additionally, built-in beverage holders, concealable wheels and child height options maintain relevance as needs evolve. Finally, replaceable clip-on cushions available in myriad fabrics, fills and tones make seasonal style refreshes simple so ambient aesthetics never feel dated.
In all, frugal homeowners praise Polywood delivering almost boutique style diversity at big box brand pricing.
Unlike mass market Polywood servicing value minded shoppers craving endless permutations to showcase uniqueness, Serwall maintains focusing solely on hand crafting luxury quality Adirondack chairs only.
So color options limit towards classic earthy wooden looks in 7 subdued solid tones from Safe Harbor Grey and Seagrass Green to Golden Teak and Maple Wood resembling natural lumber hues.
Yet the profound craftsmanship and heft of substantial polystyrene lumber construction brings fine art warmth and permanence patios closer resembling cherished family heirlooms over transient consumer goods.
For discerning homeowners seeking archetypal lifelong patio chairs matching other masonry landscaping elements, Serwall delivers lasting sensory nostalgia wooden sets tap into rather than flashy modern art attempting capturing fleeting trends.
So determining ideal style, textures and colors remains highly subjective based on personal aesthetics, existing landscape investments and longevity vision balancing trends versus timelessness.
Thankfully here both Serwall and Polywood offer tailored strengths. Polywood serves nouveau homeowners embracingOutside Magazine layouts but expecting tastes evolving quicker.
Whereas Serwall follows classic Yankee philosophies valuing weathered heritage boulder walls, estate fencing and garden architecture for decades unchanged. Neither proves right nor wrong, just distinct eyeing patio furniture placemaking under different mindsets.
Comfort Factors: Ergonomics & Relaxation Science
Beyond weatherproof construction, customizable style and value divides, comfort ranks paramount for homeowners envisioning endless afternoons cradled within their Adirondack escape oasis.
So how do Polywood and Serwall’s offerings compare ensuring muscle happiness and supporting relaxed postures relieving back pressure enabling hour upon blissful porch reading hour without body aches, joint stiffness or circulation issues?
Let’s weigh qualities around seat contouring, lumbar alignments and weight optimizations allowing homeowners transcending to ultimate outdoor living zen states.
Crafting their chairs from dense rigid polystyrene opens impressive ergonomic shaping potential allowing Serwall designers emulating classic sloped bucket seat and waterfall rear contours found in vintage set designs painstakingly supporting the body.
Strategically compacting certain areas along the seat pan, upper thigh ledge and rear bolsters creates form-fitting comfort zones reducing muscle strain or contact point pressures abolishing discomforts wooden variants engender over prolonged usage.
Arm height, grip shape/texture and ratios between seat depth, backrest incline and overall width harmonize aligning average skeletal body frames allowing personalized customizations should any adjustability prove desired.
Finally, distributing between 30-50 pounds across the footprint depending on selected Serwall models provides sufficient stability and mass dampening kinetic bounce or wobble feeling tippy versus grounded. Together such meticulous custom comfort refinements promise uncompromising musculoskeletal happiness hour upon hour.
Given recycled milk jugs and detergent bottles provide far less malleability versatility sculpting intricate chair shapes compared to dense polystyrene lumber, Polywood adopts a simplified, flat panel construction approach for theirsignature designs.
This allows efficient assembly mainly utilizing basic butt joints and mechanically fastened screws rather than elaborate joinery cuts or lathed contours mimicking human geometry.
The resulting aesthetic channels classic porch rocker profiles with straight front edges and flat seating planes using a rear leg brace supporting the centered rear load bearing beam running horizontal rather than Serwalls flowing side to side curvature.
Without contours molding around the body, Polywood seats generally prove less forgiving than Serwall’s ergonomic lines relying more on standalone padded cushions to ameliorate contact comfort points against the rigid plastic foundation.
These modular cushions do allow some customization freedom tailoring thickness, firmness and fabrics to each owner’s preference. Although bulkier addons also increase likelihood of shifting, wear/tear damage and inconsistent weather protection relative to Serwall’s molded-in seat padding.
Regarding weight and stability, keeping construction simplified using mainly hollow recycled plastic panels and air gaps dropped into squared metal legpole assemblies averages around 30 pounds tipping the scales noticeable lighter than Serwall’s 40-50+ pound offerings.
The feathery feel makes rearranging deck placements convenient, especially factoring wheeled mobility carts. But strong breezes or active users can occasionally overwhelm balance points leveraging such lightness sending Polywood seats teetering.
So owners occasionally place supplemental weights or temporary stability kickstands preventing tip overs when expecting extra rowdy backyard happy hours.
In all for ergonomics and long-sit comfort factors, Serwall accepts some stylistic limitations engineering in tailored support missing from Polywood’s more basic universal shapes reliant upon replaceable cushions.
So Serwall promises better integrating into the body’s natural curves, but Polywood offers more customization flexibility.
Investment Costs &intrinsic Value Differs Greatly Between Brands
Now that we’ve explored all facets around construction approaches, durability expectations, style availability and comfort provisions between these two brands, let’s conclude assessing appropriate valuations given promises delivered.
Exact pricing fluctuates seasonally and between individual models. But generally expect paying:
$350+ per chair with sets typically running $1,200+ once factoring accompanying side table and optional ottoman. Specialty sizes, custom performance fabric upgrades or taller bar height seating push higher.
$130-$250 baseline for their elegantly simple signature designs before surcharges adding extra thick cushions, mobility carts and specialty stain or table pairings elevating costs potentially upwards of $500+ when maximizing accessories.
Clearly Serwall costs considerably more upfront, usually 2X+ that of basic Polywood sets before any customizations. That brings us to the key value determination arbiter: expected lifespan.
- Serwall Lifespan
Among plastic lumber furniture brands, only trex offers comparable lifelong construction thanks to their thick extruded singular plank makeup. Serwall utilizes similar marine-grade polyethylene engineering promising 20+ years structural and aesthetic longevity outdoors through all weather extremes and sun damage even for coastal regions and the harshest seasonal shifts.
Their required hefty R&D budgets developing such technology paired with lower sales volumes necessitates the steeper pricing which prudent homeowners should consider insurance investing into lifelong furniture that ages beautifully.
- Polywood Lifespan
As a budget alternative promising sustainability and style flexibility advantages, Polywood sets deliver immense enjoyment the initial 5-8 years of regular use.
And by investing small efforts into proper seasonal cleaning, storage and maintenance like applying protective sealants on vulnerable corners and edges, average longevity Expectations hit the 10-15 year range on par or better than natural wicker, woods or cheaper resin sets costing similar initial amounts.
Just realize fading, drying, chalking and eventual breakdown remains inevitable as years pile on and ambitious claims of “lifetime warranties” expect reasonable care upholding your responsibility battling entropy.
So in terms of intrinsic value, Serwall unquestionable justifies the higher ticket price if holding patio furniture quality to strictest standards around lifelong performance and heirloom-quality build needing zero worrying or upkeep.
Polywood makes perceptual sense for bargain hunters around limited budget or anticipating evolving preferences warranting upgrades later on anyways down the road.
Just know only reaching 3-7 years of backyard enjoyment risks wasting money better spent paying more initially for 20 years beautiful relaxation adding to fond memories through phases of life rather than disposable years of usage alone.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
The main alternative to Polywood is Serwall. Serwall manufactures premium outdoor furniture using polystyrene lumber that offers superior weather resistance and durability compared to Polywood. Other alternatives include Trex, Amish-made wooden chairs, or brands like Lifetime that use recycled plastic.
Serwall uses proprietary polystyrene lumber called Densetec. This is a dense, non-porous plastic that resists cracking, rotting, mold, and mildew. It’s the same material used in piers and marinas due to its rugged durability.
The best materials come down to climate and use case. Serwall’s polystyrene stands unmatched for all-weather durability. But sustainable options like Polywood or properly sealed wooden chairs also perform well. Marine grade plastics, cedar, teak, and redwood are other top choices.
For the affordable price, Polywood makes decent outdoor furniture built from recycled materials. But it may develop mold or degrade quicker than premium brands like Serwall in harsh weather environments. In ideal climates and with proper care, Polywood offers good value. For maximum long-term durability, Serwall is worth the extra investment.
Conclusion – Matching Expectations to Best Value Over Personal Timeframes
After extensively reviewing every nitty gritty construction and performance detail differentiating Serwall and Polywood adirondack chairs, hopefully the optimal brand selection given your budget, priorities and timeline enjoying outdoor living bliss becomes clear!
Either way, keeping realistic about usage durations beyond the initial excitement stage remains wise no matter which brand chosen. Any corner cut manufacturing plastic furniture eventually shows compromises decades later.
So set proper expectations around planned longevity factors – whether 5, 15 or 30+ years from purchase date. Follow care and maintenance guidelines to maximize value from warrantied timeframes. And should degradation issues creep up prematurely from quality defects, do reference warranty coverage to pursue resolution.
Outdoor leisure seasons never last long enough before cold weather returns shuttering patio furniture away into winter storage.
So make these spring’s deck enhancement decisions around chairs built ensuring many future warm weather memories laughing with loved ones beneath the setting sun well justified through chosen brand’s stability promises and your family’s visions enjoying al fresco living!