The Guide to Patio Chair Repair
The pleasure of sitting on your patio while enjoying a beautiful summer day is an experience many people thoroughly enjoy. However, with constant use chairs are susceptible to damage and will require some form of repair.
The most common types of chairs normally used on patios are cushion, strap and sling chairs. This article will be a guide to help you in repairing your chairs in a simple and easy to do manner.
Regarding wear and tear on your cushion chairs, the most common types are:
- Cushions losing their fullness and becoming uncomfortable.
- Punctures and cuts made by sharp objects.
- Burns made from cigarettes or other flammable items such as candles
Here's how to repair all of these issues:STEP 1 – Replacing the cushions
Once your cushion has become worn-out you can purchase a replacement cushion set via cushion replacement companies or check out our replacement cushion page to see if we carry your brand.
Begin by measuring the width and the length of the pillow from hinge to hinge (where the side meets the other fabric). You'll be able to get most measurements this way. Watch or read this video on how to measure universal cushion replacements here.
STEP 2 – Repairing burns or punctures
Though this can be prevented, burns and punctures sometimes happen by accident. Firstly, assess the extent of the cut or burn to see the depth and area needing repair. The simplest option for both types of damage will be to simply use a replacement cover for the chair. Choose a covering material that is strong and decorative if you prefer to give your cushion an aesthetic appeal. You can choose one that blends or contrasts with your current décor. The size of the covering should be big enough to cover the burn or puncture area or completely replace one or both sides. Use a half-circle shape needle and thread to sew the cover-up material around the burnt or punctured area.
If the damage is bigger you can replace your cushion entirely and give your furniture a brand new look.
Sling patio chairs often have a few major problems after much use: the slings get sun damaged and discolored, they lose their tension and start to sag, or the sling breaks leaving holes where fabric should be. Though it might seem difficult and daunting to fix a sling chair it’s actually quite simple. Start with these steps:
STEP 1 – Measuring the slings
It's important to note: keep the old sling ON the frame as you measure.
You can also read the more comprehensive article on measuring slings here.
Measure The Width
First, we'll start measuring horizontally from rail to rail. Start about two inches from the top and take the measurement. Then take the same measurement in the middle of the sling and the bottom. We do this to compare these measurements and see if the fabric size varies or not.
Sometimes you will find that there's a little more variation between the 3 measurements but as long as it's not more than a 0.5" between them you can just stick to the average. If you do see a bigger variation that is more than 0.5", order it! That's the safest option!
Measure The Length
Now measure the length of the sling which is going to be taken from up at the top edge of the fabric right on the rail and all the way down.
To be safe you can add an eighth of an inch longer than shorter because it's easy to tuck that into the rail.
Measure The Rods
With our new slings, we provide new dowels (a.k.a rods), you also measure these as well, to see what size they are you can compare them to drill bits.
Most of the time they're either going to be the 7/32" or 1/4" which is the two sizes we offer with our replacement slings.
You can also watch our video tutorial here:
Now you are ready to order your slings:
- 2 Piece Custom Chair Replacement Sling- slings for a chair that has a back and a seat separate from each other.
- 1 Piece Custom Chair Replacement Sling- slings for a chair that has one single sling seat fabric.
- 2 Piece Custom Chaise Replacement Sling- slings for a chaise lounge.
- Custom Ottoman Replacement Sling- slings for ottomans.
STEP 2 – Installing the Slings
Once your new slings have arrived it's time to install them. Depending on what type of chair you have, here's are the complete tutorials:
- How to install a 1 piece sling chair
- How to install a 2 piece sling chair
- How to install a sling chaise lounge
- Finishing touches- How to install rail end caps on sling chairs.
Saggy and broken straps are the most common problem with strap chairs. Repairing your strap chair can be an easy process as well, here's how:STEP 1- Choose between pre-cut straps or strap roll.
In order to replace the straps you will need to choose between ordering straps that come ready to install or a strap roll from which you can make your own straps from. The answer is simple:
- Pre-cut straps: for beginners, for those who only need 1 to 5 straps only, for those who don't mind paying a bit more for the convenience of an already made strap.
- Strap roll: for intermediate do-it-yourselfers who prefer to make their own straps, for those who need to make 10+ straps.
To read more about deciding which format to buy, take a look at our article Shopping Tips: Pre-cut Vinyl Straps vs. Straps on a Roll.
To determine how long of a strap roll to buy, you can read How To Order The Right Vinyl Strap Roll. This article will explain the math and help you determine wether to buy a 50-foot-roll, 100-foot-roll, and 200-foot-roll.
STEP 2- Measure the straps for ordering.
The first thing you need to do to get started is determine the way the current straps on your chair are wrapped and fastened in place. There are two types of configurations: a single wrap strap and a double wrap strap.
A single wrap strap only wraps around the furniture once and the end of the strap is still visible, while a double wrap strap wraps around the furniture twice and the rivet ends up hidden inside the double wrapping. A rivet is the small plastic clip that inserts in the side hole and holds the strap in place.
Single Strap Measurement
Next proceed to measure the distance between the holes. For a single strap wrap, grab a cloth tape measure and measure how the existing strap lies-start at the edge of the hole, around the frame and to other side and around to the other hole as seen in the picture. Note the measurement.
Double Strap Measurement
For a double wrap strap, start at the hole and wrap it around twice then stretch the tape to the other side and wrap it twice again- (again you are measuring the same distance as the existing installed straps). Note the measurement.
Decrease by 10%
Now that you have the correct measurements, it's time to decrease that number by 10% to account for the tightness needed. So for example if you measured 25 inches, 10% of 25 inches is 2.5 inches, then subtract that from 25 inches and the correct measurement for your strap is 22.5 inches.
If you'd like to read the intricacies of measuring, here's the best article for you: How to Measure Vinyl Straps for Replacement
Now you can order your straps here:
- Pre-cut vinyl straps
- Straps by the Roll
- Rivets- you will need to order these to fasten the straps in place.
STEP 3- Make the straps (Skip if you ordered pre-cut straps)
- Cut your vinyl straps at the desired measurement. Make sure you added the additional 10% to the measurement.
- Drill the holes at both ends to fasten the rivets.
- Now the straps are ready to be installed.
We encourage you to read the complete process for making straps with pictures and video included on How to Make Vinyl Strapping from a Strap Roll.
STEP 4- Installing the straps
Installing the straps is quite easy to do:
- Place the straps into boiling water. We recommend doing this in your backyard, with a large pot, wearing heat resistant gloves.
- After 3 or 4 minutes, remove the strap from the hot water using the tongs and whilst wearing the gloves to protect your hands. Shake off excess water and put in the rivets if you haven’t already.
- Stretch the strap from one side to the other of the frame to install it, and push the rivets into the holes.
There's a few differences when installing single and double wrap straps. If you have a single wrapped strap, here's how to install it:
If you have a double strap, here's how to install it:
Here's two tutorials that you might want to read for complete in-depth instructions:
- How to Replace Vinyl Straps on Lounge Chairs
- How to Install Double Wrap Vinyl Strapping on Patio Chairs or Chaise Lounges
- How to Pick the Right Rivet
Knowing how to do DIY repairs to your patio and other outdoor furniture can save you the cost of a new patio set. Patio chair repairs should be done in early Spring so your furniture looks great in Summer when it is most often used. Make sure you buy quality materials for your repairs to ensure your furniture stays functional and looking great for longer.
If after reading this tutorial you decide it's better to send your repairs to a patio repair shop, here's our guide on How to Pick a Quality Patio Furniture Repair Shop.