How to Re-Strap Patio Chairs

Michele M. Howard

Vinyl strapping that has broken or become worn is easy to replace on patio furniture. Individual straps can be replaced, or for a complete makeover, replace them all.

Refurbish your patio chairs by re-strapping.

Patio furniture takes a beating in the long, hot summers and over time will start to show signs of wear and tear. The UV rays from the sun will cause the vinyl strapping to become brittle and even discolor. Vinyl straps can break, or poolside chairs can become stained with body oils and tanning lotions.

Fortunately, it's relatively easy to replace broken or worn straps, or to give your vinyl patio chairs a facelift by replacing all the straps. With a little bit of your time, a few materials and a little patience, your furniture will have that new look again.

Vinyl patio chairs may use a variety of methods of attaching the straps to the metal frames, including rivets, pegs, or machine screws. Where possible, try to use the same method to attach the new straps. On chairs where the straps are attached with pegs, it's usually fairly simple to pry out the pegs and reuse them when attaching the new straps. Pop rivet tools are inexpensive and easy to use. Where you find it impossible to reuse the pegs or use rivets, you can also attach the new strapping with machine screws sized to match the existing mounting holes in the chair frames.

  1. Cut off the old vinyl straps to be replaced, using scissors. Remove the straps by twisting and pulling them until the fasteners release from the frame of the chair. You can use a screwdriver and pliers to bend and pry out hard-to-remove fasteners, such as expandable rivets.

  2. Measure the length for the new strap, using a cloth measuring tape. Position it at the hole in the chair frame, wrap it around the chair frame in the same direction as the vinyl straps, and pull it across to the opposite side of the chair. Wrap the tape around the frame and take the measurement at the opposite hole. Reduce this measurement by 10 percent to get the exact length for the new strap. This reduction is necessary because the new straps will be stretched when you install them.

  3. Transfer the measurement to the new vinyl strapping and cut it to length. Drill a hole at each end of the strap, about 1/2 inch from the end, using a drill and 3/16-inch bit. Cut and trim the corners of the strap so they have dog-ear ends.

  4. Boil water and pour the water into a bucket. Soak the new vinyl strap for about five minutes to soften it and prepare it for stretching. Carefully remove the strap with tongs, as it will be quite hot. Wipe the strap dry with a clean towel.

  5. Work quickly on the next steps, as the vinyl strap needs to be warm and pliable enough to stretch.

  6. Tip

    Vinyl strapping can also be heated with a heat gun or hair dryer, but be careful not to overheat it.

  7. Insert a rivet, peg fastener, or machine screw into the holes at each end of the strap. Starting at one side of the chair frame, insert the fastener into the mounting hole in the frame. If using rivets, use the rivet tool to expand the rivet inside the mounting hole. If using machine screws, drive in the screw until it fits securely in the frame. Peg-type fasteners can be driven with a mallet.

  8. Holding the chair firmly in one hand, wrap the strap around the frame and across to the opposite side of the frame. Considerable force may be needed in order to stretch the strap. Insert the fastener into the opposite mounting hole and secure the strap in place.

  9. Tip

    If you have several straps to replace, measure, cut, and install them one at a time. This will ensure that each strap is warm enough to stretch.