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How to Repair Recliner Frames

Heidi Nickerson
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Recliners are a staple of many homes, but the everyday wear and tear of using one can cause damage to the frame. Repairing the frame yourself is certainly less expensive than replacing the chair entirely, but it can also be more rewarding.

How to Repair Recliner Frames

Though many pieces of furniture can last for years without incident, recliners are more prone to damage due to everyday usage. Once the chair is damaged, if you don’t have a warranty, you can either buy a new piece of furniture, pay to have it repaired or repair it yourself. Do-it-yourself fixes range from straightforward to a little more challenging.

What Makes A Recliner?

A recliner is any chair that allows the sitter to recline by lowering the back and raising the footrest. Upholstered armchairs recline by pressing a button, lever or handle. There are two types of reclining mechanisms that allow a chair to adjust the position. The first is a manual lever which you pull to change the chair from an upright position to a reclined angle. The second is an automatic, motor-powered mechanism.

Most recliners are made of sturdy hardwood frames to withstand the constant stress of motion on the chair. Frames are the first part of the recliner manufacturing process and all the other parts of the chair are attached to it. The frame is shaped, planed and joined together with nuts, bolts, screws, nails or staples. Once the frame is complete, the metal reclining mechanism is attached.

Common Problems With Recliner Frames

Is your recliner creaking whenever you sit down? The wear and tear of daily use can loosen screws and other hardware holding the frame together. If a section of the frame breaks, you can repair it yourself, but it will take some time and care. To access the frame, you need to turn the chair on its side or upside down. You should not have to cut into the upholstery to look at the damaged section since most recliners are easy to navigate underneath. Just be sure to keep the chair flat and steady while you work on it to prevent further damage.

Your Repair Kit

Once you have diagnosed the problem, you can repair most recliner frames using an adjustable wrench, a flat-head or Philips screwdriver and wood glue.

Reinforcing Weakened Joints

If your frame is wobbly or creaky due to weak joints, tighten all the screws with the screwdriver. You can tighten nuts and bolts with the adjustable wrench. Replace any stripped or missing screws, nuts or bolts. You can look online for your recliner model or refer to your owner’s manual to see what type of hardware you need and take any damaged pieces with you to the hardware store.

Repairing Damaged Wood

In contrast to the straightforward repair of hardware, wood repair can get complicated if you are not careful. If you find any cracks or splits in sections of the frame, take photos to help you plan your repair. You can fix small cracks with some wood glue and use clamps to hold the glued sections secure until completely dry. When large sections of the frame are damaged, you can either remove that section and patch it with a new piece of wood and new hardware or reinforce the damaged wood with hardware.

It is helpful to search for your recliner model online to see if other consumers have similar problems. You may even find a diagram of your chair online, which will help you find specific areas for repair. Hopefully, after a bit of time and effort, you will extend the life of your chair for years to come.