How to Repair a Recliner

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Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver (Flat-head or Phillips-head)

  • Wood glue/clamp

  • Adjustable Wrench

  • Hammer and nails

  • Screws, Nuts, Bolts in various sizes

  • Upholstery patches/glue

  • Wood

Nothing is more frustrating than sitting down in your recliner, looking forward to a relaxing evening, then feeling or hearing something snap. However, fixing a recliner is usually very easy, and takes only a few minutes. Broken or missing fasteners, such as nuts and bolts or screws will need replacing. A broken wooden frame can be patched or even rebuilt.


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Step 1

Determine exactly what is wrong with the recliner, and the tools that will be needed to repair it.

Step 2

If screws are loose, tighten them with either a flat-head or Phillips-head screwdriver, depending on the screw head type. If screws are missing, determine if there are matching ones anywhere else on the frame. If so, note the size and replace the missing screw with one that will fit.


Step 3

If nuts and/or bolts are loose, tighten them with an adjustable wrench. If nuts and/or bolts are missing, determine what size is needed, and replace them with ones that are the proper size.

Step 4

If the handle that operates the footrest has become loose, simply tighten the fasteners that are holding it to the chair. If the handle is broken, it is possible to purchase or order a replacement part that simply fits in the original opening. Obtain the brand name of the chair and order the handle that is designed to fit.


Step 5

If the recliner chair base is made of wood, cracks in the wood can be repaired with the application of wood glue and a clamp. Apply the wood glue, and then clamp the area until the glue has completely dried. If the wooden base has broken completely, the old one can be used as a pattern to make a new one, and the chair fastened to it.


Step 6

If the recliner base is metal, and you cannot repair it, it may be possible to replace the metal base with a more durable wooden one. Use the old metal base as a pattern to cut and build the wooden frame to fit the chair, and then fasten the chair to the new base.

Step 7

If there are tears or holes in the covering, upholstery patches can be purchased that will match the original color, pattern, and material. Some patches are self-adhesive; cut the patch to fit, expose the adhesive, and smooth the patch into place. Other patches can be affixed with fabric or another type of glue. Again, cut the patch to fit, glue and smooth into place, clamp or apply weight until the glue is completely dry.


Keep different sizes of screws, nuts, and bolts on hand. This way, when a repair is needed, it will only be a matter of finding one that is the right size.

It may be possible to purchase upholstery repair kits at the place where the original recliner was bought. If this is the case, purchase one at the same time as you do the recliner so that it will be available should anything happen.


Do not attempt to repair a recliner chair if it is evident that the repair job will not support a person’s weight when the chair is sat in. It is better to purchase a new chair than to risk someone being injured if the recliner collapses.

Children should be supervised when in the room with a recliner chair. There are moving parts on the chair (the foot rest and handle) that can cause serious injury to children. In particular, if a recliner has a space between the footrest portion and the chair itself, a child’s head or other body part could become stuck, causing serious injury or even death.

Even an adult should exercise caution when operating a recliner chair. Suddenly reclining or returning the chair to an upright position can cause injury if one is not careful.