DIY Repair of Squeaky Office Swivel Chair

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How to repair a squeaky office desk chair. Here is my DIY repair of a squeaking office chair /computer swivel armchair, showing various steps of disassembling, locating the source of the squeak and tightening the loose bolts under the seat padding.


Do It Yourself Office Chairs Repair

I've had my home office computer chair for some ten years now and while I am due a new chair, the one I am using is still serviceable. Except for an annoying squeak it makes every time I move, it is still in fair condition.

Several times now, having previously sprayed WD-40 lubricating oil on every conceivable joint and mechanism where the squeak might be emanating from, it still made noise. Sitting perfectly still was the only way to avoid making noise.

Loose Bolts/Screws on the Office Desk Chair?

I tightened every bolt and screw I could find, and still it squeaks. The armrest was slightly wobbly, -it felt as if something was broken or unattached inside of the upholstery where it attaches to the seat. I was beginning to fear that my computer desk-chair was destined to recycling. It was time to diagnose and attempt to fix or replace whatever was broken.

high-back computer office desk chair

Armrest is Source of Squeaky Noise in Swivel Chair

approximate source of squeaky armrest on computer chair

Here is approximately where the unidentified squeak is located. The armrest on this side also moves when firmly wiggled. This suggests the attachment is either loose or broken.

Removing the four plastic button covers on each armrest (three are visible here,) we uncover the four long screws that hold the backrest and armrest to the seat. Using a large gauge screwdriver, remove all four tensioning bolts from both armrests and set the backrest, both armrests and the four bolts aside.

Office Chair Armrest Removed From Both Sides

removing the four screws removes the backrest and armrest, as show here

Open Up the Stapled Upholstery from the Bottom of the Chair

Turn the chair over onto the seat. Using the flat screwdriver and hammer, remove the staples that hold the upholstery to the left-hand and right-hand edges on the bottom of the wooden seat. Turn the chair back upright as shown below.

Pull Back Upholstery to Reveal Angle Bracket Attach Points

computer chair upholstery is pulled back to reveal angle-bracket support where it attaches via screws to wooden seat base

This is the steel angle bracket that holds everything together, and the source of our problem. The two screws that hold it to the wooden seat base were loose.

tighten loose bracket screws that hold armrest support bracket

Tighten both screws on each side. The bottom of the chair typically has an embedded nut that accepts the screw threads. We are now ready to re-assemble the chair.

Reassemble the Repaired Office Swivel Chair

But first, -do the world a favor...

with the upholstery unhooked, stuff some fabric softener sheets under the fabric

A few well-placed fabric softener sheets shoved under the fabric but on top of the seat padding foam will address the problem of seat odors and keep your computer chair smelling fresher for months to come.

With the chair upside down on the floor, stretch and staple the upholstery to the underside wood seat, as shown.

stapling the upholstery to the underside of the wooden chair seat

Using a heavy-gauge staple tool, staple the fabric to the underside of the wooden chair seat. Reassembling the chair now is just a matter of reattaching the armrest and backrest with the eight long bolts (four per side) that we removed at the beginning of this project.

Reattach Armrest and Backrest Bolts to Office Chairs Seat

Reattach the armrest to the seat, then reattach the backrest to the armrest. Replace the plastic button-covers that conceal the bolt heads.

Reattach the armrest to the seat first, then reattach the backrest to the armrest using the diagram as shown. Replace the plastic button-covers (four per side) that conceal the bolt heads and we're done!

Office Chair is Repaired: No More Squeaks or Creaks

The computer chair is now reassembled, repaired and has no squeaks in the armrest

I still want a new, modern swivel office chair for my computer desk. But for now this good ol' swivel chair is repaired and has no more squeaks.


Jerry Walch
Posted on Jan 30, 2011
carol roach
Posted on Jan 29, 2011