How to Repair Metal Bar Stools

  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-80
What You'll Need
Measuring tape
Rust paint
Wire brush
Rubber leg bottom

Metal bar stools are known for their durability and sleek, stylish designs. They usually don't need much maintenance, which is great, but when things do break, repairing them is usually a quick and easy process.

Step 1 – Fixing Swivels

The biggest issue that occurs with metal bar stools is a loose swivel. Luckily, fixing it is a snap. The most difficult part is actually figuring out what type of swivel you need. If you do not know offhand, take a look at the swivel you already have installed and figure out the distance between the screws at each point.

At the hardware store, try to get a swivel that is as close in measurement as possible. The standard size is 5 ¼ inches. Another thing you should find out before you buy is whether you require a flat or a tilted swivel. A backless bar stool will need a flat swivel, but a backed bar stool can use either kind. If the swivel has plates that are equidistant from each other, you have a flat swivel. If not, you have a tilted swivel.

Step 2 – Removing Rust

Metal bar stools will rust if exposed to humid, moist environments for a sustained period of time. To get rid of the rust, take a wire brush and scrub until the rust has flaked off. Since you’ll need a completely smooth surface before you can paint, sand the metal down until it’s smooth.

If you decide to paint, you can protect against future rust by using a rust repelling primer. There are also many different water-based paints on the market now which are anti-rust, so using both a primer and a paint that is rust resistant will be your best defense.

Step 3 – Stabilizing Wobbly Legs or Seat

Metal legs or seats tend to come loose for a couple of reasons. The first is because the legs are not wide enough to support a lot of weight. Over time, the excess weight burdens the legs and the screws strip, causing the legs to become unstable. Consider replacing your stool’s legs if you notice they wear out easily.

A screw can also strip when it’s screwed in too tightly. When there’s no give, weight placed on it bends and pulls it, putting a strain that can’t be relieved by a little flexibility. If this is the case, you will need to replace the screw with one held into place just a little less firmly.

Step 4 – Evening Out Legs

If the legs of your bar stool have become uneven or damaged, and you don’t want to replace them, you have this option of fixing them: a quick fix involves determining which leg is shorter and simply replacing the rubber bottom with one that adds a little more length. Adding a little more height to the problem leg will keep the stool from rocking.


Metal bar stools will last a long time if you take care of any needed repairs promptly and thoroughly. A little time and effort to fix a small problem will save you from spending double the time and money in the future.