Replacing the Hardware in Your Porch Glider

wooden porch glider
What You'll Need
Replacement glider hardware
Ratchet set

A porch glider can be a comfortable seat for any patio or yard, but sometimes enjoying them can cause wear and tear on the hardware. While both the seats and their glider mechanisms can be made of different materials, their makeups and functions are essentially the same. The signature smooth and consistent motion of a glider chair is achieved through use of a 4-bar suspension device, which is usually made of steel or wood that holds the chair portion to its frame.

The position of the glider mechanism can change from a wicker chair to one of steel or wood, because as the materials change, so do weak points in its frame and seat. Wicker porch gliders usually have steel mechanisms, while wood porch gliders tend to have wood mechanisms to make the entire chair cohesive. As such, the tools and materials need to be adjusted accordingly.

Step 1 – Remove Old Hardware

To do this, turn the entire glider upside down. Use the ratchet to remove all of the nuts connecting the chair to its base. Before removing the long bolts, it is suggested that a friend help with holding the chair up so it doesn’t fall and break, and so the connecting pre-drilled holes stay intact. Remove the long bolts. The arms—or bars that connect the two bolts on either side—should come off as a result of taking out the bolts. Finally, lift the base from the chair.

Step 2 – Replace the Hardware

When replacing the gliding mechanism, it is important to ensure that the bolts and screws all fit correctly. If the drilled holes in which the original bolts belong are worn, it may be necessary to use the next larger size of bolt or screw. Once this is determined and remedied, attach the new arms and hardware in the same way as the old system was removed. The individual steps to this will change with the different systems on the market. Basic kits should include at least 8 bearings, bolts, washers and nuts, and some ½” pan head screws to hold the bearings in place.

It is again recommended to have a second person hold the base while installing the new hardware. When the base is held in the position in which it is to be bolted, slide a washer onto the bolt, all the way to the end, followed by the first bearing designated for that side, and one more washer. Now bring the bolt through the holes in the chair and the base, from the outside inwards. Attach a washer, and the second bearing. Next, slide another washer onto the bolt. Finish with the nut for that bolt, and tighten it. Repeat this process for the remaining 3 pairs of holes.

Step 3 – Finish and Fine-tune

Screw the bearings into place with your screwdriver. Check to ensure the tightness of the screws in the brackets for wicker or metal chairs, or in the wood, as applicable. Tighten the nuts as necessary. Finally, turn the chair back over.

Now you’re ready to take a break in your newly repaired porch glider. Sit back with a cold drink and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Or start planning for company and build another glider!