Friday, August 9, 2013

It's True! You Really CAN Repair Your Own Patio Furniture, and We Can Help!

Once upon a time, you cruised along at a six-figure income, and your home was a furniture showcase from top to bottom--comfort found in every room, via fabulous high-end furniture that you're really proud of, and that you changed out every few years (just because you could!). And then...the economy crashed and burned! Fortunately, you survived with your career and your homestead reasonably intact, but those six figures have disappeared into the ether, and now you find yourself re-jiggering a much smaller budget.

Naturally, you set some new downsizing-type priorities, such as "cutting back on spending" and "fixing things instead of replacing them". The latter is easy enough, for example, for clothing, which can often be repaired with little more than a needle and thread. But what about that exquisite Brown and Jordan patio sling chair ensemble that's in dire need of repair? You paid a king's ransom for it, and it's gotten five seasons of use now. And...a couple of the chairs are worn and icky looking, not to mention that one chair which met the business end of a knife one raucous evening (quite by accident, of course!). And now it has a big hole in it! You can't replace just one chair, but you can't afford to replace the whole set--but you're darned sure not throwing away Tiffany-priced anything, either!

What to do? Can you even fix a chair like this?

Yes. You can. Really! A lot of patio furniture can be fixed, provided you have the right tools. And we've got you covered there! Today, we're going to look at what is surely our most popular repair/request: replacing the sling in a patio sling chair.

When we say "sling-style" patio furniture chairs, we're talking about chairs which resemble the ones above. Other manufacturers besides Brown & Jordan produce them, they're quite common and very popular. The sling is the part your butt sits on. It's made of synthetic outdoor material--typically polyester or acrylic fiber fabric, coated with a layer of special vinyl, which is turned out as a 'mesh'. From there, it's measured, cut, and stretched onto a chair frame and secured with heavy-duty clips. This type of material is perfect for outdoor patio or pool-area use. If it gets wet, the excess water will drain off through the mesh, and any remaining water evaporates quickly. The greatest thing ever about sling furniture is that you can easily replace the slings if they are damaged, whether they're chairs or chaise lounges.

Now, we know you're looking at the picture, and saying to yourself "You have got to be kidding! I'm going to fix that? Impossible!!" But you can, and WE are going to show you how it's done. By the time all the smoke clears, you'll be so darned proud of yourself, you'll be all a'Pinning and Twittering and Facebooking to your friends about what a genius, thrifty repair person you really are!

SO...where to start? First things first: let's measure the chairs you have, to see what size your slings are. It is critical to understand that you must measure the actual chair frame whenever possible. If you measure existing slings which have already been removed from the chair frame, chances are very good that your measurements will be inaccurate. This is simply due to the fact that the old sling has already been stretched beyond its initial shape and size from use. You can take the measurements of the chair frame, whether or not the old sling is still installed or not. However, in order to achieve accurate results, it is imperative that the rails of the frame and all spreader bars be intact and tightened before measuring.

Our shop requires all customers seeking replacement slings to provide us with the length and width of the chair frame:

To arrive at the length, measure the length of the sling rail from top to bottom using a cloth measuring tape. Be sure that the measuring tape rests along the bend of the chair rail and does not move out of position while measuring.
Note: When measuring a chaise lounge, it is best to measure the length of the sling along the chaise rail. Chaise lounge bottom slings are not always made to fit along the entire length of the sling rail.

In order to obtain the width of the chair frame, a measurement must be taken from center rail to center rail of the chair frame. Imagine a center line that runs the length of the slot in the chair rail. This is the center point of the rail. Measure from one center point to the opposite.

When measuring the frame for width three measurements should be taken. We have found that it is best to measure in areas where the bolts and spreader bars are attached. For instance, on a chair frame, measure the back of the chair where the bolts attach, the seat of the chair, and the front of the chair where the bolts attach near the knees.

One thing you do NOT want to do is provide measurements taken from the very top of the chair rails! The rails tend to naturally (through use) flair out over time. You always want to measure at least five inches down from the top of the chair frame.

Now, here's where you need a little math: take the average of the three measurements and round to the nearest eighth of an inch and this will be the width. If your chair has a slight taper of a quarter inch of less from top to bottom keep in mind that this is most likely due to the natural movement of the sling rails. We recommend that customers provide one overall measurement as often as possible as most chair frames/slings are made square with the exception of a few with evident tapers of a half inch or more.

Be sure to measure all chairs in your set as some of them may differ in size. If the size varies by a random quarter or eighth of an inch here and there please provide an average overall measurement for all pieces in the set as they should be made at one standard size.

Once you have your measurements, of course, it's time to shop! We here at Chair Care Patio Furniture Repair offer you a variety of colors, styles and fabrics, and a place to enter your accurate measurements.

There, now--that wasn't so bad, was it? In our next "We Can Help" installment, we'll continue in our adventure with slings and actually installing them. In case you can't wait that long, though, you can find these instructions on our website :)

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