When I approached this project, I examined my existing dilapidated patio chairs trying to decide whether to repair or replace. Purchasing new slings seemed to be expensive, so I thought I might try replacing the sling material with wooden slats. The steps are pretty simple and straightforward. For my patio chairs, the seat backs were still in good condition. The section of the chair that you sit on was badly damaged due to exposure to sun and a dog that likes to sit on furniture. I decided to leave the seat backs as they were and only replace to actual sitting surface part.
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Step 1: Removing Old Slings
Remove the old slings using a utility blade and cutting the material all along one side and then the other.
On these chairs, there was also a plastic sling attachment piece that ran along the front and back of the chairs. These were removed in a similar manner.
Step 2: Removing the Sling Mounts
These chairs also had a plastic cap at the front that was removed with a pair of needle nose pliers. That exposed the snake like plastic piece that held the sling in place. Use needle nose pliers to grab the front of the plastic and pull it out. Repeat with the other side and the chair is ready for the next step.
Step 3: Spray Painting
If your chairs are in good shape, there is no need to spray paint. I decided to power wash the metal surfaces and then used black glossy spray paint. Since I was leaving the seat backs in place, I used painters tape and cut pieces of plastic to size and covered the front and back of the chair back fabric prior to spray painting. Upon completion, chairs looked pretty new.
Step 4: Selection of Wood and Fasteners
For this project, I used pressure treated 1"x2" wood from the local big box lumber store. An 8 foot piece ran approximately $1.50. After measuring I determined that each slat would be 27 inches wide for the seat. I was able to get 4 slats out of each eight foot piece of wood. I needed 12 slats for the seat surface, so that required three pieces of the 1"x2".
I used self-piercing lath screws. I selected 1 5/8" length size since that seemed to fit the depth of the metal channel in the chair.
Step 5: Cutting and Sanding the Wood Slats
Sand the 1"x2" wood slats. I wanted them fairly smooth, so I used 120 grit sand paper. Cut the wood into 27" sections. Change the size based on the chair you are using.
Step 6: Painting the Wood Slats
For my project, I painted the slats a medium red color using an exterior paint. The other option considered was using a wood stain for a specific wood look followed by a sealant or varnish.
Step 7: Attaching the Wood Slats
Attach the wood slats starting from the bottom of the chair. Using a power drill with correctly sized bit for the chosen size screws, drill a hole through the wood and then down into the metal channel. On these chairs the channel is a complete rounded area of metal on the bottom. That is where the 2"x3" self-piercing lath screws connects the wood to the chair. Screw one of the self-piercing metal lath screws to secure the wood to the metal frame. Make sure your alignment is correct and repeat on the other side. Use paint sticks or other spacers to keep the spaces between the wood slats even. Work from from the front side of the chair to the back constantly checking to ensure that you alignment is correct.
Step 8: Final Results
This was my final result. Optionally, I may go back and do the same thing to the seat backs on each chair.
My cost per chair for just the seat section of the chair:
Three 8' 2"x3" pressure treated lumber: $4.50
24 Self-piercing lath screws: $1.50
1 Can spray paint: $5.00