Level up your patio design with these tips to level your outdoor furniture! An uneven patio or poolside deck caused by rough terrain, disjointed flagstone, or even structural problems with the Furniture itself can lead to wobbly outdoor tables and chairs and a potential safety hazard. Quick fixes like folded cardboard wedges or bottle caps are not the sturdiest solutions or most practical for outdoor patio furniture. That said, depending on your furniture frame, there are plenty of options for temporary and permanent remedies to uneven outdoor furniture that rattles.
Before you get started, you’ll need some supplies and tools to complete the project. No matter the material of your patio furniture frame, you’ll need a standard bubble level or carpenter’s level before and after to definitely determine which side of the furniture is higher and needs to be addressed. Set a bubble level on top of your outdoor furniture and watch the bubble inside move to the higher side. You’ve just identified the side you’ll be working with or against.
If you need to level solid wood patio furniture there are multiple solutions to the problem. A table saw, adjustable features, shims, custom feet or rubber risers are all viable options. If you are working with metal framed outdoor furniture, polycarbonate or resin patio furniture, or wicker furniture, then shims or rubber risers might be your best bet. Get some stability by bringing everything back into balance with the tips and tricks overviewed below.
Why Fix Wobbly Patio Furniture?
First of all, wobbly furniture is a safety hazard. Furniture that tilts and lolls is harder to sit upright in, and easier to spill out of. Don’t make your guests sit in a chair that doesn’t want to be sat in, or there’s a chance your guests will wind up sitting on the ground instead. Ouch!
Secondly, wobbles are bad for the furniture itself. When someone sits in uneven, unleveled patio furniture, their body will naturally place excess pressure on specific areas of the seat and back, which will put extra strain on specific joints. This causes those joints to degrade faster, so they start to give more easily, and boom, your guests are sitting on the ground, per reason one above. Level furniture will distribute weight evenly across the seat and the joints, taking strain off your furniture and helping it last longer.
Finally, uneven furniture is bad for your joints, too! Sitting in uneven furniture can cause us to favor one side of our body over the other, or sit with incorrect posture, which can lead to or exacerbate joint issues, especially in our lower backs and hips. Do yourself a favor, and level your furniture! Your body will thank you.
How to Level Wood Patio Furniture
If you own high quality solid wood patio furniture then it is worth maintaining your investment by fixing an off-balance ottoman, occasional table or wooden chair. High end furniture, designed for indoor or outdoor use, often has adjustable legs located just inside a cabinet door, or underneath the bottom drawer. For things like patio dining sets and chairs, check the joint connections just under the seat or table. Look up and down the legs for slot holes inside the furniture. Outdoor tables made from real wood often have twistable, adjustable feet that allow you to level the furniture with ease by lifting the leg you need to adjust. Clockwise turns raise the leg and counterclockwise turns will lower the leg. This is the ideal scenario, but not all wood furniture sets feature such easy adjusting mechanisms.
Many wood chairs will feature simple built-in adjustment screws at the joint
If your wood patio furniture is not adjustable, it’s time to break out the power tools! A permanent solution would be to use a table saw or sandpaper to shave down the longer leg. Solid wood is a quality material that is easily adjusted, but take care not to damage your furniture. Always practice safety with your tools and be precise in your cuts, to get the desired result and minimize splintering around the cut edge.
Alternatively, you can install your own adjustable feet for a long-term solution or level it temporarily with wooden shims. Create custom feet with brass inserts and elevator bolts. Turn over the furniture piece to drill pilot holes in the center of each leg, then insert the feet into each hole. If your furniture rests on a wood patio deck consider using a felt pad at the bottom of each bolt to protect the wood deck from scrapes and scratches.
Shims are small hard plastic or wooden wedges that do not require installation. Lift the furniture and slide the thinner end in first to support indoor or outdoor furniture. Stack shims and use as many as necessary to level furniture to the proper height. Slide a wedge-shaped shim at the base of the back end of the side that needs to be raised. Use a sharp utility knife to slice off any unsightly shim excess that may be sticking out from underneath the furniture.
Wood is a sturdy, beautiful, natural material that is an excellent choice for your patio furniture. And if you need to adjust it or level it, you have several great options at your disposal. For metal frames or resin wicker furnishings, you may find you are a bit more restricted.
How to Level Metal Frame or Resin Patio Furniture
There are a few less leveling alternatives if you have wrought iron, aluminum, polycarbonate or resin framed wicker patio furniture. The top two options available would be to use small hard plastic or wooden shims at the back end of the side that needs to be raised (just as with wood furniture), or an adjustable rubber riser.
A shim is perhaps the easiest way to level your furniture, and can be done with materials just lying around your garage. But this is not the most elegant solution, and we find it is especially jarring when paired with the textural patterns of all-weather wicker furniture. Note that metal frames could potentially slip off hard plastic shims; always double check stability before leaving furniture unattended. You may also look into high-friction rubber boots to wedge between the shim and the metal frame to decrease the chance of slippage.Shims are not adjustable-height leveling solutions, so if the angle of your furniture changes over time, you will have to replace the old shims with new ones. This is unlikely, but something to consider. The main issue with shims is their aesthetic; they just don’t look professional without some very careful design or concealment.
The second option is to use padded, adjustable height rubber furniture risers that helps to keep the furniture from slipping off. Rubber risers are not designed for long term use because they wear down faster than other alternatives, but they are still a solid solution deserving of an honorable mention. It should be noted that rubber risers are commonly seen indoors and less often outdoors, due to the fact that they are not ideally suited to all weather types and can degrade, especially in extreme weather environments. Plastic options also exist, though they can be brittle in cold weather and are not recommended. Fingers crossed that Trex develops some all-weather polylumber risers some day!
If you have the necessary drill bits, you can purchase screw glides suited for metal or resin frames. These adjustable levelers are simply machine screws affixed with rubber feet on the head end; so if you can drill a hole into your frame, you can hand-tighten these machine screw bits to the bottom until you’ve achieved the necessary height. This is probably the best solution for leveling your metal frame furniture, but requires more specialized tools and experience as drilling aluminum or resin can be trickier than working with wood.
No matter what frame material you are working with, it is still of monumental importance to level furniture on uneven ground for comfort and safety.
Tips, Tricks and Takeaways to Level Patio Furniture
Be careful when lifting up heavy furniture and work with a friend to make the process easier and safer. Protect eyes and airways from wood fragments, dust and debris. Wear safety goggles and a dust mask while drilling or using any adhesive with strong fumes. Keep long hair away from face and outreach of power tools. Equally avoid wearing loose fitting clothing and hanging jewelry that can potentially get in the way. Take the time to work carefully and diligently to make furniture stable and safe for family, friends and guests to use.
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