Replacing Arm Rests and Office Chair Arms

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Updated December 1, 2022

Just because the armrests or height adjustable arms are getting worn out, doesn’t mean you have to toss out your favorite office chair or task chair. On most mesh computer chairs and gaming chairs, you can replace the armrest pads and arms without too much trouble. These steps can also be used for gaming chair armrests, but the way the arms connect may be slightly different.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • You can repair worn-out or wobbly armrests without replacing the chair
  • Most executive chairs and gaming chairs have bolt-on arms
  • Armrest pads can be replaced or repaired using epoxy or staples

Why Office Chair Arm Pads Need Replacing

Armrests are one of the most wear-prone items on an office chair, executive swivel chair, or gaming chair. Designed for softness and comfort for long workdays, the upholstery and glue on these armrests eventually wear out. Moving around on them and resting your weight on the armrests contributes to material fatigue. An executive swivel chair or work chair with polyurethane arms will eventually get worn and faded, and especially on stackable chairs, the arms themselves will tend to wear out. However, be sure that your armrest can be replaced, chairs like the one in our Glitzhome adjustable high-back office chair review are integrated into the seat.

If the plush armrest is cracked, or if the fabric glue holding the pads to the arms is losing its adhesion, it might be time to learn how to repair the office chair arms and give your office chair a new lease on life. An office chair repair kit is usually readily available for most chairs. You can find products such as memory foam office chair armrests, lift mechanism parts for the height-adjustable armrest, and the necessary hardware and epoxy online. If you want to get rid of your office chair then it is prudent that you know how to dispose of the office chair. However, to save yourself some money if possible, you should see if you can fix the problem yourself, like reading our guide on how to fix an office chair that leans back. You can oftentimes find that while the fix may cost some to fix, you can save yourself a lot in the long run.

How to Tell When to Replace Arms

If your office chair arms are wobbly or will not stay up when you lean an elbow on them, it may be time to replace the arms. Don’t use too much force to “test” office chair arms; they are not usually meant to support more than about 15-20 lbs (8 kg.) This is why it is always recommended to know if and how an office chair fits you.

Any “play” in the arms of the chair may mean the arms are worn out. This doesn’t mean you need to buy a whole new office chair or throw out your favorite task chair.

How to Replace Office Chair Arms

You can often find replacement parts for office chair repair online, and the task is relatively simple to DIY. You can find all the tools you need at a local hardware store or office supply store.

Insider Tip

Don’t use too much force to “test” office chair arms; they are not usually meant to support more than about 15-20 lbs (8 kg.)

Tools Needed:

Flat-head screwdriver

Pliers

Epoxy or polyurethane glue Don’t use any cyanoacrylate or “super glue” on areas that may contact the cotton fabric, as cyanoacrylate reacts exothermically with cotton and certain fabrics.

Materials:

Replacement office chair arms

Instructions

These are the basic steps to repair a broken office chair arm.

  1. place the chair on its side with the arm to be replaced facing upwards.
  2. locate the screws/bolts on the armrests to unscrew them.

Most models of office chairs use either two to four bolts to hold each arm in place. Keep track of all fasteners and washers; you’ll be reusing them to install the new arms. You’ll also want to save the black plastic caps. These caps for holes in the armrest will be needed when you replace the armrest.

  1. Gently remove the arm. It should twist off.
  2. Line up the new arm so that the mounting holes in the arm match up to the proper holes in the office chair base. Some gaming chairs and task chairs have arms that bolt only to the seat, while on others the arms bolt to both the seat and backrest. 5. Insert the screws or bolts, along with any washers, and use a screwdriver or bit driver to tighten them. Make sure the new arms are secured tightly to the frame of the office chair. **Don’t use office chair arms to support your weight and be careful not to exceed the weight limit of the chair. **

Armrest Pad Replacement

Sometimes, you can replace the armrest fabric pad without replacing the whole arm of the chair. Usually, the pads are held in place either with glue or metal staples. Sometimes ¼ inch bolts are used. If your armrest pad is glued on, it may be easier to replace the entire arm. However, if the plastic armrest pad is only cracked, you can use epoxy and a wire to secure it back in place.

The steps for this desk chair repair are similar to replacing the chair arms. You may want to clean the pad mounting surface, removing any dust, grease, or grime, as this can make it harder to glue the new pad on.

F.A.Q.

How do you fix a chair armrest?

You can often fix the arms of an office chair, depending on what’s wrong with them, by either gluing on a new armrest pad or replacing the mounting and height-adjustment hardware.


How do you remove an arm from an office chair?

Desk chair arms are usually mounted to the base or the seatback with two to four bolts. You’ll just need a screwdriver or drill bit and you can undo the fasteners and remove the arm.


How do you fix a broken arm in an office chair?

You can fix a broken chair arm by replacing the whole arm or just the armrest pad if that’s what’s broken. You might also want to replace the mounting hardware.



STAT: The average lifespan of an office chair with casters is 10 years (source)

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