How to Remove the Back of an Office Chair

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Updated December 1, 2022

There are many reasons why someone may decide to remove the back of an office chair. The back may be reupholstered to take care of general wear and tear or removed altogether for comfort reasons. Also, an underlying metal base and cheap plastic office chair back could not work very well together. All in all, you may want to remove the back of an office chair to improve it or make it the best office chair.


  • Removing the back of an office chair should take no more than an hour.
  • To remove the back of an office chair, we recommend removing the wheels, base, and armrests before unbolting the seat from the backrest.
  • Common reasons for removing the back of an office chair include reupholstering or replacing a worn part.

How to Remove Office Chair Back

Here are steps you can take to remove the back of an office chair.

STEP 1 Remove Wheels

If your chair has wheels, turn your chair upside down and dismantle the casters and wheels using a screwdriver. If your caster is hard to remove, use a pry bar to budge it out, placing the nail-pulling end of the pry bar between the chair leg and caster before applying a downwards motion. This will allow the chair not to move while you are removing other parts. If needed, now will be a good time to replace the wheels on the chair as well.

STEP 2 Remove the Star Base

Remove the base using several hammer hits to a 2×4 piece of wood to avoid damaging the gas lift. Alternatively, you can also remove the office chair gas lift to be on the safe side. Pay attention to the condition of the base and lift. If there are problems with them, they can contribute to your chair making a popping noise.

STEP 3 Disassemble Arm Rests

Disassemble the armrests by unbolting and unscrewing all fixtures. Depending on the type of screws, you may have to decide between a cross-head, flat-head, or Hex key Allen wrench. If you notice any cracks in the armrests, you can follow our guide on how to repair office chair arms before you reattach them.

STEP 4 Unbolt Seat from Back Rest

Once the armrests are disassembled, unbolt and unscrew all screws that connect the seat to the backrest, slowly separating the two parts. If your chair has a hydraulics system, be sure to remove the cylinder with the hydraulics from the chair’s base as well. You can fix your chair seat if you want to stop sliding out of your office chair too. With everything deconstructed, you can make any repairs you need, like fixing a fabric tear. Just remember, before you start to put everything back together, to oil your office chair.


How do you remove the back of a chair?

Removing the back of a chair is a very straightforward process of removing wheels for stability, removing the base, disassembling armrests, and unbolting the seat from the backrest. There may be an additional consideration of removing a gas cylinder as well. All of this is very easy to do with a simple set of hand tools, including the always handy pry bar.

What is the knob on the bottom of my office chair for?

The knob on the bottom of your office chair is most likely a tension knob, which helps produce greater or less pressure for tilting. The lower the tension, the greater the tilt, and the higher the tension, the lesser the tilt.

Why does my office chair not lean back anymore?

One of the most common reasons for a non-reclining office chair is a stuck tilt engine or a poorly lubricated gas cylinder.

STAT: The average chair that is used 40 hours per week should last an average of seven to ten years. (source)