How to Repair a Broken Couch Frame

How to Repair a Broken Couch Frame
How to Repair a Broken Couch Frame

I noticed the other day that the inner seat portion of our full-size leather couch was sagging down–too much throwing ourselves down on the couch I guess.  I had already repaired our love seat so I knew what was happening and knew I could fix it.  Finally I’m documenting the process so you can fix your couch too.  Follow along to learn how to repair a broken couch frame.  If nothing else, this article will give you the confidence to go ahead in tear into your couch and take a shot at repairing it instead of replacing it.

Diagram of sagging couch
My sagging couch explained

Hardware:

  • Any upholstered wood-frame couch, love seat, or chair.

Tools Needed:

How to Repair a Broken Couch Frame

Step 1: Turn your couch over.

For this repair I simply laid our couch on its back.  The main goal is to give yourself access to the material that covers the bottom of the couch, so you can pull the necessary staples to give yourself access to the frame inside.

Couch laying on back
Couch laying on back

Step 2: Remove the legs from the areas you will be working.

Because I will be working on the top two corners as seen in the picture above, I unscrewed the two front legs.

Couch Leg Unscrewed
Couch Leg Unscrewed

Step 3: Pry out the staples from the edge of the bottom covering material.

I used a thin flat screwdriver to get under the staples (pardon the slightly blurry picture but you get the point).

Prying staples up from the bottom material of the couch
Prying staples up from the bottom material of the couch

Be careful not to jab into the leather (or whatever material your couch is covered with).  If I was very careful I could completely pull the staple out but often I was only able to lift one side of the staple out.  In that case, simply pull the staple out with a pliers:

Pulling Couch Staples With Pliers
Pull out the staples with a pliers

Once you get enough staples out you can lay back the material and get a look inside.  Below I show how the couch was shifting inside–the middle portion of the couch was essentially held in place by one bolt on each side along with some staples, not enough:

The shifting frame of my couch
The shifting frame of my couch

 

I would be generous about pulling staples so you can have easy access to the insides of the couch.  I ended up removing more, to give more access, multiple times and you can always go back and remove more later and you can easily remove them all if you had a serious repair to do.

Step 4: Do what you need to do to re-align the couch frame.

I used a quick grip to diagonally pull from the outside board to the bolt on the inside to re-align the two parts, as seen in the two pictures below:

Re-aligning the couch frame
Re-aligning the couch frame
Re-aligning the couch frame
Here you can see that the two boards are even on the bottom now

Step 5: Drill pilot holes for your screws.

We are working with particle board here so you really should drill pilot holes for your screws.  This is especially important for screws that are near the edge, because you could blow out the edge of the board because particle board is fragile.  I used a 3/32″ drill bit to drill the pilot holes.  Important note: Make sure the frame is correctly lined up BEFORE you drill the holes.

I put three screws into the edge of the bottom plate as shown here
I put three screws into the edge of the bottom plate as shown here

It was very difficult to see the holes in the particle board in the pictures so I started all the screws so you could see where I placed the rest of them below:

Layout of the screws I added to repair the frame
Layout of the screws I added to repair the frame

I chose 1 1/4″ drywall screws for connecting two parallel sheets together and 2″ drywall screws for screwing through a sheet into the edge of another board as diagramed above.

 

Step 6: Drive your screws.

I used my beloved 20-year-old Makita 9.6 V cordless drill to drive the screws.

Drive the screws into the frame to secure it together
Drive the screws into the frame to secure it together

The seams lined up and the gaps tightened up nicely for me:

The screws pulled it tightly together
The screws pulled it tightly together

Step 7: Repeat as necessary.

I would be liberal with your screws 🙂  You don’t want to have to do this again so now is the time to fix your couch now and forever.  If your couch is damaged worst than mine you place 2×2’s along the seams and screw them in place to add strength.  My couch was in good enough shape that what I did above was sufficient.  I fixed both sides of my couch.

Step 8: Reattach the upholstery onto the bottom of the couch.

Fold the edge of the material over, like it was originally:

Re-Fold the Material
Follow the previous folding pattern to get the material ready to be stapled (never mind the stains)
Ready to Staple Lower Material Back on Couch
Staple the material back in place

Then start in the corner and tack into place.

Start by stapling the corner and then work down each edge
Start by stapling the corner and then work down each edge

Now you can see the difference of aligning the internal frame of the couch:

Repaired Couch Frame Results
The bottom edge of the couch lines up now that the frame has been repaired

Step 9: Reinstall the couch’s feet.

Screw the feet back on.

Screw the couch feet back on
Screw the couch feet back on

Now you have given more life to your comfy couch!

One well-loved repair couch
One well-loved repaired couch

Successful with this repair?  Do you have a tip to add?  Please leave a comment!

Were you able to repair your couch with the help of this article?  Please leave a comment and encourage others to fix theirs too.  If you have a question or a tip please help the Share Your Repair community out by sharing it as well.  I respond to most questions within 24 hours.

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2 Comments

  • Another brillaint D.I.Y. I like your reference to your “beloved” 20-year-old Makita. I’ve been using my 34-year-old (Model 9601, 9.6v)that has never quit. I replaced the motor only once and still use the original chuck key (yeah, your 20-year old is keyless!). I also use a 2000mAh battery, which sometimes forgets it ever needs a charge. You are my inspiration!

    • Thanks for the comment and for subscribing Vin! I’ve talked to subcontractors who long ago “upgraded” their Makita cordless from the model I have, which had lasted a long time for them, and now their new models don’t last near as long. Although you can buy after-market replacement batteries for this model, for the love of repairs, I wrote an article on how to refurbish the batteries for them: Refurbish a Makita 9.6V NiCad Battery if you are interested.

I love questions and comments and respond to all. Please make sure to check the "Notify me of new comments via email" box below before clicking "Post Comment" to be notified when you receive a response. If you do not have an approved comment already, your comment will not show up until personally approved by me (no spam on Share Your Repair!) Thanks!