Moving furniture can be difficult, whether you are moving from one room to another or moving to a brand new house. For these reasons, and others, sometimes you are required to remove the back of your recliner and reinstall it. Fortunately, nearly all recliners and reclining chairs give users the option to easily remove the back. Although different methods exist for different furniture manufacturers, the base principles remain the same. Some have clips or thumbscrews and others might have locking tabs, but the end result is quite easy to achieve.
As we guide you through how to remove the back of a recliner, we will also help you properly understand each step of the way. We will break down how different recliners have different backs, the types of backs, and how to proceed with re-installation.
How to Plan Ahead?
The safest way to move a recliner from one place to another is by taking out the back. This will make it easier for you to move and it will protect the recliner from any damage.
By measuring the size of the recliner you will be able to get a better understanding of how you will get it into your new location and whether or not it will fit properly. Some users move from bigger to smaller places and then find out that their recliners will not fit. You don't want this to happen to you!
Secondly, it is important to measure the hallway and doorway of your new location. By comparing the measurement of the recliner and the doorway, you will able to make your move a lot easier.
Top 3 Most Common Types of Backs – Find out which one you have!
- Locking Tab or Catch
- Locking Levers
- Bolted on Backs
Locking Tabs or Catches
Tabs are used to securely hold the back into place. They can be removed by using a screwdriver, but some people use their hands. (We recommend a screwdriver)
Catches, on the other hand, automatically lock themselves into place (or snap), when the recliners back is slid back on. This is common in Lazy Boy recliners.
On each side of the back, there are metal posts connected at the seat. The brackets of the recliner slide onto those posts and are secured. To lock the back into an appropriate position, you simply flip it.
Bolted on Backs
Although this is not that common in recliners, some backs are secured with bolts. They are held in place by securing them to the “posts” of the seats. To remove them, you simply unbolt the back after you have lifted the panel exposing them.
Main Method: How to Remove the Back of a Recliner – Step-by-Step Guide
Move the recliner to an open space to ensure that you have enough room to operate
Accessibility is key. To make it easier while removing the back, you need to roll the recliner onto its front.
Once on its front, you will need to remove the tape attaching the fabric or leather. Locate the loop-and-hook tape to do so.
Carefully pull and remove the leather or fabric away from the chair
Continuing removing and folding until you can see the recliner's mechanism
When the mechanism is visible, begin searching for the metal tabs, if there aren't then search for thumb screws located near the lowest point of your recliner and close to the recliners arm
To remove the screws you will need a flat-headed or standard slotted screwdriver, once you locate the screws simply turn them counter-clockwise and place them in a safe location
For metal locking tabs, simply hold the tab and press firmly forward as you continue to pull the bottom of the recliner in an upward motion to securely unlock the mechanism
Once the mechanism is unlocked you safely remove the back by pulling in a straight upward direction
If you have any difficulties removing the back from the brackets you can move it side to side and rock it. This will slowly help remove the back if there is any friction
Bonus * be careful with any parts you remove, you will need to keep them safe for re-installation
How to Remove the Back of a Reclining Sofa
Tilting the Reclining Sofa: To begin, lift the recliner sofa on its front so that the back is facing up towards the ceiling. After the sofa is facing into the air then you must locate the detachable back panel to get to the inner panels.
Removing Back Upholstery: Reclining sofas usually have Velcro snaps or strips; these securely attach the fabric of the sofa to the frame of the base. Once you have located these strips or snaps you need to unfasten them. Finally, lift up the exposed upholstered panel.
Locking Levers: Each side of your sofa seats will have frames. Use your hand to feel these frames and locate the locking levers. On each side of your sofa’s primary body, you should be able to locate a metal lever. This lever will be pointing in a downward position and can be typically found around the back and top of the arm connect.
Locking Levers – Find them between the Rear Seams: Some sofas do not expose the frame through the standard detaching of fabric strips. For these cases, you will have to find the seams on the rear of the sofa, on both the right and left side. You should also inspect the seam that is located between the seats and center console of your reclining sofa. Once you find these seams you need to do the same thing and locate the locking lever.
Releasing the Back Seats: You have now have located the locking lever and you are ready to remove the back of your reclining sofa. The last thing you will need is a flat head screwdriver or you can carefully use your fingertips (we recommend the screwdriver). Take the screwdriver and loosen each lever and then raise it to release the seat backs. Once you have unlocked the levers, you can flip the sofa back to its regular position. Finally, you can remove the back from the frame and you are done!
How to Reinstall the Back of your Recliner – Easy Steps!
The re-installation is an easy process and the reverse of removing the back:
1. Position the brackets of your recliners back over the brackets of your recliners lower half. (This might be a bit frustrating as it takes a little bit of time to line the brackets up correctly)
2. Once your alignment is perfect you can easily slide the back of your recliner into place
3. Finish off by adding the screws, adjusting levers or fixing tabs to ensure that the recliner and back are securely locked
Quick Breakdown of Method
Although the step-by-step is easy to understand, we want to provide a quick breakdown of what is happening.
Essentially we are removing the fabric from the back that is connected by the hoop-and-loop-tape. We then lift up the fabric so it is not in the way and we release the back of the recliner so that it comes off from the brackets.
Different manufacturers use different types of backs and they have different securing parts. You can see the 3 standard types of backs in our guide. Although the process is easy, the hardest part of it would be locating the releasing point and using a screwdriver to remove it. If you have any questions or problems, please don’t hesitate to contact us.