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Bar Stools Squeaking – What To Do?

Stools are common, ergonomic seating for counters and bars. While construction methods vary, it is not out of the ordinary for bar stools to start squeaking. Since this has happened to you, you are wondering what to do. Well, you have come to the right place! In this post, we gather research from around the web to thoroughly answer your question.

Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

The appropriate technique for stopping the squeak in your bar stool depends on the type of stool and the source of the squeak. Generally, the squeak is either coming from a moving part or a loose screw or bolt. To fix moving part squeaks, use WD-40 or another similar lubricant. To fix screw leaks, tighten the screw.

Keep reading the rest of this post for more details on how to fix bar stool squeaks and identify where exactly the squeaks are coming from. The details in this post should be all you need to fix a squeak in almost any bar stool. We conclude by answering a few related questions.

Dark wooden bar stool on orange background. Bar Stools Squeaking - What To Do

Types of Bar Stool Squeaks

Before troubleshooting your bar stool squeak, it is helpful to know the types of common squeaks. In the following two subsections, we will briefly outline the common bar stool squeaks. They are moving part squeaks and loose screw or bolt squeaks.

Moving Part Bar Stool Squeaks

Usually, the moving part bar stool squeaks involve a swiveling or spinning part, which allows the stool user to spin around easily. The bearings or point of contact in these swiveling parts corrode, rust, and age and eventually develop squeaks. The spinning mechanism can be right under the seat, in the stem of the stool, or even very near the ground.

Another moving part found in bar stools is a seat raise or lower mechanism. Sometimes, as the stool ages, these moving parts also corrode and develop squeaks. For these height change mechanisms, the squeak can occur anywhere two parts move against each other. This means checking both the height-adjust handle and the areas where different post diameters contact.

Loose Screw or Bolt Bar Stool Squeaks

Loose screw or bolt squeaks are probably the most ubiquitous of bar stool squeaks. Unless the stool is fully welded, there are screws or bolts to hold part of the stool together. As the stool sees use, the threads of the fasteners can slowly work their way out of their fully tightened position.

Wooden bar stool with a molded leather seat

When the screw or bolt is just a little loose, it will rub against the stool's material as the occupant moves and shifts in their seat. This is the source of this type of squeak. If unaddressed, the screw or bolt will likely continue to loosen, leading to failures of the stool's structural integrity. 

How to Identify Bar Stool Squeak Location?

The first step in fixing any squeak is figuring out exactly where the squeak originates from. When sitting on the stool, it is often difficult to identify the location of the squeak. Instead, all you hear is a general squeaking below you.

Metallic bar stool infront of pink background. Bar Stools Squeaking - What To Do

To solve this, you can either work in a team or wiggle the stool around with your hands as you kneel. Either way, take the time to move the stool in various ways it might move in actual use and listen for the squeak. Using this general strategy, you will be able to pinpoint the location of the squeak. Remember, more than a single squeak may develop simultaneously.

If you cannot identify precisely where the squeak is, follow the directions for all of the potential squeaks to cover your basis and stop working once your stool sits silently once again.

How to Fix Bar Stool Squeaks

To fix bar stool squeaks, either lubricate the squeaky moving part or tighten the loosened screw or bolt. In the following subsections, we will cover the actual process involved in these different techniques.

How do you lubricate bar stools?

Once you have identified that the bar stool squeak emanates from a moving part, it is time to bust out the WD-40 or other rust remover/lubricant. WD-40 is popular because of its effectiveness, wide availability, ease of application, and ease of cleanup.

Click here for WD-40 from Amazon.

First, thoroughly clean the area of dust and grime. If you need to use water for this process, allow the stool to dry before applying the lubricant. Now, using the included WD-40 spray straw, apply the lubricant to the squeaky area. Do not soak the joint. Instead, lightly cover the entire area. Ensure this is accomplished by moving the stool several times across its full range. 

As you apply the lubricant, it is a good idea to either be very careful or place some covering on the flooring. Newspaper or cardboard are both good options. Once completed, take the time to wipe off any excess WD-40 so it will not drip, stain leather or upholstery, or collect dust.

How do you lubricate a swivel bar stool?

To lubricate a swivel bar stool, follow the general directions outlined in the above subsection. For swivel stools, be sure to spin the stool around several times before cleanup to ensure that the lubricant thoroughly soaks into all squeaky areas.

For a video how-to on lubricating a stool (swivel or otherwise), watch this youtube video.

Tips on Tightening Screws or Bolts on A Bar Stool

After you have audibly identified the problem fastener, the next step is manipulating the stool for easy access. Sometimes, this is as simple as tipping the stool upside down or on its side. Other times, you might have to remove small wooden plugs that cover up the screws carefully.

After exposing the screw or bolt, tighten it with the proper driver. For most wood stools, this is either a Phillips-head screwdriver or a hex head key. Usually, nuts and bolts are tightened with crescent wrenches. An adjustable crescent wrench is generally all you need for this type of work.

As a tip, there are usually many screws or bolts throughout the bar stool. Since you are taking the time to tighten a problem squeaky fastener, it is wise to tighten all other bolts. This will delay the next squeak appearance and will also help your furniture last longer. 

Take note, for many metal stools, some bolts affix the post of the stool to the base. You will need to flip the whole stool over to access these particular fasteners. Other times, you might have to remove one part of a stool, such as the seat, to access squeaky internal fasteners.

How to Remove Wooden Screw Covers

Removing wooden screw covers can sometimes be a bit difficult, especially without marring the wood of the stool. Generally, use a stiff piece of flat metal to pry the cover out. If this does not work, you might need to split the cover out or even sink in a screw to act as a handle. 

Click here for wooden screw hole covers from Amazon.

These second two techniques are destructive but do not worry. It is easy to buy new covers that match the old covers so no one will be the wiser. If you are worried about having matching covers, take the time to shop around for new covers before disassembling your old stool.

How do I keep my bar stools from sliding?

Click here for 1-inch stool leg protectors that will keep your stool from sliding from Amazon.

If you are having problems with your bar stools sliding, the fix is a relatively easy one. All you need to do is buy widely available rubber stool cover caps or end stoppers. These end caps are usually sold in a set of four and are sold by diameter. Just measure the diameter of your stool legs and purchase caps that are appropriate.

Click here for screw-in rubber furniture boots from Amazon.

The stoppers only work on wooden stools or other material that is easy to drill into. For these, it is advisable to pre-drill a hole to ensure that you affix the cap firmly and straight on the end of the stool. While more challenging to install, the screw in caps are not nearly as visible as the cover caps.

In Closing

In this post, we have answered what to do if you have a squeaky bar stool. We include directions for the variety of different stool types and squeaks. We also cover how to stop stools from sliding. Good luck!

Check out these other posts that may be of interest to you:

How Tall Should Bar Stools Be? [Results By Bar Height]

What Is The Difference Between Bar Stool And Counter Stool?

Should Your Bar Stools Match Your Dining Chairs?