Here’s How to Fix a Wobbly Table Before Holiday Guests Arrive

published Nov 18, 2019
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A wobbly table is an annoyance with a potentially long lifespan. Unlike a slow-draining sink, a jammed door, or a broken lightbulb, this mishap doesn’t have to be tended to immediately. Instead, most of us just slide whatever makeshift material we can find underneath—like coasters or a wad of napkins—and try to ignore any remaining movement. But with every meal, the wobble makes itself known. And even if it’s an annoyance that’s become familiar, it’s an annoyance nonetheless.

If you’ve let a wobbly table test your patience, or you’ve grown accustomed to an element of suspense whenever you take a seat, perhaps it’s time to actually fix the issue. Hunter Macfarlane, Lowe’s Project Expert, knows exactly what to do. Follow his advice on how to fix a wobbly table, and this can be one problem you won’t have to worry about for long. 

If you suspect that your wobbly table’s on shaky ground or has uneven legs…

Macfarlane says that wobbly tables usually occur either because the table’s legs are uneven or the floor beneath them isn’t flat. If you suspect that this is the case, you’ll need a furniture glide, a level, and a hammer

“To determine which leg is causing the issue, place the level on the table and center the bubble. Then inspect which table leg is not touching the floor—this is the leg that requires the furniture glide,” he says. “Mark the leg with a piece of tape, carefully flip the table on to its top, and attach the glide to the bottom of the leg using a hammer.”

Macfarlane mentions that more than one leg might be the culprit, so carefully inspect each one as you work. He also recommends having a friend help lift and turn the table over, since partnering on projects is always better than doing them solo. 

Credit: Emma Fiala

If you suspect that your table’s wobbly because of loose hardware…

Macfarlane doesn’t want to put all the blame either on the ground or the table’s legs, because loosened hardware could also be the culprit. When that appears to be the problem, he suggests grabbing an adjustable wrench and a pair of pliers to get the job done. 

“In general, newer tables have legs that are attached to the table top with a nut and bolt through a diagonal corner block located on the underside of each corner,” Macfarlane continues. “Carefully tighten each nut using an adjustable wrench, and use pliers on the bolt. Tightening each fastener will often solve the wobbling issue.” Be careful not to over-tighten. which can put too much pressure on the wood.

For antique tables, Macfarlane recommends consulting a pro. Antique tables may not have corner blocks and bolts, so they can prove a bit more complicated to troubleshoot. But as for the rest? You’ve now got the tools and expertise to de-wobble before your holiday hosting.