Folding Table Tips

Folding Table Tips

Folding Table Tips

In the months since we’ve started this blog, I've received several questions regarding Lifetime's fold-in-half tables... interestingly enough, most people ask the basic question: How do you to unfold them? Esther from Niceville, FL wrote in yesterday:

"I just bought your 5 ft fold-in-half table. It’s great, but I do not know how to open it up and there wasn't any directions. Sorry, I am 69 years old and not mechanically minded and am afraid that I might do something to mess it up..."

How do you unfold it?? The first few times I’ve seen this question, I admit, I thought it wouldn’t be all that hard. But then I walked down to our showroom and tried to open a new table myself... it took a little more elbow grease thought! I looked into why this is, and it turns out our engineers developed these tables to stay safely closed when you carry, transport, or store them, which is actually a really good thing. This means they are snugly shut the first few times you pull them out to use them, and opening them may require a strong tug.

Esther asked that we send some simple directions so, based on my experience, here they are!

Unfolding a Lifetime  fold-in-half table
1- Place your hands inside the groove (on the side opposite of the table's hinges).
2- Pull the two sides apart. Though this can require a little strength the first few times, it will get easier the more you use your table.
3- Once you unfold it, lay it on its side and lock it in place with the red switch on the table's underside (if your table is an older model, lock it in place using the gray sliding bar).
4- From there, you can stand the table on its legs.
5- If it’s an adjustable-height table, you can place your foot on the cross bar while it's in the standing position, to easily raise and lower the table's height one side at a time.

The good news is, if you've gotten your table this year you'll enjoy an improved opening mechanism. In early 2008 our engineers realized that the clip holding the table shut was doing its job a little TOO well, so they took the opportunity to make some improvements. Tables made in 2008 and after have been developed to open easier, still close tight, and have that easy red tab to lock them in place when they’re set up. Hope this helps you, and you know more about our convenient and unique fold-in –half tables.

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Tables Are Garage Sale Must!

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Ever Wonder?



Katie_Salter0014_blog - Copy.jpgName: Katie

Position at Lifetime Products: Former PR/Communications Manager - but ALWAYS a fan of Lifetime products!  (Katie's blog posts were written while she was Communications Manager at Lifetime.)

My favorite Lifetime Products: 4ft x 2ft fold-in-half table, 30" Personal Table, Camping table, 6' fold-in half tableRound Picnic Table, Fold-up Utility Trailer.

Read all posts by Katie


Pat Brinton

9/3/2008 7:53:59 PM

please tell us how to fold it up before our garage sale this Fri Sep. 5th

Didn't think it would be so not obvious

Thank-you so much




9/4/2008 11:37:20 AM

Thanks for the comment Pat. I think you have a 4-foot table... is that correct? If so, slide the locking mechanism (the black plastic circle with a screw in the middle) away from the center of the table. Then to fold in the table legs, push the diagonal leg braces in toward the table legs, this will unlock the legs and allow them to fold. From there you can simply fold the table in half and snap it shut. Make sure the locking mechanism is not preventing the table from closing securely. Once it's shut, you can use the carrying handle to transport it easily. Hope this helps! Best of luck with your garage sale Pat.



11/10/2011 5:10:33 PM

i love this website



2/15/2012 12:33:23 PM

thank you so much - I thought the red lock was for opening the table.



3/18/2012 10:07:33 PM

How do you unfold a 48" round lifetime table? Thanks.



6/2/2012 11:37:23 AM

How do you get the legs to fold back up? they seem locked.



6/6/2012 11:08:30 AM

Christy, what size of folding table do you have? 


magito bernal

6/6/2012 10:35:55 PM

thank you so much, i just bought a folding table, myself, my 16 yrs old plus 3 of his friend we all were unable to unfold it until i checked this website, muchas gracias, !!!! bendiciones.



6/7/2012 9:41:57 AM

Glad we could help!



6/11/2012 1:04:41 PM

I can't figure out how to get the red lock to unlock. I don't want to break it by using too much pressure...



8/31/2012 2:55:35 PM

Thanks so much for offering the tip for unfolding the table. I kept thinking that I missed the 'trick' to getting it unfolded, but knowing from you that I just needed to tug a bit harder was the encouragement I needed to use a bit more muscle... and it wasn't even that much. (Sheesh! I just didn't want to break it before I got to use it.) Awesome. I love my new table and will be using it for projects AND entertaining.


Pamela Tomkinson

10/18/2012 1:01:12 PM

I have a Lifetime Plastic Table and I washed it outside with a hose. Now I have water inside that I cannot seem to get out. Can I take anything apart to help it drain??? I notice there are plastic black plugs in each corner. Can these come out??? Please help me, Pam



10/19/2012 10:02:31 AM

Hi Pam! Yes, you can remove the plugs and drain the water that way. Hope this helps and please let us know if you have any other questions!



10/26/2012 11:19:27 AM

Thanks so much for this information. Like others here, thought I was really missing something just to open a folding table. Great website!


Casie Williams

1/5/2013 6:13:44 PM

Well, I'm 64 and, like the 69 year old, was challenged by the table. Didn't want to force it because of the risk of breaking something. Really appreciate the ability to easily find instructions!



1/31/2013 8:00:50 AM

This blog has been most helpful. I am too, older (63), and was having difficulty opening the table for fear of breaking something. Someone should ENCOURAGE Lifetime to include instructions for opening, as this is an apparent problem/concern. There is enough space on the attached paper description to include a small blurb.



2/9/2013 4:04:07 PM

Hi Thanks so much for this information. Bought this today and wanted to check it out before our BBQ this weekend and couldn't figure out how to open it. We were a little nervous trying too pull too hard but after reading you "how to" it was a breeze...thanks again!!! Too bad the company doesn't at least mention, first opening, on it's coverlet.



5/11/2013 11:53:05 PM

Thank you so much for the detail explanation about how to unfold this table. I think it would be a good idea to add these directions on the BIG label that comes with the product. Simple drawings/pictures would help. I watched the video, but it does not show how to unfold it. Remember, not everybody has a computer. Lucky me that I own one and was able to find your "how to". Thank you again!!!!!


William Pietschman

10/21/2014 8:12:34 PM

What is the weight capacity of your 6 foot table and your 8 foot table? I want to set some radio gear on them.



11/9/2014 11:17:14 AM

Our table doesn't have a red latch. I went back to the store and none of them do. Our table bows a bit because it doesn't lock in place. What am I doing wrong?



12/18/2014 9:33:30 AM

MJ, We have two styles of locking mechanisms. One has a red latch and one does not and automatically locks the table when the table legs are open. There is a blog post that will explain the two locking methods. All Lifetime tables lock. So make sure you really have a Lifetime branded table. If so, then hopefully that blog post will help you out! Thanks, Shalane



12/2/2014 8:59:26 AM

We just purchased two 6 foot folding tables at Costco. The problem we are having is that when unfolded they are not flat. Both tables slant up towards the center and have a gap between the two halves. We have tried everything we can think of to get them flat but they don't even go flat with a load on them. Is something wrong with the tables or are we doing something wrong?



1/12/2015 10:59:32 AM

I'm having the same issue....



1/31/2015 2:03:54 PM

I'm having the same problem as Thomas and Mike above. The problem we are having is that when unfolded the table top is not flat. The table slants up towards the center and has a gap between the two halves. We have tried everything we can think of to get them flat but they don't even go flat with a load on them. Is something wrong with the table or are we doing something wrong? Please reply with a solution. Thank you.


12/18/2014 9:42:55 AM

Thomas, Thank you for your comment. A fold-in-half table is very tricky to get the right tolerances between the two halves of the table. Some of our competitors choose to have the table completely flat when first purchased - the problem with that is that the table will soon start to bow in the middle. Lifetime has a long-term view on this and sets our tolerances to start out a little peaked in the middle on purpose. This makes it so after using the table, the table becomes flat instead of bowed in the middle. I hope that makes sense, but I can assure you that Lifetime has very tight standards and quality control to make sure our tables will stand the test of time. Thanks, Shalane



3/27/2015 7:17:24 PM

i am having the same issue with it not folding completely flat. I have had the table for almost a year and it still hasn't become flat when open. Is there something I can do to fix this?


4 ft folding table

4/10/2015 10:50:27 AM

I am having trouble raising and lowering the adjustable legs. I cannot push the little release pegs in far enough. If I could, I would still need a third hand to lift the leg. Can you help? Ruth


Shalane Wiberg

6/1/2015 11:36:37 AM

Ruth, Sorry to hear that you are having troubles with our adjustable height tables. To be honest with you, those push pins have been the only technology on the market for making telescoping legs that allow for the height adjustment. After realizing this was much too cumbersome, we recently invented a "one-hand adjustment" mechanism to help with that ( Unfortunately, this is new technology that just came out about 6 months ago (at Costco and online). I wish I had some tips for you on the push pins. Sometimes you can push in one side and just pull the leg out just far enough that it catches, then you can do the other side. But the best way is if you can have two people there to adjust the table. We hope our new mechanism can help with this issue on future purchase. Thanks for the comment!


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