How To Hang A Porch Swing: 10 Expert Tips
Porch swings are the classic height of relaxation. They’re a step above a dawdling rocking chair without the childlike exhilaration from a playground swing. Porch swings are the perfect seating accommodation for starting your morning with a cup of coffee or winding down your day by watching the sunset and waving to your neighbors as they return to their homes. While hanging a swing can be a fairly simple task, the process becomes a little more difficult depending on how your porch is built. Let’s move on to our expert tips on how to properly install a porch swing so that you can begin relaxing sooner (and safely).
The 10 Pro Tips on How To Hang A Porch Swing
1. Figure Out Where You Want to Hang Your Swing
Locating the prime spot for your porch swing is an important step of the process that’ll determine whether you smile every time your grandchild gleefully kicks their legs out, or you cringe when they ram into the porch railing the second they push off. You want to give at least 2 feet of space around the sides of your swing, as well as 3–4 feet of clearance in the front and back. Most people hang their swings 17–19 inches above the ground, but you can adjust according to your height and preferences.
2. Don’t Hang Your Swing Directly Below Heavy Patio Equipment
If you’re hanging your swing on a patio beneath a deck, make sure you steer clear of heavy table sets and grills directly overhead.
3. Find the Joint or Beam
Unfortunately, you can’t simply install your swing on any old board. Since the house will be supporting the full load, you’ll need to locate a joint or beam that’s at least 2 inches wide and 5 inches thick. This is an easy process if you have a porch with an exposed ceiling. If your porch ceiling is finished, you’ll need to use a joist finder.
4. Choose Your Type of Swing and Rope
You can purchase a swing kit that’ll already have the chain and hardware included, or you can buy it piece by piece or make your own. You can use a stainless steel chain or nautical rope to secure your swing. Most people prefer stainless steel for the chain and hardware because it’s more durable. If you do decide to go the nautical route, make sure your rope is at least 3/4” thick, and inspect it regularly for frayed threads.
5. Find the Appropriate Hardware
Buying a swing kit saves you the extra trip to the hardware store. If your swing doesn’t come with hanging materials, you’ll need to purchase them separately. You’ll need two chains or rope that are about 7 ft. long. Depending on the height of your ceiling, they could be a few feet longer or shorter, so you might want to measure to see exactly how much you’ll need. You’ll also need to find a drill, drill bits, four screw hooks, and either screw eyes or eye bolts with an enclosed ring or hook that’s wide enough to accommodate your rope or chain.
6. Make sure All of Your Hardware Is Rated for 500 Pounds or More
You want your swing to be able to accommodate multiple people at once, and you don’t want your swing to come crashing down because the hardware wasn’t strong enough to support it. Also, it’s a good idea to use stainless steel hardware that won’t rust.
7. Attach the Swing Hooks to Your Swing
If your swing didn’t come with hooks attached, you’ll need to install them yourself. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy. There should be two on each side for a total of four. One goes just below where the front vertical bar intersects with the armrest. The other belongs right above where the back vertical bar intersects with the armrest in the back of the swing. Drill a pilot hole a tiny bit smaller than the pointed end of the swing hook and install the swing hook by hand. Repeat on the other side.
8. If the Porch Ceiling Is Unfinished, Your Job Is Nearly Complete
If your rafters are exposed, it’s easy to locate the joist or beam. Drill a pilot hole into the beam where you wish to hang the swing. It might be helpful to measure the length of the swing first between the swing hooks to determine the most accurate spot to drill. Twist the eye-screw into the pilot hole as far as you can, and then secure it by pushing it in with a screwdriver. Repeat on the other side.
9. If the Porch Ceiling Is Finished, You Have a Few Options
Unfortunately, you can’t simply install an eye-screw into a finished ceiling; the ceiling boards aren’t strong enough to support the swing. Using a joint finder, you can install a mounting bracket onto the beam and then attach your chains. Some people prefer to skip hanging a porch swing from the ceiling and choose a frame swing instead. It’s up to you and your comfort level.
10. Install an Optional Comfort Spring
This piece of steel hardware looks like a rotini noodle and is frequently installed on porch swings for a more pleasant experience. If you use one, be sure to couple it with a safety chain to support the swing if it breaks.
If it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing, you’ll be happy to know you have several options to accommodate a swing on your porch. All swings need to be supported by joints or beams rather than ceiling boards. An unfinished ceiling makes finding these beams and installing the swing a breeze. It’s possible to install a swing on a finished ceiling, but you’ll need to invest in a joint finder and a mounting bracket.
If you’re in a hurry to enjoy beams from the sun instead of searching for ones on the ceiling, a frame swing is the easiest type to install that doesn’t require you to locate joints or mount brackets. Additionally, you can move it more easily if you find a better spot later. Ideally, though, you have an unfinished ceiling where you can easily mount your swing to the exposed beam and enjoy the rest of your afternoon.
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Featured Image Credit: Ursula Page, Shutterstock