How to Hang A Porch Swing
HOW TO HANG A PORCH SWING IN 8 EASY STEPS
Nothing quite compares to enjoying your space from the comfort of your very own porch swing. Whether you're sipping coffee, hanging out with friends, or taking a lazy Sunday afternoon nap, a porch swing is the place to be. Porch swings are a great way to add seating and charm to your space while also elevating the comfort and beauty of your home.
But what good is a porch swing, if you don't know how to hang it?
We can help with that. Since porch swings are designed for comfort and relaxation, we want to make the installation as simple as possible. Follow these eight easy steps to hang your porch swing.
Let's get started with what you will need:
- Eye bolts
- Rope & chain connectors
- Porch Swing
A Step-by-Step Guide
Step 1 – Check Structural Support
Before you purchase or design a swing, you'll need to make sure you can safely hang it on your porch or from your ceiling. Only a joist can safely hold the weight of a swing with people on it. A typical two-person swing can be supported by a single 2 x 8 joist, two 2 x 6 joists or three 2 x 4 joists. The joists must be adequately supported at both ends for load-bearing applications.
See Step 5 for locating ceiling joists.
You should also measure the area, to get an idea of the size of swing that will best fit the space and be sure to consider the recommended clearance around the sides and back of the swing. We will dig more into these details in Step 4.
Step 2 – Choose a Porch Swing
Once you’ve confirmed that you can safely hang your porch swing, it’s time to choose the perfect porch swing for your space. This is the fun part. There are many things to consider, including materials, size, and style of swing. Most of these selections will be determined by your style, preference, taste and possibly even your location. Check out the amazing porch swings we offer at Nested Porch Swings!
Porch swings are available in different materials, styles, sizes, and colors. They are typically made of wood, wicker, metal, or poly. Select one that not only matches the style of your home but is also well-suited for the climate and conditions in your area. Some woods for instance, are better suited for specific climates, while poly-wood can accommodate most any type of climate.
Most porch swings are around 4-or 5-feet long. Seat depth varies widely, usually ranging from 18-to 36-inches deep. The back of the seat also varies in style and can be squared off or curved and constructed with horizontal or vertical slats.
There are many different types and styles of porch swings, from the classic front porch swing to the updated swing bed or day bed swing. Whether you prefer traditional, modern, coastal, farmhouse, or French country, there is a swing to fit your vibe. See some of our customer favorites here.
Step 3 - Choose the Right Hardware & Equipment
To hang your porch swing, you will need chains or ropes as well as hardware and connectors, with a working load rating of 500 pounds or more. If hanging your swing outdoors, make sure the hardware and connectors are suitable for outdoor exposure.
Steel Chains or Rope
Porch swings can be held up by either steel chains or rope. Pick the one that best matches the style of your swing and your home. Steel chains tend to be the more popular option due to their durability. However, for a softer or more rustic-style hanging porch swing, you can use marine-grade braided nylon rope or polyester rope. If using rope, it needs to be a minimum of 3/4-inch thick.
Hanging a porch swing with chains requires two chains—one long and one short—for each end of the swing. If using rope, swings can hang from a single rope on each side.
Hanger kits are available that include swivel-type hanger mounts and heavy-duty springs for smoother swinging. The hanger mounts are installed with lag screws.
Eye Bolts, Screw Eyes, or Hooks
If you prefer not to use a hanger kit, use heavy-duty galvanized or stainless-steel screw eyes, screw hooks, or eye bolts with an enclosed ring or hook on one end so you can attach your rope or chain. The screw or bolt diameter needs to be at least 1/2-inch and screws should have a threaded shank that is at least 4 inches long.
Step 4 – Determine Swing Space & Hanger Measurements
Once you’ve selected the right swing, you need to determine the swing space and hanger measurements. You need at least 48 inches of space behind the swing and 14 to 16 inches of side clearance on either side of the swing. The hooks, screw eyes, or eye bolts need to be installed 2-to 4-inches wider than the swing’s length to ensure even weight distribution and prevent the chains from rubbing against the swing. Also, the swing should hang about 17 to 19 inches above the floor although this can vary depending on preference.
Step 5 – Find the Joists
Remember, only a joist can safely hold the weight of a swing with people on it. Porch and patio roofs typically have horizontal joists that support the ceiling. It's easier to determine the joist depth on unfinished ceilings. If you have a finished ceiling, you will need to remove some of the trim or paneling on the ceiling to determine the joist depth. To hang a swing from a single joist or beam, it needs to be a 2 x 8 joist or 4 x 4 beam.
Once you've determined that the joists are thick enough to safely hold your porch swing, locate the joists from the underside of the ceiling with a stud finder. Confirm each location by drilling small holes at each side of the joist. Make a mark at both side edges of the joist so you can find its center for installing the anchor.
If the joists aren’t big enough or they don’t fall where you want them to, you can install 4 x 4’s to support your swing. Cut two 4 x 4 beams so they’re long enough to span across (running perpendicular to the joists) three or more joists. Set each beam on top of the joists so it is centered over one of the swing anchor locations. Fasten the beams to each joist with 3-inch screws.
Step 6 – Install the Hangers
Mark the measurements before drilling. The ceiling hooks need to be 2 to 4 inches wider than the width of the swing. This helps distribute the weight evenly and keeps the chains from rubbing against the swing. Pre-drill a hole, smaller than the eyebolt, through the joist. Slide a 6-inch machine-threaded eyebolt up through the porch ceiling and twist it in. Once it pops through the other side of the joist, secure it with a flat washer, lock washer, and nut.
Step 7 – Hang the Swing
Many swings come with hooks already pre-installed and with the chains already attached. All you need to do is adjust the back tilt of the swing before you hang it. Swings can also be suspended from either two or four hooks in the ceiling. The classic setup has two chains hanging from the ceiling that each split into two separate chains that are attached to the swing itself.
If your swing did not come with chains or hooks pre-installed, you will need to install them. The placement of the hooks depends on the design of the swing. If your swing comes with chains/ropes attached, hook the chains onto the hangers in the ceiling and you are done.
- Secure one end of each long chain to the front mounting point of the swing.
- Secure each short chain to the rear of the seat.
- Connect the short chain to the long chain on each side—about 2 or 3 feet above the seat, using small S-hooks.
- Hook the long chains onto the hangers in the ceiling - you may need assistance with this step. The short chains pull backward on the long chains, causing the seat to tilt back for comfort.
- Adjust the tilt and the seat height as desired by hooking onto different links.
- Fold each rope in half and tie a simple overhand knot.
- Create a 2-inch long loop, 2-inches from the bend.
- Hook each loop over the screw hook in the ceiling or use an S-hook between the eye and the rope loop if you have a screw eye or eye bolt.
- Use a box or bench to set the swing at the desired height and to get it level.
- Thread the front half of each rope through the front mounting point on the swing and secure it underneath with an overhand knot (make sure the knot is big enough so that it won’t slip through.)
- Remove the box and tie off the rear halves of the rope to the rear mounts on the swing, tilting the swing back to the desired angle.
- Test the swing and adjust the knots as needed.
- Trim the excess from the bottom ends of the ropes.
Step 8 – Decorate & Enjoy!
Comfortable cushions and colorful pillows add fun, finishing touches to your porch swing. Whatever inspires you – there is no limit to the color, texture, and material available for cushions, pillows, and blankets to decorate your porch swing. And it is so easy to switch things up and make changes for special occasions and changing seasons. Check out our cushion packages here.
Now it’s time to grab a book and beverage and sit back and enjoy your porch swing.
No porch? No problem!
Check out these porch swings and chairs with stands, that can go anywhere, inside or outside of your home.
Do you have any tips or tricks you want to share about hanging a porch swing? We love to hear about new (or old) techniques that people use to make hanging a porch swing even easier. Or if you have a funny story about hanging a porch swing - we love to hear those too!