This Is How to Hang a Porch Swing Properly (The Ultimate Guide)

A porch swing is a place to relax, read a book, and recharge your batteries after a busy day or week. A crucial part to consider when buying a porch swing is installation. A shady installation could ultimately cause you to crash down when you least expect it.

By equipping yourself with appropriate hardware, correct measurements, and following the step by step instructions in this article, you will be having countless safe seasons of weightless swinging.

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Before You Get Started

Ensure your ceiling frame is sturdy enough to support a porch swing. A two-person swing can be supported by a three 2 x 4 joists, two 2 x 6 joists, or a single 2 x 8 joist, provided all joists are primed at both ends for load-bearing applications.

Follow the installation instructions provided by the porch swing’s manufacturer.

Choose the Right Hardware and Equipment

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Your chosen anchoring hardware, ropes, chains, and connectors, such as S-hooks, should be solid enough to withstand outdoor exposure, as well as have a carrying capacity of 500 pounds or more.

1. Hanger Kits

There are many hanger kits available on the market, and you can opt for the one that includes a fancy swivel-type hanger mounts, which also features heavy-duty springs for smoother swinging.

You will need lag screws to install the hanger mounts.

2. Eye Bolts, Screw Eyes or Hooks

An alternative to using a hanger kit is the heavy-duty screw eyes, eye bolts, or screw hooks. They all have a hook or enclosed ring on one end where chain or rope can be attached. It is easier to use screw-in anchors when you are anchoring directly into joists.

If you will be anchoring to a beam or to a 4 x 4 blocking installed between joists, use machine bolts, which screw all the way through the support member while anchoring on the top side with a nut and washer.

The bolt or screw diameter should be at least 1/2 inch. All screws should have a threaded shank measuring at least 4 inches long.

Whatever you decide to use, ensure all hardware is stainless steel or any other material that is rust-resistant.

3. Chains + Ropes

Most new porch swings come with hanging ropes or chains, but if for whatever reasons you need to buy them, ensure you get one rated for at least 500 pounds carrying capacity. If it is a chain, it should be stainless steel or galvanized.

Ropes should be marine-grade polyester or braided nylon to withstand outdoor use. They will last longer and swing smoother if you add a quick link or S-hook between the eye/hook and the rope.

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How to Hang a Porch Swing

Step 1: Determine the Hanger Distance and Swing Space

Swing Space

Make provision for at least 48 inches of space behind the swing. You should have at least 14 to 16 inches on both sides of the swing for side clearance.

Hanger Distance

The eye bolts, screws eyes, or hooks should be installed 2 to 4 inches wider than your swing’s length. For instance, for a 50-inch swing, space the hangers 52 to 54 inches apart. This will aid uniform weight distribution and also prevent the chains from rubbing against the swing when in motion.

Step 2: Locate The Joists

Sizing is Important

Patio and porch roof structures usually come with horizontal joists that support the ceiling finish. These joists are often 2x6 or larger lumber, but they can also be as small as 2x4. If you can access your porch structure through the attic, ascertain the joist size and general placement. A 2x8 is 7-1/4 inches tall; 2x6 is 5-1/2 inches; 2x4 joists are 3-1/2 inches.

If you cannot access to the attic, cut a small hole, or remove a piece of trim in the ceiling to measure the joist depth. To hang your porch swing from a beam or single joist, it should be a 4x4 beam, or a 2x8 joist.

How to Locate the Joists

You can find the joists from the underside of the ceiling by using a stud finder. Confirm the locations by drilling small holes on each side of the joist. It is advisable to make a mark at both sides of the joists, to make it easier to find the center for installing the anchor.

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Common Joist Problems

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Worried your joists are not big enough? Or that they are located where you do not need them? Don’t worry, you can do any of the following:

1. Install short beams.

A 4 x 4 will work well across the tops of multiple joists. You need two 4 x 4 beams, cut them such that they are long enough to run perpendicularly across three or more joists. Set the beams on top of the joist, in a way that it centers over one of the anchor locations.

Use a 3-inch screwdriver to fasten the beams to each joist into the top edge of the joist, and an angle through each side of the beam.

2. You can also install lumber blocking using 4 x 4’s, 2 x 6’s or any larger lumber.

Install the lumber between two joists that are adjacent with joist hangers, such that the blocking is lined with the bottom part of the joists. Make a mark on the locations for the anchors on one joist, using a framing square, and transfer the marks to the adjacent joist. 

Install the joist hangers on the inside faces of the joists facing each other, as directed by the hanger manufacturer. Many joist hangers are nailed using a 1 ½-inch screw or hanger nails. You need to position the hangers in a way that the blocking will be finely flush with the top of the ceiling finish as well as centered over the swing anchor locations.

Cut two blockings to fit snugly between the joists, fit them down into the hangers. Use screws or hanger nails to fasten the blockings to the hangers.

To add blocking or beams, you need attic access, or you can simply cut a large enough hole in the ceiling finish to work through. The hole should be patched when you are done.

Step 3: Install Hangers

How to Install a Hook or Screw Eye

Drill a hole directly into the center of the beam or joist. Use your hands to thread in the screw as far as possible, then finish the screwing by using pliers or large wrench, ensure the threads are fully embedded in the lumber.

How to Install Your Hanger Kit With Lag Screws

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Most hanger kits with swivels are designed to be mounted to a beam or joist running parallel to the length of the swing.

Each mount should be positioned over the center of the beam or joist, using a bit having the same size as the screw’s shank.

Install the mount with 3-inch lag screws, and tighten the screws with an impact wrench or socket wrench.

Step 4: Hang the Swing

There are many ways to hang a porch swing, but the steps above are among the easiest and simplest and work for most swing designs.

If you’ve just purchased a porch swing, follow the recommended hanging instructions provided by the manufacturers, using the provided rope or chains.

How to Hang a Porch Swing With Chains

  • You need two chains, – one long and one short, for both ends of the swing.
  • Secure one end of the long chain to the front mounting point of the swing by using the appropriate hardware. If the swing does not come with hardware, you can use an eyebolt.
  • Secure the short-chain to the rear of the seat. Using a small S-hooks or quick links, connect the short-chain to long-chain on both sides, about 2 or 3 feet above the seat.
  • Hook the long chains to the hangers in the ceiling. The short chains will pull backward on the long chains, causing your seat to tilt back for comfort.
  • Adjust the seat height and tilt as you want by hooking onto different links.

How to Hang a Porch Swing With a Rope

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  • Bend your rope in half and make a simple overhand knot. Use the doubled-up rope positioned about two inches from the bend, to create a 2-inch-long loop. The loop should be hooked over the screw hook in the ceiling. If you have an eye bolt or screw eye, add a quick link or S-hook between the rope loop and the eye.
  • Prop up your swing on a support such as cardboard boxes, so it’s leveled and also at the desired height.
  • Thread the front half of the rope through the front mounting point on the porch swing and have it secured underneath using a basic overhand knot. Ensure the knot is big enough so it won’t slip through when weight is applied on the swing.
  • Remove the cardboard boxes, tie off the rear halves of the rope, to the swing rear mounts, tilting the swing at the desired angle.
  • Test the porch swing, and make knot adjustments as needed and trim the excess ropes from the bottom ends.

Conclusion

If you follow the instructions from this article, you will be ready to enjoy countless seasons of weightless swinging. Place your cushions and pillows and swing away. 

If you have any other method of hanging a porch swing, please let us know in the comment box below. Happy swinging!

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