There’s no denying the classic and inviting look a porch swing adds to your home. Once you’ve selected the right porch swing for your space, the next step is hanging it. But, safety first. A porch swing is supported entirely by your home itself, and improper installation can cause damage to both you and your property. Hanging a porch swing isn’t difficult, it just takes a little planning.
Gather Necessary Supplies
The supplies needed to hang a porch swing are fairly minimal and installation should only require 1-2 people. The easiest way to prepare is to order a porch swing hanging kit along with your swing. A hanging kit makes installing your porch swing easy, economical, and very sturdy.
Locate the Ceiling Joists
You probably have a general idea of where you want to hang your swing. But you can’t hang a load-bearing seat just anywhere – it needs to hang from a ceiling joist. A joist is to your ceiling what a stud is to your wall – a large, stiff wood beam that holds the weight of the house. No beam, no hang. Plywood, beadboard, or any other ceiling material won’t hold the weight. There are two easy ways to locate the beams or joists in your porch ceiling.
- From the Attic – If you have attic access, simply head up and look! You’ll be able to see where your joists are (make sure you’re stepping on them) and measure the distance from where the ceiling meets the wall.
- With a Stud Finder – A good stud finder works overhead, too. Run it along the ceiling until you hear a strong “beep.” Make sure you understand which direction the joist is running.
Determine Where to Hang the Porch Swing
Now that you’ve located the joists and know where you can safely and securely hang your porch swing, it’s time to determine your swing’s exact placement. You’re going to have movement both back and forth and side to side from your swing, so make sure you plan accordingly – and measure twice! Keep the following considerations in mind:
Which way do you want your porch swing to face? That may depend on the size and shape of your porch or simply on how you plan to use your swing. People-watchers and neighbor-wavers may want their swings parallel to the street to maximize the view. Readers and socializers may want to hang their swings perpendicular for privacy or conversation.
Next, you will need to measure how much space you need to account for when hanging your porch swing. Allow at least 3 to 4 feet of clearance in both the front and back of your swing and at least 2 feet on each side. As for how high to hang your swing, the seat should be approximately 17-19 inches above the floor. You can adjust from there based on your height and preference.
Install Hanging Hardware
- Measure your porch swing and the distance between the actual hanging hooks.
- Add a total of 4 inches. Making your supports a little wider helps spread out the weight of the swing on your support beam.
- Mark the spots for your hanging hooks directly on the ceiling using a pencil.
- Double-check your measurements to make sure that your swing will align as you want it and has the proper clearance for swinging.
- Hold the first hanging hook against the ceiling, centered on your first mark and aligned with the joist. Mark each of the holes for drilling.
- Drill pilot holes slightly smaller in diameter than the wood screws.
- Securely fasten the hanging hook with 2 wood screws and hang a comfort spring from the hook.
- Repeat steps 5-7 for installing the second hanging hook.
- Attach hanging chains to your swing according to the directions that came with your swing. This may be with eye hooks, lag bolts, or something else.
- Carefully hang your swing to the comfort springs, one side at a time. It’s best to have a helper for this step.
Test Out Your Swing
With your swing hung, it’s time to fine tune. Generally, you want it to hang about 18 inches off the ground, but the specifics are up to you. To get it parallel with the porch floor (you don’t want to tilt!), counting chain links is the easiest way to double check.
To test your swing out, we recommend starting with a light push to check your clearances and ensure it swings smoothly. When you’re ready, just sit! If something doesn’t feel quite right, check over your work and make adjustments where you can.
Porch Swing Hanging Alternatives
You don’t have to have a front porch to enjoy an outdoor swing. An outdoor swing makes a great addition to any outdoor living space from a deck or patio to a garden. You can hang a swing with rope from a tree limb in your front yard or suspend a patio swing from a wooden pergola in your backyard. A free standing porch swing comes with a frame and all the necessary hanging hardware, making it a great option if you don’t have a suitable place to hang a swing.