How to Hang a Porch Swing

Hang your porch swing safely and securely with our guide to fastening the outdoor seating to your ceiling's structural material.

porch swing with cat and throw pillows

Adam Albright

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Estimated Cost: $20 to $40

When it comes to hanging a porch swing, you want to make sure you get the job done right. When installed securely, a porch swing is the perfect spot to unwind or take an afternoon nap; installed haphazardly, it's simply a liability. The key to getting it right is to make sure you mount the swing into something structural, which can take a little knowhow to achieve. Luckily, we've got the tips and tricks for successfully hanging a swing on your front porch.

Before You Begin

It's essential that your swing hardware is mounted into strong structural materials, such as 2x6 ceiling joists. Once you decide on the placement and direction of your swing, you must determine the location of the structural joists that will support the swing. Depending on the location and direction of the joists, you may have to add supplemental material to attach the hardware to.

If your joists are exposed, simply take a look at them. If your joists are covered, you'll need to either remove the material covering them or use a stud finder to locate them. Removing the material is the preferred method, as you'll most likely have to add material to hang your swing. Plus, you can then see the exact location of the joists.

Determining Porch Swing Hardware Placement

Porch swing hardware should sit directly above the hardware on the swing, spaced outward approximately two inches. The way the hardware fastens to the joists will depend on the type of hardware you choose: swiveling brackets or eye lag bolts.

While eye bolts simply screw into the joists, swiveling brackets are made to run parallel with the ceiling joists. This means that if your swing is facing perpendicular to your joists, you have two options. Sistering consists of screwing a board to the side of the joist. Blocking consists of fastening a board that stretches from one joist to another. We've outlined both processes in the steps below.

Porch with swing seating and pillows
Marty Baldwin

Hanging a Porch Swing with Ropes Vs. Chains

The two most common materials by which to hang a porch swing are rope and chain. Both are equally strong if you choose the right size and thickness, but each offers a different look and longevity. No matter which material you choose, check the specifications for the weight capacity and compare it with that of your swing. Your rope or chain should support both the swing's weight limit and the weight of the swing itself.

If you choose to hang your porch swing with rope, make a habit of regularly checking the rope to ensure it's not worn or damaged.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Pry bar (optional)
  • Stud finder (optional)
  • Wrench set
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Screwdriver
  • Ladder
  • Safety glasses


  • Swiveling bracket kit or two 1/2" x 4" eye lag bolts
  • Chain or ropes
  • Porch swing
  • 2x6 x 8' pine board (optional)
  • 3-inch wood screws (optional)
  • Furring strips (optional)


How to Hang a Porch Swing

The steps below outline how to hang a porch swing properly to ensure it's sturdy and safe.

  1. Remove Porch Ceiling (Optional)

    If you have a vinyl ceiling, remove the panels one by one, carefully removing any fasteners as you go. Once you've uncovered enough of the ceiling to measure the joist location for the swing, stop removing panels. If you have a wood ceiling or a material you can't remove, locate the joists with a stud finder, then confirm their location using a small drill bit.

  2. Measure Joists

    Measure the joists to ensure your hardware will line up with the hardware on your swing. Ideally, the hardware in the ceiling should sit about two inches wider than the hardware on the swing. The swing itself should have 3 feet of clearance on the front and back and 2 feet of clearance on the sides. If it doesn't line up or the joists are simply in the wrong location, you'll need to add supplemental material.

  3. Block or Sister the Joist

    If your joists run the wrong direction for your hardware, you can simply sister the joist by screwing in a secondary parallel board using 3-inch wood screws. This will add enough material to run both lag bolts for a swivel-type porch swing hanging kit.

    If you need to greatly change the position of the mounting surface, you can block the joists by cutting a piece of 2x6 lumber to the distance between the joists, then screwing it between two joists. You can then sister the block to increase the width of the mounting surface if necessary.

  4. Drill Holes

    Choose a drill bit that is slightly smaller than the shank of your bolts. After marking the location of the holes, drill directly into the center of the joists, holding the drill as straight as possible to ensure the bolts are in the thickest part of the material.

  5. Reinstall Ceiling (Optional)

    If you removed vinyl ceiling, reinstall it now, marking the location of the holes as you go and drilling holes through the vinyl for the bolts to pass through.

    If your vinyl ceiling doesn't sit directly on the joists and is instead padded out with furring strips, fasten furring strips to sit between the vinyl and the joists. This will prevent the vinyl from compressing when the swing hardware is attached.

  6. Mount Porch Swing Ceiling Hardware

    Run the bolts through the vinyl and into your pre-drilled holes. Tighten the bolts into the joists until you meet considerable resistance. Refrain from over-tightening or risk stripping the wood.

    If using eye bolts, insert the bolts into the hole, then slide a screwdriver through the eye to use as leverage for tightening the bolts.

  7. Attach Chains or Rope

    Attach chains or ropes to both the ceiling hardware and the porch swing. Adjust them until the porch swing sits level, approximately 18 inches from the floor.

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