There’s no better way to fake a cool breeze than swaying on your own porch swing. But beyond having a good time, installing a swing can also add a cozy aesthetic to your home.
Regrettably, not everyone can boast of a porch that is large enough to hold a swing. This leaves you exploring other places, such as underneath a deck. So, can you hang a porch swing under your deck?
Yes, you can hang a porch swing under a deck, but it needs to be done correctly. The eye bolts must be fully secure in the joists, and there should be enough space for the swing to move
In this article, you will find all the information you need to install a porch swing under deck. But before we get into all that, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the essential structural components and other requirements.
How do I know if my porch will support a swing?
Here are the key things to check out when evaluating whether your porch has the structural support for a swing.
Evaluate the Structural Components
Before you hang a new porch swing, first confirm you’ve got the structural component to support it. The last thing you want is to attach a swing to a weak structure, as that would be a recipe for disaster.
There are two main things to look at here – user weight and weight of the porch swing. Human beings can be quite heavy, with most normal adults averaging around 150-200 pounds. Likewise, some swings can also be made from heavy materials. When combined, this usually amounts to several hundreds of pounds. Think about that much weight attached onto your porch ceiling? See why it’s crucial you have strong support.
Most porches are outfitted with horizontal joists for supporting the ceiling as well as a fully-loaded swing. The general recommendation is to ensure the joists can hold a minimum of 500 pounds weight. For a two person swing, a single 2×8 joist or two 2×6 joists can support this load. Three 2×4 joists should also work. Anything lesser would not be safe or strong enough and will require additional support, especially if the user has too much weight.
It is much easier to determine the depth of your joists if the porch ceiling is unfinished. This is because the joists and beams are usually visible. However, you might find it harder to determine the joist depth if the ceiling is finished. You may need to remove the panel.
Locate the Swing Correctly
In addition to having strong joists, you need to choose the right location for your swing. You want a place where the swing will be free to move and won’t get in the way when entering the house or accessing the porch.
Most porch swings are around 4-5 ft. long, while their depth is between 18-36 inches.
Ensure there’s enough space to accommodate the swing. You should allow at least 48 inches (4 ft.) of space in the front and behind. This is to create a comfortable swinging arc. Also, allow 2 ft. on both sides of the porch to accommodate additional motion and enable you to walk around the swing. Providing clearance on all sides will also keep the swing from knocking into surrounding walls.
What Are The Different Types of Porch Swings?
Before you start any installation, it’s important to know the various types of swing available.
Wooden swings offer various styles and designs to match different outdoor themes and settings. This can be anything from farmhouse to ornate to rustic look. You also have the option to paint the swing to match your space or preference.
However, like other wooden structures, wooden swings can be vulnerable if neglected. They can bleach, rot, split and even develop some weak spots. But with proper maintenance, they can retain a good look for a long time.
Metal swings are very durable, making them a great choice if you need something that will withstand all kinds of stress. They are also elegant and are available in different designs ranging from simple to ornate to more delicate options. The reason why you can find more elaborate designs with metal is because it doesn’t break like wood.
The only downside with the material is that it can get very hot in the sun. So, it might be difficult to use during the hot summer months.
Otherwise, a metal swing is great and comes highly recommended, especially if you need something that will last.
If you’re a fan of the classic Adirondack style, then you will love the swings.
Adirondack swings are made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), a plastic composite. The good thing about this material is that it can withstand moisture, heat, and even chemicals. As a result, it doesn’t require a lot in terms of maintenance.
The swings are available in many color options, so it’s easy to find something that will match your outdoor decor. Unlike typical wood furniture which requires regular polishing, the swings retain their color and don’t fade over time.
The major disadvantage with this type of swing is that it can be quite expensive.
A wicker swing is an excellent choice if you want to achieve a classic or traditional antique look. One of the major advantages of wicker is that it’s slightly flexible, making it more comfortable. It is able to flex slightly to suit your body shape.
However, wicker requires more maintenance than other materials. But it will last for many years when properly cared for.
How to Hang a Porch Swing Under Your Deck?
Hanging a porch swing under a deck is very similar to mounting it on the porch. Here are the steps to follow:
Pick a Location
Pick a location with enough space for swinging motion. There should be at least 4 ft. of space behind and in front of the swing and 2 ft. on both sides. Next, check the joists above your chosen location. This should be easy if the porch has an unfinished ceiling.
Once you locate the joists, ensure it’s safe to install your porch swing. The support on both ends should be strong enough. Anything less can be disastrous as far as your safety and the integrity of your deck and swing is concerned.
Mark the Holes
Once you’ve figured out where you want the porch swing to be, get the chains up and mark where you want to drill the holes. You can do this with a pencil. Before drilling, ensure you have a sturdy board above the deck and try not to go all the way with your eye hook.
Drill the Holes
Now get your device to the places you marked drill pilot holes smaller than the eye hook/bolt. Ideally, the drill should be thinner than the eye hook/bolt so it can fit securely.
Next, twist the hooks into the drill/holes using your hands. Make sure they fit securely into the joist. If this proves difficult, you can use a long screwdriver. A pair of pliers will also work fine.
Hanging the Porch Swing
Now that the eye bolts are in, we can now safely hang the porch swing.
Start by stringing the two separate chains, so they pass through the eye hooks. You can use two or four hooks.
Start with the first chain; when you get the height you want, clip the carabiner or turn the nuts manually. Do this for both sides of the swing. To ensure it’s straight, you can count how many chain links are on both sides and ensure it’s the same.
Continue by looping the chain, so it passes through the hook. Clip the carabiner.
Make sure the seat is 17″-19″ off the ground.
Test the Swing
Now that you’re done, test the swing to make sure everything is fine. Push the swing and observe its movement. It should move evenly and not tilt. Sit on it and confirm none of the sides is too low. You can extend the chain if you find the height too short.
Pick your hanging method
There are two ways you can hang a porch swing. You can either use a marine-grade rope or a metal chain. Both materials are strong as long as you choose the right ones.
A chain is usually the most preferred option, but a rope will give you a more rustic look. Whichever material you choose, make sure the length on each side is equal.
Some swings usually come with their hanging kit. But you can always go to a hardware store if you don’t find everything you want.
Can you hang a porch swing under your deck from a 26?
Yes, a porch swing can be hung from a 26 as long as you have joists to support it. In most cases, you will be able to hang the swing at least 26-48 inches away from the porch walls or guardrails. If you have any problem locating the ceiling joists, use a stud finder. Once you’ve identified them, have them marked, so you don’t forget their position.
Another thing to resolve before hanging a porch swing from a 26 is the weight. Make sure the joists can support both the swing weight and the number of people that would be using it. As a general rule, the joists should be able to support not less than 500-pounds weight (more is better). Also, the dimensions of the ceiling joists should not be less than 2×6″. This is important if you want them to withstand large loads or multiple people.
If you’re not sure your joists can safely hold that much weight, you can hire a professional to look at them and determine if they will be strong and large enough for your application.
How much weight can a porch swing hold?
On average, a porch swing can be 500 pounds (or 250kg) of weight. This could be more depending on the brand, but the majority of swing chains in the market are rated at this number.
Three main factors determine the weight limit of a swing – the strength of the chains or mounting hardware, the type of swing chair, and the quality of the swing material.
Different porch swings have different weight limits, but the most common option, which is the standard swing, can hold 500 pounds, as stated above.
One way you can increase the maximum weight capacity of a porch swing is to purchase stronger chains or update the mounting hardware. However, you should only do this if you’re sure your porch is strong enough to support the extra weight. Swing chains and hanger kit are readily available at hardware stores.
Porch Swing Care Tips
To keep your porch swing looking in good shape, regular cleaning and maintenance are required. Here are five porch swing care tips to look at.
- Keep The Swing Dry
Moisture is not good for any part of a swing, especially the seat and chain. So, it’s essential you keep your swing dry at all times. This means keeping it out of the rain and snow. Also, avoid placing hot items, food, beverages, and other liquids on the wooden seat as these can soil or stain the swing.
If your swing is not under a shelter or some kind of shade, you can use a furniture cover or tarp to protect it, especially during parties or when you have guests around.
It’s best to store the swing indoors during the cold seasons, but if you can’t, wrap it with an outdoor furniture cover that is both breathable and waterproof. It’s also a good idea to clean and seal the swing before moving it to storage.
- Use a Shade/Shelter
Locating your porch swing under a shade helps to protect it from sunlight. Just like moisture, sunlight can also damage your swing.
While metal swings are not affected much by the sun, they can become very hot to sit on. On the other hand, wood and wicker are vulnerable to the scorching heat from the sun and can fade and dry out. This will often result in weak points, leeching, or splitting of the material.
Likewise, prolonged exposure to the hot sun can cause plastic swings to melt and leave behind weak spots and bends.
To avoid all these, choose an area with a lot of shade to install your porch swing.
- Maintain the Color/Finish
Painting your swing is a great way to keep it looking good while also increasing its durability. A lot of spray paints contain anti-rust agents and protectants that provide protection against the elements. Do this whenever the existing finish on the swing starts peeling or flaking.
- Lubricate Monthly
It also helps to keep a monthly lubrication routine where you oil the joints and other parts. This ensures the smooth motion of the porch swing and ensures there are no locking parts. Lubrication also helps to prevent rust.
If you’re not able to do this monthly, then you can do it every two months.
You can use any metal lubricant for this purpose.
- Cleaning Your Swing
Cleaning a porch swing is easy. All it needs is a quick hose down and gentle sponging with warm soapy water. Use a mild soap and soft sponge and make sure it dries properly before using it again.
For tough liquid stains, make sure you clean them as soon as they appear. Prepare a cleaning solution of ⅓ bleach with ⅔ water. This shouldn’t affect the color of the swing.
Baking soda and toothpaste also work but be careful when using these solutions. Test them on a small inconspicuous area before use. Sanding the stained area lightly can also help.
While cleaning, don’t ignore the swing hardware. To prevent rust, wipe them down with a bit of grease after drying.
Plastic swings are essentially maintenance-free. If you decide to clean them, use warm water and mild soap.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much weight can you hang under a deck?
There is no one right answer to this, as it depends on many variables. These include lumber size, material, joists length, the closeness of the joists, local building code, and even regional factors like snow. However, on a general note, a well-built deck will normally hold at least 50 pounds of weight per square foot. For instance, a deck of 120 sq. ft. will hold 6000 (i.e., 50 x 120) pounds of weight. Assuming ⅕ of this total is devoted to the structure. That leaves us with 4500 pounds maximum weight for the “live” load.
How tall should a porch swing frame be?
In terms of height, a porch swing should be at least 17-19 inches above the ground. This is essential for comfort and to ensure it accommodates different heights of users. You can always adjust this to suit your height and preference.
How far away from the wall should a porch swing be?
A swing needs to be at least 14 inches away from the wall. This is to ensure it doesn’t collide with the wall. In addition to the clearance on both sides of the swing, you should also allow three to four feet of space in the front and behind.
Is it OK to hang a bench swing from deck joists?
Yes, it’s okay to hang a bench swing from deck joists as long as you do it correctly. Also, you must ensure the ceiling hooks or bolts are fully secure; otherwise, you run a risk of the swing falling apart or even the whole deck collapsing. In addition, ensure there’s adequate spacing or room for swinging. It’s also good to know the weight limit of the swing, as exceeding this number can cause the swing to collapse.
How much weight can a ceiling joist hold?
It is hard to say exactly what the weight limit of a ceiling joist is. There are a number of factors to look at, which include the joist size, design, position of the load, and nature of the attic above the ceiling or deck. Having said that, a 2×6 joist can support up to 40-50 pounds weight per square foot.
There you have it – how to hang a swing under a deck. Now, you can enjoy the fun and comfort of a porch swing without having a large porch. The steps above will also work for a pergola and an arbor. Follow the steps correctly and make sure the structure is strong enough to hold your swing.
Let us know if you have any more questions about swing installation under a deck. Until then, happy swinging!