When Your Old House Needs a New Porch Swing

Shannon Lee

There are few things as quaint as a lovely porch swing in front of an old house. Porch swings have always been a popular addition to older homes; they harken back to yesteryear, before air conditioning became all the rage. A porch swing of your own can bring back those days of sitting in the humid air with a tall glass of iced tea in hand.

The Basics of Hanging a Front Porch Swing

Make the most of the great outdoors from the comfort of your front porch or deck. Here's how to hang that lovely porch swing:

  1. Connect your porch swing to a structural part of the house. Anything less can lead to your swing crashing down, doing a great deal of damage on its way. You could even be seriously injured.
  2. Older homes often have a finished wooden ceiling on the porch. You can either remove a portion of the ceiling to get to the joists or cut out a hole that you can later patch.
  3. Use serious hardware! Flimsy does not work when it comes to hanging a porch swing. The weight of the swing, plus the weight of two people, could easily top 500 pounds. Larger or sturdier swings, especially those designed to hold three people, can weigh substantially more. Choose stainless-steel screw bolts with a 4-inch shaft for starters, but don't hesitate to go with something even sturdier.
  4. Make sure the joists will hold. You might want to use a longer bolt and drive it through the joist, securing it with a nut on the topside. If the joists show any signs of weakness, sister them with a sturdy piece of lumber, then run the bolts through the lumber. If you can run the bolt through both the original joist and the sister piece, you should have an even sturdier porch swing.
  5. Unsure about just how sturdy your porch joists might be? If you are concerned about taking a chance on them, be safe rather than sorry. Porch swing frames are available that allow you to set the swing on the porch, but not attach it to anything above. You can also choose to add a swing to a garden arbor or other cool, breezy place that provides both a view and a place to enjoy companionship with friends and family.

Depending on the condition of your porch and how handy you are with do-it-yourself work, hanging a front porch swing might be a job for professionals. Regardless, with just a few hours of work, you can be swinging the day away with a cool beverage.

About the Author

Shannon Dauphin is a freelance writer based near Nashville, Tennessee. Her house was built in 1901, so home repair and renovation have become her hobbies.

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