BuildDirect Blog: Life at Home

How to Install a Porch Swing

Photo: Richard Elzey

Installing a porch swing can be an attractive addition to any home. Most swings come pre-assembled, so the process of attaching it to a porch is usually quite easy. Some of the benefits of doing this task correctly include a relaxing place to be while outdoors, a place to entertain on a lazy afternoon, or aesthetics that give your home have a welcoming appeal.

Features of a porch swing

Porch swings have different features to consider when preparing for installation. For instance, there is a one chain mounting system that can help eliminate the clutter of multiple chains, but require the help of two to three friends in order to hoist the piece in place, especially if the swing is already attached to the chain. There are others where this is not the case. So it is important to look at your resources for help when finding a style that you prefer.

Assembled vs. unassembled porch swings

There are porch swing kits available to buyers that offer unassembled porch swings. While they do come with lengthy instruction packets, this style is optimal for those that do not expect to have a lot of help on hand in the process.

Pre-assembled porch swing units are bulky and heavy, so help is required for loading, unloading, and mounting the swing. However, some styles of swings, like wicker swings, only come pre-assembled, and tend to be lighter than a solid wood swing.

Tools & Materials

While the instruction manual will have a list, it is wise to be prepared so that you feel confident about going forward with the project. Some of the tools that you will want to have handy include:

  • Level
  • Ladder
  • Socket wrench and sockets
  • Screw drivers; large flathead and phillips
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil

Once these tools are assembled, the next step is to ensure that there is enough room for the swing to move about on the porch it’s placed on.

Measuring for the swing arc

The area for swinging motion, or the swing arc, is the most important measurement. You need to install the chains for the swing in a spot that will allow the swing to move freely without bumping into porch fixtures or your home.

Follow these steps to measure for the swings optimal location:

  • Determine where you want the swing
  • Hold the measuring tape on that spot on the ceiling
  • Extend the tape the length of the swing itself
  • Swing the tape — if it does not hit anything in the front, back, or side to side, you’ve found a great location

Single chain porch swing installation

Some swings are designed to mount with only one chain. This simply means that the chain is in the shape of a triangle, attached at one point on the ceiling. It is joined on both sides of either the arm rest or backboard. The mounting is a little different because there will need to be some additional brackets to detur spinning. It is key to find a stud for placement as the weight of the swing from a single point can cause damage to the structure of the home.

Double chain porch swing installation

This process is easier on the structure of the home, but does require additional measuring in order to place the chains properly for straight presentation of the swing. This type of design does not have the threat of spinning, but there is a tendency to have slack on one side or another. Taking the time for careful measuring during installation will be rewarded later on.

Pre-assembled porch swing

If the swing is already assembled, follow the steps below to optimize the installation process:

  • Measure the space where the swing will be placed. You will want to include measurements behind and in front of the swing so that the piece has room to swing without obstruction.
  • Mount the chain or chains in the proper space, taking into consideration that there will be space needed on the sides for the chair portion, and that there should be no slack in the chain.
  • Hoist the swing onto the chain and bolt it down. The swing can be removed off of the chain for adjustments if necessary, but it is difficult to fix the chain holes in the ceiling, so it is important to get that step correct.

The swing will weigh a considerable amount, so, for safety reasons, it is wise to enlist the help of others in order to complete step number three.

photo: kretyen

Unassembled porch swing

Having an unassembled swing is the perfect way for a DIY’er to get the optimal experience from installing a porch swing. It is important to follow the step listed on the instruction guide with the swing, but know that there can be some improvisation. Follow the steps below for additional ideas:

Measure the space for the chains and swinging room as listed in the pre-assembled instructions.
Attach the side rails to the chains, in preparation for the backboard section. The key her is to make sure the measuring is exact. Unlike the instructions when help is present, taking the swing off the chains for readjustment, when working alone, could mean disassembling the entire swing.
Put the swing together as outlined by the instructions from this point.

This is a great way to piece together the swing when working alone, and having a solid unit completed as per manufacturers suggestions.

Enjoying lazy days outside

Enjoy the new porch swing on a lazy day, or any day for that matter. Once the unit is installed properly, there will be occasions for use that pop up all around. Decorate the new swing with attractive cushions, and make your porch an extension of your home. This will go a long way in making your home feel even more welcoming and comfortable for not just you, but guests and passersby that see your beautiful new swing.

Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.


  1. Thank you for this article on how to install a porch swing. Our family has been building porch swings for over 25 years and I thought some of your readers might be interested in seeing them. They’re handmade in America!

    Thank you for your consideration,

    Cypress Moon Porch Swings

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