How to Build a Porch Swing

There is nothing like being able to sit outside on your porch on a warm evening and be able to enjoy the outdoors.

Installing a Porch Swing

While the process requires a few tools and a bit of know-how, a porch swing is actually a very simple home do-it-yourself project.

Inspect your porch. The first decision you have to make is where the porch swing will go. You must have a porch roof for the porch swing to hang from. Determine where the swing will go, and measure from where the swing will hang down to the porch itself. Subtract a foot (12 inches), and this is how long your two lengths of chain should be. Looking up at the porch roof, you need to identify where the swing will hang. Look for the longer, heavier pieces of wood that hold up the porch roof. You can attach the swing sideways to one of these, or between two of them.

Purchase the necessary supplies. Any large home improvement store will carry everything you need, from lumber to chains. Buy two lengths of chain, which an employee will cut for you.

Prepare your porch. Mark the two places in your porch roof where you will drill holes. They should be the same distance apart as the swing is wide, 6 feet, and equally distant from the edge of the porch, so the swing will hang square. Using the drill, drill a hole in each of these locations. Drill at least three inches into the porch roof. Next, you will install the eyebolts. These will hold the entire weight of the swing, so they must be secure. You can screw them into the holes by hand at first, but as it gets harder, you can put a screwdriver through the hole on the end of the eyebolt to make turning it easier. Righty tightey!

Assemble the swing. Divide the 1x4s into a pile of four and a pile of six. One of these will be the seat of the swing, the other will be the back. Place the 6 1x4s next to each other, and measure them. Cut three lengths of 2x4 to match this measurement, and squarely attach the 6 1x4s to the three 2x4s on both ends and in the center. This is the seat of the swing. Repeat the process with the 4 1x4s to assemble the back of the swing. Set the back on top of the base of the swing, forming an L and screw the base into the back. Cut two more 2x4s to fit the depth of the swing base, and 2 more 2x4s 12 inches long. These will form the armrests. At the front of the swing base, attach the two 12 inch 2x4s vertically with screws. Then affix the armrest from the top of the 12 inch 2x4 to the back. Drive screws through the back into the armrests for extra support. Finally, six inches apart on the armrests, install two eyebolts on each. When you are finished, now would be the time to stain or paint your swing as you like.

Hang the swing. Having measured, you know how long the distance is from the roof to where you want the swing. Subtract 12 inches from that for the arm rests, and cut to lengths of chain equally to that distance. For the purposes of this, we will say it is 5 feet. Suspend these two chains from the eyebolts in the porch. At the base of these chains, hang the two S-hooks. Cut four 6 inch lengths of chain, and hang two of them from each of the S-hooks. These chains will attach to the eyebolts already installed on your swing. Hook up one side, and then the other. Check for levelness and feel free to make any necessary adjustments.Safety first! Make sure to put weight on the swing gradually before you put your entire weight on it, just to be sure.

Things You Will Need

  • A porch!
  • 10 6-foot lengths of 1x4 lumber
  • 3 8-foot 2x4s.
  • 2 lengths of 1/2 inch chain
  • 2 eyebolts, 3/8 of an inch in diameter, 4 inches long
  • 4 eyebolts, 3/8 of an inch in diameter, 1 inch long
  • 2 S-hooks
  • A drill with a 1/4 inch drill bit
  • A tape measure
  • A pencil
  • A screwdriver
  • Wire cutters
  • A stepladder
  • A saw
  • 4 inch wood screws
  • 3 inch wood screws
  • 2 inch wood screws

Tips

  • Measure twice, cut once is the best advice in the world when it comes to home improvement.
  • The last few turns of the eyebolts will be difficult, but they are the most important.
  • When working with wood and tools, gloves are always useful.

Warning

  • Always use eye protection when using power tools.

About the Author

Beau Prichard has been a freelance writer and editor since 1999. He specializes in fiction, travel and writing coaching. He has traveled in the United Kingdom, Europe, Mexico and Australia. Prichard grew up in New Zealand and holds a Bachelor of Arts in writing from George Fox University.