How to Hang a Porch Swing with Rope (or chains)

Porch swings are a classic. It could even be argued that no porch is complete without a swing. Finding room for them and hanging them, though, can be a problem – especially if you’ve never done it before. Not to worry, as it’s easier than it sounds.

Hanging a porch swing with rope or chains is as easy as:

  • Make sure the ceiling is strong enough.
  • Drill anchors into the ceiling.
  • Attach the suspending material to the anchors.
  • Attach the swing to the suspending material.

It is as easy as it sounds, but check out the detailed explanation below to better understand it, as well as to know the ins and outs of how to know if the ceiling is strong enough to support a swing.

An image of a Happy family sitting on a porch swing enjoying quality time together on vacation.

What Is the Best Way to Hang a Porch Swing?

The best way to hang a swing is so that it works. Beyond that, there’s no single best way of hanging a porch swing. The two basic differences between each swing type are the hanging points and material.

There can be two or four hanging points – two points require less drilling into the ceiling, but since the swing is hanging by only two points, it will carry less weight.

Four hanging points require more work, but the chances of the swing ripping out of the ceiling are much smaller. I’d always opt for the system with four hanging points because safety comes first, and I’m used to drilling into the ceiling.

However, it should be noted that two-point hanging porch swings are very safe, and chances are the porch swings won’t be ripped out of the ceiling. Those screws and chains are stronger than they look. I’m just a sucker for backups and safety.

The other thing to choose is the hanging material – you can choose between chains and rope. If you opt for a rope, know that the rope must be very thick.

Our indecisive readers will be happy to hear that the choice is usually made for them when buying a swing because the hanging material is included, along with all the tools for hanging. Spoiler: it’s usually a chain.

The biggest difference is how the material fits into the décor, while both rope and chain will do a decent job. Which one is better? Let’s cover that next.

Is It Better to Use a Chain or Rope for the Porch Swing?

A rope or chain will work for a swing if they’re rated for a swing. The difference is in longevity and looks – depending on the décor, one will fit better into the porch’s look or Feng Shui. A rope is usually easier to take care of since it can’t rust. However, it can mold, smell, and rot.

What’s the difference between a hanging rope and hanging chains? When it comes to stability, there isn’t much difference – the marine rope will do just as good a job as chains. Marine ropes are great because they’re rated for weight and weather.

Chains are slightly superior, though (if they fit in with the décor), because if we take care of them well (which we’ll go over later), they will outlast rope by a very wide margin.

However, a chain that isn’t cared for will rust, while a rope that isn’t cared for will start to smell and rot. Luckily, in both of these cases, it’s usually years before either happens.

Steps to Hang a Porch Swing with Rope

Most porch swings have assembly instructions, and we should follow them at all times – this guide is here to give us a general idea of how to hang a porch swing, but it is inferior to the guide that came with the porch swing set that was purchased.

Hanging a porch swing is an easy, one-person job that should take no more than an hour (and that’s taking it slowly) if everything goes right. All we need to do is drill anchors into the ceiling, attach ropes or chains to it, and connect them to the swing.

DIY Disclaimer: Every project is individual, and its success depends on the situation, the builder’s construction skills, the building’s integrity, and many other factors. When in doubt, consult an appropriate professional.

Mistakes happen, such as using a bad chain/rope or drilling the anchors into parts of the ceiling that can’t handle the weight, which can cause injury. Because of this, we urge you to double-check everything! And if you do get injured? Please seek medical attention.

An image of a front porch-white swing.

Preparation and swing materials needed

To hang a porch swing with rope, we’ll need:

  • Ceiling or beam that can support the weight
  • A porch swing
  • Rope or chains
  • Anchors/eye bolts (often provided with the swing)
  • An electric drill

Get it all ready beforehand. It’ll make life so much easier!

Step 1 – Choose the spot

There are two important things to test when choosing the spot for a porch swing. Firstly, there needs to be at least four feet of free space in front and to the back of the swing. Each side should also have at least two feet of free space.

We can put plants or a small table there, but a swing should not be near a table or something that large. You will swing into it (or someone will – likely a child!).

Keep 4 feet free in front of and behind any swing, and 2-3 feet free on the sides. This is the swinging zone. Anything that gets put here could get knocked over. Only put things here that you don’t mind being knocked over or destroyed!

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The second thing to ensure is the strength of the ceiling or the beams we’ll attach to the chains. You’ll find specific instructions about this in the information package you get with the swing. Still, a two-by-six is usually needed to support a few hundred pounds – larger joists are even safer.

Although it’s common sense, this needs to be said – hanging a porch swing on plywood is not safe – it’ll probably rip out of the ceiling the first time we sit on it!

Step 2 – Drill anchors into the ceiling

It doesn’t matter if we choose the four-anchor system or the two-anchor system; this process is identical. Mark the appropriate number of spots (2 or 4) in the joist(s) where we’ll attach the anchors – these spots should be four inches wider than the width of the swing.

The width will allow the swing to… well, swing.

Grab a drill and turn those marked spots into appropriately-sized holes for the anchor screws being sued. The holes should be slightly tighter than the width of the anchors – that way, we’re making sure they’re screwed in and won’t fall out.

Once we’re sure the anchors are set, we can test them by trying to pull them out.

Spoiler: if they come out, it didn’t work.

Step 3 – Attach the rope (or chains)

There are two ways of attaching chains and (usually) one way of attaching a rope. After tying the rope according to instructions to the anchors, tie each end to one of the four corners of the swing.

We can attach chains the same way, but they can also be connected into a triangle before attaching to the swing. This is only found with the two-anchor system, as the single chain on one side divides into two chains, each attaching to a far end of the swing.

This way, we get a triangle and a more stable structure.

The bottom panel of the swing should hang about twenty inches above the ground. However, if we’re very tall, we should hang it even higher as we’ll have to pull our legs up to swing.

Step 4 – Attach the swing

Simply attach the rope/chains and swing away. Most swings have anchors ready for this, but if we’re building our own swing at home, then we’ll have to drill anchors into the swing (and I’d recommend using large, sturdy ones).

Carefully put some weight on the swing to ensure it’s working, after which we can swing as much as we want.

An image of a Wooden bench swing in the garden.

How Do You Hang a Wooden Swing with a Rope?

The rope must be hung on hooks (anchors) drilled into the porch’s ceiling. Some people think it would be smart to tie the rope around a very strong beam, but swing manufacturers don’t recommend this, as the rope can fray and break around the beam.

We must keep in mind that marine rope is the only rope capable of suspending all that weight – buying cheaper, thin rope to save money is only going to end with a broken swing or an injury. Or maybe both.

How Do You Hang a Porch Swing Without Studs?

Simply put – do not try this. Metal studs must hang the swing as they connect the chains/rope with the ceiling. Do not simply wrap chains or ropes around a beam, as that method is unsafe.

Wrapping rope or chain around a beam will break either the rope, the chain, and/or the beam. It may take days, weeks, months, or longer. But in the end, you’ll have a broken swing, possibly some injuries, and maybe even a broken beam (which will mess with the integrity of the roof!).

How Do You Hang a Porch Swing from a Vinyl Ceiling?

The method is the same as an uncovered porch, but there are a few steps beforehand. Remove the vinyl and install the anchors so that they protrude through the vinyl.

Here’s how to do it.


We’ll need the same things for regular porch swing installation, with a few additions.

To remove the vinyl, we’ll need:

  • A hammer
  • A prybar

The only difference is the anchors, which should be larger than the anchors we would install on an uncovered beam. Don’t worry. We’ll put the vinyl back on during this process.

Step 1 – Remove the vinyl After choosing the spot

Remove the vinyl from the ceiling using a hammer and a prybar – we might need some help with that, so this might be a two-person job.

Make sure to remove the vinyl right below the joists we’ll install the anchors. Put the vinyl aside, as we’ll later be returning it.

Step 2 – Drill the spots for the anchors and set them up

We will have to drill the anchors into the joists through the vinyl, and we must first mark the spots on the joists and drill the holes. After that, put the vinyl up against the joists and mark the same spots on the vinyl – we’ll have to drill through the vinyl too.

To ensure you drilled the holes properly, set the vinyl back up and check if you can fit a pencil or something thin through both holes – they should perfectly fit one another.

If you’ve done it right, you’re done with the drilling!

Step 3 – Return the vinyl and attach the anchors

Attach the vinyl back to the ceiling and make sure that all the holes fit one last time. Now, all that’s left to do is attach the anchors. If we did everything right, they should fall right into place, just as if there was no vinyl ceiling.

After that, follow the steps explained in the ‘Steps to Hang a Porch Swing with Rope’ section earlier in this article and finish the swing.

How Do You Hang a Porch Swing from a Slanted Ceiling?

Hanging a porch on a slanted ceiling (no matter which side the porch leans) is identical to the regular steps, although using a 4-anchor system is crucial to neutralize the angle. The angled porch may even make the swing better.

However, since we don’t want to simply slide out of the swing because of the angle, here’s how to neutralize the slanted ceiling.

If we’re setting up a swing to face the street, we’ll have to shorten the front two ropes/chains (I’d recommend using chains with a slanted ceiling as it’s easier to shorten as needed).

Measure how much higher the front end of the porch swing needs to be and shorten the chain by that much. After reattaching, we’ll see the swing level even though the chains aren’t identical.

If we’re setting up a swing to face the other end of the porch, with the street and the house to the left and right, we’ll have to shorten the chains that face the lower end of the porch roof (the end facing the street). Follow the same method for this.

Remember that once we cut a few links in the chain, we can’t reattach them. Because of this, I strongly recommend double-checking everything, cutting one link by one, checking the height, and cutting more if necessary.

I know this makes the job longer, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!

An image of a beautiful young Asian woman drinking coffee and relaxing on a swing sofa.

How to Care for Chains and Rope

Remove the swing (including the hanging materials) and take it inside if there is a storm outside – it will damage it, and it can certainly damage a home too. Secondly, lubricate the chains – that’s the only way to keep them from becoming rusty.

We don’t have to lubricate them often, and we don’t have to apply too much lubricant, but they cannot be left exposed.

The only way to ensure we don’t have to replace the chains and ropes every few years is by taking care of them.

Paint the chains with a rust-resistant metal primer, which is the only long-term solution for keeping metals from rusting.

There isn’t much you can do to take care of your rope aside from drying it if it gets soaked in rainy weather.

Key Takeaways and Next Steps

It’s easy to hang a porch swing, but there are a few crucial steps we can’t miss. Firstly, make sure to test the carrying strength of the ceiling – the worst thing we could do is hang the porch on ceiling joists that can’t hold the load.

This will end up with the porch on the ground and a damaged ceiling.

Secondly, if the roof is tilted, make sure to shorten one side of the chains/ropes – this is the only way for the porch swing to stay level under a tilted roof.

When choosing between chains and rope, know that chains are longer lasting if we take proper care of them, although a rope is often more attractive and far less squeaky.

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