Q&A / 

How to Hang a Porch Swing

Quick Column Summary:

  • Want to hang porch swing without thru bolts
  • What size eyelet lag bolt
  • Not safe to use single eyelet bolts
  • Hang from a created, steel bar

Sean Kelliher, who lives in Readington, NJ, reached out with a compliment and a question.

"I'm an avid reader of all your tips and you've been a great help to some of my projects.

I'd like to add a porch swing to our existing porch and have a question.  I searched your website and found an article where you recommend using eyelet through bolts instead of eyelet lag bolts.  While I agree this is a better/safer method, unfortunately I don't have access to the joist for the washer/nut.

I'm confident I can find the center of the joist to screw into.  My question is, is there any size eyelet lag bolt that you feel would be sufficient? Obviously not the ideal method, but we're talking less than 200 lbs on the swing at a time at most - certainly no more than 300 lbs including the swing itself.  Also, would adding springs relieve any pull on the bolts?"

Here's my reply:

Sean, a single eyelet bolt to hold each side of the porch swing is simply not acceptable. I say this even if you use a half-inch bolt that's 6-inches long. I'd never trust it.

If there's absolutely no way to access the top of the joists to put in a through bolt, then the only way I'd do it is have a welder create a 1.5-inch wide by 12-inch long piece of 3/8 steel bar that has five 9/16ths-inch holes in it.

The hole locations would be at 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 inches along the bar.

The center hole would hold a 1/2-inch eyelet through bolt that's long enough to allow you to put a washer and a nut on the back side of the bar. You'll have to drill a countersink hole in the porch ceiling to accommodate the bolt, nut and washer.

The other four holes are for 1/2-inch lag bolts that are 5 inches long. Drill 3/8-inch pilot holes for these into the joist and be sure they are in the center of the joist.

Prime the steel bar and paint it BEFORE you do all this work. Apply two coats of finish paint. You don't want this bar to rust after it's up.

Be sure you don't strip out the wood when you tighten the eight lag bolts.


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