Porch swings invite everyone to sit or recline outdoors in comfort. However, if your porch swing has had more than ten years of use, it's time to inspect, repair and refinish it. If you have just acquired a porch swing at a yard or garage sale, here's what to do to make it safe to use again.
Step 1 - Check all Wood Parts
Look at all the parts of the support frame, the seat frame, the arms, the seat, and the backrest. Check for rotted, splintered or cracked wood pieces. Strip off paint where needed to get a better look at the underlying wood.
In most instances these damaged places can be reinforced. But if you are unsure, replace the entire piece.
Sand areas with tiny splinters until they are smooth to the touch.
Step 2 - Replace Wooden Parts and Refinish as Needed
Use fresh screws, bolts and nuts to attach frames, seat and back slats for durability. Sand and shape the new parts to mesh smoothly with the existing parts.
Apply oil or WD-40 on any squeaks you hear at joints when you sit down.
Freshen up the color and finish of the swing with stain or paint to match the current surface. Use two coats of exterior-grade paint for your porch swing. If you prefer, strip the old wood completely and repaint or re-stain the entire porch swing. Once the paint or stain has dried, apply several coats of varnish or polyurethane to improve weather resistance of the finish.
Step 3 - Inspect the Support Chains and Other Hardware
Check the porch swing chains, the chain brackets and the hardware that will fasten it to the ceiling of your porch. Replace any rusty, twisted or corroded hardware and chains.
Remove rusted chains by releasing the S hooks. Replace both the chains and hooks.
Close the S hooks by squeezing firmly with pliers.
Step 4 - Attach the Support Hardware
You can suspend your porch swing from eye bolts, but only if there is open space above the ceiling beam to insert a nut and lock washer for each bolt. If so, drill a hole through the entire thickness of the beam, insert the correct length bolt, and fasten securely with a lock washer and nut.
If the ceiling beam is flush with the porch roof, use a lag screw fitted with an eye. Choose the bolt or lag screw that will support sufficient weight, up to 500 pounds for a porch swing for two people.
Install the lag-and-eye screws, then grip them with your hands and pull firmly to see if they will support your weight. Ask another person who is substantially larger than you to test them as well. If you detect no looseness or wiggle, you can now attach the porch swing.
Step 5 - Hang the Porch Swing
Use S hooks or carabiner snap clips to attach the chains to the ceiling hardware. Leave the S hooks open for easy removal of the porch swing for winter storage. Add a colorful cushion to the porch swing seat, sit down and relax.