We've all enjoyed a good ride on a porch swing. For those that don't own a porch swing, the ride is taken for granted. You get on and swing. It is fun. But, if you own a porch swing or are thinking about installing one, you know there is a lot of thought that goes into making the ride just right.
Porch swings don't need springs, but many people believe they make the ride a whole lot nicer. Others, like myself, may not like springs because of the bouncy motion it produces when swinging. In this article, I will go through the pros and cons of using springs on your porch swing so you can decide if you want to use them or not.
Why springs are not necessary for porch swings
A porch swing is like any other swing, you hang it from a secure structure with chains or ropes and swing. Now, I know that is an oversimplification of how a swing is hung, but in its basic format, that's what is done.
You can hang a porch swing by hanging two chains from eye hooks mounted to beams extending across your porch. Usually you will want the beam to be a 2x6 or a re-enforced 2x4. Once you have the two chains connected to the eye hooks, you can then connect your porch swing with chains using S-hooks or carabiners.
This setup will work without any springs. Many people use a porch swing without springs.
The case for using springs with your porch swing
Some people feel that riding a porch swing without springs is very rough. They feel like it is hard on their body and not smooth. These arguments can be supported with facts. Springs help to absorb the abrupt shifts in weight as the swing goes up and down.
I good analogy is a wooden roller coaster vs. a steel roller coaster. Wooden roller coasters produce a very rough ride, especially on the turns. You can feel everything and your body knows it. Steel roller coasters rides are very smooth. There isn't much of the friction felt by the rider.
Pros for using Springs on Porch Swings
Springs can be very useful in making your porch swing more comfortable. Springs also make porch swings feel more steady when sitting in them which some people find less tiring or jarring.
Cons for porch swings with springs
Most springs can't be adjusted, which means that you are stuck using the amount of tension designed into it. Many times the porch swing will feel as if it's bouncing up and down every time you take a ride on it. This may make porch swings cause motion sickness in some people.
The porch swing might be a little more expensive because springs are an additional expense.
Springs also require maintenance to ensure they don't wear out which can become costly over time if you use your porch swing often. They can begin to squeak and loose some of their tension.
How porch swings with springs are typically installed
Porch swings with springs can be hung like porch swings without springs by connecting the eye bolts to a secure structure. Porch swing hardware kits will include two sets of eye bolts for mounting on either side of the porch so you get an even distribution.
Once you have your eye bolts mounted, hook one spring to each eye bolt. Then connect your porch swings chains to the springs on each side of the swing.
How to stop porch swing springs from squeaking
Porch swing springs squeak because metal is rubbing against metal or the spring is getting old and beginning to loose tension. If your springs are squeaking because metal is rubbing, you can try adjusting the angle the springs are set at in relationship to the eye bolt. Sometimes the spring will turn sideways and the metal will rub against the eye bolt. You can also try oiling the springs to prevent squeaking.
If your porch swing springs are squeaking because they are getting old, you should replace them. When the springs start to get old, you will notice more then just squeaking. You will start to feel the springs give more when you sit and when you swing. You will notice there is less tension.
How much weight can porch swing springs hold
Each set of springs is rated separately by the manufacturer. Most porch swing springs can hold between 300 lbs to 600 lbs per spring. Check the manufacturer website and the included documentation when you buy springs to make sure they meet your needs.
Will porch swing springs rust
Most porch swing springs are plated with zinc. This makes them good for outdoor use. Over time the zinc plating will wear off. Once the zinc plating wears off, the metal underneath will be exposed and it will rust. Once you start to see rust forming, you can clean the spring and re-coat them or paint them. Paint will not last as long as re-coating the springs with zinc.
Re-coating will require some special equipment. If you don't want to invest in the equipment or you spring get too rusty, you best option will be to buy new springs. This will make it safer, it will stop the noise, and it will keep rust from falling on your heads as you swing.
Spring are not necessary to enjoy your porch swing. You can hang your porch swing up just using chains. A benefit of using chains is that you can adjust the top chain to your liking. Springs used in place of a top chain will make it harder to adjust the height.
You may find that springs offer a better ride on your swing or you may decide that you like the ride without them. The biggest complaint about using springs is they can cause motion sickness. Be sure to monitor the health of your springs. You don't want to have old rusty springs that can fail on you or your family.