To stop a porch swing from squeaking, first examine the potential causes. Squeaking can be caused by a lack of lubrication, structural issues, environmental corrosion, and breakdown from use.
There are a lot of reasons a porch swing may squeak, so this article tackles some common ways you can identify and resolve issues with your porch swing. Read on to learn how to stop that irritating porch swing squeak.
Inspect the Swing
A squeaking porch swing indicates possible structural issues. If you hear your porch swing squeak, inspect bolts, screws, and hooks. Other places to look are the chain/rope and the underside of the swing.
If you find any loose pieces, tighten them just enough that they stop turning. Aim for a fingertight lock. Overtightening can also cause squeaking.
Lubricate the Swing
Creaking is also your swing’s way of telling you it needs lubrication. Spray the lubricant 6 inches (15.2 cm) away from the bolts and screws, two times each. Be sure to spray any springs as well.
After spraying the lubricant, move the swing back and forth to spread it throughout the hardware. Use liquid graphite if the spray lubricant does not work. Just remember that a little goes a long way.
Be careful when applying your lubricant around wood. Grease makes quite a mess and can be very difficult to remove. If a lot of your metal hardware is very close to the wood, many people recommend applying a silicone spray instead. However, I’m fond of Dupont’s Teflon Lubricant (link to Amazon). It’s safe for all surfaces.
I also recommend taping or wrapping a rag against the wood around the metal to further reduce overspray. My wife had me install these heavy-duty porch swing springs (link to Amazon) to give a little bounce and they squeaked horribly.
The Teflon spray did wonders but I did hold a rag against the ceiling while I sprayed the area down. (Of course, in hindsight, I could have sprayed them before hanging. Oh well.)
Reduce Rope Burn With Foam
Wooden swings hung by a rope squeak when the rope’s friction sands down the wood. Sanding can also occur to any wooden suspension, such as a wooden frame or tree branch.
In this case, move the rope to a sturdier part of the wood. If that is not possible, placing foam between the string and wood will inhibit the friction and prevent sanding.
Reduce Metal Creaking With Rubber
It’s already been discussed how using foam can reduce squeaking between wood pieces. Similarly, rubber absorbs friction and can withstand tension from your swing.
That is why you might consider placing some scrap rubber between metal pieces like the hook and mounting hardware. This simple hack can make a huge difference when it comes to a squeaky swing!
Protect the Wood
If you have a wooden swing, the slats on the seat and backside can also squeak. The best way to prevent this is by coating the wood in waterproof polyurethane.
Apply two to three coats in as many areas and crevices of the swing as possible.
Make sure to give time for the polyurethane to dry between coats. Additionally, if you plan to paint or stain the wood, do it before applying the polyurethane coating.
Clean the Mounting Hardware and Hooks
Sometimes, a squeaky swing calls attention to debris, specifically between the metal hardware.
In this case, you need to remove the swing to access the hooks and mounting hardware. From there, wash these attachments with warm water and a gentle dish detergent, like good ole’ Dawn Liquid Dishwashing Soap.
After that, re-attach the swing to the hooks and mounting hardware.
Brace Wooden Beams
If your swing is hanging on wood, squeaking may designate the beam is less secure. In other words, moving studs in the wood is causing the squeak you are hearing.
A lot of people recommend screwing a piece of wood in the corners between the studs and the joists. The new wood pieces should reinforce the studs and stop the squeaking. However, if you really want a solid mount, see Will a 2×6 Hold a Porch Swing? I lay out how I reinforced my swing in the attic for a truly solid hold.
Replace the Swing’s Mounting Hardware
You may need to replace your mounting hardware. This method requires a lot of work, but there are ways to simplify the process.
Take a photo of the mounting hardware and share it with a representative at your local hardware store. They should be able to help you find identical pieces. If not, you will have to drill new holes to accommodate the new hardware.
What Lubricants Are Out There?
As you can see, lubricating the swing, while a common remedy, is not the only one out there. However, since dryness is a common culprit, choosing the right lubricant is essential.
And yet, the choices can be overwhelming! Here is a quick list of many of the lubes available and how they work:
- Oil lubricants: Oil is a very traditional choice for lubrication. It is a little harder to find in a spray can but is widely available in a squirt can. Like 3-IN-ONE (link to Amazon), some brands offer lubricant in a flex-top can that you can squeeze over the hardware. However, oil, like grease, is very messy. So if you plan to use this lubricant, be careful where you apply and how much you use.
- Penetrating lubricant: Penetrant contains a small amount of lubricant. However, if your metal hardware has a lot of rust, the product will break through it. Penetrant also unsticks jammed parts. If you decide to use penetrant, do not heat the joint with a torch. A heating penetrant creates harmful toxic fumes. Use vibration to work the penetrant in instead. Additionally, apply a second, more effective lubricant after using penetrant.
- Silicone spray: This lubricant has a reputation for being highly malleable. It works with plenty of different materials and even has a waterproofing quality. However, if you have used other lubricants on the surface before, it is necessary to clean the surface first. Otherwise, the spray will not stick. You can accomplish this with a solvent cleaner. Additionally, do not spray on lacquer. It will develop fish eyes on the surface.
- PTFE (Teflon) spray: Teflon is DuPont’s name-brand for the chemical abbreviation PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene). PTFE spray works a lot like silicone spray, except it is heavy-duty. In sum, this is an excellent lubricant for metal-on-metal issues.
- Dry lube/graphite lube: If you are trying to lubricate smaller, more intricate hardware, dry lube may be a better choice. A little goes a long way, and the lube fits in small spaces without gumming up. The lube is available as a powder or spray. While graphite is more common, there are also cleaner, multi-polymer dry lubes that serve the same purpose.
- White lithium grease: If you are not familiar, lithium grease is a thick white grease commonly seen in bearing housings. It can take high temperatures and pressure. However, it can get cakey in tight spots and is very messy. Still, lithium grease can withstand outdoor corrosion, making it a practical choice.
- Lanolin-based lubricant: More commonly known as Fluid Film, lanolin-based lubricant stays wet while avoiding gunk build-up because it has no solvents. Plus, this lube is water-resistant, corrosion-resistant, and even food-grade. Not only does this suit outdoor conditions well, but it is also child-safe. Fluid Film is available online (link to Amazon).
In short, a squeaky porch swing can signal a host of problems.
While the lack of lubrication is a common cause, squeaking is also an effect of rust and debris, structural instability, and even corrosion from use. So if lubrication does not eliminate squeaking, fear not. There are plenty of other avenues to investigate the problem.
As a homeowner, I am constantly experimenting with making the structure of my house more energy-efficient, eliminating pests, and taking on DIY home improvement projects. Over the past two decades, my family has rehabbed houses and contracted new home builds and I’ve learned a lot along the way. I share my hard-learned lessons so that you can save time and money by not repeating my mistakes.