Does your patio swing look like a mere shadow of what it once was?
Or maybe it's gone through one too many rough afternoons with the kids?
Whatever the case may be, if your patio swing has seen better days, the Kingpin has put together this guide JUST FOR YOU.
So, get comfy and put on your learning cap because once you’re done reading, you’ll know exactly what to do!
Patio swings have a way of instantly brightening up your backyard - after all, nothing beats an idyllic afternoon underneath the shade of your patio swing canopy, the slight rocking of the swing and the peaceful ambiance slowly leading you into slumber.
However, frequent use, coupled with Mother Nature’s wrath can do a number on our precious patio swings, and even with careful maintenance, there will come a time that it will need canopy swing replacement parts. I don’t know about you, but high-pitched squeaking noises, and the feeling that my seat is about to give out from under me is not exactly how I want my idyllic afternoons to be.
Don’t sweat it though; replacing parts of your patio swing canopy is a breeze. In fact, this nice little guide gives you the rundown of common problems you may experience with your patio swing and what to do about them. You’ll also learn to know what tell-tale signs to watch out for, which problems can be repaired with a quick DIY fix, and which ones need replacement parts.
So you’ve noticed that your patio swing is not performing as it should be. Maybe it’s the slight lopsidedness of the seat, or that high-pitch noise it makes when it moves - the point is, you know it has seen better days.
Now, before you go running to your nearest DIY store, you need to diagnose the problem first. Not all problems need swing canopy replacement parts. Others can be fixed easily with a spritz of WD-40, while others simply need a little recalibration. So let’s play doctor with your patio swing canopy and check all its parts for tell-tale signs one-by-one.
Porch Swing Seat/Chair and Canopy Frame
The seat or chair of the patio swing canopy is it’s largest, most used and most noticeable part, so let’s start with that. Patio swing seat frames are made of either wood, plastic resin, or metal. How you diagnose the problem depends on what your seat is made of.
Wood is the most beautiful material to use because it looks natural and classy, but it’s also very high maintenance. Most wooden swing chairs are covered with a cushion, so it’s easy to neglect it. Remove the cushion and check for tell-tale signs like:
- Does it have a lot of splinters?
- Are there signs of mold or algae growth?
- Is there any discoloration and deformation?
- Are there holes that look like they’ve been made by wood mites?
Even if your patio swing seat is covered with a cushion, the heat from the ground can still seep into it from underneath. The same is true for heavy rains, as the humidity in the air itself can cause the water to seep into the wood and in time, deform and weaken it. Frequent use can lead to cracks and splinters. If weight is suddenly put onto the seat i.e. if a child suddenly jumps onto it, the wood may buckle even with the sturdiest of frames, and is the main cause of cracks and splinters.
Shallow cracks, peeling and splinters usually don’t need any replacement whatsoever. Just sand them down and fill the cracks with epoxy wood filler. Minor discolorations can simply be painted over. However, if it is accompanied by significant deformation or holes that look like the work of termites, then a replacement might be warranted. Even if the wood looks good from the outside, if the inside is hollowed out or weakened due to humidity, it won’t be long before your patio swing breaks.
Metal and plastic resin seats are more durable compared to wood. However, metal can rust, which makes the material brittle in time. It’s easier to tell whether or not you should replace the chair, as metal can withstand minor damage without needing anything other than some WD-40 love. Most metal seats can last a lifetime with careful maintenance.
As for the canopy frame, just apply the same rules to determine whether or not you need replacement parts. In most cases, they will be made of the same material as the seat (wood, metal or resin)
The canopy is the roof of the patio swing that protects the seat and the occupant from sunlight and rain. If your entire patio swing came as a set to be assembled, chances are your canopy is made from the same material as your seat (wood, metal, plastic resin). Some canopies are full-blown roofs, while others are just frames with fabric draped over it. Since the canopy is the part that bears most exposure to the elements, it’s usually the part that gives out first.
If your canopy fabric doesn’t fit the frame snugly, it may create pockets for rain to accumulate in. This facilitates the growth of mold and algae, which can ruin your canopy. The combination of harsh UV rays and rain can make the fabric so brittle it can tear apart easily even with just the forceful jabbing of your finger or any pointed object. Fortunately, it’s fairly cheap and easy to secure a swing canopy replacement fabric and most homeowners just replace them at the first sign of falling apart rather than fixing the tears.
Swing Chains and Suspension Systems
Although modern patio swing canopies feature a steady, A-shaped frame, nothing beats the beauty of a good, old-fashioned chain swing. In this setup, four chains of equal proportions usually connect the swing seat to the suspension bar, which is located below the canopy frame. Newer patio swings made of metal use a suspension system consisting of a static A-shaped frame on either sides connected to a suspension bar on top.
Lopsided chains are a common problem with chain patio swings. Usually, a chain becomes loose and deformation in the suspension bar causes one chain to dip lower than the others. A quick DIY fix can resolve this. If your swing is store-bought as opposed to a DIY creation, there should be instructions in the manual on how to recalibrate it.
However, if aside from being lopsided, your chains are extremely rusty, then it’s time to replace them. Sometimes you’ll see indications of chain links starting to open up, indicating a need for parts replacement. If your patio swing uses a metallic A-frame suspension system, there’s less to worry about. They’re usually more sturdy, and only need swing canopy frame replacement due to man-made damage or long-term neglect.
Fasteners come in the form of large metal bolts that hold parts of the patio swing together. They usually come off due to tampering (if you have kids you’ll know the feeling), or deformation of the material around them. It goes without saying that you should immediately purchase replacement bolts for each one that disappears or comes off for safety reasons.
So now that you’ve figured out whether or not you need patio swing canopy replacement parts, let’s get to the main part of this guide: the step-by-step installation.
This guide will show you how to find a replacement canopy for porch swing use, and how to install it perfectly. There are two ways to go about this: buying a pre-made canopy cover replacement kit or building it from scratch.
Let's discuss both ways.
You’ll need the following items, no matter which route you choose:
- A tape measure
- Sewing supplies
- Polyester thread
- Fabric marker
Pre-made Replacement Kits
Replacement kits are heaven sent for people who are not good with DIY projects. Most kits consist of canopy covers and cushion seats with matching styles. If only your canopy cover needs replacing, just buy an individual replacement cover that matches your current cushion’s style and design. If your patio swing canopy is store bought, not a DIY project, chances are the manufacturers have specific outdoor swing canopy replacement parts available for them.
- Remove the canopy cover from the canopy frame. If there are any bolts holding the fabric to the frame, remove them carefully as well and set them aside.
- Lay the fabric out against a flat surface and with a tape measure, carefully check the dimensions of the canopy cover. This is so you can purchase porch swing canopy replacement kits that will fit perfectly with your current frame.
- Nothing beats the original source, so if your canopy frame was store bought, go to the original manufacturer or look up replacement canopy for swing chair sites online. Be sure to buy one that fits the measurements of the old cover.
- For DIY projects, make sure that the fabric you choose is for outside use and is waterproof. If you’re on a strict budget, tarp material is a good replacement. It doesn’t look as good, but it gets the job done.
- If you’re starting from scratch, you can overlap the old canopy cover on top of your new material (make sure you clean the old cover first), and trace around it to get the ideal size. Make sure you include an allowance of 3-6 inches (depending on how thick the canopy frames are) so you can fold the fabric over the frame later on.
- If your new store-bought replacement fabric doesn’t have appropriate holes in it, or if you’re starting from scratch, punch holes using an awl to make openings for bolts to pass through.
- Carefully attach the new fabric onto the canopy frame. Store-bought replacement canopies will have excess fabric in areas where it needs to be folded and secured against the frame. For DIY projects, this is what the allowance is for. If there’s enough length to fold the fabric around the frame and onto itself, you can sew it; otherwise, you can attach it to the canopy frame via a heavy-duty staple gun.
- To secure the fabric around the hem or around any artificial holes made, you can sew a line using polyester thread.
Regardless of whether or not you bought your patio swing at a store or built it from scratch, you’ll run into the same concern - getting cushion seats for your swing. Even most store-bought patio swing canopies only come with the basic seat made of metal, wood or plastic resin. Because of this, people just use the first thing they can get their hands on, which is usually their indoor cushion seats.
However, indoor cushion seats don’t fare very well in the outdoors and most people learn this hard truth after a few weeks, when their cushion seats are starting to bunch up, discolor and emit an unpleasant odor. Sitting in stinky and moist cushions is never anyone’s idea of a good time, so you better chuck them into the trash bin and get yourself some swing chair canopy replacement outdoor cushions.
In this guide, we tell you exactly which materials to use when purchasing new outdoor seats and how to install them properly.
Here's what you’ll need:
- Outdoor-grade cushion foam
- Outdoor seat cushion fabric
- Scissors (DIY)
- Polyester Yarn (DIY)
- Fabric Marker (DIY)
- Fasteners (Zipper, Velcro Strap, Buttons etc.)
- Tape Measure
- Polyester Batting (optional)
When choosing the best foam material for your outdoor cushion, you need to think of the following points. Similar to the porch swing replacement canopy cover, they should be resistant to water, meaning they won’t accumulate and store water like a sponge. The foam material should also be mildew resistant and cleans easily. Here are some foam types which have the aforementioned attributes:
- Polyester fiberfill
- Compressed polyester
- Floatation foam or closed cell foam
- Open cell foam
- Polyurethane Foam
You need to put as much thought into your cushion fabric as you do your canopy cover. Although the canopy cover is directly exposed to the elements, the cushion seat is still vulnerable to humidity, extreme temperature changes, and winds. Currently, there are a lot of manufacturers that design cushion covers for outdoor use, but in general, you can use any cushion cover that has the following fabrics:
- Olefin Fiber
- Textilene Fabric
- Duck Cloth
- Cotton Canvas
Alternatively, you can also use outdoor curtains and shower curtains as a makeshift cushion cover.
Installing Your New Cushions
- Using a tape measure, note down the dimensions of your canopy seat. If your old, makeshift cushions were the perfect size, you can use them instead as a guideline.
- With the measurements in tow, go search online, or at your local stores for the outer fabric. You can buy pre-made cushion seat covers, as long as they are the correct size and are made from any of the fabrics mentioned above.
- Some stores offer pre-cut foam fillings, or they can make custom cuts for you on the spot. Again, make sure to check the right measurements. Check whether the foam filling is made from the materials mentioned in the guide.
- Simply fill the cushion cover with the foam, making sure to smooth it out so it is free from lumps.
- If your cushion is too lumpy, or if it has protruding edges due to its rectangular shape, you can use polyester batting to soften it up and give it a little fluffiness. Before putting your foam inside the cushion cover simply wrap the polyester batting around your foam material once to soften out the edges.
- Place the cushion seat on your swing canopy seat frame. If the material tends to slide off the frame, you can sew in velcro straps to attach it to the frame. You can also craft and sew long straps of fabric on one side of the cushion so you can wrap it around the seat frame and either tie the strings close or secure it using a button.
If you know how to sew the cushion cover yourself, you can turn it into a DIY project. Just remember to use the materials mentioned in the guide when choosing your fabric material and foam filling.
Although most homeowners nowadays prefer metal free-standing patio swings, nothing beats the timeless allure of a wooden hanging swing connected to the porch ceiling via four chains. Since most chains used in porch swings are metal, they can rust due to strong rain and moisture, and become brittle. If your chains look like it has seen better days, replacing them quickly is the best solution for safety reasons. Don’t worry though - changing the chains on your porch swing is easy, especially with the Kingpin's assistance.
To make the replacement easier, we’ll be using a porch swing canopy replacement kit. You can buy these in hardware stores. Each kit usually contains the following:
- Four heavy-duty chains
- Ceiling hooks
- Chain connectors like hooks, loops, etc.
- Disconnect the seat frame from the chain attachments. Remove any bolts present, and set aside the seat gently.
- Unhook the chain from the ceiling or canopy frame (depending on the type of porch or patio swing you own).
- Lay out the chain flat against the floor and measure it with a tape measure. This will be the basis for the new chains you put in.
- Search for chain replacement kits online or at your local hardware store. Be mindful of the specifications written on the chain replacement kit. The length should be roughly the same as your old chain. Also, take note of the weight capacity on the kit (500-600 lbs is a good number).
- If only the chains are damaged, you can still use the same ceiling hook as before; however, if it is also damaged, you need to remove it from the ceiling as well.
- Compare your new ceiling hook to your old ceiling hook. If the old ceiling hook is larger than the new one, or if the hole in the ceiling has expanded due to time and repeated use, you need to drill a new hole, as using the same hole might be too dangerous.
- Assemble the chains and connect them to the ceiling hook, or if your swing has a canopy, attach the chains to the suspension bar just below the canopy frame.
- To make this step easier, get the help of another person. Take the porch swing seat, with one person on either side of it, and carry it to the patio swing. Simultaneously attach the new chains to the sides of the swing seat. Chain kits all have various assemblies, so make sure to follow the directions in the kit.
- Test the swing for sturdiness. Place your palms on the seat and gently apply pressure downwards to ensure that the seat doesn’t give out easily. Push the seat gently to see if it has enough allowance on all sides and enough distance from the floor or ground. Sit on it to see if it is lopsided.
Instead of using porch swing canopy replacement parts, you can also turn it into a DIY project. Just buy the individual parts of the kit. Just make sure the chain is the right length and weight capacity for the job.
Replacing a damaged patio swing frame is the most difficult, especially if the frame is made of metal or plastic resin. This is why, when purchasing a store-bought patio swing, you need to make sure that the manufacturer provides porch swing canopy replacement kits for their frames. While other swing canopy parts are easy to get on their own, like the canopy cover or the cushion seat, the frames on a patio swing canopy differ per manufacturer.
If you notice problems with your patio swing framework that warrant replacement, you should contact the manufacturer to ask for replacement parts. However, most manufacturers offer replacement frames for the entire frame, not parts of it. So if the problem lies on only one part of the frame, you may need to purchase the entire replacement frame.
If you don’t want to purchase a replacement frame, you can seek help from a professional to conduct repairs for you. Messing around with your canopy frame requires decent carpentry or soldering skills, or both.
However, if your patio swing canopy is the result of a DIY project, or if it’s made of wood, then an easier solution is available to you.
- A tape measure
- Saw (Jig saw, miter or circular)
- Sander or Sandpaper
- Carriage bolts
- Wood glue
- Wood filler
Before we continue, take note that this only works for small projects, like if the damaged frame is the horizontal bar of your A-frame, a single bar on the canopy frame, or even a missing bar in the seat frame. Any replacement that requires dismantling the entire swing would be too dangerous for a person with little to no experience with DIY carpentry. It’s better to ask the help of a professional for major frame replacements, especially if your swing legs are cemented onto the ground.
- Before you start, ensure that you have safety gear on.
- Using a torque, remove any bolts that attach the broken or damaged wooden frame from the rest of the swing. Ensure that the swing is still sturdy even with the damaged part removed.
- If the damaged part is required in keeping the entire swing frame sturdy, use ropes, extra lumber posts and clamps to temporarily hold the other parts together.
- Using a tape measure, take note of the dimensions of the broken or damaged piece.
- Take a lumber post roughly the same size and using the old piece’s measurements, cut the lumber post using a saw. If the piece has irregular curves and shapes to it, use a sander to whittle it down to the appropriate shape.
- Once you have a piece of lumber in the exact size and shape as the old piece, pre-drill the areas corresponding to where the holes for the bolts will be.
- Position it against the rest of the patio swing canopy, and use carriage bolts, nuts and washers to secure it.
- Sand down the new parts if they are protruding too much. If the old patio swing canopy had a certain finish to it, use the same finish so the new parts will blend in. Use wood filler to fill in any holes left by the previous damaged part.
If you don’t have the necessary tools needed to complete the replacement or if you don’t have the skills needed to handle the tools, it’s better to call a professional for help. Do not attempt to do this on your own. Whatever money you spend on a professional carpenter will be significantly less than the money you spend replacing the entire swing if you make a mistake, or worse, medical bills if you hurt yourself in the process.
Hopefully, by the end of this guide, you now know when a problem deserves a replacement job, instead of a simple maintenance fix. You should also be familiar with the various ways you could replace different parts of your patio swing canopy. Most of all, we hope that you know at which point you should surrender your DIY dreams and seek the help of a qualified professional.
Now that you know how to deal with common patio swing canopy replacement jobs, there’s no reason why you should shrug off a lopsided chain, rotting wooden frames and a moldy cushion seat. Remember, the parts work together as an entire unit, so one broken part can cause other parts to deteriorate faster.
Don’t wait until you fall flat on your back - literally! Get porch swing canopy replacement parts for damaged areas immediately and you’re guaranteed a stress-free, safe lounging on your good-as-new patio swing canopy.