How To Hang A Hammock From The Ceiling


How To Hang A Hammock From The Ceiling

There is nothing quite like an afternoon nap in a hammock.  Ideally, your hammock is hanging between two trees.  While the hammock sways gently, you are enjoying the shade, a cool breeze, and the sounds of nature around you.  However, you may need to improvise and hang your hammock from the ceiling.

You can safely and easily hang a hammock from your ceiling.  With the right tools and hardware, you can quickly be enjoying a peaceful afternoon swinging in your hammock.  Our step-by-step instructions can help you avoid the most common pitfalls. 

In most cases, hanging your hammock from the ceiling doesn’t involve any construction or additions to your home’s framing.  Finding the space to hang your hammock properly may be the biggest challenge in many homes.

Hanging a Hammock From a Ceiling

Step 1 – Getting Ready to Start the Project

Before you do any drilling or attach any hardware to the ceiling, you should have your hammock on hand.  Many new hammocks come with hanging hardware as part of the kit.  The hammock may also include instructions for hanging the hammock.  Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

It would be best if you also gathered the tools that you will need before you start. At a minimum, you will need the following.

An Electric Drill and Drill Bits: Installing the hardware to hang your hammock will involve drilling at least two holes.  An electric drill and the proper size drill bit will make this job much easier.

A Measuring Tape: Finding the right place to hang your hammock for comfort is important.

Stud Finder: While not entirely necessary, a stud finder will locate the structural members in the ceiling much easier.  There are other ways to locate the framing members, but a stud finder is much more accurate and quicker.

Hardware: If your hammock doesn’t include the hanging hardware, you will need to get 2 3/8 inch eye hooks with threads at least 4 inches long.  This type of hook, when installed into a ceiling joist, should support at least 300 lbs.

You will need several lengths of metal chain and S-hook connectors.  These should be large enough to support at least 300 lbs.  Using a chain will allow you to adjust the angle of the hammock

Step 3 – Where to Hang your Hammock

Finding just the right place to hang your hammock is important.  You certainly want it to be convenient, but you must also consider traffic patterns.  No one wants a hammock hanging across a doorway.  Neither do you want to impede the flow of traffic through your house.  Find that spot that is free of obstructions but where you can enjoy your home.

The space you choose must also allow enough room for the hammock to hang properly. Generally, hammock hanging points should be 15 feet apart.  This spacing allows the hammock to hang at the best and most comfortable angle.

Step 4 – Finding the Support

Use the stud finder to locate the ceiling joists in the vicinity of your first mounting point.  You must locate the joist precisely.  The hook from which you hang your hammock must be in the center of the joist.  Remember that most ceiling joists are only 1 ½ inches wide.  If you fail to get in the center, you risk an unsafe hook installation.

Mark the location of the first hook with a pencil.  From this point, use the measuring tape to find the area in for the other support hook. If you have the manufacturer’s instructions that came with your hammock, refer to these instructions for the proper distance.  If not, measure 15 feet and mark this location on the ceiling.

Using the stud finder again, locate a ceiling joist as close as possible to your mark.  If possible, don’t go shorter.  It is better to have your hanging points further apart rather than closer than the 15-foot length.

Step 5 – Drill the Holes for the Screw Hooks

When you have located the ceiling joists’ center, it is time to drill the pilot holes for the screw hooks.  Use a drill bit smaller than the diameter of the threads on the screw hook.  For a 3/8 inch screw hook, we suggest that you use a 5/16 inch drill bit.

You will know you are on the ceiling joist if the drill bit produces wood shavings on the drill bit. When both pilot holes are complete, thread the screw hooks into the holes.  Turn the screw hooks until at least 2 inches of the threaded shank is into solid wood.  Remember that there is ½ inch of sheetrock before the threads find wood.

Step 6 – Hang the Chain from the Hooks

Slip one end of your chain onto the hooks that in the ceiling.  If you choose to use eye bolts rather than eye hooks, you will need to use a carabiner to hang the chain.  Make sure that the carabiner you use will support at least 300 lbs.

Step 7 – Hang your Hammock

Hammocks come with different styles of attachments on the ends of the hammock ropes.  Some have rings, some have hooks, and some have a simple rope.  You must have a way to attach the hammock to the chain.  We suggest that you use S-Hooks.

Using S-hooks to attach your hammock to the chain will allow you to adjust the height of your hammock and the sag.  You may have to experiment with different hanging points to get the most comfortable position.

Step 8 – Climb in and Relax

Your hammock is ready for its test run.  Climb in, swing your feet up, and relax.  Give yourself a little swing and close your eyes for a nap.  You hammock may not be hanging between two palm trees on the beach, but you can always dream about it.

What is Sag Length and Why is it Important?

Sag length describes the curve your hammock kames when it is hanging empty.  Sag length is determined in large part by how far apart you put your suspension points.  The length between the hang points is called the ridgeline and is typically about 9 feet.   When hanging a hammock from a ceiling rather than two trees, more ridgeline length is needed.

What Should I Look for in a Hammock?

Choosing a hammock is a very personal thing.  Hammocks come in such a wide variety of styles, colors, and materials that you can easily find a hammock to fit your style.  There are some things to consider and some things to avoid.

Finding the Right Material

Almost will work as a hammock.  Some work better than others.  We suggest that you avoid the open weave net style hammocks.  These look cool and inviting but soon turn uncomfortable as the thin cords begin to create that waffle effect on your skin.

If you expect to spend any length of time in your hammock, chose a smooth material.  Avoid anything that will leave marks on your skin or have edges that can dig in when you lay in your hammock.

Spreader Bar or Not?

Unless you enjoy unexpected gymnastics, avoid hammocks with spreader bars.  Hammocks with spreader bars on the end are notorious for spinning and flipping occupants onto the ground.

Finding the Right Length

The general rule of thumb is the longer the hammock, the better it is.  Unfortunately, the longer the hammock, the more room it takes to hang properly.  Finding a comfortable balance between the length of your hammock and your space is the key.  Keep your hammock as long as possible to fit into the space between your furthest hang points.

Why Can’t I Get Comfortable in a Hammock?

You probably aren’t lying in the hammock correctly.  The best position for sleeping or relaxing in a hammock is not to lay perfectly centered.  You should lay slightly across the curve of the hammock.

Do this by starting laying in the center of the hammock.  Shift your feet slightly to one side off the centerline of the hammock.  You should notice that the hammock becomes slightly flatter.  Next, shift your shoulders to the opposite side just a few inches.  If you moved enough, you will find yourself lying almost flat in a curved hammock.

The idea is not to lay centered in the hammock but to lay across the centerline at about a 30-degree angle.  The centerline of the hammock is where the most tension is on the material.  By laying slightly off-center, the hammock material is looser and allows you to find a flatter surface.

Finding that Special Place

Finding that special place to relax can be as easy as hanging a hammock in your home.  With the hammock safely and securely attached to the ceiling framing, you can spend hours in your special place.  Enjoy!

Dennis Howard

Dennis is a retired firefighter with an extensive background in construction, home improvement, and remodeling. He worked in the trades part-time while serving as an active firefighter. On his retirement, he started a remodeling and home repair business, which he ran for several years.

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