# Can I hang a hammock from basement joists?

My basement is what I assume is a typical setup, built in the 1970s. 2x8 joists run from the outer cinderblock wall to the center beam with an approximate 11 foot span. I'm thinking about hanging a hammock between two joists. A few hammocks I've seen online are rated at 400lbs, so let's use that as the load (as I'd rather the hammock fails than the house).

First, what is the correct way to mount this to the joists? I assume I can't just screw in a couple of eye bolts.

Second, would it matter if I mounted both ends on one joist vs two different joists? I realize there would be deflection with the two separate joists, but is it safe?

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400 lbs is not so large (consider that 2 or 3 people standing close to each other could easily exceed that), but you must be careful not to mount the hammock in a way that compromises the joists. Since the hammock supports pull at a diagonal and not straight down, the force exerted at each contact point is actually much more than the weight of the occupants.

It would be best to mount the hammock in the direction of the joists, so that one end is near the outer wall and one end is near the main center beam. The bending load on the joist will be far less than if you mount at the midpoint. Plus, the load from the hammock will be mostly in the axial direction, which is not a big deal.

If you must mount the hammock perpendicular to the joists, suspended from their midpoint, it would be best if the hammock attach point were at the location of cross bracing between the joists, and/or blocking if you have that instead. The bracing prevents the joists from twisting or shifting laterally, which otherwise would be a weakness. If you have no bracing between joists or they're not in a convenient spot, I would add some at the suspension points——say, 2 joists in each direction. If you mount the hammock this way, you must ensure that the joist do not twist or get deflected laterally, as that will severely compromise their stability.

As for attaching to a joist, I would not drill a large hole through the joists if you can avoid it, although it would probably be OK. Try to find a metal bracket at a construction supply store that will fit on the 2x8s and provide a support for your hammock chain. E.g. Home Depot carries several Simpson Strong-Tie products that look promising.

(If this is sounding like too much work or too risky, you could always pick up a free-standing hammock stand.)

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What would you think of the idea of getting a couple ~14.5" long 2x8's and nailing them, oriented vertically, between floor joists at either end of where the hammock will go, and then putting the hangers into those? That should impart basically no twisting force to the joists (in order for the thing to twist, one end would have to go up and the other down--both directions that the joists are well-equipped to resist). If the floor joists are secured to the sub floor above, bending shouldn't be a problem either. If one is worried about that, I would think... – supercat Oct 19 '14 at 19:31
...nailing a 1x3 (3" side up) which extended all the way between the two attachment blocks would take care of it. Drill holes through the 1x3 for the hammock attachment points so the 1x3 wouldn't be supporting the hammock's weight, and nail it to the intervening studs, and I would think an elephant could climb in the hammock without damaging the studs. – supercat Oct 19 '14 at 19:38