Tips for mounting a TV on the wall

Few homeowners are too wary to take on the simple task of hanging something on the wall. Simply bang in a nail, put up the item, and you're all set.

It's not quite as easy when mounting a television. If you don't complete this process correctly, the expensive item might come crashing down into ruin. Worse, a poorly mounted TV could cause serious injury if it falls on a pet or small child.

You don't have to stick to the traditional method of keeping the TV on a piece of furniture, though. By securing the device to a wall, you can open up more space, reduce clutter, and establish a more streamlined look in a room. It's essential that you take time to properly complete this process, though.

Location

Before mounting your TV, decide where in the room it should be located. The home improvement site HomeAdvisor says you'll get the best viewing experience if you can set it up at eye level in a place where you won't be watching the screen at an angle.

The location should also be convenient. Jake Sherman, writing for the home tech company Puls, says the cables should be able to reach a nearby outlet or any other connected devices; this will also allow you to better conceal any wires or cables. The TV shouldn't be in an area where it will be exposed to excessive glare from sunlight.

While the area above a fireplace mantle is often considered for TV placement, it's usually not a good choice. This site will be considerably higher than eye level, causing you to strain your neck while watching a program. The TV can also be damaged by heat and soot if you frequently use your fireplace.

The right kind of mount can minimize such concerns and give you more flexibility when considering a location. Steve Kindig, writing for the home electronics company Crutchfield, says fireplace brackets are specifically designed to lower a TV to a better viewing height when in use and raise the device back up above the mantle when you're done.

Similarly, adjustable mounts can let you set up a better viewing angle than mounts that keep a TV flat against the wall. The magazine Family Handyman says mounts that tilt the TV downward allow you to hang them at a higher height, while full-motion mounts also allow you to swivel the device so you don't have to watch it at an angle.

Ideally, you can get a couple of friends or family members to help you determine the best TV placement. While one person sits in the place where you plan to watch TV, the other two can hold up the device against the wall and shift its location until the sitting person says they've found the best spot. Mark the edges of the TV so you'll know where to mount it.

You can also try using a stand-in for the TV. Kindig says a large piece of paper or cardboard affixed to the wall can help you determine the proper location and make sure there will be enough support to hold up the TV in this area.

Finding support

The mount you use should be rated to carry the weight of your TV. Michael Franco, writing for the home improvement professional Bob Vila, says the manufacturer may sell a mount designed to go with the device, or you can use a universal mount sufficient to hold the weight of your specific model.

You'll need to make sure that the TV mount is securely attached to a stud, not just hung on the drywall. TVs that are less than 80 pounds can typically be hung from one stud. Heavier ones need to be mounted to at least two studs.

Use a stud finder to find where you can mount the TV. HomeAdvisor recommends using a pencil to mark the center of a stud, then tapping a nail partway into the wall to make sure you've found the right place.

Mounting

Wall mounts usually consist of a mounting frame that needs to be attached to the wall and a bracket that attaches to the TV. Kindig recommends having a helper hold up the frame so you can use a level to ensure that it is even, then mark the spots on the stud where you'll attach the mount. You should then drill into the wall and secure the frame with mounting bolts.

Brick walls require some additional effort. HomeAdvisor says you'll want to attach the mount to the mortar joint instead of the brick itself, using specialized anchor screws to ensure that the mount is secure.

Once the mount is hung, you'll simply need to connect the TV cables and secure the bracket arms to the mount. While it's possible to complete this process on your own, it's better to have a helper assist you.

You'll still want to conceal the wires once the TV is established. One option for doing so is cable raceways, which can be painted over for a more seamless appearance.

You can also establish an in-wall power extension, which essentially creates a new outlet behind the TV. Franco says this setup also includes a cable that runs behind the wall to another receptacle placed in a more inconspicuous place lower on the wall. You can then connect the bottom receptacle to an existing outlet to provide electricity to the TV and any other devices.

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