Guide To Mounting TV's To Wall
I love TV wall mounting installations, especially in the winter as this keeps me inside out of the cold and rain. But, if you have decided to wall mount your TV and not use a professional company, I recommend reading this guide thoroughly first to help you, maybe even print it off so you have it handy when tackling this potentially daunting task. In this article I discuss the most important items for consideration when hanging TV’s on walls, what tools you will need, identifying the correct fixings and ensuring that itself, does fall off the wall!
Tools You Many Need
There are loads of tools that you may need for mounting a TV to a wall. Some of the most common are:
-Drill - SDS is best for drilling solid walls
-Drill bit(s). These need to be correct size for the fixings you're using. Most fixings either use 8mm or 10mm drill bits.
-Spanner/ screwdriver or socket. This depends on what fixings you're using.
-Materials inc TV bracket itself, bolts and fixings.
-Second man(or woman), for larger TV's.
-Metal/ cable detector - not essential, but advised.
Identify the Wall Surface
There are few different types of surfaces that walls are made of and you need to know which one you have before trying to secure a TV to it. In the UK most older types buildings are solid – brick/ breeze block, but increasingly over time with new build developments and timber frame buildings like in the USA, plasterboard is also commonly used. I would say that it’s important to identify the wall mounting surface before anything else, even buying the mounting bracket because this could affect which one you choose and fixings that you need to purchase.
A solid wall is of a brick or similar construction. If you knock on the wall you will not get a hollow sound – unless of course the plaster is blown. Knock hard enough and you’re likely to hurt your knuckles. Mounting onto brickwork is typically the easiest of all the structures because it’s typically far stronger than plasterboard walls and normal expansion type bolts and plugs can be used.
Stud Wall – Plasterboard
A stud wall is usually not load bearing and is constructed of sheets of plasterboard screwed into position or wooden or metal stud work. Extra care needs to be taken to mount TV's onto stud walls and special fixings may need to be purchased as these may not be included with your bracket. When you knock on a stud wall the wall will sound hollow and if you’re very skilled you may be able to identify where the studs are in the wall for you to fix into.
Dry-lined Walls – Plasterboard
A dry-lined, also known as a dot and dab wall is a wall where plasterboard has been stuck onto top of brickwork with an adhesive. This is very common with modern refurbishments as it can really speed up installation time. For instance, rather than stripping away wallpaper and repairing walls, plasterboard can just be stuck on top and a skim plaster applied. It’s important to make the distinction between a stud wall and a dry-lined wall as many plasterboard fixings, like wall anchors will not work for dry-lined walls due to there only being a small space between the wall and the plasterboard. If you knock on a dry-lined wall it will sound hollow in parts and solid in others– this is where the blobs are adhesive are which sticks the plasterboard to the solid wall behind.
You may find that the wall is just made of a wood or something similar like chipboard, MDF, Plywood or chipboard. This is not very common in house, but you may encounter it in outbuilding, converted sheds etc. These can be easy to mount to as you often just screw straight into the surface, but for the insertion of larger bolts a pilot hole may need to be drilled.
Pick Your Wall Bracket
To pick the right TV wall bracket, I recommend reading our previous blog on ‘How To Choose The Right TV Bracket’. To summarise, things you will need to consider are:
-Size of the TV screen – This is usually measured in inches,corner to corner of the screen.
-Weight of the TV
-Type of TV mount that you want. Fixed, tilting, full motion etc.
- VESA – This is the distance between the TV mounting screw fixing holes on the rear of your TV. It’s important to check this before buying your TV bracket to make sure that the bracket will fit your TV. Do not rely on a bracket that advertises what size TV it supports as this does not necessarily mean that the VESA will be compatible.
-Buy a good one – especially important with full motion wall brackets, manufacturers like B-Tech, Sanus, Peerless are all good. Some of the cheaper ones that can be purchased in DIY shops and online, really are not fit for purpose.
Pick The Right Fixings
When brackets will provide wall fixings, but these may not be correct or optimum for the wall surface that you have. Picking the correct fixings for the TV can be a little bit tricky, as you may need special fixings and tools for different wall surfaces. I am going to say this now – Do not forget to use washers and they will help spread the weight and make the fixings far more secure.
Solid Wall TV Fixings
Coach bolts and nylon expansion plugs are the most common. I recommend using at least 40mm (1.5" approx) length M8 coach bolts and M10 nylon plugs, but for heavier TV’s and full motion wall brackets may need a longer bolt like 60mm or 80mm(Just over 3") to support the weight. Be careful when using longer bolts as you do not want it to come out the other side of the wall.
Some brackets will not allow a M8 width bolt to fit through the holes on the bracket, in which case M6 bolts can be used and M8 sized plugs. If you really want to use a bigger sized bolt, sometimes I open up holes with a drill and metal bit which will allow a sturdier bolt to be inserted. Just bear in mind, if for whatever reason the bracket needs to be returned, it’s likely that this will void any returns policy.
Notable mention – Some of the nylon plugs that come with some TV brackets are not very good and may spin when you try to tighten the bolt. I recommend the Fischer plugs as being able to provide a very strong fixing. These are perfect if your are worrying about the TV falling off the wall.
TV Wall Fixings For Stud Walls
There are few ways that this task can be carried out. If you can find the studs behind the plasterboard. If you can, normal screws will be fine. I recommend getting some long ones as the screws will need to go through the plaster, plasterboard and then into the stud. To find the stud, you may need a stud finder but some of these can really be hit and miss. The good news is once you have found one, the next stud should be 16" or 24" along, this is actually marked on most tape measures with a small arrow. If you can’t find the stud, do not despair as most TV's are so light these-days that is doesn't matter. There are a couple of other fixings I recommend:
Wall anchors – Get some heavy-duty ones. Not that I would want to try up to this, but these can usually support up to 25kg each, with a few of these they can easily support a TV. To install these I small pilot hole is drilled in the plasterboard in which the plug part is inserted. The screw then goes in and with a brolly gun, the anchor can then be pulled which forces the anchor to swell up behind the wall.
Gripit Fixings – These were on the Dragons Den TV programme in the UK and was one of the biggest success stories from the programme. I use these for very large and heavy TV’s as they are a very strong and durable fixing. I recommend getting the blue ones which require a 25mm pilot hole to be drilled. The plug part is then inserted and with a screwdriver two rings can then be rotated which sit behind the plasterboard – the bolt can then be inserted and tightened which forces the wings to squeeze the wall behind the plasterboard.
TV Wall Fixings For Dry-lined Walls
There are a couple different ways to mount a TV bracket to this type of wall. You could use extra-long coach bolts, 80mm-100mm etc and fix into the brickwork behind the wall. If you do this be careful when tightening the fixing as if you go too tight you could crack the plasterboard.
Corefix Fixings – I use these Corefix fixings a lot. These are very similar to a normal expansion type plug and nylon fixing, but with the addition of a metal bridge insert that is inserted into the wall plug that stops the plasterboard from cracking when you tighten the screw. This allows the fixings to be done up tightly and do have to worry about the tightening of the bolt crunching your plasterboard wall.
Gripit Fixings – Again, these have a used for dry-lined walls owing the shallow dept of the plug, which allows it to be inserted and fit in between the plasterboard and the solid wall behind. This would not be possible with conventional wall anchors which usually will not fit in the space.
Fix Bracket To TV
I now recommend fixing the bracket to the TV. This is where the preparation you have made with the VESA investigation prior to purchasing the TV wall mount comes into play. When doing this it’s important to picture where the TV input/ output cable connections will leave the TV. What I mean by this is that you have to be sure that these will fit between the wall and the back of the TV when the TV is installed on the wall. If they do not, it could push the bottom of the TV out so that it faces up or may not allow the TV to be placed on the wall bracket altogether.
What I recommend doing is to connect the TV cables into the TV before it’s mounted onto the wall. Once in position you can with a tape-measure measure the distance that these with the bend radius will come away from the back of the TV. With this measurement you will know how far that the bracket needs to be stood away from the TV. This is usually done with longer fixing screws and spacers that come with the TV bracket. If not, you can always purchase your own longer screws and build up the space with washers. This isn’t usually much of a problem as most TV manufacturers have built their TV’s so that the TV connections leave parallel to the wall rather than at a right angle so that the TV can be positioned very close to the wall.
Tip- If the bracket that you are installing allows a further adjustment up/ down or side/ side, I recommend fixing in the middle. This means that if for whatever reason that the TV has not come out in the right place,the TV height etc can be(slightly) adjusted without having to drill new holes in the wall.
Once you have the bracket mounted to the TV, I recommend measuring between the bottom of the bracket and the bottom of the TV (or top to top) so that you have a reference to use to mount your TV at the correct height.
Identify The TV Wall Mounting Position
Spend some time on this step as the last thing you will want to do is have to drill all new holes because the TV is too low/ too high etc. Usually people mount TV’s too high and get neck ache! Think about where you’re going to viewing the TV from. For instance, in the lounge you’re likely to be sitting down so you will want it lower down, in the kitchen you may want it higher and in a bedroom you may want it higher up to reflect that you will belaying down when watching it. Once you have identified the height of the TV,with a pencil or something similar mark this on the wall so you have it for reference. Personally, I recommend marking 5cm/ 2 inches below the top of the TV so that the mark that you have made is hidden behind the TV when it is on the wall.
I always get asked, what height for my TV? The answer is quite simple, wherever you want it. But the “recommended” height is, when you’re sitting down in your viewing position that your eye level is between half way and one third of the TV height. I must say, personally I prefer this a little bit higher. Apart from the height, you will want to consider where about(right to left) that you want the TV on the wall. Usually you will want this centre of the wall, but you may want to centre it to your sofa or bed instead.
Mounting TV's above fireplaces does look nice and seems a natural position, but often this is too high. You may want to consider finding an alternate position.
Fix Bracket To The Wall
Put the dustsheets down first! Sometimes brick dust comes out black and can be difficult to get off of light-coloured carpets. I also use a vacuum/hoover to catch dust as I drill. You may need a second person to hold this for you.
Once you have identified the position and height that you wish to mount your TV. You will need to begin fixing the bracket. Before you do this, I recommend with a metal/ cable detector making sure that there are no cables or pipes where you’re going to be drilling. The last thing you will want is to burst a pipe of drill through a cable, these could be very expensive things to repair. Another tip for identifying existing electrical cable routes is to visualise across from nearby electrical points both horizontally and vertically as these are normally where the cables run. I say normally because you can’t be sure that whoever wired your property has adhered to these guidelines. If you want to be extra careful you could loosen off the nearby electrical sockets to actually look which way the cables enter into the wall-plate sockets. Be very careful when doing this, I advise switching off the electric supply before trying this.
Step by step
1- Using your mark on the wall as a reference and the measured distance between the edge of the TV and the beginning of the wall bracket that you identified when fixing the bracket to the TV. With a level,mark the TV wall bracket fixing positions.
2- Drill the fixing holes. I recommend wrapping apiece of insulating tape or something similar around your drill bit so that you drill to the correct depth. Go ever so slightly deeper to be on the safe side.
3- Insert wall plugs. May need to tap in place with a hammer.
4- Thread bolts (with washers) through fixing holes and finger tighten into plugs in wall. If you get two bolts in finger tight this will usually be enough to free up your hands.
5- Tighten bolts in place with spanner/socket/screw-driver depending what fixings you have. If using a power tool for this task I recommend stopping just before the end and finishing off by hand. Make sure that bracket is level.
What About The Cables?
Believe it or not, this can be the biggest part of the job. Some things to think about are:
How are the cables going to be managed? Are you going to feed them behind the plasterboard, bury them in the wall, install a surface mounted trunking or just leave them loose?
Where is the nearest mains electrical point? How are you going to get power to your wall mounted TV? How far away is this? Will you need to order a longer cable or are you going to install a mains socket/ fused spur behind?
Where is the rest of your AV equipment going to live when the TV is on the wall? Are the cables, like the HDMI cables going to be long enough? Will you need to order longer ones?
I’m sure you will appreciate that this is quite a broad subject in itself and I cover this in an older blog – How To Hide TV Cables/ Wires. You may also want to consider purchasing or installing right-angle cables/adapters that remove the bend radius of the cables themselves and install the TV as close to the wall as possible. It’s also worth noting that it can be tricky to insert the cables when the TV is on position on the wall, so it may help to get these plugged in behind the TV first and then lift the TV in position.
Lift the TV In Position On The Wall
This may take two of you for larger TV’s. Lift the TV onto the mount bracket. You need to be 100% sure that it is in place and clicked in position if the bracket is a type that requires this. Once happy that all is OK, you can let go. With your level, check that the TV is all OK. If not, you will need to lift back off again and make adjustments to the TV bracket. If you’re lucky,or have purchased a bracket specifically for this purpose, your TV may have a post wall levelling system which allows the TV level to be adjusted with a screwdriver/ allen key.
If you haven’t already, connect your TV cables and then insert the locking key if the TV bracket has one.
TV Hanging Questions? In Blog Comments Section Only Please
I hope you liked this TV mounting article and it has been some use to you. If you have any questions regarding this blog or just want some help and advice with your own TV wall mounting installation. I will be more than happy to help providing that you POST YOUR COMMENTS/ QUESTIONS IN THE BLOG COMMENTS SECTION BELOW, providing you do that and are patient with your response I will get back to you.
PLEASE DO NOT CALL OUR TELEPHONE LINES WITH YOUR QUESTIONS –We get so many calls with people wanting free technical support/ advice and it is making the day to day running of our business very difficult. Please only call us if you are a looking to book in your own TV wall mounting installation or quote in Sussex/ Kent in the South East of the UK only, we do not cover any other areas.
PLEASE DO NOT SEND QUESTIONS IN AN E-MAIL OR FILL OUT OUR WEBSITE CONTACT FORMS – It’s no real hardship receiving these but some people get quite upset when they do not receive a response, which I confess I have stopped responding to – I would literally spend all day replying to e-mails if I did.
By posting your questions comments in the Blog Comments Section below, you give me a central location to answer all the questions I get asked, you help the blog by providing future readers with the benefit of the question asked and the answer given. It also helps me know what blog your question relates to! All that being said, I will help where I can.
Until next time,
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