Reasons Why TV’s Fall From Walls - How To Keep Your TV Safe
If you have purchased a new flat screen TV, it’s rightful place is on the wall in my opinion. Mounting TV’s on walls is a real space saver and they look much better in my opinion, providing that you hide the TV wires that is. You may be wondering is my TV safe on the wall? Is it likely to fall off? And why do TV’s fall off walls. In this blog I discuss some of the common reasons that I have found why T’s fall off the walls so that you do not have to worry about this happening to you.
Is My TV Safe Mounted On To The Wall?
I can assure you that you’re TV is safe on the wall providing that it has been installed correctly, also it’s important to note that most new flat screen LED/ OLED TV’s are very light these days so there is much less stress of the wall and fixings that older TV’s. Every TV that I have come across that has fallen off the wall is usually because it hasn’t been installed correctly or the TV is too big and heavy for the wall, TV bracket and fixings. I come onto the specific reasons later in the blog but please let your mind beat ease about mounting your TV onto a wall if this is something that you’re concerned about. After all should it fall away from the wall it’s likely to cause some damage to the wall/ floor and the TV itself, all of which Is likely to cost a fair amount of money to fix and you may need a new TV. Even worse it could fall onto a valuable item, child or pet so please read this article in full if this is something that you’re worried about.
Before I go any further I just want to familiarise you with the three main types of surfaces that TV’s are fixed to, each one typically would use a different fixing technique to safely mount the TV to the surface.These are:
Solid Wall/ brickwork – A solid wall is a surface of anything like brick, breeze block, concrete etc. It’s easy to tell a solid wall but knocking on it. If it doesn’t sound hollow it’s likely to be a solid wall.Don’t knock too hard mind as you could hurt your knuckles.
Stud Wall - A stud-wall is plasterboard that is secured to wood or metal studs. These are usually not load bearing and are usually in place to divide rooms. Knocking on a stud wall will sound hollow.
Dry-lined Wall – Otherwise know as a dob and dab wall. A dry-lined wall is plasterboard that has been stuck onto brickwork behind with an adhesive. This type of wall is becoming more in new build and recently renovated/ refurbished properties as is usually makes the plastering process much quicker. If you knock on a dot and dab wall it’s likely to sound hollow but you may also find some solid sounding sections, this is where the blobs of adhesive are.
Common Reasons TV's Fall From Walls & How To Avoid This Happening To You
Now I come to the most common reasons for falling off walls. Avoid these and follow safe mounting and installation practices and you will be fine.
Wrong Fixings Have Been Used
The most common reason for TV’s falling off walls is because the wrong fixings have been used. I have divided this into a few sections owing to the fact that that different surfaces require different fixings.
When mounting onto a solid wall coach bolts with expansion plugs should be used, especially for larger TV. Whilst very small TV’s will be fine with a few screws and some small red wall plugs for larger TV’s I would strongly suggest using some at least M8 fixing bolts ideally at least 50mm/2”long. If the wall is thick enough you may want to use bolts that are 80mm/ 3”long. I once mounted a TV to a wall in a very old building and the solid brickwork was behind some 100mm of some very loose plaster, so I ended up using bolts that were 150mm long. You obviously won’t always be able to use bolts this long as you’re likely to go through the wall and come out the other side in the next room. (maybe measure how thick the wall is first) You can use a thicker bolt like an M10 if this will be fit also but most TV brackets won’t allow for this. In fact some of the cheaper varieties may not even allow an M8 sized bolt to fit. In instances like this you may want to open up the holes slightly with a drill. This of course will likely void the warranty on the bracket however.
The bolt itself is only half the equation, the other part is the wall plug itself. I recommend buying some high quality nylon expansion plugs for this task, but other systems that have a metal expansion plug also exist. If you buy a Sanus TV bracket these come with some very high quality plugs but not all do. I really recommend the Fischer UX and Duopower plugs as these provide a very strong fixing.
Obviously, plasterboard walls are not as strong as solid walls but this doesn’t mean that a TV can’t be mounted safely to a plasterboard wall, as it certainly can. As the wall is hollow and is usually just one sheet of plasterboard, sometimes two. Special fixings must be used to secure the TV to the wall. Even some plasterboard fixings are not suitable. I have seen several TV’s fall off walls where expansion bolts have been used that are not actually fixed into anything beyond the plasterboard and the self-drill plasterboard fixings which are only suitable for very light loads.
There are few methods that can be taken to mount TV’s to stud walls. Ideally you will want to get screw/ bolt fixings into the studs if possible. If not you can always use plasterboard fixings like wall anchors and Gripit fixings, I recommend the blue Gript fixings which are said to be able to hold 117Kg, ordinary wall anchors are said to be fine for up to 25Kg each but it both instances I would strongly advise only testing this at a fraction of this. If you have a very heavy TV you may want to be extra safe and secure apiece of plywood behind the plasterboard to screw directly into.
There is another form of stud wall on older type properties where instead of plasterboard fixed onto the stud both, small wooden sections are individually nailed in position and the plaster is applied directly on top of this. These are lath and plaster walls and the same methods can be used as ordinary stud walls.
Dot & Dab Walls
Dry-lined walls are sort of half solid wall, half stud wall. There are a few methods that can be used that can be used to mount TV’s onto this type of surface. There is usually a small gap between the plasterboard and the wall itself and I would advise fixing into the wall with some longer fixings. You could use longer expansion style bolts around 80mm like you would on solid walls but you must be very careful when tightening the bolts as you could crunch the plasterboard and crack the wall. For this reason I recommend using Corefix plasterboard fixings which are a normal expansion bolt but with a hammer in metal insert which bridges the gap between the wall and plasterboard and allows you to tighten the screw without having to worry about cracking the wall. If your fortunate to need to drill a fixing on top of where there is a blob of adhesive behind the plasterboard, normal solid wall fixings can be used and you do not have to worry about cracking the wall. You can find these buy knocking on the wall.
Gripit fixings can also be used as these can slot into the tight space between the wall and plasterboard but ordinary wall anchors can’t as these will not fit inside the gap.
Don’t Forget To Use Washers!
Always try to use washers on your bolts to help spread the weight. These really help create a stronger fixing. I have visited many call outs where over time bolts have managed to wobble loose where they would not have had washers been used. The TV bracket you buy would usually include these but you may also need to buy these separate. I get through a surprising amount!
Poor Fixing Into The Wall
Sometimes you can use the right fixings but just get a poor fixing on your bolt, which when tightened just keeps turning or doesn’t take at all. If you were to mount a TV onto fixings that had hadn’t taken to the wall property it may initially sit there find but fall off a later date. Poor fixings usually happen when the hole is slightly to large than the fixing placed inside of it. This could be that the drill bit and plugs that are used just are not right or that the hole is just too large. This could be done but not drilling the hole absolutely straight or the wall crumbling away when drilled. If this happens which your fixings I recommend either inserting extra plugs into the hole if they will fit which will provide some extra expansion or opening up the hole a bit more and using a larger fixing.
If you’re fixing into a poured concrete wall or a wall that has stones in it you may just find that when drilled the hole comes out much larger than the drill bit. I have had success in the past buy using Gripfill to insert the fixings and then securing the bracket into these. This of course will need to be done on separate days to allow to Gripfill to completely set before securing the bracket.
Overloading TV Bracket - TV Too Heavy
When you buy a TV bracket it will tell you the weight that this should be able to safely support. I recommend not exceeding this and erring on the side of caution by not maximising this specified weight maximum. This is particularly important with full motion wall brackets which can be moved and pulled away from the wall and the further the TV is pulled away the great the stress that will be on the bracket and the fixings. Combine this with a few loose fixings and you could be in for trouble.
Using A Poor Quality TV Mount
Some brackets are simply not up for the task in my opinion,with the internet all sorts of cheap tacky brackets are available at very low prices. As I have been in the position where I have been asked to mount a TV onto an inferior bracket in the past I now insist on either supplying the bracket myself so I can be sure that it’s up to the task or I ask the customer to provide the make/ model so I check for suitability myself. In my experience people do not like being told that the bracket that they have purchased is a load of rubbish but I also would rather be safe than sorry. Think about it logically, if you’re spending 500, 1000, 2000 pound or dollars on a TV does it make sense to mount it on a cheap TV wall bracket? If you're wanting to purchase a new bracket and would like to know what TV mount to buy, I can recommend Sanus, B-Tech and Peerless mounts. I do not advise buying your TV mount from your local supermarket or B&Q.
Bracket Not Installed Properly/ Didn’t Use A Professional
There is a chance that even with a good quality TV mount and fixings correctly secured that the TV could fall off the wall by it not being installed properly. This is usually done by someone that does not have the skill-set to mount TV’s to walls, this could be a rogue trader or “Cowboy” as they are often known. You don’t necessarily have to use someone that mounts TV’s to walls for a living like us, but you should use someone that has good DIY skills. If you’re looking for an installer in your area, I can recommend ourselves if you’re in Sussex or Kent (forgive me for the self promotion) or the CAI or Cedia to look for nearby installers in your area.
Locking Bar/ Mechanism Not Fitted Properly
This follows on from not installing the bracket properly but if most TV’s have either a locking bar or mechanism to lock the TV into position. If this hasn’t been inserted or done properly the TV could slide off or be knocked accidentally off of the bracket which could see the TV hit the floor. Some TV mounts even allow for a padlock if you’re concerned about the TV falling off or the TV being stolen off the wall.
Use The Pull Test Before Lifting TV into Position
Before you actually lift the TV into position on the wall you will want to use what I call the “Pull test”. When secured in position pull the TV bracket with a reasonable amount of force to make sure that there is no movement on the bracket. If there isn’t then you’re good to go, if there is then you will want to address this issue before you put the TV on it.
TV Mounting Questions – In The Blog Comments Section!
Please note that I have stopped responding to questions that are e-mailed to me. This is a service that I simply do have the time to offer. Please also DO NOT CALL OUR TELEPHONE LINES as these are RESERVED FOR CUSTOMERS ONLY and we only operate in Sussex and Kent in the south east of the UK. There is no one here who can help with your questions and Gemma who deals with the calls is under strict instructions to never hand my mobile number out, so please do not ask. All that being said I will help you where I can providing that you’re patient and you POST YOUR COMMENT/ QUESTION IN THE BLOG COMMENT SECTION at the bottom of the blog. By dong this you provide me with a central location to answer all the questions that I asked and you also provide everyone reading the blog with the question asked and the answer given, so post away. Please also DO NOT FILL OUT THE WEBSITE CONTACT FORMS as these come through as an e-mail my end that you will not receive a response to.
Until next time,
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