How to Mount a TV on the Wall
When hanging a slim but heavy electronic device worth hundreds of dollars, make sure you do the job right. Here's how.
While mounting a TV to a wall isn’t a complicated job, doing it the wrong way carries pretty significant consequences. Use the wrong hardware or mount it in the wrong place, and that prized flat screen can come crashing to the floor before halftime. Given the cost of these electronics, it’s little wonder why some people are willing to pay for a professional flat screen TV installation even though it can add hundreds of dollars to the bill.
While failing to mount a TV properly can lead to its early demise, you shouldn’t be intimidated by doing this relatively easy task yourself. By following the steps below for how to mount a TV on the wall, you can safely hang one in your bedroom, living room, or man cave.
Working Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour
Skill Level: Beginner
Estimated Cost: $30 to $50
Before You Begin
Recruit a partner
Some flat screen TVs are quite large and can weigh 50 pounds or more, making it very difficult for just one person to lift one onto the mounting bracket safely. To complete this project without straining your back or fumbling your precious flatscreen onto the floor, find an extra set of hands to help you.
Use the right hardware for the job
Most mounting kits come with sturdy lag bolts for mounting the bracket to the wooden wall studs behind the drywall. However, if you’re mounting this flat screen in the basement, there may be concrete walls.
In the case of block or brick walls, you’ll need special hardware and tools to attach the mounting bracket to the wall. Use a hammer drill with a masonry drill bit to make the necessary pilot holes and secure the mounting bracket using concrete anchor screws.
If you are wondering if you can mount a TV without creating any holes in the wall, it’s not recommended. Today’s flat screen TVs are very heavy and it’s best to secure them to the wall using the appropriately designed hardware for safety reasons.
Note: Never attempt to mount a flat screen TV to hollow drywall using drywall anchors!
STEP 1: Purchase a mounting kit that can support your TV.
To choose appropriate mounting hardware, you must first determine the weight of your flat-screen. (Check the manual, or look online if you have the TV model number.)
The manufacturer may sell a mount to be used specifically with your set. If it doesn’t, then purchase a “universal” mount rated for the weight and screen size of a TV.
STEP 2: Using a stud finder (or an electrical outlet), locate two studs on the wall on which the TV will be mounted.
TVs that weigh less than 80 pounds may be hung from a single wall stud; larger units need two studs or more. Use a stud finder to locate the studs on the wall to which you’re going to mount your flat screen.
Don’t have a stud finder? Try this: Remove the cover from an electrical outlet, then use a pencil to feel around for studs. Because junction boxes are usually attached to a stud, it should be easy to find a stud. Measure 16 inches to the right or left to pinpoint additional studs.
STEP 3: Mark the mounting hole locations and drill holes.
Place the mounting bracket onto the wall at the desired height, and use a level to help you make sure the bracket is aligned properly. With a pencil, mark the screw or bolt holes, making sure to keep in mind the height of the TV.
Set the bracket aside and predrill holes at each pencil mark. Use a drill bit that is slightly narrower than the screws or bolts included with your mounting kit.
Note: Drywall anchors are not to be used in mounting a flat-screen TV. If you wish to mount the TV on drywall, but there is no stud where you want to position the TV, toggle bolts may be your best bet.
STEP 4: Mount the bracket to the wall with the hardware that comes with the bracket.
Proceed to attach the bracket to the wall with the hardware that came with your kit. (If your chosen wall mount involves lag screws, you’ll need a socket wrench.) Next, carefully place your TV face down on a soft surface so that you can attach the half of the bracket that fastens to the TV.
STEP 5: Conceal the power cords using wire molding.
It’s one thing to be successful in mounting a flat-screen TV, but it’s another level of success to entirely conceal the cords. The easiest method is to run a wire molding down from the television. The cords hide in a neat column behind the molding, and if you paint the molding the same color as the wall, it’s not very noticeable.
A cleaner, albeit pricer, option is to thread the cords behind the wall, but technically it’s dangerous, illegal, and against the National Electrical Code to do so. Fortunately, there’s a compromise: a power bridge kit, or an in-wall power extension (IWPE), like the Echogear In-Wall Cable Management Kit. These enable the homeowner to install an outlet in the wall, more or less behind the TV screen, so it’s all but invisible to occupants in the room.
Behind the wall, a power bridge cable travels from the newly installed outlet to another new receptacle installed lower down on the wall. Then you just run a power cord from an existing outlet or surge protector to the inconspicuously placed bottom receptacle. Now your cords are concealed—legally.
Keep in mind that installing an IWPE or power bridge adds to the cost and installation time of the project. Expect to pay between $50 and $80 for this device and add about an hour to your install time.
The internet is rife with cautionary videos of shattering flat screens, typically accompanied by wails of agony from their unfortunate owners. By following our how to hang a tv on the wall methods, purchasing a mounting kit that is rated to handle the weight and size of your TV, and mounting it to wall studs, your TV can be securely mounted to the wall. Plus, you can save hundreds of dollars on a professional installation.