How to Mount Flat Screen Televisions

How to Hang a TV

You need to know how to mount flat screen televisions on walls, quickly, easily, and correctly. Well, you’re in luck, because I’ve done this quite a few times. Mounting your new plasma, LCD or LED TV on the wall sounds like something you’d need a bucket full of skills to do, but it really isn’t.

You just need some tools and less than 30 minutes of time. Once it’s up on the wall, it’ll give you years of viewing enjoyment, at least until the next big advancement in TV technology comes along and you tell your significant other “I’ve got to have that!”

Choose the Type of Mount to Use

Before going into specifics, if you haven’t already bought the flat screen television’s wall mount, you need to make a choice about what type of mount to use: articulated or fixed. The fixed mount gives you very limited options as to where you’ll be able to point and view the TV from. The articulated mount costs a little more, but the price is worth it in my book. You can swing the mount through 180 degrees on the horizontal plane (left to right) and tilt it as much as 30 degrees on the vertical.

Gather Your Tools

As with any home improvement project, you’ll need a few tools. Many of them you’ll already have. And you should know someone that will let you borrow the rest of these tools for a short time.

  • Corded or cordless drill
  • 1/4-inch wood drill bit
  • Bubble level or laser aligner
  • Wrench or socket and ratchet
  • Pencil or pen
  • Long and thin flat-head screwdriver
  • Tape measure
  • Phillips screwdriver
How to Hang Flat Screen Televisions
The wires are run inside the wall, and the television will cover up where they come out. Photo Credit: BrianBrooks

Lay Out and Mark the Wall for Drilling

The first step after gathering your tools is to open the box the mount comes in and set all the parts out neatly. After that, you need to use the supplied template and mark the wall prior to drilling.

  • Locate the power outlet below where you want the TV and remove the wall plate.
  • Using the small thin screwdriver or something similar, probe between the drywall and junction box with the wires on the sides of the power box to locate the wall stud.
  • With the stud located, move right or left one inch. If the stud was found to the right of the outlet box, move one inch to the right, and vice-versa.
  • Measure up (with the measuring tape) to where you want the TV and make a mark. It’s recommended between three and four feet off the floor.
  • Place the template against the wall and use the bubble level to ensure it stays level, mark the locations for the other mounting holes.
  • Drill these locations as pilot holes for the mounting bolts.

Hang the Mounting Bracket

Using the supplied mounting bolts (they are most likely 3/8-inch lag screws), attach the mount to the wall. Lay the bubble level across the top of the mount prior to tightening the bolts to make sure the mount is level.

Flat Screen Televisions - How to Hang a TV
There are two parts to the wall mount — the part that connects to the television, and the part that is drilled onto the wall. Photo credit: Chuckwaters83

Attach the Bracket to the TV

The mounting bracket comes in two pieces: the wall portion and the portion that attaches to the flat screen televisions. Depending on the size of your TV, you may have as many as 16 attachment points. They will be indicated on the back of the TV by arrows, usually. All the mounting screws I’ve seen have been 1/4-inch Phillips head screws, but you may also find hex-head screws.

This point is the only spot where you will actually need the assistance of someone, if you have a larger TV and an articulated mount. With the fixed mount, attaching the TV portion of the mount to the wall portion is simply a matter of sliding some tabs into a slot.

There are a few different types of articulated mounts to hang flat screen televisions, so read the instructions that came with it for the exact procedure. Pull the articulated arm out from the wall and lift the TV with the mount attached and mate the two pieces. Having two people helps because once you have the TV up, you can use one hand to guide the TV to the wall mount, while the other person uses one hand to steady the wall mount.

Notes on Mounting Flat Screen Televisions

Wiremold makes a wonderful product that you can use to hide the cables going to the TV. It attaches to the wall either with screws or by adhesive tape and can be painted to match the wall. If you don’t want the extra work of patching and painting holes in the wall required to run the TV’s cables inside the wall, the Wiremold is your best option. There’s a video that describes Wiremold and shows it in use here. However, I normally cut holes in the wall and route the wires inside the wall to hide them completely, but that’s just me.

Unless you have a tiny TV or a masonry wall, you have to locate the studs for the mounting bolts, otherwise, they will pull out of the wall and break your TV.

If you do have a masonry (brick, rock) wall, you will need to check the instructions with the mount for the correct drill-bit size. You will also need a masonry bit instead of a wood bit and masonry wall anchors to secure the screws/bolts in the masonry wall. You will also not be able to route your cables inside the wall.

Mounting flat screen televisions is easier than most people believe, but it does take a little effort. Let us know if you’ve done it and you have any tips our readers might like to see.

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