How to Hang a Flat Screen TV

Wall mount that Widescreen Television

With the increasing popularity of large format, flat televisions in 4K and beyond, the need to establish some very practical and important aspects of wall hanging that large, expensive television to the wall makes sense.

Some very simple and important aspects of hanging your television on the wall.

1.) Choose the correct bracket. In most cases the bracket is clearly marked as to the weight it can support as well as the size of the screen that the bracket will accommodate. The weight of your television or monitor is easily found within the literature issued with each purchase, or you can balance the screen on a common bathroom scale to approximate the weight. Obviously, allow a factor of safety to ensure that the bracket is adequate to support the weight. Do not mount a screen that weighs 100 pounds with a bracket that will accommodate up to 100 pounds. Always allow a 25% factor of safety. The size is basically the size of the screen that you purchased.

2.) Currently, most brackets accommodate most types of screens. Unless you have purchased a very custom, special screen, the common brackets will mount to your screen. Again the weight consideration as well as the size are the typical parameters that need to be accommodated.

3.) It is important to use the correct size screws or bolts, that are normally provided with the bracket, when attaching the bracket to the back of the screen. In most instances, the screw thread is a fine machine thread, that is sized by diameter. Most brackets come with the standard bolts to be used, and normally are supplied in a number of different diameters to accommodate different types of screens. Never force the bolt into the back of the screen. If the bolt is the correct size, it should simply screw into the back of the screen without any unnecessary force. If the bolt tightens, prior to it being fully threaded into the hole in the back of the screen, do NOT force it. You are probably using the wrong size bolt or the thread is incorrect.

4.) Most screen brackets come in two pieces. One bracket that attaches to the rear of the screen, and the second one that attaches to the wall. Normally the bracket for the back of the screen will have hooks, or clips, that will sit on a receiver bar, or rod, that is attached to the bracket that attaches to the wall. In most instances gravity keeps the screen on the receiver bar and in place on the wall. The weight of the screen bearing down on the wall bracket will allow the screen to firmly and safely be supported.

5.) The most important aspect of this wall mounting assembly is that the wall bracket MUST be securely attached to the wall. This can be accomplished in a number of different ways.

a.) The easiest and most secure method, is to ensure that the lag bolts, or screws that support the wall bracket, are firmly embedded in wall studs. There are several methods of finding these wall studs, one of them being the use of an electronic stud finder. I personally prefer to knock on the wall and approximate the location of the first stud that the bracket will encounter by the hollowness of the sound as I knock on the wall. The stud will produce less of a hollow sound, than the void between the studs. By approximating the location of this first stud, I use a small finish nail, that I systematically nail into the sheetrock to determine exactly where the stud is. The small holes that you make, will be hidden behind the television screen and be covered by the wall bracket. Once I discover the first stud accurately, I measure 16 inches on center, to find the next stud. In most instances, interior wall studs are spaced 16 inches on center, however, if the television is being mounted on an exterior wall, there is a possibility of the studs being 24 inches on center. My use of a small finish nail, is a fail safe technique, and will allow you to mount the wall bracket securely on the studs.

b.) If for some reason there are no wall studs, or the studs cannot be located, the use of a glued and screwed piece of wood, such as plywood, or a pine board, can be attached to the wall, prior to attaching the wall bracket. I use this technique when it is impossible to either find the studs, or the framing is an old open framing system, that will not allow me to secure at least two good lag bolts or screws, through the bracket and into the wall. The use of a large piece of plywood, both glued and screwed to the wall will provide a very strong and secure type of mounting bracket for the wall bracket to attach to. If plywood is unavailable, or if for some other reason plywood is not preferred, a long piece of wood, that is the length of the bracket and 6 to 8 inches in width, can be glued and screwed to the wall, to create the same type of structural support for the bracket.

c.) The use of heavy, thru the wall type wall hangers is also a good alternative. This type of hanger or anchor, actually penetrates the wall, and is designed with a spreading type of blade or spring type backing, that will spring out, when inserted into the wall. This type of anchor is exceptionally strong, and will need to pull out thru the wall to fail. Yes, they can fail, however, the possibility of failure is much less than anchors that use a friction type surface bearing to provide their strength. These type wall hangers are sometimes called molly or toggle bolts, but there are various types. It is best to read the pull out values for any of these type hangers to properly identify the most sensible hanger for each application.

The most important aspect of hanging any screen on the wall, is the securing of the wall bracket. In almost all instances the bracket that attaches to the screen uses a standard type of fastener, and the screens are designed for this accommodation. The wall bracket is a totally different scenario and can vary in each installation. It is extremely important that the wall bracket is securely attached to the wall and that the weight of the television will not, over time, pull the bracket from the wall, or compromise the structural integrity of the attachment.

Good luck and enjoy that large format television!

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