New TVs look great when they hang on the wall. Beyond a sleeker design, mounted TVs save space and let you hide ugly wires. Fortunately, mounting a TV to a drywall surface is an easy project all homeowners can learn.
Materials and Tools Needed
You’re going to need a few supplies before you get started:
- Wall mount and related screws or bolts
- Tape measure
- Stud finder
- TV wiring kit or raceway
- Outlet cover
Choose the Right TV Mount
There are various TV mounts on the market, but the most important detail is how big a TV it can hold. If the TV mount only holds a 55-inch TV, don’t test it on a 65-inch! A heavy TV can break a smaller mount and ruin your wall and equipment.
You also need to decide if you want a swivel mount or a flat-mount. Swivel mounts let you see the TV no matter where you are in the room. They cost a bit more, but the added convenience is worth it.
Determine a Location
Next, you need to decide where to mount your TV. Before you do so, consider the wires. If cords are not a concern, it should be at eye-level when you sit down. While most TVs are installed a bit higher, that angle can hurt your neck while you watch.
If you want to hide the wires or mount the TV above a fireplace or mantel, installation becomes a bit trickier. Most professionals do so, but the labor is more demanding. (The professional cost to install a flat-screen TV above a mantel or fireplace runs from $215 to $309.)
Find the Studs
Drywall can hold small TVs, 19" or less. Most TVs these days are much larger, so make sure to install the wall mount into wall studs. While studs are not marked, you can use a stud finder to locate them. If you don’t have a stud finder, consider the following tips:
- Studs are generally 16 from each other. If you know where one stud is, mark it with a pencil and measure horizontally 16 inches in either direction to find the others.
- Knock on the wall. If it sounds solid, you’ve found a stud. If it sounds hollow, or if you can’t tell, consider purchasing a good stud finder.
Attach TV Mount to Wall
- Hold your mount up to the wall, in the desired location.
- Mark the holes in the mount with a pencil. Mark one hole per stud (total of two).
- Put the mount down and drill some pilot holes into the wall.
- Take your mount and screw it into the wall with screws that came with it. Do not screw in all the way. Leave just enough so it can hang on the wall with no human support.
- Place your level on the mount. If it’s not level, you have to adjust the mount. If it is, install any necessary bolts and washers (both ensure the TV holds). Make sure the mount is now firmly attached to the wall.
Cut Holes in Walls for Wires
If you want to hide your wires, continue with this step. If not, skip to the next step.
First, make sure a power source is nearby. If not, an electrician will have to add an outlet. They should install it right below or above the mount. Electricians charge roughly $148 to $200 to install an outlet.
If the outlet is far away, you still have to drill a hole right below or above the mount. Then, drill another hole near the outlet. Next, use your TV wiring kit to extend the power cord and HDMI cord through the wall and plug them into the closest outlet. Snaking these wires is not easy, but it needs to be done if you want to hide those ugly cords.
On the other hand, if you use a raceway—a track or casing that hides cords—you can skip this step altogether.
Attach Mounting Brackets to TV
Your mount should have pieces that attach to the TV. Follow the mount’s manual and connect these pieces. Make sure they’re tightly fastened as these metal bars actually hold your TV.
Mount the TV
With the assistance of a friend, gently place your TV on the wall mount. If necessary, tighten the two screws below the TV. Some mounts do not require additional screws.
Before letting go, make sure it’s steady and level. Sit on your couch to test the angle and power source.