How to Mount a TV on a Wall

Mounting TV on Wall

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Project Overview
  • Working Time: 45 mins - 1 hr
  • Total Time: 45 mins - 1 hr
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Estimated Cost: $10 to $75

Walls are the ideal location for a flatscreen TV. Even the largest TV can be conveniently tucked away against a wall and still offer a premium viewing experience.

Yet mounting your TV to the wall can be challenging, especially if the wall lacks solid attachment points behind the drywall. (This expensive piece of electronics is one item that you cannot afford to drop, after all.)

Flatscreen TVs can be attached to any wall with fixed, tilting, or full-motion mounts. It's always best to have solid studs to attach to, but you can still attach most TVs to walls that are hollow behind the drywall.

Fortunately, it is possible to re-mount your TV if needed: Depending on the size of the screen, your TV will cover any holes, patching, or pencil marks on the wall behind it, so if your first attempt is the wrong height, you can make adjustments without excessive patching and painting.

Screen Class (Diagonal)  Screen Vertical Coverage
43-inch 22 inches
50-inch 25-1/2 inches
60-inch 30-1/2 inches
75-inch 40 inches

Before You Begin

Mounting the TV on Studs

Vertical wood wall studs are located every 16 inches on-center behind the drywall of most wall systems. This means that screws driven through TV mounting plates are long enough to bypass the weak outer layer of drywall and sink into solid wood studs.

Mounting the TV to wall studs is always preferred. Studs are strong enough to hold weights well exceeding 100 pounds. Plus, you'll be able to install all types of TV mounts: fixed, tilting, and full-motion.

Because studs run every 16 inches, your TV mount must follow these 16-inch increments, but multiple holes in the TV mounting plates help you gain more horizontal flexibility.

4 Ways to Locate Wall Studs

Several methods can help you find wall studs:

  • Electronic stud finder
  • Rare earth, or neodymium, magnet stud detector 
  • Tapping a finish nail through the drywall
  • Measuring in increments of 16 inches from the known location of another wall stud

Mounting the TV Without Studs

Though every wall has wood studs behind the drywall, sometimes it's not possible to position the TV exactly on studs. Certain obstacles may also prevent you from using those wall studs. In this case, you can mount the TV to any section of drywall that has no studs behind it.

Hollow-wall drywall TV mount installations are limited to total weights (TV, peripherals, and mount) of about 100 pounds. You'll be able to attach fixed or tilting TV mounts but not full-motion mounts, as they can pull out of the drywall.

Toggle bolts are the best way to mount heavy objects like TVs to hollow walls.

Tip

Most TVs use a system of standards called VESA that defines the distance between the mounting holes on the back of the TV. The distance is expressed in sets of millimeters. TV mounts also use VESA standards. TV mounts typically cover more than one set of VESA standards. For example, the VESA listing "50/75/100/200" would cover four different hole spans.

Studs
  • Mounting plate screws drive through the drywall and into structural studs

  • For fixed, tilting, and full-motion TV mounts

  • Weight limit: up to 200 to 300 pounds

  • Not hindered by wall cavity obstructions like insulation

  • Horizontal position limited to 16-inch increments

No Studs
  • Mounting plates attach to the wall with toggle bolts—no need for studs

  • For fixed or tilting TV mounts (not full-motion)

  • Weight limit: 100 pounds

  • Insulation or other obstructions between studs may hinder installation

  • Any horizontal position

Safety Considerations

Always keep your TV and TV mount installation well within specified weight limits. Failure to do so could result in the collapse of the TV, mount, and accessories. Mount the TV on a wall that is free of vibration.

Before drilling into a wall, turn off circuit breakers to any wires that may be running through the wall.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Cordless drill
  • Hammer
  • Pencil
  • Stud finder
  • Tape measure
  • Level

Materials

  • Fixed, tilting, or full-motion TV mount
  • Toggle bolts (only for walls with no studs)

Instructions

How to Mount a TV to a Wall With Studs

  1. Attach Bracket to TV

    Before attaching the mount to the wall, it's a good idea to first make sure that you have purchased the correct mount. Take the section of the mount that attaches to the TV (the bracket) and line it up over the holes on the back of the TV. Use the provided screws and washers to attach the bracket to the TV.

    Warning

    Only use the provided hardware. Using other hardware may damage the TV. Do not overtighten the screws.

  2. Locate Studs

    With the stud finder or other device, locate the position of two studs in the area where you want to mount the TV. Mark the positions with painter's tape.

  3. Mark Drill Holes

    With the tape measure and pencil, mark upward from the floor to the desired height. Position the paper template or the mounting plate at that height against the wall. Lay the bubble level on top of the template or plate. Mark the drill holes with the pencil.

    Tip

    Mounting plates should always span two or more studs.

  4. Drill Pilot Holes

    Use the cordless drill to drill pilot holes on each of the marked locations. The pilot holes should be smaller in diameter than the intended screws.

  5. Attach Mounting Plate

    Lay the mounting plate over the holes. Use the cordless drill and the provided hardware to attach the plate firmly to the wall.

  6. Attach TV to Mounting Plate

    Attach the bracket on the back of the TV to the mounting plate on the wall.

Mount TV to Wall With No Studs

  1. Attach Bracket to TV

    Attach the mounting bracket (not mounting plate) to the back of the TV.

  2. Mark Drill Holes

    Hold the paper template or mounting plate against the wall, with the bubble level on top to ensure level. Make sure that you clear studs or other obstructions behind the drywall, as toggle bolts need at least two inches of clear space. Mark the drill locations with the pencil.

  3. Drill Holes for Toggle Bolts

    Consult the toggle bolt package for the correct hole diameter. The diameter is not the diameter of the bolt. Instead, it will be the diameter of the wing unit attached to the bolt and folded up.

  4. Attach Toggle Bolts to Mounting Plate

    From the front of the mounting plate (the side facing the room), slide the toggle bolts (unattached from the wing units) through the mounting plate holes.

  5. Place Wing Units on Bolts

    On the back of the mounting plate, thread the bolts into the wing units. The open section of the wing units should be facing toward the room, not toward the wall. Leave the wing units threaded onto the ends of the bolts, just about four or five threads in.

  6. Insert Toggle Bolts in Holes

    Have an assistant hold the mounting plate as you insert the four toggle bolts into the holes. Shut the wings as you push the bolts into the holes. When you can hear the wings open up in the wall, that means they are fully extended.

  7. Draw Wings Forward

    Have the assistant apply pressure to the mounting plate by gently pulling the plate toward the room. As they do this, turn the bolts clockwise with the drill. Continue until the plate is firm and solid against the wall.

    Warning

    As the plate nears the wall, the assistant should pull their fingers out to avoid being crushed between the plate and the wall.

  8. Check Mounting Plate for Level Positioning

    The oversized holes required for toggle bolt installation can cause the mounting plate to shift from level during tightening. Use the bubble level to ensure that the mounting plate is level after tightening. If it is not, slightly loosen the toggle bolts and reposition the plate.

  9. Attach TV to Mounting Plate

    Attach the TV and its bracket to the mounting plate on the wall.

FAQ
  • What's the right height to mount a TV?

    The level of viewers' eyes while sitting down should match the center point of the TV on the wall. A 50-inch TV should generally be mounted so that the bottom of the screen is about 29 inches above the floor.

  • Can you change the height if you get it wrong?

    It's possible to alter the height of the TV screen on the wall if you get it wrong. The TV screen is large enough to visually cover holes, minimizing the need for extensive patching and painting. For example, a 43-inch diagonal TV has up to 22 inches of vertical screen coverage.

  • What if a fireplace is in the way?

    Fixed elements like fireplaces present obstacles to TV installation. Because of heat limitations and the need to locate the TV at an optimal viewing height, it's usually better to place the TV elsewhere. If the fireplace is a lower temperature gel or gas fireplace, it may be possible to situate the TV over the fireplace.

When to Call a Professional

The larger the TV, the more difficult it becomes for the do-it-yourselfer to hang it on a wall. Screen sizes above 70 inches can be unwieldy to work with.

IWPE (in-wall power extension) or power bridge installations that hide the power cords behind the TV can also be difficult for most homeowners to install. If either is the case, call a qualified audio-visual installer.