Save Time And Frustration With These Expert Installation Tips For Wall-Mounting Your TV
Mounting a TV on the wall makes a lot of sense for most people, as it frees up space in the home and, generally speaking, is a practical move. But, for some, the practice of mounting a TV on the wall can be intimidating.
Mounting a TV can be a quick & easy task, but it can very easily turn into an arduous journey. In essence, the process involves putting 4 bolts in the wall to hold a bracket. You then hang the TV on that bracket and, voilà, you’re done. Sounds simple, right? But putting 4 bolts into a wall isn’t always as simple as it may sound.
To help you out, we’ve put together a list of expert tips in hopes of helping you avoid certain mistakes and overcome some of common obstacles presented when mounting a TV.
Your stud finder is a liar
Stud finders are tricky little tools. They can be one of the most helpful tools in the box, or the reason you put 10 holes in the wall without hitting a stud. Simply put, they’re liars. But here are 4 tips that help ensure they never trick you again.
- Go slow – Stud finders need to be properly calibrated in order to be effective. First, place it on the wall and enable it (often by holding in a button). Let the stud finder read the density of the material (this will only take a second or two), then slowly move it from side to side. Go back and forth over the wall a few times, starting from a different spot each time. Mark each stud with a piece of painter’s tape. We generally recommend finding 3 studs, and using a tape measure to make sure they are the same distance apart.(16 inches almost always) This will help you avoid false positives.
- Popcorn ceilings defeated – Have you ever tried to run a stud finder across a ceiling with popcorn texturing? Not only do you ruin the texture, the stud finder doesn’t work well. An easy way to overcome this problem is to place a piece of cardboard over the area you want to scan. The cardboard gives the stud finder a smooth surface to slide across and will allow you to easily find the joists.
- Don’t forget fire blocks – Before drilling any holes, run your stud finder vertically up and down the wall to ensure there are no fire blocks running horizontally between the stud bays. Fire blocks can make fishing wires down the wall very difficult, even for experienced installers.
- Always double check – Stud finders can be fooled fairly easily. For example, they will often read a seam in the drywall as a stud. After you have marked your studs and where you want to drill your holes, you should use something to poke into the wall to ensure you actually marked a stud. We normally use a small precision screwdriver, but a cut-off coat hanger or piano wire will work fine. We would recommend doing this by hand, rather than using a power tool, as you will have a better feel for what’s inside the wall. Second, you should poke a little hole to the left and right of where you want to drill and make sure you are still on the stud. This will ensure you are centered on a stud, and not just clipping the side (and possibly hitting something electrical).
- Just to add about stud finders, the best stud finder is a very strong magnet. This has never failed us in finding a stud. http://www.amazon.ca/CH-Hanson-03040-Magnetic-Finder/dp/B000IKK0OI
We’re doomed, the studs are in the wrong spot … or there aren’t any
You found the perfect spot to mount a TV in your home. You have read all of our tips on using a stud finder, and are ready to go. But after twenty minutes of scanning for studs you can’t find any, or the results are inconsistent, or they don’t line up with the holes on your wall mount. You might be surprised how often this happens, but luckily there are a number of solutions that don’t require much, if any, extra work.
- Take off covers – If you can’t locate the studs with a stud finder, locate an outlet on the wall (or any other fixture, like a cold air return). All outlets are attached to a stud, unless they were added after the wall was up (not common). By taking off the wall plate, you can stick a thin tool into the gap between the side of the electrical box and the drywall, and then feel which side the stud is on. From there, measure over 16” and you should find another stud. Keep going over 16” until you are in the area where you want to mount the TV. Then use a small tool to poke a hole in the wall to see if a stud is actually there.
- Make your own holes – What if you found studs, but they don’t lineup with the holes on your bracket? Easy: make extra holes on the wall bracket. The best way to do this is to use a stepped drill bit and a powerful drill. A good stepped drill bit will quickly cut through a steel wall mount.
- Use of Inspection camera. Drill a ½’’ hole and insert the camera head to understand better the inside of your drywall.