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How to mount a flat screen tv using wall mounts and hollow anchors

Updated on June 9, 2011

A guide to wall mounting your tv

As an experienced tradesman Ive often been contracted to mount a variety of items on to walls of numerous types. From heavy radiators to picture frames, on walls from solid brick to thinly skimmed plasterboard. Despite many common misconceptions it is possible with careful fixing selection and preparation to hang relatively heavy items on plasterboard walls.

This guide will show you how to mount your tv on the wall of your choice. It will recommend both tv wall mounts and fixings for the differing types of wall material. It will show you step by step how to achieve your own television wall mounting. Also I'll offer you some tips for maximising the effect of a wall mounted tv, how to hide the cables and even locate that cable box out of sight!

Types of wall mount for your tv

 There are three main types of wall mount available. Which you choose depends entirely as to the users circumstances. Later we will look at the installations considerations for each but for now here is a quick summary of each;

Tilt and Turn. In rooms where the viewer is likely to be in a number of differing positions or outside influences such as sunlight may warrant it, a tilt and turn bracket allows the user to move the tv in all directions. Circumstances might be those such as in the kitchen where a viewer may be moving around or in a conservatory where the angle of the sun may interrupt clear viewing.

Tilt only. For larger tvs, or areas such as a living area or home cinema and the viewing area is clearly defined it may only be necessary to mount a tiltable bracket. This will still allow for different heights of viewing. Importantly a tilt only mount keeps the television closer to the wall, but does have some space behind. (the importance of which is coming up)

Fixed. The standard bracket for mounting a tv. There is no option for tilting or turning. These fixed brackets are normally the cheapest, most straightforward to install and keep the tv mounted closely to the wall.

Choosing a bracket - practicality vs physics!

 When choosing a bracket think carefully about where your tv is to be mounted. Does it need to be able to tilt or turn. Bear in mind that wall fixings work best and are strongest when the forces on them are vertically down. The more force pulling out on them, the more likely they are to fail, particularly in plasterboard. The further from the wall the tv is, such as with a turn and tilt, the stronger the fixings will need to be.

For most living areas a fixed or tilting bracket is adequate on its own. turn and tilt are most commonly useful where you wish to mount a tv in a corner of the room. Personally I chose a tilting bracket, not because I use it to improve my sight of the screen but because it gave me more room to hide cables.

In summary, decide what bracket best suits your needs, but if your walls are plasterboard and inserting batterns is not an option then bare in mind the extra stress a turn and tilt will put on your fixings.

How to mount a flat screen tv - expansion bolts

Wall plugs

How to mount a flat screen tv using wall mounts - Fixings

Almost certainly your mounting wall will be either a type of brick or plasterboard fixed to timber or metal battens. Firstly lets look at the options for brick walls. There will be a depth of plaster to drill through before reaching the brick. As the plaster offers no strength for the fixing you need to ensure your fixings go well beyond this. All fixings to brick rely on an element of expansion so common sense suggests that the material to be expanded into is strong and uncompromising. For medium loads (up to 10kg) a good quality plug and screw will suffice if good depth is obtained. For heavier loads consider using an expansion bolt for peace of mind.

I hear regularly of people that complain about the strength of plugs and screws. In brick these provide an incredible amount of strength as long as drill bit and screw size selection is accurate. Otherwise yes, they will pull out. When calculating the weight per fixing, check on the weight of tv and mount and divide by the number of fixings. Most tv wall mounts have a variety of fixing points and it is quite feasible to get 6-10 good fixings. For even the biggest of tvs this should easily be adequate.

How to mount a flat screen tv on a wall - plasterboard fixings

 By far the most secure fixing for plasterboard is the hollow wall anchor. Once a hole is drilled and the anchor inserted, you just need to tighten the screw to open the 'wings' behind the board. This spreads the load over a greater area of board providing a strong fixing. In my experience this fixings have to be heavily overloaded to fail.

How to wall mount your tv; A step by step guide

 1. Consider carefully the location for your tv. If necessary cut a template out of paper or card and stick it to the wall. Try to imagine the tv in place. Is it comfortable to watch? Think carefully about access to power sockets and other cable requirements. I chose the location for mine almost entirely because of the thru-wall access to cable requirements, meaning all my cables are hidden.

2. Do any work necessary to pre assemble your wall mount or bracket. Once this is done you can hold it up on the wall in position. Most mounts now come with integrated spirit level to help you at this stage. Decide how many fixings to have (minimum of four) and carefully mark them, making sure not to lose your level.

3. Measure how deep your holes need to be. In plasterboard you want to be careful not to hit any cables or pipes or drill through to the next room. Drill your holes making sure that the dust is caught in a sheet . Brick dust can be very hard to remove from carpet.

4. insert you fixings. If you have chosen the right size drill for your plugs they may need a gentle tap. screw the bracket to the wall, taking care with plasterboard not to damage it.

5. Hang your tv onto the bracket. For bigger units now is the first time you may need some help. Get your volunteer to take the weight whilst you complete the fixing process.


How to mount your flat screen tv - tips

Some tips for a tidy finish of your tv mounting

 To the right you can see a photo of my own recent installation. I was fortunate in that one of my living room walls backed onto the kitchen. As a result I was able to empty one of the cupboards and thread all my cables through a hole into this cupboard. I installed an extra socket in this cupboard to give me power.

The final consideration was for our very awkward looking cable box. I solved this problem by purchasing a tilting mount. This gave me some extra space behind. By fixing a small shelf bracket to the wall it created a perfect space for the cable box to sit discreetly.


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    • dosburros profile image

      dosburros 7 years ago

      Thankyou very much. mounting a flat screen tv seems to casue a lot of people headaches so seems only fair to try and help out!