Got that fancy new flatscreen TV and ready to hang it on a wall? Great, but be sure you think this project through. First of all, you’re not going to hang it on a couple of nails, screws or picture hooks. You need a mount—and one that works with your model.
There are plenty of TV mounts available, from stationary ones to those with cantilevered arms that can pull out and swivel a flat panel or tilt it up and down. Some have recessed bays so you can mount the units flush to a wall. Some can even be hung from ceilings or inside armoires.
First piece of advice: Don’t mount it yourself. Get some help—and if not from a professional, then from one or two strong friends with sure hands. Keep in mind that you will often have to run wires first, so connections are easy once the TV is in place. Be sure to identify any heating/cooling ducts, plumbing and, most importantly, electrical wires that may be under that drywall.
Also, be sure to check the TV’s owner’s manual for mounting guidelines. Some models require use of a specific bracket, but many are compatible with a brackets that follow VESA (Video Electronics Standards Association) standards. Always check the screen sizes that the mount says it can hold, and stay within the suggested range.
Here are some other useful tips from the folks at Premier Mounts:
1. Always mount to the center of at least one wood stud.
2. If mounting to metal studs, use Toggler bolts for a solid grip.
3. When mounting into brick or masonry, always use concrete (or wedge) anchors.
4. Optimal viewing height of a flat-panel television is between 48 to 52 inches from the floor (for seated viewing).
5. When mounting above 52 inches, make sure to purchase a mount that offers up to 10 degrees of continuous tilt (no fixed increments).
6. Pay extra attention to the location of windows and other sources of glare when planning the location of your flat-panel television.
7. Don’t forget the cables! If you’re expecting a clean installation (in other words, no dangling wires) then plan ahead and install a junction box near your installation site.
8. Cables can be routed inside some swing-out arms so they aren’t visible when pulled away from the wall.
9. Keep wires separate. Power cables can introduce noise into your signal cables. Don’t wire-tie them all together. Plan for some distance between power and signal cables.
10. Your basic choices among wall mounts are flat, tilt and swing out. Consider how much (or how often) you will be changing the orientation of your screen, and purchase accordingly. No need to buy a swing-out arm if you never plan on moving the display.
11. Studs are never exactly where they need to be. To get your flat panel in the exact location where you want it, look for a mount that offers lateral shift. This gives you a little wiggle room to slide it to just the right spot.
12. Do your homework. Most mounts are “universal,” meaning they are designed to fit most brands. Most mount manufacturers offer a cross reference on their web site that can confirm your mount will fit before you buy it.
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