Wall-mounting a TV can produce a better overall look and elevate the screen to a better viewing position while also freeing up space in the room. Wall mounts come in three basic categories, flat (also called slim or flush), tilt, and full motion (all also called articulating)
First off, no mount is perfect, they all have their pros and cons and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Let’s start with flat mounts. They are best for TVs installed at eye level (sitting or standing viewing position) where you want to keep the TV as flat and flush to the wall as possible. With no frills and a clean look, this is as simple as it gets.
Next are tilt mounts. They are great for TVs where a small amount of adjustment is needed. If you need to mount your display above eye level, you can angle the TV down for a better viewing position. Also, tilt wall mounts stick out from the wall slightly further than flat mounts do so if you have to hide something behind the panel, like an HDMI balun, Apple TV, or Roku, it’s now possible or at least easier to accomplish.
The third kind are full motion mounts, and they are incredibly useful. Need to mount a TV in a corner? No problem, you can put one just about anywhere. One good use for them is for computer monitors so you can angle them in towards a central viewing point. Once mounted, the TV can be positioned at any viewing angle you might need. However, use caution, as they can put extra strain and weight on your anchor points in the wall. You also will have to make sure you carefully route the cables to stay with the bracket arms as they are moved, so they aren’t damaged or unplugged.
The first thing you need to do when mounting a TV, is make sure it will fit in the space you’ve allotted for it. Measure the full size of the TV on the wall first, then you can determine the best place for the mount. The easiest way to do this is install the brackets on the back of the TV and then attach the wall bracket to the TV (off the wall of course) and take measurements where the wall bracket will be in relation to the TV. Obviously, you’ll need a couple of helpers to hold the panel in place while you make the marks.
For example, say the wall bracket is one foot wide by one foot tall. And when you put the bracket on the back of the TV, the panel hangs over another one foot on each side and one foot on the top and the bottom. If you want the bottom of the TV three feet from the ground, you would install the bottom of the wall mount four feet from the ground, since the TV will hang down an additional one foot. Take careful measurements and check both sides and the top and bottom of the TV position before drilling any holes.
After you finished measuring where to attach the mount, you’ll need to identify the type of wall you’re going to attach it to. The most common walls are wood stud, metal stud, and concrete/block or brick. Each type requires a different approach.
Common mounting methods
Wood stud wall – Wood Screws or Lag Bolts
Metal Stud wall – Toggle Bolts
Concrete/block or brick wall – Tapcon anchors or Red Head wedge anchors
After you figure out what type of wall you are working with, you’ll need to make sure that when you drill into the wall you won’t hit any plumbing or electrical runs inside, or on the opposite side. Check for outlets and switches nearby and look for water fixtures too. If you’re not sure, consult an electrician or plumber. After you determine it’s safe to mount, place the wall mount on the wall and mark where you want your anchors to be. Always ensure you have at least four solid anchors in studs, and if you have a bigger/heavier TV, six to eight or more. Drill a pilot hole (do not skip this step!) and affix the wall bracket to the wall after ensuring it’s level.
I get asked this all the time – what is the difference between a cheap and expensive wall mount? Aren’t they all just metal brackets? Well actually, there is a big difference. The cheap mounts use softer steel and often include less hardware and features, making a job of installing a TV more difficult. You also don’t want a mount that flexes when a TV is on it, something you find with cheaper mounts. One of the biggest differences in a cheap mount vs expensive mount though, are the available adjustments on three or more axes. A premium mount will have the ability to adjust the position of the TV after it’s on the wall. Want your display nicely flush in a cabinet? A premium mount with post-installation adjustments can do that, and cheap mounts just can’t. Doing a video wall and want all the TVs perfectly aligned? Don’t expect a cheap mount to do that! Mounting a TV outside? Don’t get a cheap mount that possibly could rust and fail. TV mounts are like tires and shoes, you don’t think about them until they break, so get a quality mount and eliminate the worry.
There are many special products available; it’s possible to mount a TV almost anywhere, at any angle and in any size. If you need a special mounting solution, contact a professional, I do not recommend DIY-ing any complex installations.
Always check the weight of your TV, with the rated weight of your mount and hardware. Safety first, second, and third! Whenever I mount a panel, I ask, would I sit under it? If you can’t say the same about the TV you just mounted, take it off and get a professional. Never, ever affix a TV to drywall only, always make sure your anchors are solidly in wood or metal studs. Never mount TVs in direct sunlight or in areas with high humidity or water contact.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below.