Mounting Flat Panel TVs Tips

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What are the last steps before I hang my TV?

Hang It Up

When your wall mount is securely in place and level, in exactly the spot where you want it, now is the time to pick up your TV and hang it. Right?

Wait. LCD or plasma TV installation isn't supposed to be a 15-minute job. Before you go too fast, here are a couple of things to do first:

  • Flat panel TVs are lighter than you may be used to, but they're not loaves of bread. Protect your back by getting a second person to help you lift.
  • Before the TV goes up on the wall, write down the serial number from the back, preferably in your TV manual so you'll have it for rebates and in case anything goes wrong.
  • Have all your cables ready, and make sure they reach comfortably between the places they're supposed to go. If you have a complex setup, it may be helpful to label the cables.
  • Put a surge protector in place to protect your expensive electronics, and plug all components into it.
  • If you haven't already done so, cut the power to this part of the building to avoid potential problems.

How can I make sure my TV is level?

Get It Level

What could be more maddening than taking all the time to hang your flat-panel TV, only to notice that it is just a little bit crooked? Take extra time and triple-check so this doesn't happen to you.

Once you've carefully plotted your TV's position on the wall, attach the wall plate on the line you marked as the screen center. Use your level to be sure the plate is square! If you need to readjust it, now is the time, before you drill the pilot holes.

Once the pilot holes are in, attach the plate to the wall with your lag bolts. Check to make sure that the plate is still level and pull on it to make sure it's secure.

What kind of mount do I need for my flat panel TV?

Choosing a Proper Wall Mount

There are a few things to consider in mounting flat panel TVs. First, make sure that you check the mounting holes on the back of your TV. Also, be sure you know the dimensions and weight of your set before purchasing your wall mount.

Consider the mounting distance. Do you want your TV as close to the wall as possible? Would you like it to swivel or tilt, or would you rather have an extension so you can move the TV further into the room? Tip: Mounts for flat panel TVs come in several varieties:

Fixed: This is the type of bracket that will mount flat panel TVs immovably to the wall and is also the mount most used for "flush" mounting.

Swing Mounts: These mounts are adjustable allowing for more versatility. This mount can be near flush with the wall or extended into the room, plus it allows for rotation of the TV.

Tilt and Pan mounts: Tilt and pan mounts allow for even greater motion than swing mounts. The range is from near flush to the wall to about 20 inches into the room! Some of these mounts are also allow for swiveling the TV.

Tilting Mounts: Tilting mounts hold the TV about 3 inches from the wall and allow you to tilt the TV. This is the most common type of mount.

How can I be sure my wall mount is in the sturdiest place?

Find the Studs

Flat screen TVs should of course be hung on the studs, the sturdiest parts of your wall. To find the studs on the wall you'll need a stud finder. A good guessing point for finding the studs is to look for an electrical outlet, because these are usually set into the stud.

If you don't have a stud finder, you can make sure that there is a stud by putting a thin nail into the wall and see if it hits wood. Studs are generally a standard apart (usually 16 or 24 inches), so after you find one you should be able to find the next one. Still, if you've spent hundreds or thousands of dollars on a TV, it's probably worth the few extra bucks for the stud finder.

Determine how high you want your TV, placing the vertical center of the TV at about five feet is a good starting point. Use a pencil to mark the location of the studs and screen center. Carefully measure the TV and the bracket, then plot the correct position on the wall. It's far easier to fix a pencil mark than it is to re-hang a television!

What do I need to install a TV?

Before You Install

First, be sure this is where you want the TV. One suggestion is to hang a poster of about the same size as the TV in that spot for a few days to see how you like it.

Next, plan the process carefully before you do any drilling. Make sure you have the right tools for the job! You're going to need a tape measure, pencil, level, stud finder and socket wrench. You'll also want to unpack the equipment for your wall mount or TV stand, to be sure all the fasteners and pieces are in place.

Finally, look at all the cables and be sure you understand where each one goes before you start plugging things in.

How can I attach a wall mount to a flat panel TV?

Attaching the Mount to the TV

Most flat panel TVs do not slip right onto a wall mount. The mounting holes are usually covered with caps, which can be removed with a screwdriver.

Avoid laying the TV face down on the glass, which can damage your screen. Instead, set it upright or lean it against a blanket or soft piece of furniture to attach the mount.

What sort of precautions should I take for a safe and sturdy wall mount?

Know Your Wall

Flat screen TV mounts require different fasteners depending on the type of wall. Be sure the wall is solid and sturdy, and has enough room to hang the TV at a suitable viewing angle and height.

For sheet rock you'll need 5/16 inch lags. Hanging a TV on a brick wall requires anchors. You may also want to spread a drop cloth underneath the space where you'll be drilling. Turn off the power to that area of the house to avoid electric shocks when drilling.

How can I hide the cords?

Hiding the Cords

Many people consider cords unsightly and prefer to conceal them when setting up flat panel TV stands or flat screen TV mounts.

If you are experienced in working with drywall, you may wish to use "fish tape" to run the cords inside your walls. At its simplest, this involves drilling a hole for the cords to go in and another where you want them to come out. Plan carefully so that you don't wind up with more holes than you need, or holes that are visible and unsightly.

A less invasive solution is to use cord covers, which can stretch down from the television and be painted to match your walls.

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