Wall studs are pieces of wood arranged vertically that form the frame to support your wall. They are required because drywall is very brittle and crumbles evenly without support.
This does not mean that you cannot install a TV mount without studs, but you should take considerably more care.
What safety precautions should you take?
You should be very aware of the weight of your TV when trying to mount it.
As a rough guide, a 32-inch TV will weigh approximately 30 pounds, and the weight will increase proportionately to the screen size.
Different anchors can hold different weights and you should ensure the ones you opt to use will safely hold at least 30 pounds.
You should also assess the quality and stability of your wall. Very old and flimsy drywall is likely to crumble if you try to use it to mount something that is too heavy. If your plaster appears to be crumbling, we suggest not continuing.
You should ensure that you have purchased an appropriately sized mount for the size of your TV.
A wall mount designed for a smaller TV may not be strong enough to support the weight of a larger one. This could mean that your TV falls off the wall and breaks, or that your wall crumbles.
Take into account the type of TV mount that you will be using. You should not use wall anchors and toggle bolts in conjunction with full-motion TV mounts.
These are heavier due to the mechanisms required to adjust the mount’s positioning. Moving the TV on the mount will also cause additional stress on the wall.
Wall anchors and toggle bolts are suitable for use with fixed and tilting mounts as these do not put much additional stress on the wall.
Mounting your TV directly above a fireplace requires a bit of foresight as the smoke and heat can damage the electronics. It is also likely to be uncomfortably high if this is the case. See this post HERE on how best to mount your TV above a fireplace.
Take great care when lifting a large TV. Improper handling can not only cause damage to the TV if dropped, but incorrect lifting techniques could cause you serious physical harm. If it is too heavy for you to lift, ask a friend to assist you.
When drilling into walls, please wear eye protection and take care not to injure yourself.
What are anchors?
There are 2 main types of wall anchors suitable for mounting a TV. These are toggle anchors and molly bolts.
Toggle anchors resemble regular screws in appearance with the addition of a butterfly toggle at one end. They are inserted into a pre-drilled hole in the drywall and open out to anchor a screw into the wall.
This prevents a small surface area from being under pressure and spreading it out across the wall. This prevents the drywall from crumbling under the weight of the TV.
Molly bolts are very useful for heavy weights such as large TVs. There are 2 sub-categories of molly bolt, pointed and non-pointed.
Pointed molly bolts have a sharp end and tend to be inserted into the wall via blunt force from a hammer. You must have a pre-drilled pilot hole for non-pointed molly bolts. These are better for plaster walls.
Molly bolts must be tightened to secure them into place. When turned, the anchor twists and embeds into the wall.
How do you install a TV with anchors?
Once you have selected an appropriate mount for the TV, you need to decide on the location for it. This is usually around 36-45 inches off the floor.
Hold the TV mount up to the wall and mark the spots where the anchors need to be inserted using a pencil, you should mark out at least 6.
You should then use an electric drill to drill a suitably sized hole in the center of each mark. This will allow the anchors to go in smoothly and evenly. Hold the backplate of the mount to the wall and insert anchors and screws to secure it into place.
With the hook brackets fixed onto the back of the TV using the VESA Mounting holes, lift the TV up and align the back bracket with the mount on the wall. You should always ensure you have assistance when lifting the TV onto the wall.
Gently let go of the TV and check it is mounted level. Tighten all of the screws and ensure the TV is correctly in place.
How do you install a TV with mounting plates?
Mounting plates are areas of metal or plywood that are installed behind the TV and screwed directly into the wall with anchors. The mounting plates allows you to span joists so the use of toggle or molly bolts would not usually be required. The TV mount hooks (often behind the screen) is then attached to the mounting plate.
The purpose of this is to add extra points of contact to hold the weight of the TV. This spreads out the pressure over the drywall and will reduce the likelihood of damage being done.
You can cut the mounting place to a size smaller than the total size of your TV. This means that it will not be seen once the TV has been mounted, making for a more aesthetically pleasing installation.
Alternatively, if you mount the TV and then realize the mounting plate is too large, consider painting the wood. This can be done to suit the design of the room and instantly adds an elite tone.
How do you install a TV with ceiling mounts?
As it sounds, this is referring to mounting your TV from the ceiling rather than on a wall as is more common.
If your wall does not have studs this may be an option to consider, although it is harder and less sturdy.
Most ceilings have joists and beams which act in a similar way to studs in the wall. You should ensure you fix to the ceiling joist to avoid the TV falling off the ceiling. You may need to use longer screws to ensure the mount is secured and will not fall.
You should not use wall anchors and toggle bolts for installing ceiling TV Mounts.