TV Wall Mount Studs Too Far Apart? (Here's What You Can Do)
As people move into smaller apartments, or try to maximize the space of their homes, more and more TVs are being mounted to the wall.
There are many different variables that go into mounting a TV: TV size and weight, wall type, mount type, location, etc. In any case, finding studs to secure your mount is very important. If the studs are too far apart, there are a couple options:
You can use a piece of ¾” plywood and run it across the distance between the studs, securing that to both studs. Use that to secure your mount to for the best support.
You can also purchase a mount that is larger, to bridge the gap between the studs. If you can secure at least 2 LAG bolts into one stud, you can then use heavy-duty toggle bolts to secure the others to the wall.
If you do not secure your TV properly, not only do you risk damaging your TV as it breaks from the wall, you can also pull down a large chunk of the wall with it. These repairs will be costly.
Why Mount a TV to the Wall?
Mounting a TV to a wall gives you a lot of freedom when it comes to placement. You can select the height with more flexibility than you would have shopping for an entertainment center.
Depending on the wall mount you use, you have the option of rotating the tv so that you can see it from different points. Rotational mounts are great at giving you a wider range of viewing options from other rooms. You can also set the viewing angle, rotating it to better face the viewer.
Mounting a TV will make your room appear less cluttered and give you more space for other things. It can dramatically improve the look of your room and if you go the extra mile and hide the wires, either within the wall or behind a cable concealer, everything will be neat and tidy.
Types of Mounts
Wall mounts come in three varieties: The fixed bracket, the tilting bracket, and the full-motion bracket.
The Fixed Bracket TV Mount
The fixed bracket is just that, it mounts your TV to the wall at the height you choose, and you cannot move it again afterward. These are the simplest brackets and the best to use if you are having trouble finding both studs and are using a light TV.
A Fixed Bracket keeps your TV close to the wall and in most cases, is nearly flush. This is good for when your viewing area is directly in front of the TV, when glare isn’t an issue, and you don’t need to access inputs on the back of your TV after installation.
Tilting TV Bracket
A tilting TV bracket is a good choice if you are mounting your TV higher up on the wall and want to angle it downwards to correct the viewing angle.
With larger TVs, you will want to get a TV mount that includes an extension, as the bottom of the TV will hit the wall before the full tilt is reached.
Full-Motion TV Bracket
A Full-Motion bracket, also referred to as an articulating or swivel, TV mount, allows you to change the location, tilt, and angle of your tv.
You can move it right to left, up and down, within the stretch of the arm. You can angle it in any direction and set it there as well. If you want to be able to view the TV from different rooms, it is easy to swivel the arm to where it needs to be.
You can also pull the TV out from the wall and when done using it, push it back it. This is also a great bracket to use if glare from the sun is an issue, as you can angle it when the screen becomes hard to see.
How To Mount A TV When Studs Are Too Far Apart
Most residential walls are either drywall or plaster.
Plaster walls are created through a three-coat process. Lath (wooden strips) is secured to the framing, then a plaster compound is applied to the wall in layers. Because of this construction, it is vital that you find a stud to secure your TV mount.
Drywall is the most common wall type to be used in new construction. They are easier and less messy to put up and there are far fewer possible complications. Unless you are mounting a small, light TV on a fixed bracket, you will need to locate a stud.
Drywall is not load-bearing. The overall surface area is what makes it strong, so focusing too much pressure in one small area can, over time, cause a failure.
Types of Studs
Studs are the support beams that hold up the walls of your house and are made of wood or metal. With wood studs, you will use a magnet to find the nails where the wall is secured. Mark these points to create a line, dictating the stud location.
For metal studs, you will use a stud finder. This is a magnetic device that you run across the wall which will indicate the beginning and end of the sides of a stud. Using magnets, the attraction grows stronger the closer the magnet gets to the metal, alerting you.
In a properly constructed house, you will find studs every 16 or 24 inches, center to center.
Mounting Anchor Varieties
There are different kinds of anchors that can help you to secure the areas of the bracket where you cannot use a stud.
- Plastic expansion anchors will expand once the screw is inserted into them. They are not good for mounting TVs as they cannot hold a lot of weight and could pop out of the wall. These are used for light items such as photos.
- Self-drilling anchors have a head like a screw that you screw into the wall. Because this uses a similar mechanism to plastic expansion anchors, it is not a good choice. These are used for items that weigh less than 50 pounds.
- Toggle bolts will be the best choice to use for mounting a TV to drywall. Their weight loads can vary but some can hold as much as 500 pounds.
To install toggle anchors, you drill a hole big enough to slide the toggle inside. You then flatten it out on the inside of the wall and when you tighten, it pushes against the back of the drywall and secures tightly.
The most important thing when mounting a TV to the wall is to make sure that you use at least 1 stud. If you are mounting a fixed bracket to the wall, you can get away with 1 stud and toggle bolts, as once the TV is up it won’t be touched again.
If you are using a Tilt or Full-Motion bracket, you will want to find two studs or use the plywood support method. The regular pulling and moving of the bracket will put constant pressure on your wall and must be secured correctly.
How Much Weight Can a Stud Hold for a TV?
The rule of thumb is 80pounds per single stud. This is why it is important to use two studs with TV mounts that move, as the pressure applied is going to be changing.
What Do I Use if I Don’t Have a Stud finder?
If you don’t have a stud finder, you can drive a thin nail into the wall, starting at 16” from the corner. Do this until you hit a stud and then continue to measure off that point.
Are Outlets Always on Studs?
Yes, in general, electrical outlets are directly next to a stud.
Sean Jarvis is an interior decorator, writer, and expert handyman. Well versed in everything home improvement, he is a savant at manipulating words and spaces and upgrading everything around him. Sean specializes in writing concise guides about appliance repair and installation, home and lifestyle, and other residential projects.
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