Go It Alone or Hire a Pro? Hanging a TV Mount

If you’re using a tabletop stand to hold your flat screen television, or if there’s a new TV in your future, you might be thinking about installing a wall mount. So should you do it yourself or hire a professional?

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Professional TV mount installation can cost $100 or more, depending on the extent of the service provided. For most handy homeowners, it’s not much more difficult than hanging shelving.

Still, there are some potential hurdles that can complicate installation. Keep these points in mind when deciding whether it’s a project you should undertake on your own.

It’s OK to do it yourself if:

  • The wall you’re planning to install the mount on has wooden studs.
  • You have the necessary tools and supplies (stud sensor, power drill, level, measuring tape, socket wrench, large padded blanket).
  • You have someone to help you.
  • You have basic carpentry skills.

You should hire a pro if:

  • Your wall is plaster or has metal studs.
  • You aren’t experienced using power tools.
  • You don’t have someone to help you.

Most flat screen wall mounts will come with the necessary hardware, and the specific configuration and installation instructions will vary depending on the model you purchase. However, there are some general guidelines you should be aware of:

  • Choose a location for your television that is easily visible from all seating areas. Hang your television near the viewer’s eye level when seated, and make sure there is no glare from windows or lights.
  • Using your stud sensor, find the wall studs that are closest to where you’d like your TV to hang. In many homes, studs are located 16 inches apart.
  • Before you drill any holes, be sure there is no electrical wiring or conduit behind the drywall. Many stud sensors will also indicate the presence of electrical circuitry.
  • If your walls are plaster or if they have metal framing, installation will require the use of specialized fasteners such as toggle bolts. Unless you know how to install such hardware to safely support your television’s weight, you should consider hiring a professional.
  • Spread a padded blanket on the floor to protect the TV, lay it face down and attach the cables to the back before you hang it on the wall. For this step, it’s important to have an assistant. Don’t try to lift the TV alone.

If you’re comfortable doing basic carpentry, you should have no trouble hanging a wall mount for your TV. But don’t risk a broken TV! If you have any concerns, professional installation might be worth the cost.

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