Tips for Mounting a Video Display - dummies

By Danny Briere, Pat Hurley

So you’ve bought a mount for your display and you’re ready to install. Before you mount that display in your home theater, take a look these tips to ensure a safe, effective installation. You’ll get the most out of your new display with a few headaches as possible.

  • Choose the right fasteners for the job. Specific types of wood require specific anchors. Most mounting instructions start with the assumption of wood stud installations, but most mounts have specialty kits for concrete anchors, drywall anchors, metal studs, and so on.

    Don’t go cheap here; your homeowner’s insurance probably has a big deductible, and you don’t want to have to use it. A good rule to plan around: Your anchors need to hold five times the weight of what you are putting on the mount. Most manufacturers test their products with 5/16-inch lag bolts (some use 3/8-inch) — a 2 1/2-inch-long lag bolt is generally acknowledged to be acceptable for large mounts.

    The main goal is to hit the center of your stud with the bolt. To be sure you do, drill pilot holes to find the width of the stud so you can determine its exact center.

  • Range of motion/clearance requirements. On most mounts, the display is lowered onto the mount. This means you need to have a little more clearance above the mount to make sure you can slide the display into place. Generally, this ranges from 4 inches to 1/2 an inch of extra space, depending on the manufacturer. So if you have a tight space, think about this in advance.

    If you’re installing an electric lift for a plasma display or LCD, know that these lifts are generally wide open to the elements in its hidden state — so if you lift this into an attic that has no moisture controls, the plasma will be exposed when not lowered into the house. Projector lifts, on the other hand, tend to be enclosed in a box that has a plenum rating (meaning they’re safe for installation in air flow areas — they have special fireproof coatings) and can go in a false ceiling.

  • Properly gauge your wall structure to make sure it can hold the weight. Having a top-of-the-line mount secured to a wall studded with 2-by-2-inch wall studs won’t get you far with a 60-inch display. The bigger the display, the more you may need to create a special mounting structure to support the mount — and you’ll probably want to call in the cavalry (that is, a professional).

  • Triple-check your measurements (and then ask your spouse to recheck them for you). Use the actual screen and mount when taking measurements, and where possible, confirm your measurements by holding the equipment in the space itself. Having good lateral and vertical shift will help, but that can cover up only the most minor of mistakes.

  • Consider hiring a professional installer. This is one area you don’t want to mess up. There’s no honor in a broken, 42-inch LCD screen. The more precise the installation needs to be, the more likely it is you’ll need to hire a professional to help.