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The Ultimate Guide To Mounting Your TV Over Your Fireplace

[in 4 Easy Steps]

Introduction

TVs look really cool over your fireplace. And the fireplace seems like a great place to put it. Your fireplace is likely the center of your living room and most of your furniture is surrounding it. 

But is it particularly safe to keep your TV up there? 

The answer is: Yes. 

Well, it can be. You just have to do it right. Luckily for you, I’m going to tell you all about it.

 

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Can You Mount Your TV Over Your Fireplace?

Many people mount their TVs above their fireplace. And you’ve probably heard from your more technologically-advanced nephew that you shouldn’t mount your TV above your fireplace because of the heat and, worse, the invisible smoke that may get into the TV. 

Your nephew’s not wrong. 

It is a risk. Just like with everything else worth doing. But there are some very easy ways to mitigate your risk that makes that risk practically zero.

In this section, I’ll tell you exactly what you need to do. 

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Install a Mantel

The mantel is the piece above the fireplace. Most of the time it’s wooden, but we’ve seen marble, limestone, and granite. 

The purpose is to catch the smoke. Which is exactly what you need when you’re trying to keep smoke from entering the TV above it! 

But you still need to be mindful of the clearances, so that the TV actually is safe.

The mantel should extend at least 2.5 inches beyond the face of the TV on each side. The TV should be at least 2 inches, but no more than 3 inches, above the mantel. Finally, the mantel needs to be a minimum of 18 inches above the opening of the fireplace. 

Build an Alcove

The other way that you can help mitigate the risk of overheating or smoke, is to build an alcove above your fireplace. 

This means that your TV will be “in” the wall as opposed to “on” the wall. You’ll still hang your TV on the wall, just it will be inside the wall. 

Personally, I do not like this option because it limits my choices on TVs unless I want to make a bigger alcove. 

With an alcove holding your TV, I’d still recommend putting a mantel over, though it doesn’t have to be a big thick one. 

The clearances for the alcove needs to be the same as if you installed a mantel. The alcove should extend at least 2.5 inches beyond the face of the TV on each side. The TV should be at least 2 inches, but no more than 3 inches, above the base of the alcove. Finally, the mantel needs to be a minimum of 18 inches above the opening of the fireplace.

 

Other Considerations

With a mantel or an alcove, I’m confident that your TV will be safe above. But to play on the safe side, I would still check with the manufacturer of the TV to see what temperatures your TV should be able to withstand. 

Most TVs will start to fail if they’re regularly exposed to temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Then I would check with a thermometer the temperatures of the wall above the TV while the fireplace is running. 

Run your fireplace for an hour or two while you’re monitoring the wall and area. If it stays within the manufacturer’s recommendations, then you’re good.

Should You Mount Your TV Over Your Fireplace?

We know that it’s perfectly fine to mount your TV above your fireplace.

Our question now is should you do it. To answer this, it really comes down to your own personal preferences. 

To help you decide on your personal preferences, I’ve made a simple pros and cons list.

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Pros

Saves Space

The best thing about hanging your TV above the fireplace is that it actually saves a lot of space. 

At my in-law’s house, they have their TV sitting on a bookshelf to the left of their fireplace. Hopefully, they don’t read this, but it makes that area look cluttered. 

 

Creates a Common Focal Point

I’ve said it earlier, but you know it’s true – your fireplace is the center focal point of your living room. Unless the surround is an eye-sore, that is. 

And at the same time, so is your TV. One of the cool things about moving into the 21st century is that TVs aren’t fat anymore. 

No more tubes! 

And that means you can mount your TV above your fireplace to create a common focal point. Everything can point to the dynamic duo. 

 

Makes Your Living Room Look Spacious

Not only does mounting your TV above your fireplace help save space, it actually helps make the room feel more spacious. 

Gone are the days of having massive entertainment centers and bulky table dressers that you used to hold your TV.

Cons

It Can Strain Your Neck

For the ideal viewing experience, you should mount your TV at your eye level while you’re sitting down.

Mounting your TV above your fireplace is at your eye level when you’re standing up. 

Mounting your TV above your fireplace doesn’t allow for the perfect viewing experience because looking up at the TV will be straining your neck. 

It’s like watching a movie at the theater in the front row.

Too Much Heat

We already know that this is a potential issue. But we also know how to mitigate the risk.

You just need to be mindful of the amount of heat that’s being released and how much that will affect your TV. 

Here are a few samples from a few major manufactures that demonstrate how low the upper ends of the ranges can be:

  • Samsung LCD – 50 F to 104 F
  • Sony LCD – 32 F to 104 F
  • LG 4k LED – 32 F to 104 F

Affects Visibility

Your TV is an investment. Sure, there’s likely no monetary return, but how can you put a value on those countless hours of fun?

You can’t.

But you can make a poor investment if you sacrifice your TV viewing experience. This time, I’m not talking about the height of your TV. 

I’m talking about the picture! If you don’t set up your TV right, you could be hindering the picture quality you see as you sit on your couch. 

The picture quality for your TV will vary the further away you get from your TV. The higher up your TV the further your couch will be to help ease the strain on your neck. 

Moreover, the viewing angle with newer TVs has increased. The optimal viewing distance is typically 1.5 times the size of the screen from your eyes to the screen. 

For example a 55 inch TV should be viewed no closer than 83 inches (55 x 1.5 = 82.5). 

But because there are many more pixels in new 4K TVs, the recommended optional minimum distance is half of the max viewing distance. 

This means that if you like viewing your screen closer, then the angle from the fireplace will detract from your viewing experience. Not to mention a literal pain in the neck.

Step 1: Pick the Mount

Picking the best mount for your TV is going to depend on your individual setup. There are three main mounts: Fixed, Tilted, and Full Motion. 

 

Fixed Vs. Tilt Vs. Full-Motion

Fixed mounts can’t tilt or swivel. That means they are only good when mounted at your eye level. So I don’t recommend these.

Tilt mounts are really good for mounting TVs above the fireplace. They have a low profile design and the ability to tilt the TV down helps improve the viewing angle and eliminates the glare.

Sometimes, though, it can be hard to reach all the cables behind the tilt mount. Plus, tilting mounts can be annoying if you have a large TV because the tilting motion can be limited.

I recommend that you use a full-motion mount that you can extend from the wall. That will give you a great ability to tilt your TV to help you see it. But it will also allow you to access any cables behind.

Be sure to pick a mount that works with your wall first (See step 3).

Step 2. Determine the Height Your TV Should Be Mounted At

Once you’ve picked out your mount, choosing the height of your TV is your next big decision. If you mount the TV too high, you’ll strain your neck trying to watch TV. 

You should try to keep your TV as close to eye level as possible. But it can get a little more complicated than just eyeballing it. 

You’ll need to check the position of the VESA pattern. It’s the little holes on the back of your TV. Those holes are what you’ll use to attach your TV to a mount. 

They’ll either be in the middle of the TV

Or they’ll be off-set. 

In the Middle

If your VESA pattern is in the middle, simply put a small piece of tape on the wall. Adjust the tape until it’s at exactly eye level or at a point that’s still comfortable above your fireplace. 

You’ll want your TV wall plate to be centered directly over this spot. From there, the rest is pretty easy. 

  1. Hold your wall plate over the taped area and mark drilling holes. 
  2. Then, drill your pilot holes and attach the wall plate with a ratchet and you’re good to go! 

Off-Centered

If you have an off-centered VESA pattern, it’s going to be a little more complicated. Only a little. 

Instead of putting the wall plate at the exact height, you want the screen, you will need to measure the distance from the center of the VESA holes to the center of the TV Screen. 

We’ll say it’s 5 inches. 

From there, put a small piece of tape on the wall like you would if you bought a TV with a centered VESA pattern. Adjust the tape as necessary until it is at the point that your TV is eye level.

Then, adjust your sticker down 5 inches, or however far off yours is to compensate for the off-centered VESA pattern.

Finally, you’re on to the easy parts

  1. Hold your wall plate over the taped area and mark drilling holes.
  2. Then, drill your pilot holes and attach the wall plate with a ratchet and you’re good to go!

Step 3. Mount Your TV

Now that you know how to determine what the height should be for your TV, you should also know how to mount your TV. 

At this point, you also already know exactly how you need to drill in your pilot holes to prep your TV. 

But there’s a difference in your method between mounting on drywall and mounting on brick.

Mounting on Drywall Over the Fireplace

In a lot of newer homes, we see drywall above the fireplace. The drywall is usually mounted on standard wood studs or furring strips. 

The studs are usually made of 2x4s while the furring strips are only an inch wide. 

Both work fine for mounting a TV, but if you want to hide the cables in the wall, then you should make sure you have classic wood studs. The furring strips are just too narrow for most cable management solutions. 

The studs will give you plenty of room to feed wires or even add wall grommets. 

The first thing you want to do is locate your studs. This can be done really easily with an electronic stud finder or a magnetic stud finder. 

Once you find those, then you should be good to start drilling the pilot holes. 

A common problem that you may run into is that your studs may not be centered in the ideal location for your TV. 

In this case, all you’d need to do is buy a mount with the ability to slide and center the mount.

Mounting on a Brick Fireplace

It’s easy to mount your TV on a wall with brick. 

But I will mention a little caution. You want to make sure that your bricks are installed properly and with strong bricks. 

So unless you know the quality of your bricks, it may not be a great idea for installation. You don’t want your TV to end up on the floor, do you? 

But if you do decide that your bricks are strong enough to handle it, you can do the old tape trick. Just be sure to drill directly into the brick itself and NOT into the mortar.

Step 4: Hide Your Wires

If you have a new house, chances are your builder has already installed an outlet above the fireplace for a TV. In that case, you’re lucky and there’s not much you’ll need to do. 

But if you’re like the rest of us, you’ll need to do this yourself. 

One thing’s for sure, though. Keeping your cables out shouldn’t be an option. It really takes the look of mounting your TV to a whole other level!

How was Your Wall Constructed?

Hiding your cables depends a lot on your wall construction. 

If there’s no outlet built into the wall, you should first check to see if there’s an outlet built into the mantel. If there is, then you’ll be able to run the cables behind the drywall and down into that outlet. 

If that’s the case, then be sure to pick up an in-wall power cable management kit. 

Furring strips behind your drywall will make it really difficult to pass your cables through. So for that, you’ll need on-wall cable channels. Usually, there are two types, so it’ll come down to your preference and location of the outlets: 

  1. Straight down cable tunnel – This literally just runs straight down to your outlet
  2. Cable raceway – this goes along the wall and makes its way to your outlet. 

Both are pretty easy to install and most of the time, you can paint them to blend into your wall. 

Finally, it could be just as simple to hire an electrician to wire an outlet and cable connector to the spot you want to connect. 

Here are some local electricians in the Roanoke, Lynchburg, and Blacksburg area that you can call to get this checked out: 

 

  1. Emert’s Electric Company – 540-343-3303
  2. Hodge’s Mechanical and Electrical – 540-988-4309
  3. Murray and Sons Electrical – 540-268-3539
  4. Maddox Air & Electrical – 434-821-6231
  5. Canada Electric – 434-525-6400
  6. Blacksburg Plumbing, Heating, and Electrical – 540-552-5864
  7. Bell Electric – 540-552-5397

Final Thoughts

Whenever you mount your TV over your fireplace, I hope that it looks just as good as you imagined! 

It definitely should be if you followed these steps here. 

Tell me – what kind of mount are you planning on using? And what kind of TV do you have? 

Let me know what you think and if you have any additional tips that we need to know.

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