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I've just mounted a 42" TV with a new wall mount that uses 3/16" bolts into some studs on the wall. I now want to use an articulating one, which means I'll need to replace the old mount. The new mount also uses the same size bolts. Is it safe to re-use the holes from the old mount with the new mount, or should I drill new ones?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 10 down vote accepted

If you didn't strip the holes when removing the old bolts, then you PROBABLY should be able to re-use the same holes, but to be safe, I would inject a little Elmer's wood glue (just a few drops) into each hole before you insert the bolts. This is just to reinforce the wood in the hole and help ensure it stays locked in place.

But honestly, I think you'd be wise to drill new pilot holes 1" above or below the old ones, and fill the old ones in with wood putty capped w/ a little dab of plaster (or toothpaste). The old holes will end up hidden by the mounting plate anyway, and better safe than sorry.

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Would sticking a short length of very thin dowel rod into the hole make for a tight hold when a new screw of the same size is driven into it? And by thin, I mean toothpick-sized. –  oscilatingcretin Nov 1 '12 at 18:38

If the screws go back in and hold tight, it should be OK, however, the worst case scenario of a TV falling off the wall is pretty bad, so sometimes it is better to be safe.

The best solution is to drill new holes a couple inches away from the existing holes. If space and positioning allows, you can even re-use one row of the existing holes and drill new holes for the other row of screws (most brackets have 2 rows of holes).

If you are set on re-using the same holes, I would suggest that you either use a lag that is 1/2" longer than the previous lag (so it grabs new wood at the back of the stud; make sure its not too long or you might be in for a surprise on the other side of the wall), or use a lag that is one size larger in diameter.

I don't love the glue/dowel/toothpick solution. It might work on door hinges, but you are now putting all of your money on the strength of the glue and toothpicks - neither of these were designed to hold large loads.

I always hang on a TV mount with as much weight as I can to ensure it is secure. If it will hold me, it will hold a TV! If it comes off the wall then better that it happens without an expensive TV attached and a child under it.

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1  
The bond of wood glue is often stronger than what's between individual wood fibers. –  BMitch Jul 3 '12 at 16:01
    
@Bmitch With a good wood glue sure, but I'd bet someone will try this with crazy glue, arts & crafts glue sticks, etc. Also wood glues usually require clamping, moisture, etc. to get a good bond, correct? –  Steven Jul 3 '12 at 16:05

Put a dab of wood glue in the hole and push it all the way in with an appropriately sized nail, and then jam wood-glue-coated toothpicks into the hole. You might need to give them a tap with a hammer to get them all the way in.

Give it 30 minutes to harden, and then you're good to go.

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One trick I've seen someone do when reusing a hole is to put a small piece of copper wire in there so the screw has something to tighten up against.

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