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I think I missed the studs based on how easily the drill moved through the drywall. My LCD only weighs 27lbs and the mount itself is 5lbs (rated to hold 165lbs, and uses 4 8mm lag bolts). I pulled as hard as I could downward on the tv and nothing moved at all, everything seems pretty sturdy. Should I be worried? Is there something I can test in a week or so, to see if it will continue to hold strong?

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30 lbs is a lot of weight to fall off the wall. Pulling down isn't the same thing as pulling out and over time if the bolts aren't doing anything but holding in shear against sheetrock, it will fail. –  Fiasco Labs Nov 14 '12 at 2:55
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The mount is only rated to hold 165lbs, if it's mounted according to the installation instructions (which likely include bolting it to a stud). –  Tester101 Nov 14 '12 at 12:15
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I've yet to see a TV mount that didn't say that the mount should be attached to the studs. –  The Evil Greebo Nov 14 '12 at 13:10
    
Since you've taken the time to ask here, you'll end up kicking yourself if you do not now remount the tv. –  Joshua Drake Nov 14 '12 at 14:32
    
IT IS POSSIBLE that you actually did hit the studs. If you pulled downward as hard as you could on the mounted TV, I would think you would rip it right out. Before you remount the TV, you could try borrowing a good quality stud finder to double check. In the meantime it might be best to remove the TV from the mount and just leave the wall mount up there. –  Stainsor Feb 11 at 14:49
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4 Answers

Did you drill pilot holes? If so, you usually get wood chips coming out and can tell if you've hit the studs.

If you just used the lag bolts to attach, I would be nervous about the TV. It partly depends on how bad it would be if it came loose. Is this a super-expensive TV that is right above your child's play area? Or is it just a small in a corner where nobody will bump it? You should also consider pull-out strength, not just straight down. E.g. if the corner of the TV catches on a passerby and they pull it away from the wall.

Personally I would remove the lag bolts and either move the mount onto studs if possible or use drywall anchors instead. (You maybe also should consider why you "missed the studs"—did you just drill and hope you'd get them? There are ways to tell where they are.) You can probably use the drywall anchors in the same location as the holes from the bolts.

EDIT I'm talking about the drywall anchors that open up inside the wall cavity like these, which have a 79 lb pull-out strength, not the wimpy ones you just push into the pilot hole.

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Don't use drywall anchors for this, or worst case at least get it in one stud –  Steven Nov 14 '12 at 2:26
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A 30 lb TV is well within the capacity for a single drywall anchor. I assume the mounting bracket has at least 4 fastener points. What's the problem? I've used plastic drywall anchors to comfortable hold pantry shelves full of food. I agree a stud is preferable. –  Henry Jackson Nov 14 '12 at 4:16
    
+1 Agreed, flare out drywall anchors are acceptable if studs are not available where you would like the TV to be mounted. –  maple_shaft Nov 14 '12 at 11:57
    
@HenryJackson A drywall anchor can hold 30 pounds ONLY if the drywall around the anchor is stable. If the drywall around the anchor gets damaged, the anchor is useless. FIND A STUD –  The Evil Greebo Nov 14 '12 at 13:11
    
To add to what @TheEvilGreebo said, also depends on the thickness of the drywall. 5/8" will hold a lot more than 1/2 or 1/4". Also assumes there's never been a hole there before and that you're not close to or on a seam, and that the drywall itself was properly anchored to the studs. –  Steven Nov 14 '12 at 14:12
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Even though latest TVs are pretty light, you're not going to get insurance if you don't mount it on studs like you're supposed to. Use a stud finder and pre-drill pilot holes to be sure you got the studs. Your bracket will very likely have holes aligning at a regular stud width, so no need to pull off the drywall to install additional bracing. All you might end up with is a couple of tiny holes to patch up but you'll have peace of mind it will not come off by accident.

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Gypsum board (drywall, plasterboard, wallboard) is not a structural material, its only purposes are to prevent you from seeing into the next room and to conceal utility lines and structural members within the wall.

Drywall anchors are great for hanging small picture frames, little decorative shelves, and other similar knickknacks, they are not for hanging heavy expensive things like televisions.

When hanging any heavy object on a wall/ceiling, you should always anchor the object to structural members. If there are no structural members where you want the object, you'll have to make a brace or bracket that can attach to the structural members and attach the object to that. This brace/bracket can be either built into the wall (concealed), or attached to the outside of the wall (visible). In either case, it must be sturdily attached to the structural members of the wall/ceiling.

My advice to you would be to take the TV down, and remount it properly.

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Your TV is being supported by two pieces of paper. That should be all you need to know.

The white plaster material in the middle of drywall resists compression. The interaction between the shaft of the bolts and the inner plaster is keeping the load from shearing straight down the wall and will support a significant load.

However, on the front and back of the drywall are two sheets of paper that resists tension, similar to the purpose of rebar in concrete. And the interaction between the threads of the bolts and these two sheets of paper are all that are preventing your TV from being pulled out of the wall. Over time, the top bolts will pull out from vibration, temperature and humidity changes, and especially if you adjust the angle of the TV.

Once those top bolts start to pull through, the paper will tear, the plaster will shear out of the hole, and the TV will only be supported by the lower bolts under a highly leveraged load. Those lower bolts will immediately fail, and you'll have a broken TV on the floor at best, or a broken person that was hit by the TV at worst.

So, as everyone else has already said, remount the TV to proper structure.

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