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I have a 55" TV that weighs about 37 lbs and I want to hang it on the wall. But I discovered that instead of wood studs, I have metal studs and can't drill into them. Is it safe to mount the TV to the drywall alone, using 1/4" toggle bolts (specifically the Hillman 1/4" Strap Toggle bolts as I am familiar with them)?

I know that usually, the installation manual dictates to use 4 bolts on wooden studs. 2 on each side. But the TV mount comes with a total of 8 or 10 slits (4 or 5 on the top and bottom). Is there any difference, safety wise, to use 8 or 10 toggle bolts versus 5he default 4?

Here is an image from Google Street view history. Hopefully someone maybe has an eye for it, and can tell me if these are actually 3.5" studs.

enter image description here

This is a rental property and I cannot do extensive sheetrock work.

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  • 4
    Why can't you drill into them?
    – JACK
    Feb 17 at 1:19
  • (1) I don't know how thick they are, (2) i don't have the right bit for it, (3) i have never done it before, (4) i don't know how to mount into them. Feb 17 at 1:27
  • Is this a rental or do you own? Because if you rent, I would go with jay613 - toggle bolts into studs. If you own then I would go with DMoore - install wood. Feb 17 at 4:43
  • How would you explain the ~3.5" width of the metal stud? Feb 17 at 4:51
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    Does this answer your question? Can metal studs support a 64" plasma TV on a swiveling mount?
    – isherwood
    Feb 17 at 13:49
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If the TV will be on a pivot arm the answer is absolutely not. If it will be tight to the wall, as you say, and generally nobody will be physically handling the TV (tilting or moving, e.g. to plug in game consoles or whatever) then it can be quite safe especially if you use several (4?) toggle bolts along the top edge of the bracket. You don't need them on the bottom edge, use self-drilling drywall plugs.

You don't need a special bit to drill a metal stud, a good wood bit will do it and if you know how to use a toggle bolt you just use it the same way in the stud as you would in the drywall ... but you get a better result.

Why don't you go buy a sharp new drill bit and a metal stud to practice on? They cost like $4. If you live somewhere with metal studs it'll be the best $4 you ever spend. The only special trick you might want to consider is getting the toggle flat against the inside of the stud wall ... you have to spin it and feel that it's not half on the outside and half on the inside of the channel. You'll need all of 2 minutes of practice to master this.

Here is what the toggle will look like from the back, with drywall and a metal stud and an appropriate hole having been drilled for the toggle. The model you mention would require a smaller hole. And you can see here what I mean about spinning the toggle so it rests flat on the metal joist.

enter image description here

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  • That's a great suggestion. Ae a follow up, I've seen multiple videos, and they all specify a narrow metal studs sizes of 1.25" to 2.5", but my measured width is about 3.5". Is that logical? Or do i have two studs next to each other? Also, does the hole in the metal stud compromises the integrity of the wall? Or is it just the inner metal frame and not the building frame? Feb 17 at 2:14
  • If you're using a stud finder it might show the edges of the studs a bit wider than the actual stud. It doesn't matter, you just need to find the center. Follow the directions of the stud finder. You might have the odd double stud, and you don't want to drill into the center where they meet. You can test for that with a tiny drill. That will help you learn how your walls are constructed. Google for pictures of drywall on metal studs to get a better idea. If you wanted to drill lots of 2" holes you'd have to worry about integrity but for a 1/4" hole you don't need to worry.
    – jay613
    Feb 17 at 2:26
  • lowes.com/pl/… I see that these studs are 3.65 wide and 1.25 deep. Could that be it? The width of the door opening is 5.5". Could they have installed the studs for each room, and not single studs between the rooms? Feb 17 at 2:57
  • I also updated the question and added a picture of the building as i found it on the Google Streetview history of when the building was built. Does it look like 3.5"? Do you think it's ok to drill into these? Feb 17 at 3:47
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    @KingsInnerSoul You see all that red painted steel in your picture? That is what's holding up your building. The silver studs are simply holding up the interior and exterior wall coverings, creating space for insulation, etc. Even if you took every single one of those silver studs out, the building wouldn't collapse. It would be breezy, but it wouldn't fall over. Your biggest concern is ensuring that you're not drilling into electrical cables or plumbing.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 17 at 13:31
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There's a few things in here so let's cover them one at a time

Can I support a TV mount with only drywall?

If we're talking a modern TV (i.e. a 2015+ 4k TV) then yes. I recently had my living room TV die and I bought a 65" 4k TV. It weighs perhaps 50 lbs, which is well within the tolerances of drywall using a flush-mount. I would buy either the best drywall anchors you can (some serious plastic anchors support 50 lbs each) or toggle bolts. Don't forget the washers either.

As jay613 noted, this will not work with an articulating frame. In that case, the stresses on the frame can vary too greatly and you run the risk of tearing the drywall and/or having the TV fall.

Mounting to metal studs

You can absolutely mount things to metal studs. They're hollow aluminum or steel, but you need the right mounting for the job.

I'm really surprised nobody has mentioned the easy way to mount to metal studs: self-tapping screws. I'd buy some 2" or longer (example) self-tapping screws and use a drill or driver with a hex head to put them in (again, you'll need to make sure you add washers). I've done this myself and it holds just as well as wood screws into wood studs.

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  • The metal studs I've seen are more like C-channel shaped galvanized (thin) steel Feb 17 at 14:14
  • So they can. The building I work in used aluminum but steel seems just as common.
    – Machavity
    Feb 17 at 14:21
  • I was picking up on OP stating he has some experience with toggle bolts, and my belief that a little experience with them goes a long way. They are relatively binary in achieving full strength on any given wall construction. OTOH relying on self tapping sheet metal screws to support heavy weight without ripping out, while perfectly workable here, requires IMO more experience, is a little more of an art, and OP has none of that. I suspect "as well as wood screws into wood studs" is not guaranteed, but is a matter of your doing it right, no?
    – jay613
    Feb 17 at 15:08
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    @jay613 Fair enough, but I've found good self-tapping screws to be an easy workaround. I've mounted a 75" TV, a cabinet and multiple shelves with them. There's no need for any experience, just a good power driver of some sort. I would actually say it was easier than the lag bolts the TV mount came with, since I didn't have to pre-drill a hole
    – Machavity
    Feb 17 at 15:32
  • Does it have to be a 4k tv? Doesn't seem to matter to me. Feb 18 at 0:05
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Metal studs?

Welcome to the world of the "self-drilling sheet metal screw"

enter image description here

Image from "Albanycountyfasteners.com" never heard of them, not associated in any way.

You don't need ones with a rubber washer, but this was the first image that wasn't impossible to copy - you can get them with various head types to match your wall mount hardware, probably a "pan-head" or "truss head" would be most suitable. Assuming typical 1/2" to 5/8" drywall, you'll want 1" to 1-1/4" long. If you have extra-thick drywall, longer.

These screws are handy - they drill their own pilot hole and form their own threads. They are strong, since they anchor in the metal stud. They beat the heck out of using drywall anchors, even though you could use drywall anchors for the scope of your question as asked. But these will do a better job, and might be cheaper as well.

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Open up wall where you want to mount the TV, add some wood crossing, re-drywall, install your kit correctly.

I would go so far as adding a full wood "box" so that you have an area parallel to the metal studs that can help support the crosses.

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    I'm renting and rather not do extensive sheetrock work. Feb 17 at 15:22
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    I asked about that in a comment on the question. Add it to your question as it is a critical piece of information. Feb 17 at 15:27
  • Well a TV of 37lbs on an arm. If you follow other advice here you will be doing EXTENSIVE sheetrock and maybe stud repair, plus maybe broken TV. I am talking about a very small area. Ask landlord - tell them your plan. I bet he/she would rather you choose this.
    – DMoore
    Feb 17 at 16:02
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    While I think many of the other answers will work, this is pretty much a guaranteed solution in terms of strength, rigidity, etc. and also could benefit if the stud positions don't allow for an ideal placement of the TV. Feb 19 at 14:56
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I don't have experience in dealing with metal studs or installing TV-s so I cannot answer your question but others already offered good advice on those topics.

You (OP), however, mentioned several times that this is not your property; you're renting. In a rental property I wouldn't attempt any of these steps suggested in the other answers to avoid any kind of property damage that you can be liable for. The current landlord may be fine with some changes but if the property is sold, the new owner may not.

I'd suggest getting a table with a TV stand that works for your TV and just putting the TV on the table. It'll take a bit more space but if you need to move it, it'll also be easier.

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    Generally speaking (in the US, at least), most landlords are OK with small holes for mounting/hanging things on the wall. Also, it is very easy to patch small holes (even the "largish" ones necessary for toggle bolts) before moving out. Many commercially administered rentals (as opposed to a guy who is renting out his old house) are repainted with a coat of "builder's beige" before the new tenants move in, so the patch just has to fill the hole, not match in color.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 18 at 15:51
  • @FreeMan Yes, you're right. It's worth mentioning, though, that every time I moved out of an apartment (Texas), the landlord always tried to charge me for painting and cleaning the carpet, even though I didn't even make changes and left the place in a clean state. They always had excuses and it took a lot of arguing to avoid actually paying.
    – xxbbcc
    Feb 18 at 16:03
  • Fair point. Some landlords are like that...
    – FreeMan
    Feb 18 at 16:05
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    As the author of the top answer I want to add that while you asked about mounting a TV in metal studs, and I answered that, you did not ask about the best approach to watching TV in a rental ... and this answer would be much better than mine.
    – jay613
    Feb 18 at 18:34
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    I wouldn't accept this answer mainly because it is not correct for US based renters. The federal and state governments have allowed some normal wear and tear, and almost all landlords are fine with patched drywalls. Also, stores like Home Depot can perfectly color match any sample you give them, so a quick patch and paint job will make most up to 0.5" holes be invisible. Feb 19 at 2:16
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The steel "studs" are about 14ga galvanized steel - they're used because they're light, strong, and cheaper to handle (albeit you can't nail drywall to them, it must be screwed.)

What I would do is use toggle bolts (image below) and sink them into the studs. The "wings" on the toggle do require a slightly larger hole (about the size of a largish drywall anchor,) but the arms of the toggle, aligned vertically with the channel of the stud, will be more than adequate to hold up your TV.

The only catch is that the toggle must be installed with the screw in place, so you're putting the whole thing up at once. However, I believe there are versions - like the second pic - that have Nylon strips and a receptacle at the wall face that will hold the anchor in place without the screw. The Nylon strips are extra-long - you insert the anchor endwise into the hole, push it back, and the Nylon springs back to have the anchor parallel to the wall. Orient it the way you want, push the retainer down, and the Nylon straps either break off or cut off.

Repair is a matter of cutting the surface of the anchor away and mudding over the hole.

A well-stocked hardware store should have both anchor types available. I'd trust these anchors well before I'd trust running sheet-metal or self-drilling screws into the channels/studs. (Although I never did like steel studs in the first place - always skinned cable when I'd pull networks.)

Standard Toggle Bolt

Toggle bolt anchor w/retainer

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    The second one is called a 'snap toggle'. Toggler is one brand. I've used the to mount TVs -- they are actually better than the molly bolts, as they are more likely to 'fit' in the stud, and they are plenty strong to hold up a relatively light TV.
    – gbronner
    Feb 19 at 3:52
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Here's some info which is applicable to the other answers that suggest using sheet metal screws. At least for steel studs, there is readily available engineering data that can be used to judge how well this will work. (TLDR: it should work fine).

Background - steel studs are manufactured to standards. So it doesn't matter who made them, you can assume they're commodity items.

This is the "Screw Capacities" table from the Steel Stud Manufacturers Association "PRODUCT TECHNICAL GUIDE" (p.70):

enter image description here

(sorry that this is only in US units, not metric).

From that table, here are the allowed values for the smallest screws in the smallest/weakest stud type available:

enter image description here

For clarity, these are the 3 different ways in which a screw connection could fail that the table refers to: enter image description here

"For self-drilling screws, there are three main modes of failure: pullover, pullout, and shear (Fig. 6.8). In a pullout failure the screw loses its grip, while in the pullover failure the material around the screw fractures."

Now, a TV flat-mounted to the wall is mostly(*) going to exert a downwards force on the screw, which should mean that shear failure is the biggest concern. But even in this weakest-possible scenario, a single screw should survive until you put 44 lbs (20 kg) on it.

(70" TV ~= 52 lbs / 24 kg)

How many screws will attach the TV mount to the wall? At least four - thus you have 4 * 44 = 176 lbs (80 kg) capacity, at minimum. This is > 3x the 70" TV example.

Obviously this is not a real engineering estimate - just back-of-the-envelope thinking to judge whether screws would OK to use. My conclusion is that they almost certainly will be fine.


I would recommend a few things to reduce any risks from inexperience when installing, and unforeseen events (*):

  • Use as many screws as possible - they are cheap and probably come in a pack of 10-20 anyway. I'd fill all the holes in the mount, and in every stud it crosses over.

  • Don't underestimate screw length - you want definite penetration fully through the stud wall. If in doubt, 1½" or 2" screws seem like a good idea to cope with varying or unknown material thickness.

  • Consider adding washers on each screw. The TV mounting holes may have been intended for something big like a lag screw, not a small sheet metal screw.

(*) Such as a pet climbing on it, a person tripping on a cord yanking it really hard, etc.


If you have aluminum studs the details would be different (thought not necessarily a different ultimate conclusion). If I can find similar info for those or if someone can point it out, I'll edit this to add it.

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    Awesome answer. Authoritative and backed with data, but also provides the easiest solution to a huge problem with ANY TV mount: leveling. With self drilling screws you just hoist up the bracket, drive in the first screw with lots of room for error, level the bracket on the wall and drive in the next screw without moving the bracket. No templates, no drill drift, no anchors. I would never have thought these screws would be so strong in metal. And the weakest measure, pullout, is probably much better when the joist is pressed against drywall with a big steel TV bracket on the other side.
    – jay613
    Feb 22 at 21:07
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For googlers who chance upon this thread: for situations where you might have the option of, or just want not to poke holes in drywall, or want a moveable solution, etc., I have my big screen mount screwed into a couple of "tall enough" 2x4s that are spread apart enough so that the "long enough" mount screws penetrate them centerline. Between the screws is that white, 1/2" thick, composite (plastic?) trim, wide enough to be snug against the screws either side of it, that is "long enough" to wedge between floor and ceiling with "enough bow" to it to present corner edges to ceiling and floor. The floor contacts are the composite piece continuing the same direction of bow forward again - mirroring the top - and the 2x4s are square against the floor and supporting the FULL weight while also exerting some backwards slip force that you must consider.

That wrapping hose clamp (with wraparound angulations aided by a standoff odd-2x6-piece) serves as an anit-twist brace for the tall 2x4s. The tall 2x4s do NOT need to reach the ceiling, just the floor. If you ensure NO-SLIP ceiling and floor contact for the 3 contact points, the big-screen is plenty secure to assume any angle and position. Just be sure ceiling contact materials and construction is well-supported to the upwards, forwards, and sideways forces; i.e., try to hit a joist.

Hint: Use better-looking materials than shown in case your handiwork is viewed by other people who can't handle an unfinished look.

I have already benefited from its portability several times (2 or 3 person job to relocate unless you're desperate).

EDIT 02/20/20: This project is for engineer-gifted persons only. If you cannot understand how this device handles the various forces involved (we have little or no earthquake risk here) you should just consider some other solution. Note also that an additional improvement could be added where the floor surface grip might need a little mitigation - some means to maintain the three footing pieces from splaying apart.

Not enough picts for you here? That is because the clutter surrounding this device would be an elephant in the room.

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

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  • I'm glad that this is working for you, but A) it's hard to understand your description, B) a couple more pics might help, and C) I'd be hard pressed to actually recommend this to the world as a whole. This just seems to be the very definition of "sketchy".
    – FreeMan
    Feb 19 at 13:43
  • So all that is preventing this from tipping forwards is friction between your bowed plastic strip and your cottage cheese ceiling? How on earth is this better than using the equipped stand, which you haven't even bothered to remove from your TV, and placing it on a table? You could MAKE a table with all that wood and plastic!
    – jay613
    Feb 22 at 21:14
  • A table hinders aiming when you want often to change aiming, like I needed to. Has to do with watching even while needing to use the restroom off to the side of normal viewing seat. NOTE - this is not worth doing unless you can benefit from some of the flexibilities of it. I won't dis anyone not needing it, plz don't dis those who end up wanting some of these benefits
    – kenneth558
    Feb 23 at 22:07
  • Well ok @kenneth558 I apologize if my comment was disrespectful, but come on. Your solution is dangerous and, for what it provides, is expensive. You're telling me that what I'm missing is that you can watch TV while pooping? That wasn't one of OP's requirements but you know, if it was, maybe a tablet would be better than this dangerous contraption? And for the money, aside from being able to watch TV on the toilet, you'd also have a perfectly good tablet that you could use in other rooms.
    – jay613
    Feb 26 at 14:59
  • Thank you, jay613. The niche for something like this might be very tiny, as you suggest. I do know that I make the world a better place when I share my successes, and this is one of very many.
    – kenneth558
    Feb 27 at 8:01
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Don't. Drilling steel studs can start a fire. Plus you will have to undo your work when you move out. Get a "TV floor stand" made for a TV your size. They have them with wheels and without. Probably cost you $100 to $200. But that's less than the landlord would charge you if they found out you ripped open the wall and did construction.

Don't skimp on the quality of the stand unless you want to watch your TV topple over.

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    "Drilling steel studs can start a fire" - citation needed. Also, patching small holes in plaster/drywall is simple and pretty common in US-based rentals, and not really a big deal.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 18 at 15:52

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