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How can I mount a TV when I can’t find studs inside my wall?

I am looking for some opinions here. When my electrician tried to mount my 80"TV above my fireplace, he found out there's actually only 1 stud available for him to do the mounting, he told me I need to retrofit the wall to increase the stud by 2, otherwise I can't do the work. However, according to my contractor, the TV can be easily mounted with only 1 stud, all I need to do is to bolt a rectangular piece of plywood (the size of my TV mount) to the stud and then mount the TV mount on top of it. According to him, he'll also nail the rest of the corners to the sheet rock and he thinks it's fine.

My electrician disagrees with him and I am completely puzzled. Any opinions here?

  • 1
    The nails in the sheet rock definitely won't do anything. So if you ask me I would listen to the electrician.
    – Sponge Bob
    Jan 4, 2013 at 1:38
  • see diy.stackexchange.com/questions/15873/…
    – mikes
    Jan 4, 2013 at 1:56
  • 10
    I wouldn't trust anyone that talks about nailing plywood to sheetrock. Are you SURE you want an 80" TV hanging that high on the wall? TVs above fireplaces look nice, but aren't necessarily the most comfortable places for actually watching TV.
    – DA01
    Jan 4, 2013 at 1:56
  • 2
    How much does the TV weigh? Is the stud near its center of gravity, or way off toward either side?
    – Bob
    Jan 4, 2013 at 4:55
  • @Bob - AFAIK, the only 80" TV on the market is Sharp's LC80LE632, which weighs in at 122lbs.
    – Compro01
    Jan 4, 2013 at 14:19

1 Answer 1


Above your fireplace the stud likely doesn't continue to the floor. Most likely it's atop a header above the fireplace. Now, I'd guess the "header" is just another 2x4, flat, spanning the space of the fireplace... not a "real" header.

This means that you don't have much downward support for the weight.

In my opinion, if the TV is not going to be on a moving, tilting or swiveling mount it will probably be ok with the following process:

Precisely locate the stud using small finishing nails tapped in to locate the edges. This is to get you into the true center of the stud. Take a sheet of hard-wood ply (I like birch) the full concealable height and width of the TV. This will accept multiple pre-drilled lag bolts directly into the middle of the stud. I'm nervous so I'd use three of them.

Then I would glue the plywood into place against the drywall and bolt it into the stud. Let it cure, then attach the TV mount to the ply.

Primarily, though, I would wonder why there's only a single stud above the fireplace!

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