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I bought a new home where the TV was mounted directly above the fireplace. The gap between the TV and fireplace was a scant 3 inches. I've since raised the TV to the specs provided by the fireplace manufacturer.

I'm mounting a non-combustible mantel above the fireplace to shield the TV even more.

It's 6" high, will protrude 9" from the wall, and is 72" long. It weighs 43 pounds.

The kicker is there aren't any studs above the fireplace where the mantel needs to go. The only two studs available are 68" apart, 6" from each side of the fireplace. The mantel came with three tiny lag screws. They're only 1/8" diameter.

Since I can only use two bolts, I was thinking 1/4" or even 5/16" diameter lag bolts, screwed in 2.5" into each stud?

Will this work?

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You will be fine as long as your screws are long enough to bite into the studs. 43lbs isn't that much.

For peace in mind, I would put a third screw in the center. I would push a "hollow wall anchor" into the drywall. There are many styles for different weight ratings. Even the plastic ones that look very brittle are surprisingly strong. I use them for my closet shelves and had no issues. The boxes on my top shelf is definitely over 50lbs.

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what material is above the fireplace? drywall, brick? if you dont plan on putting heavy things on it, your idea, Plus a couple toggle bolts into the drywall will hold ok for you. In brick, a couple of expansion bolts will do the trick. You drill the hole, hammer them in and ratchet the nut to expand a boot within the brick, locking it in. pics always help
Do your best to find exact center of those studs you have

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