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I want to mount a 55" TV above the fireplace, preferably close to the top of the fireplace not too high up. I bought a mount (Sanus OLF18-B1) that attaches to the studs at 4 points in a rectangular pattern, supporting a horizontal spacing between 16" and 26". I used a magnetic stud finder to find the metal fasteners on my studs. See image below where I put tape on the locations found by the stud finder. But looking at the pattern, I'm not even sure whether I have vertical studs above the fireplace. Maybe there's something running horizontally instead? If I drill somewhere below those marked locations near the center, do you think there will be studs there?

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    I strongly suggest that you do not mount a TV over a fire place. Heat rises and can be death to electronics. Also a TV should be centered on a horizontal sight line from your eye when you are sitting in your viewing position. If you make the correct decision on this you can eliminate working out where the studs are in that location. A much better solution is to mount the TV on a console either with the stand that usually comes with the TV or mount a bracket to the support pole that certain TV consoles come with. This is much more flexible overall.
    – Michael Karas
    Commented Oct 9, 2022 at 21:49
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    do you have a brick chimney?
    – Jasen
    Commented Oct 9, 2022 at 23:01
  • I don't plan to ever use the fireplace. The exterior of the chimney is stucco but I'm not sure about the interior. Yes, putting the TV on a TV stand or console is another option but it looks a little awkward putting the TV stand in front of the fireplace.
    – firescape
    Commented Oct 9, 2022 at 23:16
  • Drill an ~1/4" hole near the horizontal center of the wall. Then take a piece of wire ~18" long and bend it 90 deg at the 1/3 point. Stick the longer end (12" long) in the hole and rotate the wire. If you have studs spaces on 16" or even 24" centers, you should feel them as you rotate the wire. This will give you an idea where the studs are, if they are there at all.
    – SteveSh
    Commented Oct 9, 2022 at 23:36
  • Fancier way is to beg or borrow an inspection 'scope that you could put into a 1/2" hole and look around.
    – SteveSh
    Commented Oct 9, 2022 at 23:37

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It is hit or miss without knowing the original framing. Very often there is a horizontal member (beam or header) above the fireplace opening. This carries the wall load around the fireplace opening. It is not uncommon for that "header" to be elevated above the actual firebox. All fireplaces have a required "minimum distance to combustible materials" (wood being a very combustible one). These fireplace clearances will often put the "header" higher up on the wall (since heat rises).

So yes, there is most likely wood back there but it is impossible to tell you where with certainty.

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