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Looking for a sanity check on a wall mount that I'm considering for a 55" television.

The TV and the mount I intend to use weigh about 45 pounds total, and the mount will be able to fasten to two studs (so about 22.5 pounds load per stud.) It's pretty flush to the wall and not articulating, so it should be a pretty static load once it's up.

The wall consists of 1/2"-5/8" drywall hung on four lightweight metal studs spaced 16 inches apart from each other that I believe are 25 gauge (not sure about exact thickness / gauges as it's in an apartment - safe to assume they optimized for cost over quality.) My plan currently would be to use four toggle bolts (on the middle two studs, 2 and 3) to fasten the mount to the wall.

The main complication is this - the other side of the wall already has a couple of computer monitors on articulating mounts fastened to studs 1 and 3 using three toggle bolts each. Each monitor and its mount weighs about 20 pounds total - the load is usually static but I do move the monitors every now and then. They have been up happily for a couple of years now and seem to be pretty secure.

My first concern with mounting the television on the living room side of the wall is that its mount will span across the middle two studs (2 and 3) - stud 2 currently has no load on it, but stud 3 is holding 20 pounds of computer monitor (and also already has three toggle bolts through it, which I'll obviously need to be careful to dodge if I want to drill into it for this new mount.) That will take its total load to about 40-45 pounds between the monitor and half of the television - I've seen in a few places that this is Probably Ok But Close To The Limit, but I don't know what kind of shape the stud is in or exactly what gauge it is, so there could be a delta on that limit in one or another direction.

Obviously the Right Way (TM) would be to just open up the wall to confirm what I'm working with and reinforce it if needed, but I unfortunately need to consider that off limits as it's an apartment and the super would probably be unhappy with me.

TLDR, my questions are:

  • Does it seem sane to attempt to mount the TV given these parameters? Anything I'm expressing concern about that might not actually be a problem / anything potentially alarming that I'm missing?
  • Is there any way that a small amount of the load could be distributed away from the studs to mitigate the load on stud 3? For example, it seems like I could use a set of drywall screws to put a (hopefully small and safe) percentage of the load on the drywall itself?

Thanks all!

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    I suppose it depends how deep the toggles go, from each side, and if there'd be any direct interference from one side to the other (as in, are the new toggles gonna be at exactly the same elevation as the old?). AFAIK steel studs are basically a C-channel, and the toggles simply penetrate the flanges. The load on one side of the stud shouldn't affect the other—in fact it might even provide some counterbalance.
    – Huesmann
    Commented May 28 at 15:57

2 Answers 2

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You seem to be under the impression that you're at risk of exceeding the vertical load capacity of an individual stud. You aren't. They're screwed top and bottom into channels (the equivalent of wall plates), and it would take several hundred pounds of force to shift them, especially with all the drywall screws coupling things together into a shear plane.

Also, adding load opposite the existing load reduces the lateral force on the wall, as the two loads cancel each other (to the extent of the lesser load's force).

Finally, it'd be something of a miracle of you got two toggles to align so well through a 3-1/2" stud that they interfered with each other. It's extremely unlikely.

I don't have any real concerns here. Consider a sleeve-type toggle rather than the bulky winged type to keep the holes you have to drill small. One additional benefit is that you can remove the screw after installation without the back portion dropping into the abyss. Make sure you select one with the proper sleeve depth.

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  • Appreciate the double check - you were correct, no issues encountered and the TV is happily mounted. I will say, from shining a light into the wall after drilling the aperture for the bolt it did end up being a good idea to confirm that the bolts from each side weren't exactly aligned with each other - the wall is narrow enough that there WOULD have been a collision! Definitely will consider these sleeve bolts for the next time but went with the usual winged kind since I had some already (but yes, they're a bit of a pain)
    – Draxel
    Commented Jun 8 at 17:19
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I agree with everything in the other answer from isherwood, ie, you can definitely do this, your worries are unfounded, and with the right toggle bolts you'll do great. I'm suggesting an alternative fastener that I think is easier, especially for DIY: Sheet metal screws.

If you use the right ones and use them correctly, they will perform extremely well, they are easier to learn, harder to screw up, and much cheaper. You avoid interference as noted with screws from the other side. You also avoid a more likely and annoying problem: If your toggles aren't centered on the stud, the sides of the stud may interfere with them spreading properly. And if you don't have the knack for it, they end up just grinding huge holes in the drywall and never getting tight enough. IMO with a very small amount of practice, someone with little experience can get sheet metal screws right every time.

Here is a great article providing details on how to get it right. And you can buy a metal stud for a few bucks and with a broken piece of drywall and a box of screws, practice til you get it perfect, which should take about 5 minutes.

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