Mantel Mount | May 22, 2024

The Experts at MantelMount Discuss How to Mount a TV Without Studs

Now that you have taken your new television out of the box, how do you plan to mount it on the wall? Before you immerse yourself in watching your favorite movies and shows, you’ll need to find the right place to mount the TV. But, there’s one tiny problem — you don’t have any studs to work with for the TV mount, or it could be that, if you’re renting an apartment, your landlord insists no drilling is allowed. But there’s no need to panic. 

Whether you have a brick or uneven stone façade, or mounting a TV above a fireplace, mounting a TV can be tricky, but even more so when mounting a TV without studs. Even though drywall can support a TV up to 100 lbs., it’s still brittle and the mount can require additional support.

If you want to create the perfect TV-viewing experience but you aren’t sure how to safely mount your TV on a wall without studs, check out these tips and get your TV up on the wall and in the perfect spot today.

What Is a Stud?

Before mounting your TV on a wall, you should always attempt to locate a stud or inspect the wall’s integrity. But it can be difficult to locate a stud if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

A stud is a vertical framing device used to create a frame for a wall. It is commonplace to find either wood studs or metal studs. These wooden or metal reinforcements are evenly spaced within a wall and are typically used to create a framework for a wall consisting of drywall. Because many modern home interiors are constructed with drywall, not mason, there’s a good chance that you should be able to easily locate a stud within your home’s walls.

If you live in a high rise, you likely have studs made out of metal. Similarly, commercial buildings often have metal framework as well that will require additional care if mounting a TV or appliances into a stud.

4 Simple Ways to Find Studs in the Wall

Finding studs have a lot of uses beyond simply mounting your TV. Especially if you are a homeowner undergoing home improvement projects — if you want to hang a heavy picture, mount an appliance to the wall, do trim work in your home, or fix electrical outlets — it’s very useful to be aware of the location of the studs in your walls. The main question is: how do you accurately locate a stud, with or without a stud finder or a stud finder app?

1. Locate studs with a stud finder

One of the easiest ways to do this is with a stud finder, a small handheld device that measures the density of drywall. The Spruce has a comprehensive list of options to buy online or at your local hardware store.

Using a stud finder is simpler than finding the right one. All that is needed is to place the stud finder against the drywall and slowly drag it horizontally along the wall until it beeps. Beeping indicates that you’ve found a stud. You can estimate the center of the stud by running the stud finder over the location repeatedly until it stops beeping. Then, once you know where the stud is located in the wall, make a mark with a pencil.

2. Measure 16” from the corner

Don’t have a stud finder or stud finder app? That’s okay! A go-to technique is to measure 16 inches from the corner of where the interior wall and the exterior wall meet to approximate where studs will be located throughout the room. Typically, studs are evenly spaced 16”-24” inches apart, so if you measure the total length of your wall, you should be able to approximate the location of each stud. Now, not every room is going to evenly divide by 16 or 24, but again, that’s okay.

Follow up this measurement effort by knocking on the wall where you suspect the stud to be. Knocking on a stud will create a muffled sound while knocking directly next to the stud will create a hollow sound.

3. Check your trim

If you aren’t handy with a tape measure or you don’t have access to a stud finder, another option for you are the other wall features: trim nails, electrical outlets, and light switches all indicate the location of a stud.

4. Use a powerful magnet

If you’re having trouble locating studs, you may have better luck locating the metal that holds them in place. Commonly, studs are secured with metal fasteners spaced vertically about 12” apart. With a strong magnet, place it against the wall and move it slowly up and down until you feel it stick slightly. This will indicate that you’ve located a metal fastener and, therefore, a stud.

How to Mount a TV Without Studs

If you’ve done your due diligence to locate studs and you can’t find any, you discover the studs are metal, or there are no studs located in the area where you want to mount your TV, you do have options for mounting your TV with no studs.

Whether you are looking for a little DIY action with mounting a TV or you merely are looking to gain knowledge and want to know what the handyman is doing while installing a TV mount, here, we can walk you through it all!

1. Mounting a TV with drywall anchors

Expanding anchors or conical anchors are one of the simplest ways to mount a TV when studs aren’t available. The wing-like grooves lock into place behind the wall when a screw is screwed in and this can provide ample support for things like pictures with a heavy frame or a lightweight TV. 

How does one do this? Simply drill a hole accordingly, insert the sleeve, and slide in the anchor piece. You can even pull it close to the wall with the disposable pull tool. The pulling motion locks the anchor in place, so it won’t loosen while you insert the screw.

2. Mounting a TV with anchors or molly bolts

Toggle anchors and toggle bolts look like regular screws, but they come with a butterfly toggle at the end. When placed in the wall, the toggle anchors work by attaching to the back of the drywall. Pulling at the screw or applying some external force has little impact as the toggle causes the whole sheet of drywall to respond, rather than just the crumbly center. It’s the distinction between pulling the entire wall and removing a single screw.

Mounting a TV with drywall anchors or bolts is a great option if you can’t drill into a stud. You’ll need to use a hollow wall anchor that looks similar to a regular screw, with a butterfly toggle at the end. Once they’re placed in the wall, they’ll attach to the back.

These have proven to be extremely strong on their own when it comes to mounting a TV with no studs, but, as a general rule, it should not be paired with a full-motion mount. Mounting a TV without studs can be a safe and reliable solution if careful consideration is made about the limits of the wall and the toggles.

Molly bolts are an interesting anchor for a no-studs TV mount. They combine the ease of installation with a lot of strength — a large molly bolt can hold up to 50 lbs. They are a little harder to use over other drywall anchors, but they are sturdy and well-suited for a medium to heavy load. They come in two variations: a pointed molly bolt will have a sharp tip that can be installed with a hammer, whereas a non-pointed molly bolt, which is better to use in plaster walls, requires that you cut out an installation hole first.

Molly bolts stay thin when left untightened, but once tightened in your walls, the sleeves expand, creating an anchor to the back of your wall — a similar mechanism as toggle anchors. Once the molly bolt is securely anchored, you can remove the screw and replace it with the screws for your TV wall mount.

3. Mounting a TV with a mounting plate

A mounting plate is a good choice when it comes to mounting a TV with no studs. Mounting plates help the anchors carry the tv weight with more ease and provide an opportunity to add more anchors, making it a more secure mount.

Although the mounting plate doesn’t look that aesthetically appealing, you can always consider a mounting plate that is smaller than the TV and choose one in a color and style that works well with the look of your room, or paint over it.

If you’re looking to go this route, both the MantelMount SSB40 Single Stud Wall Adapter and the WPC00 Wall Plate Covers can be used with the MantelMount MM340 Standard Pull Down TV Mount. Please note that our WPC00 Wall Plate Covers are included with the purchase of a MM540 Enhanced Pull Down TV Mount.

Things to Keep in Mind Before Mounting a TV With No Studs

Although anchors, toggle bolts, mounting bolts, and mounting plates are effective ways to keep TV wall mounts in place when mounting a TV with no studs, here are some other extraneous things to keep in mind.

Be Aware of the TV’s Weight and the Condition of the Wall

Whether mounting a TV with drywall anchors or with a mounting plate, or frankly, any other way, ensure that the anchor screws are rated to carry the television’s weight. TV weights vary from model to model, but an average 32’ television usually weighs about 25 to 30 lbs, which means that a larger screen will weigh more. 

If the choice is mounting a TV with drywall anchors, check the load capacity for the selected anchors. It won’t make a difference if the strongest wall anchors are used if you live in an old house with a wall that can’t sustain the load. If the wall appears flimsy, it may bend under the weight of the TV and there is a chance that it could potentially break at some point, wrecking both the wall and your television.

Use the Right Type of Mount for Your TV

A standard pattern for wall mounts is to ensure that they will fit any TV. However, mounts are rated to fit specific television sizes and weights. A wall mount for a 32’ TV would not be able to support the weight and dimensions of a 40’ TV. Choosing the wrong mount, then, could potentially be dangerous for your TV. (Bonus hat tip: If you’re looking for a new television, make sure to take a look at our New TV Buying Guide, which highlights some possible questions you might be asking about details on TV types.)

Whether the question is how to mount a TV to a wall without studs or if it’s more to the tune of how high to mount a flat screen TV, most of the anchor options for a wall with no studs work best with fixed and tilt mounts. Fixed mounts are static and set at a singular position, while pull down and articulating and tilting TV wall mounts allow you to change the angle of the mounted television. 

Toggle bolts and other wall anchors should not be used with anything other than fixed mounts. Mounts which have arms and swivels that allow for complete angle adjustments, naturally add more weight. The constant movement that comes with adjusting your mounted TV can cause increased stress on your anchor points and the wall itself.