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How to Mount a TV on the Wall Without Studs

man installing a tv wall mount

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Mounting a TV on drywall is easy if you have wood studs - just screw into the stud. But what if you don't? Discover how to mount a TV on the wall without studs.

So, you’ve decided that you want to hang a TV on the wall, but there’s no stud to give you a nice firm anchor.

What do you do?

There are four main ways to wall mount a TV without studs:

  1. Using anchors
  2. Using a mounting plate
  3. Using a ceiling mount
  4. Using a no-stud mount

Before deciding which one you should use, you need to ask how much weight your drywall holds.

Once you know that, you can decide what type of screw, bolt, or anchor gives you the most load-bearing capacity.

And finally, you’re left with the choice of TV.

Do you know that the average 50″ TV weighs around 28 lbs?

If you were to try hanging an 85″ flat-screen TV on the wall, it’d have to support almost 125 lbs!

Let’s look at each of these elements and see just how to mount a tv on the wall without studs.

And, before buying your mount, check out how to choose a TV wall mount.

1. Using Anchors

When it comes to drywall and hanging heavy objects, anchors are your best friend.

They are designed to spread the stress of withstanding a pulling force from the tiny weak hole you drilled into the surrounding plasterboard.

Drywall Thickness is Also an Important Consideration

What you also need to consider is that drywall comes in various thicknesses. You get 1/4″ up to 5/8″ drywall, and the difference in load-bearing is significant.

The thinnest drywall can withstand a force of between 1.2 and 1.6 pounds per square foot. That is without there being some form of additional support.

With 5/8′ drywall, you can expect it to withstand 1.5 to 2.1 pounds per square foot without any extra support.

You’ll then need to consider that the shear force and tension will affect the amount of weight that the wall can support. 

Shear force is the downwards force that the object you’re hanging exerts on the wall, and the tension is the outward force perpendicular to the wall.

Now consider what anchors are and how they will help you hang your gigantic TV on the wall with no studs.

What Are Anchors?

Wall anchors are designed to spread the load and provide you with the best option when hanging a TV on the wall without studs to provide additional support.

Unlike a screw, which will easily pull out of drywall, anchors have a mechanism designed to spread out behind the wall. This prevents the anchor from pulling out.

Naturally, they are only as good as the strength of the drywall and the diameter of the spread of the piece inside the wall.

This is how they work…

How Do Drywall Anchors Work?

First off, you should stay away from cheap plastic wall anchors.

They are only of any use when hanging light-weight pictures and are not suitable for something as heavy and expensive as a TV.

Molly bolts and toggle anchors are designed for heavier objects and have a sleeve or folding metal arm pushed through the wall, which expands when tightened.

The expanded piece of metal is pulled flush with the inside of the wall. This prevents the anchor from pulling through the hole and spreads the load over a wider area.

These anchors can comfortably hold up to 50 pounds.

attaching tv wall mount to wall

But hang on a second there, you’re thinking, if one bolt can hold 50 pounds, then a little 25-pound TV is light enough to support.

Not so fast!

You’re not considering the thickness (amount of tension) the drywall will hold, nor are you considering the shear force that can tear the anchor out of the wall.

Consider that you can easily hold a small weight in your hand when it is close to your body, but hold it out wide, away from your body, and it is significantly more difficult to hold up.

That’s shear force, and it can make your TV a lot more difficult to hold in place.

What Types of Anchors Are There?

Luckily, engineers have developed a clever way to increase the weight a drywall anchor can hold. Let’s look at Molly bolts first.

Molly Bolts

You get two types of Molly bolts. One is pointed and can be hammered into a wall, and the other is non-pointed and is better suited for drywall installations.

The non-pointed Molly bolt requires a hole drilled in the wall into which you insert the thin bolt.

molly bolts
Molly bolts

A split sleeve that covers the threads opens when it is inside the wall as you tighten it. The thread pulls the bolt towards the inside of the wall, spreading out the sleeve as it goes.

When it is tight, you are left with a wide piece of metal against which the load will pull.

Toggle Anchors

The toggle anchor, also known as a toggle bolt, is similar to a regular screw, except they have a butterfly toggle on the end.

toggle bolt
Toggle bolt

You should drill a large enough hole for the toggle to pass through when folded against the bolt. 

Once through the wall, the spring-loaded wings snap open, preventing them from being withdrawn back through the wall.

Which Anchors to Use Without Wall Studs?

The best wall anchors to use on drywall without wall studs are Molly and toggle bolts.

Provided that the anchors do not exceed the carrying capacity of the wall and the bolt, you can safely use a few of them to hold a TV on the wall.

2. Using a Mounting Plate

Combining drywall anchors with a mounting plate can increase the carrying capacity required to safely mount a TV on the wall.

The mounting plate will be anchored to the drywall using toggle anchors or Molly bolts. The TV will then be attached to the mounting plate.

Mounting plates can be made of plywood or metal. To make them blend in and not detract from the d├ęcor, you can paint them and make them fit within the outline of your TV.

The success of a wall plate lies in spreading the TV’s weight over a much larger area of drywall, making it more secure.

3. Using a Ceiling Mount

Another alternative, if you have a particularly heavy TV, is to mount it on the ceiling.

While this may sound like an unusual option, your ceiling has joists and beams that are strong enough to carry the weight of a heavy TV easily.

You’ll need a long lag bolt to reach the beams, but it is a minor inconvenience compared to the weight they can support.

4. Using a No Stud Mount

A no stud mount is an aluminum profile with a row of nail holes along the top edge. The TV mounting bracket is secured to the wall by hammering a line of tiny nails through the holes in the frame.

After securing the other metal profile bracket to the Vesa mount holes in the TV, you are ready to mount your TV.

The two brackets interlock, providing a firm mounting surface that spreads the load over a large drywall area.

This is different from the conventional mount that is secured by four to six bolts to the drywall or studs. These brackets can support TVs up to 80 pounds.

Hangman Products, Inc., based in California, has designed and sold a mounting system like this.

You can also buy similar products online from ECHOGEAR, AENTGIU and Monoprice.

Things to Consider Before Mounting the TV

You must consider the load-bearing status of your drywall.

If the drywall is old and crumbling, the wall will not support the TV no matter how well the anchors work. You should then consider alternative mounting options, such as ceiling mounts.

Also, consider the weight of the TV you wish to buy. There is a significant variance in the weight of different makes and types of TV.

tv wall mount with tools

Mounting a TV on drywall without studs means that you may have to compromise on the size of TV you want to hang. 

This is especially true if your drywall is thinner than you expected.

If drilling the wall is a problem for you, check out how to mount a TV without drilling holes.

Is Your Mount Suitable for Mounting on Drywall With No Studs?

The anchor options for walls without studs work well with fixed and tilt-mounts.

You should avoid swivel mounts as they are heavier, but they also create greater shear forces on the anchors as the TV is moved away from the wall.

The additional movement will gradually work the anchors loose as they move in the drywall. 

The movement will enlarge the holes and eventually cause the bracket to pull away from the wall or tear out completely.

Buy a Wall Mount That Supports Your TVs Weight

Wall mounts are designed for certain weight limits, so you must choose a TV wall mount that can carry the weight of your TV.

The average weight of a TV is around 25-30 pounds but always make sure to consult the manufacturer’s specifications before committing to installing a wall mount or bracket.

At the same time, you should check that the anchors you choose to use are also rated for the weight they are expected to carry.

When installing the TV on the mount, ensure that you have help as TVs are awkward to position and can weigh more than you expect.

Buy a Mount That Supports Your TV’s VESA Hole Configuration

VESA wall mount patterns make fitting a TV with the required bracket a breeze.

However, remember that the patterns are unique to various flat screen TV sizes, so you should make sure that you have the correct bracket dimensions for your TV.

FAQ: Mounting a TV on the Wall Without Studs

How Much Weight Can a TV Mount Hold Without Studs?

A TV mount for walls without studs can hold up to 80 pounds. However, it depends on several factors, such as the type of mount, wall anchor specifications, and the condition of your drywall.

Can You Mount a TV on Drywall Without Studs?

Yes, mounting a TV on drywall without studs is possible. There are a variety of anchors, brackets, and TV mounting systems designed to get around the problem of not having a wall stud to attach your TV bracket to.

Can You Use Drywall Anchors for a TV Mount?

Yes, drywall anchors are designed to carry weights up to 100 pounds. However, whether the drywall will support the weight depends on its thickness and condition.

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About Home Cinema Guide

Paul started the Home Cinema Guide to help less-experienced users get the most out of today's audio-visual technology. He has been a sound, lighting and audio-visual engineer for around 20 years. At home, he has spent more time than is probably healthy installing, configuring, testing, de-rigging, fixing, tweaking, re-installing again (and sometimes using) various pieces of hi-fi and home cinema equipment. You can find out more here.

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