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Mounting a TV Above a Fireplace

How to Mount a TV above a Fireplace and hide wires

Mounting a TV above a fireplace is a project you can do yourself.  You can hide wires on a wall mounted TV with the right approach and tools.  But you probably have a lot of the same questions I did before I started this project like:

  • How high should a TV be mounted over a fireplace?
  • Can you mount a TV above a gas fireplace?
  • Does heat from a fireplace damage TV?
  • Can you mount a TV above a brick fireplace?

I’m going to answer those questions and show you how mounting a TV above a fireplace is a doable DIY project.  I’ll also show you how to hide wires on a wall mounted TV and how you can too.

How to Mount a TV Above a Fireplace

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Here is what you’ll need for the project:

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Mounting a TV Above Fireplace

  1. Identify fireplace structure
  2. Decide how high to mount the TV
  3. Choose location for TV mount and electric
  4. Install Electric and Wire Chase
  5. Attach TV Mount
  6. Mount TV to the Fireplace

1. Identify Fireplace Structure

When you’re mounting a TV above a fireplace you need to consider the type of fireplace structure you have.  Our fireplace is a gas burning insert so that’s what this article will be focusing on.  But if you have a wood burning fireplace this is a good article that will have more information to help you out. 

Our gas burning insert fireplace has deep shelving on either side. 

I was pretty sure it was hollow behind the fireplace but needed to check.   I took off the shelf trim to see how the shelves were constructed and was happy to find they were made of drywall that I could easily cut into.

Next I cut a peep hole with my hole saw so that I could stick my phone inside the wall to see what was going on behind the fireplace. 

I was relieved to see open space and the wood framing around the fireplace insert. If you don’t have access to peak behind your fireplace I’ll give you some tips in a bit on how to find the framing.

Before we get too far though, let’s talk about the first big question we needed to answer; should we mount a TV over a gas burning fireplace at all?

Can You Mount a TV Above a Gas Fireplace?

The short answer is yes, you can mount a TV above a gas fireplace.  But you need to make sure it’s properly mounted and secured.  Knowing that I could get behind the fireplace was really helpful.  That access would allow me to make sure I was tying into a stud or header which will support the weight of the TV.

Does Heat From a Fireplace Damage TV?

After a little research I found you want to keep the TV under 100 degrees Fahrenheit.  So I decided to run a test to find out how hot it gets where my TV would be.

I cranked up the fireplace and taped a thermometer to the stone where it would get the most heat.  I also put the gas on full blast which we almost never do and left the glass doors open just to get worst case numbers.

After 15 minutes running wide open it went from 75 to about 80 degrees.  I also checked around the stone and fireplace with an infrared thermometer to confirm the readings.

I checked back at 30 minutes and it had only gone up to 81 but the surface of the thermometer looked to be closer to 86.  But that was well within a range I felt comfortable with. Check your own setup based on your fireplace usage to make sure it won’t damage your TV.

Does a Mantle Help Protect the TV from Heat?

If you’re mounting a TV above a fireplace with a mantle the TV should be better protected from the heat.  A mantel tends to act as a buffer between your fireplace and the area where your TV is hanging.  But I would always use a thermometer and test the area where you plan to mount your TV to make sure that it won’t get too hot.

2. Decide Where To Mount TV

Once I knew I could run the wiring behind the fireplace and secure the tv mount, it was time answer another big question. How high should you hang a TV over a fireplace?

How High Should a TV be Mounted Over a Fireplace?

Since we were hanging a 65″ TV and as a rule of thumb, the center of the screen should be 65 inches from the floor.  But when it comes down to it, it’s all about personal preference. My family was used to having our old TV in a raised cabinet opening. That meant that the bottom of the old TV was 50-1/2 inches from the ground.  It never bothered us, we didn’t feel any neck strain and we liked having our TV at that height.

So we mocked up TV screen using the packing sheeting came on our new 65″ OLED LG TV.   We taped it to the fireplace to decide where we wanted to mount it.  We wanted the new TV to be at about the same height as our old TV, but not too close to the fireplace below.  Finally We settled on a height of … 50-1/2 inches from the bottom of the TV to the floor.  We really know how to mix things up.

If you’re mounting a TV above a fireplace but you still want to be able to watch it at an even lower position, there is another option.  The MantelMount allows you to mount a TV above a fireplace and then pull it down for viewing.  If you want more information about this product they have a great website with lots of info.

3. Choose location for TV mount and electric

Next we unboxed the new OLED TV we got from LG.  This OLED screen is ridiculously thin, and that means the electronics and mount location are much lower on the TV.  We laid down the TV and put the mounting arms over the bolt holes.  Then I measured from the bottom of the screen to the hook on the arms.  I’ll use this measurement to locate where the wall bracket should be mounted on the wall.

We had placed a piece of tape where we wanted the bottom of our TV to be.  Then we measured up from that spot and put another piece of tape on the fireplace.  We marked on the tape where the top of the bracket would be.

Can You Mount TV Above a Brick Fireplace?

Or in our case, stone.  The answer is yes, but you may need to do a little more work to get your space ready for the TV mount.  When we looked at the area where the TV mount needed to be attached one stone was sticking out much farther than the rest.  This was a problem because it interfered with the Tilting TV Wall Mount, so it had to come out.

I used a masonry chisel and a small pry bar and was able to pretty easily remove the stone that was sticking out.  Then I took it outside and used a wet saw to trim off enough so that it wouldn’t protrude too far when it was reattached later on. 

Find Stud or Header Behind Fireplace

**If you don’t have a hollow space behind your fireplace that you can get into, this information can help you find your stud or header.**  

With the stone still removed from the fireplace, I drilled some holes to get more information about my setup. 

  1. First I used a masonry bit and drilled into the wall until I hit wood.

    2. Then I switched to a wood bit, put it into the hole and marked on the bit how deep it was inserted.  This mark will show me where the wood starts.  In the picture below I’m holding my finger on the drill bit at the point where it needs to be marked.  Then I used a permanent marker to make the mark on the drill bit.

    3. Next I drilled into the wood until I busted through and marked on the bit how deep it was when it went through.  This tells me if it’s going through something thinner like OSB or if I’ve hit something thicker like a stud or a header.  In my case the drill bit went through the wood at about 1-1/2 inches which is thicker than OSB.

    4. Drill another hole about 3-1/2 inches over from the first hole to see how deep the wood is in that spot.  I did this and hit another area where the wood was 1-1/2 inches.  This tells me that I didn’t hit a vertical stud (because of the distance apart) and it must be the header.

Since I do have the hollow space behind my fireplace it was time to get back there.  I wanted to get a really good look at the framing.  I cut a large access panel of the drywall out where I’d drilled my peep hole. Then I went full Shawshank Redemption and shimmied into the cavity. 

I took some measurements to make sure that I would be drilling into the header in the area where I planned to attach the TV mount and then came back out.

Cut Hole for Electric

Because I was able to go behind my fireplace and measure where the header and studs were located, I could easily choose an open area that I wanted to use for the electric.  In order to make an opening for the electric, I needed to remove a stone in that spot and then cut a hole.  I used my chisel to crack and removed the stone. 

Once the stone was gone I saw that it was set into wire mesh with mortar.  This sets over a sheet of OSB with a layer of black tar paper in between.  This is a pretty common installation so you might see something similar if you have a stone or brick fireplace.

I drilled through the OSB and left the drill bit in the hole so I could see exactly where it was on the inside. 

After confirming it was high enough over the header and to the right of that vertical stud I started removing the mortar and wire mesh so I could drill through the OSB.

I used tin snips and a screwdriver here to pick away at the mesh and used a smaller masonry chisel out to help when needed.  After a few minutes of work I had a clear spot to drill a hole for the electrical extension box. 

I used the same hole saw from before and drilled through the OSB to get a spot for the extension wiring.

4. Install Electric and Wire Chase

I used a wall power kit to easily get power to my TV.  First I secured the power plug that has a female end into the hole I just made in the fireplace.  This is where I’ll plug in the TV. 

Then I ran the other end of the power cord, that has a male connection to the built in bookshelves.  Next I secured that end of the power cord into the wall as well.  Then I’ll just have to use an extension cord to plug it into the power that I already have in the area for my existing TV. 

This power cord is rated to be in the walls so I felt good using it.  But I’m not an electrician so if you have any concerns about doing this as well you should reach out to a professional.    

Next I was ready to attach the concealment and wire chase.  After going back into the wall I realized the wire chase portion of this box wasn’t going to work since it went right into the wood header. So I removed the back with a multi-tool on this box and the other similar piece. 

This let me fit a 1-½” PVC pipe right onto the back to use it as a chase for the low voltage wires.

I strapped the PVC to the studs to hold it firm in place on the TV mount box.  This will protect the wires and make it easier to run them without having to get in the wall.  I left the chase open on the other end since I’ll be rerouting the wires when I redo the built-ins later.

Finally I reinstalled the stones on the fireplace.  I used construction adhesive to put them back in place and it bonded quickly.

Run Wires Through Chase

I ran two HDMI cables through the wire chase and out through the hole I’d made in the upper cabinet. 

Then I installed the wall plates that held the cables along with the male side of the extension wire. These get screwed in place just like the other one.  The trim rings go over the boxes and it gives a very nice clean look. 

Plugging the extension cord in from an existing wall socket to the male side adapter completes the connection and I had electric ready at the fireplace.

5. Attach TV Mount

Now I could move on to getting the TV mounted on this uneven stone.  I setup a laser level to make things easier to position and put the wall bracket in place where it would sit firmly. My wife held up the bracket and I used a bamboo skewer to touch the stone behind the bracket and mark the offset.  I’ll use these marks to set the spacers later.

I also marked the locations for the holes on the stone.  This was easier for me since I was drilling into a full header instead of trying to hit vertical studs.  This meant I could pick any spot along the bracket.  After indenting the stone with a punch for a good start, I drilled through the stone veneers with a masonry bit.

I removed all the concrete dust and then drilled a little more with a wood/metal bit to make sure I hit the wood and didn’t get stopped by the metal mesh.

Add Spacers to Screws Secure to Fireplace

I’m using 6” self-tapping lag screws to hang the mount which will give me plenty of bite into the header.  I used the markings from the skewers to stack spacers and washers until I had the right offset. The spacers came with the TV mount I’m using and really worked awesome.

Then I added the spacers to each screw and attached them to the TV mount.

I did a test fit on the wall and saw I needed a few more washers on the top left.  The goal is to have the bracket firm and not rocking at all when you push it flat to the stone. 

I added the extra washers then drove the lags into the header with an impact driver, stopping before pulling them tight.

How to Mount a TV Above a Fireplace

Then I switched over to my ratchet and drove the screws in the rest of the way.  Most screw bits fit right into a ¼” socket and this makes it easy to snug things up without worrying about over driving the screws.

6. Mount TV to the Fireplace

Finally I connected the mount arms to the TV using the included screws. 

Then we hung this beautiful tv on the wall.  It was really easy to lower the mount arms on the bracket and just listen for the click which told us it was secure.  

One thing I love about this TV mount is that it swings out on either side for easy access to wire things up.  I connected the power on one side and the HDMI and an antenna on the other.

Then we peeled off the wrapper and fired up the LG OLED TV to check it out.  This TV is a massive upgrade from my old one. The wallpaper-thin design makes it look like the TV is just floating above the fireplace and let’s the picture be the star of the show. This TV is really going to transform movie night at the Rodriguez house.

If you’re thinking of mounting a TV above a fireplace I hope this helps you out!  And if you’re interested in more great Home DIY Projects I’ve got a lot of them for you to check out!

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