Mounting a TV Above a Fireplace
Whether you’re remodeling, installing a new fireplace, purchasing a new flat-screen TV or simply rearranging your living room furniture, one of the decorative ideas you’re likely considering is hanging a TV above the fireplace.
One of the latest fireplace decoration and home design trends is hanging or mounting a flat-screen TV above the fireplace. This is done as a way to create one uniform area, save space or perhaps both. But enjoying a crackling fire while watching your favorite shows or movies isn’t always the best way to go, and there are different things to consider when mounting a TV above a fireplace.
Make These 5 Considerations Before Mounting a TV Above a Fireplace
Although most fireplace professionals don’t recommend placing a TV above your fireplace, most homeowners do it anyway. It’s the safety issues involved with drilling into your fireplace facing to mount the hardware and placing the weight of a TV on your fireplace wall that has professionals in the industry apprehensive.
Accidentally drilling into your chimney wall can cause smoke and other dangerous byproducts to leak into your home. Not to mention it costs thousands of dollars to repair an issue such as a cracked or ruptured chimney box.
If you have your heart set on mounting a TV above your fireplace, then we’re here to help you be sure it’s done safely. Before moving any further with your project, you’ll want to consider the following aspects of mounting a TV on your fireplace wall:
Accounting for these aspects of hanging a TV above a fireplace will save you time, money and stress in the long run. Although most professionals don't recommend TVs on a fireplace wall for many different reasons, taking these extra precautions will help ensure you're mounting your TV most safely and efficiently.
Whether or not you should mount a TV over your fireplace depends on the type of fireplace you have in your home. You’ll find three main types of fireplaces:
It’s important to understand that every fireplace and every home is constructed differently, so what might work for a friend or neighbor, may not work in your home with your fireplace and vice versa.
To ensure you’re safely hanging your TV above the fireplace, you should consult with an electrician and even consider speaking with a fireplace professional before moving forward with any definite plans. The last thing you want to do is ruin an expensive flat-screen TV or worse, cause an injury to a pet or loved one, due to improperly mounting and hanging a TV above your fireplace.
Fireplace Clearances and Mounting TVs
To hang a flat-screen tv over a fireplace, you first need to understand your fireplace’s clearance. In this case, clearance is the minimum distance from a fireplace in which you can safely hang or place combustibles such as a mantel, shelf or flat-screen TV.
You’ll want to ensure you’re mounting a TV above your fireplace in a location that is far enough away from the heat radiating from your fireplace while it’s in use and burning fires.
Mounting a TV Above a Wood-Burning Fireplace
Wood-burning fireplaces get very hot while burning, so you’ll want to take extra caution when deciding to hang a TV above this type of fireplace. The good news is that most of the heat generated by wood-burning fires escapes up and out the chimney, so it doesn’t have much of a chance to damage any fireplace decorations or accessories such as your flat-screen TV.
Still, though, you'll want to double-check your wood fireplace's clearance and ensure you're hanging your TV using the recommended clearance to guide your decision.
Mounting a TV Above a Gas Fireplace
To mount a TV above your gas fireplace, you’ll want to know whether you have a vented or ventless gas fireplace. This will help you identify the type of material in the wall above your fireplace, and understand the amount of heat generated by your fireplace.
Ventless gas fireplaces are designed to radiate heat while vented gas fireplaces lose much of the heat generated up and out of the chimney. If you're planning to mount your TV over a gas fireplace, then you'll definitely want to have a vented gas fireplace that allows the heat to escape up the chimney and not radiate back into your home.
Mounting a TV Above an Electric Fireplace
Of the three types of fireplaces, mounting a TV above an electric fireplace makes the most sense. Many electric fireplaces are designed for little to no heat output, and instead, give off the appearance of a real fire burning. This makes electric fireplaces the best choice for hanging a TV over a fireplace.
You won’t have to worry about excess heat from the fire melting your expensive electronics or damaging your wires. And there’s no doubt that an electric fireplace with a TV mounted above looks beautiful and creates a uniform entertainment space.
Next, you’ll need to consider the fireplace-facing material in your home and how you plan to secure the mounting brackets to that material. If you’re wondering how to hang a TV above your fireplace, then one of the first places to start is understanding your fireplace-facing materials. If your facing is made from brick or stone, then that means you’ll be drilling into that material to secure the mounting kit and hang your TV.
Mounting a TV Into Brick or Stone Fireplace Facings
Mounting a TV over a masonry fireplace usually means drilling into a stone or brick and mortar fireplace facing for the hardware, mounting brackets and the TV. It’s important to understand that mortar is not glue and bricks are not permanently held together.
Again, you’ll also want to avoid using screws or anchors that are too long as they could puncture your chimney box and create a safety hazard – not to mention the potential for thousands of dollars worth of damage to your chimney. To avoid running into any issues or problems down the line, you’ll need to take extra care when mounting a TV into brick or stone fireplace facings and consult with a licensed professional before starting your TV hanging project.
We’ve touched on the ways mounting a TV using the wrong size screws can damage your chimney, but other fireplace safety concerns come along with hanging a TV over a fireplace. Improperly installing a TV over your fireplace can result in the TV tipping over, injuring small children or pets in your home.
The hazards associated with falling furniture are well documented by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). According to the data provided by the CPSC, TVs alone accounted for over 4,000 furniture-related emergency room injuries to children in 2018.
This is one of the reasons why you need a mounting kit capable of holding the weight of your TV and then some. For example, let’s say the TV you’re mounting weighs 40 lbs and your mounting kit is designed to hold a maximum weight of 45 lbs. You may want to consider a mounting kit designed to hold more weight so you don’t max out the capability of the mounting kit and create opportunities for accidents or other mishaps with your TV.
This is also why you’ll want to use safety straps to help secure your TV. Straps that anchor into the fireplace wall independent of the mounting kit provide an extra layer of protection for holding your TV in the event it tips over.
Mounting a TV above a fireplace means that’s the height where your eyes will be while watching your favorite shows and programs. Although having your TV sitting above eye level seems like a great idea, it’s not always comfortable to watch a TV sitting up that high, especially for long periods. Besides the process of mounting the TV above your fireplace, you’ll also want to consider the drawbacks of watching a TV mounted that high above eye level.
It’s not comfortable to sit with your head tilted back and your neck strained to view a TV for long periods. So, you’ll want to consider aspects such as the size of the room where you’re hanging a TV above the fireplace, the viewing angle of the TV as it sits above the fireplace and the amount of time you and your family plan to spend watching a TV mounted that high.
Many homeowners with a TV mounted above their fireplace report feelings of dizziness, experiencing headaches and eye strain as a result of simply watching a TV far outside of their natural line of sight. Many times, homeowners experiencing this level of discomfort end up moving their TVs from above the fireplace to another area of the room. Before getting started with your mounting project, you’ll want to have a room large enough for watching a TV mounted up high but also not too far outside your natural line of vision.
Using a Full-Range Motion Mount for TVs Above a Fireplace
One way to combat the viewing angle issues associated with hanging a TV over the fireplace is to use alternative mounting hardware such as a full-range motion mounting kit. These full-range kits offer you a way to pull your mounted TV down to eye level using a swivel and extending arms. The full-motion mounting kits are quickly gaining popularity amongst homeowners looking for alternatives to mounting their flat-screen TV above the fireplace in a fixed, stationary position.
Be careful though, you’ll want to take extra precautions when using one of these mounting kits for hanging the TV over your fireplace. With one of the full-range mounts, you’ll need to account for your fireplace facing holding the full weight of your TV along with the motion mounting hardware.
If your fireplace doesn’t have a fireplace mantel or a fireplace hood installed, then protecting your TV and other electronics hanging above your fireplace starts here. Installing a fireplace mantel or hood will help deflect the heat coming from a fireplace and help keep radiant heat from melting or damaging your TV.
Using a fireplace mantel or fireplace hood with your wood-burning, gas or electric fireplace is also a great way to help block any heat coming from fires from impacting your TV. But again, you’ll also need to have proper clearance before installing those items.
Mantels are available in several different types of materials including:
Just like with other combustibles, a mantel must have adequate clearance from your firebox before finally settling on a permanent location for hanging it. Although there is no real way to ensure your TV is safe hanging above the fireplace, you can take extra precautions to absorb and deflect the heat coming from your firebox while burning fires. Mantels and hoods essentially act as a fireplace heat shield for your fireplace decorations and other heat-sensitive fireplace accessories.
How To Mount a TV Above a Fireplace and Hide the Wires?
The best way to hide TV wires anywhere is to use a cable raceway. A cable raceway is essentially like a plastic tube for your wires to run through. The raceways protect your wires from hazards such as heat, dust and sunlight just to name a few.
Raceways also offer a way to safely run wires without having a jumbled, tangled mess of wires to deal with. Cable raceways are ideal for hiding the TV wires above your fireplace and they offer protection from the heat and other byproducts radiating from your fireplace while it’s in use.
Can You Place a TV on a Fireplace Mantel or Shelf?
This is one of the questions we get a lot here at Fireplace Doors Online, so it’s worth addressing. Whether or not you can place your TV on a fireplace mantel or shelf depends on a couple of different factors.
First, you’ll want to consider the width of your fireplace mantel or shelf where you’re planning to place your TV. Even though today’s flat-screen TVs are thin and don’t require much shelf space to hold them, you are still likely cutting it close. If a TV placed on your mantel is the route you’re going, then you may want to invest in a custom-made mantel. Custom mantels can have surfaces 10 inches wide in some cases, giving you plenty of space to hold a TV.
Next, you’ll need to consider the heat transfer from the firebox to the mantel or shelf where you’re placing your TV. If you’ve accounted for proper clearance when hanging your mantel, then your mantel won’t get hot enough to melt your flat-screen TV but it can still get warm enough to damage newer flat-screen TVs. You’ll want to install your custom mantel with plenty of clearance from the firebox and test it before placing your expensive flat-screen TV on top of it.
To do this, simply light a fire in your fireplace and after it gets burning real nice and hot, touch your hand to the mantel and check for any transfer of heat. If your mantel feels warm to the touch but not hot, then you can always consider adding a fireplace hood for more protection. Fireplace hoods essentially act as a heat deflector for your fireplace, so adding one as a buffer between your mantel and firebox before you start mounting isn’t the worst idea.
Protecting TVs Above Your Fireplace with a Custom Mantel and Hood from Fireplace Doors Online
Mounting a TV above the fireplace is certainly within the realm of possibility but must be done very carefully. When you consider aspects such as your fireplace type, the fireplace-facing materials and designing ways to make viewing your TV comfortable, a TV over your fireplace can certainly work well if it's protected with the right accessories and heat deflecting decorations.
Adding a layer of protection to your fireplace will also help shield the TV above the fireplace from any heat radiating back into your home. Decorative fireplace accessories such as mantels and fireplace hoods can both absorb and deflect heat from reaching your TV hanging above the fireplace. At Fireplace Doors Online, we carry a range of customizable fireplace mantels and hoods to help with your TV mounting efforts.