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January 3, 2008

Hanging a Plasma or LCD TV on Plaster Lath Walls

Please note, this blog has been archived and now lives at www.discretecosine.com

So the holidays are over, it's back to blogging for me.

As you might have gathered from the title, this is going to be a slightly different kind of post. However, I recently had to (you guessed it) hang a plasma on plaster lath walls, and found the information on the internet totally lacking. Hopefully Google will help other folks find this post.

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The truth is, there's nothing too special involved. There are only two potential snags. Follow these instructions as your own risk - I'm not a handyman. Heck, I'm barely a man! But I do have a mighty fine drill...

First, finding studs on a plaster lath wall can be a nightmare, as the lath tends to confuse the stud finder. You can narrow it down by doing the 'tap tap tap' test, but I tend to second and third guess myself when I go that route. I have a Zircon stud finder with a 'deep scan' feature that does a pretty good job of finding studs. Unfortunately, it finds lots of other things too. So, assuming your studs are 16 inch on center, measure off an area ~20 inches wide and go back and forth many times, lifting and recalibrating the stud finder each time. You should be able to narrow down an approximate area.

Next, get out a smallish masonry bit and drill a test hole through the plaster. Then switch to a normal drill bit to drill through the lath. You should drill for just a short distance and then hit air, and very likely your drill will crash into the wall and you'll fall off the ladder. If you keep meeting resistance, you found a stud, hoorah! Now, repeat the same step 3/4" to the left and right of that hole. If you still find that you're on the stud, great, your first hole is centered (ish). If one of the new holes didn't hit stud, you know the opposite one is centered.

Now, measure 16 inches from your 'good' hole and drill another hole. If you hit the stud, congrats, you're doing great. If not, it's back to the drawing board. Perhaps you don't have 16 inch on center studs, or perhaps you hit a horizontal beam the first time.

Now, widen out the hole in the plaster with a masonry bit the same diameter as the lag bolts you'll be using with your mount (see the mount instructions). You don't want to be screwing into the plaster itself, only the stud. From here, you should be able to follow the mount instructions for drilling a pilot hole, and then placing your lag bolts.

Be careful not to torque the bolts too tight - listen very carefully for sounds of the plaster cracking. This is the second potential pitfall with plaster - being too aggressive with the screwgun can crush the plaster and weaken the overall mount.

Hopefully, you've now got a solid, secure mount on your wall. Give it some good horizontal and vertical tugs, listening and watching carefully for any movement or signs of instability. Now, it's time to hang your plasma. Woot!

Posted by at January 3, 2008 10:09 AM | Tutorials

Comments

Great article.

Posted by: Tony at February 8, 2008 5:14 PM

Can you tell me what brand of wall mount you used? Did you use an articulating wall mount? I have my own site and I want to give some more specific instructions on mounting a flat screen to the wall.

Posted by: Tony at November 24, 2008 1:25 AM

I used a Sanus. It's got tilt, but isn't articulated.

Posted by: Colin McFadden at November 24, 2008 8:01 AM

Great!

Posted by: Tv Installation at April 28, 2009 5:47 AM

Thanks for this great post!

Posted by: Tv Installation at April 28, 2009 5:49 AM

Thanks for this post

Posted by: Wall LCD at June 22, 2009 6:59 AM

TV wall mounting has been an issue lately with wall mounts falling and resulting in childrens death. Hanging them properly is very important.

Posted by: TV Wall Mount at June 29, 2009 1:01 PM