You probably have seen many people placing their TVs above a fireplace, using a wall mount to hang it securely. But how about putting it over the actual fireplace mantel? Will it make your TV get hot? Will it be strong enough to actually hold a TV, or should you use a wall mount instead, just to be safe?
A fireplace mantel can hold a TV in regards to weight. Some fireplace mantels are strong enough to hold up to 180lbs (81.64kgs). Yet, most mantels may not have enough depth to accommodate your TV, and you’ll have to extend it to keep your TV secured. There’s also the risk of heat damage to the TV.
This article will talk about the crucial things you need to consider before putting a TV on a fireplace mantel. We’ll also share some reasons you may not want to do it, even if you can. Sometimes trying to avoid a DIY project can cost you more later on but sometimes you can pull it off and time and money. Stick around because this article can save you a lot of time and money in remodeling your living room.
Can You Put a TV Above a Fireplace?
Before we talk about putting a TV on top of a fireplace mantel, let’s talk about a more important question: can you put your TV above a fireplace? The quick answer is yes and you will probaly love the way it looks, but there are other factors that you need to consider, which we’ve discussed in the article Can You Mount a TV Above a Fireplace?
Generally, it’s safe to place a TV above a fireplace, but you need to have a few things in place, including a fireplace mantel. In the past, people used it as a hood to catch smoke coming from the fireplace. Nowadays, we’re using it as a decorative piece and a way to deflect some of the heat that a fireplace produces.
Aside from a new mantelpiece, you’ll also need a full-motion mount that’ll provide you with easy maneuverability and a comfortable viewing angle. Placing a TV above a fireplace could be too high and cause neck strain, making a wall mount very important. (You’ll find out why we’re talking about this later.)
Although the idea of mounting a TV above a fireplace sounds — and looks — nice, it can be very complicated to do so. Aside from finding studs to give you the stability you need, you’ll also need to drill through the heat shield behind the sheetrock. You need to consider all of these and still have the mount at the center and have enough space between the fireplace and the TV for aesthetics and heat protection.
If you think about all of these, it’s easy to understand why homeowners gravitate towards the idea of simply putting TVs on top of fireplace mantels. After all, it’s at the center, creates enough spaces between the fireplace and the TV, and deflects some of the heat that it produces, right?
Can You Put a TV Over a Fireplace Mantel?
These days, it’s common for homeowners to have their TVs above a fireplace to give to look of a free-floating TV. However, it’s rare to find someone who actually puts a TV on top of the mantelpiece. We used “rare” because even though it’s uncommon, it’s still possible to put a TV over a fireplace mantel.
But even if you can, it doesn’t mean that you can simply go out and install a mantel to have your TV on top of it. Although it looks like something you can use as a ‘floating shelf’ to carry your TV, most fireplace mantels don’t have enough space to support it. A fireplace mantel’s average depth is only 6 inches, while TV bases are anywhere from 8 to 12 inches (20.32 to 30.48 cm). A TV’s base is usually larger or that exact size which does not leave a lot of free space for the TV, the cable box, and anything else you might keep connected to.
If you’re going to put a TV on top of a fireplace mantel, 2-6 inches (5.08-15.24 cm) of the TV base doesn’t have any support. And with the cost of TVs nowadays, it’s not a ‘life hack’ that we can recommend to anyone who wants to have better aesthetics for their living room.
Homeowners who really want to put their TVs on top of a mantelpiece can use a trick to extend their fireplace mantel to have enough space to hold a TV’s base.
- Use an inexpensive plyboard with the same width as your mantelpiece, but ensure that it’s at least 12 inches (30.48 cm) deep.
- Cut a hole on the backend to help you manage the cables.
- Use screws to attach the plyboard to the wall and use the mantelpiece as the underside support.
- Paint the plyboard with the same color used for the mantelpiece to match its aesthetics.
- Use the hole on the backend to run cables through, together with the other devices that your TV needs.
This extension makes it safer for you to have your TV on top of a mantelpiece, and it’s a lot cheaper than getting a full-motion swing. However, it’ll still require you to find studs and drill through the heat shield to ensure that your extension has enough stability to hold your TV. You don’t want to have a burning TV cause a house fire so take your time with the installation.
How Much Weight Can a Mantel Hold?
It can be tricky to provide a definite answer, but to give you an idea, Outdoor GreatRoom Company provides two options for their customers: 60-inch mantels that can support up to 150lbs (68kgs), and 70-inch (177.8-cm) mantels that can support up to 180lbs (81.64kgs).
However, these numbers still depend on how you mount it on the wall. To achieve this strength, you must install it on studs for better stability and weight distribution. Some homeowners won’t do it because it’s too much of a hassle, and some would only have it glued to the wall, which can never be strong enough to hold a TV.
If you’re going to build an extension to your home’s fireplace, it would be best to test the existing mantel’s weight capacity. Although the extension has several screws attached to the studs, remember that we’re also using the mantel as underside support. So, ensure that it’s stable and can easily carry a TV.
How To Decorate a Mantel With a TV Above It
The biggest reason why many homeowners want to have their TVs on top of a fireplace is added aesthetics to the room. So it’s important to keep the mantel clean, well-decorated, and organized.
TVs rarely work alone — they always need devices to be a suitable form of entertainment. And if you have more than one device on top of the mantel, cable management can be troublesome. So, the first step in decorating a mantelpiece is to manage the cables.
If you have an extension, it’ll be easier for you to put the other devices on top of it as well. You can also add a bit of personality to it to make it feel like a part of the living room. You just have to be careful when decorating because too many pieces can make the mantel appear too busy and unappealing.
A TV above a fireplace is already pleasing enough, and you won’t really need to decorate it as much as you would with other shelves. So it would be best to keep it minimal and let the exquisite design of your mantel make your setup stand out.
Should You Put a TV Over a Fireplace Mantel?
Now that you know you can put a TV on top of a fireplace mantel and there’s a way to extend it and support the base, a more important question that we need to address is: should you really put a TV over a fireplace mantel?
Here are four reasons why you shouldn’t put a TV over the mantel:
- Creating an extension for the mantel will be out of proportion and may seem too clunky. Even with matching paint, it’ll still feel out of character, especially if you’re using the mantel as the centerpiece for your living room.
- It can make your TV too high without the option to adjust it. Sure, mounting a new TV above a fireplace makes it even higher, but if you use a full-motion mount, it’s possible to bring it down to eye level, allowing you to have a balance between heat protection and viewing comfort.
- It creates bad viewing angles and could cause neck strain. When watching TV, you want to relax and get the most comfortable position possible. However, if you only place it on top of the fireplace mantel, you’ll always adjust your sitting position, which can cause neck strain.
- Finally, putting a TV over a fireplace mantel places it too close to the heat source. Although a fireplace mantel will still help deflect some of the heat, it could still void the manufacturer’s warranty becuase the TV could get too hot and melt. It’s a huge risk that most people may not be comfortable taking.
So, even if you can, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should. You have to consider too many things other than aesthetics when designing your living room and looking for a place where you can place your TV.
Again, it’s safe to mount a TV above a fireplace because of the distance it creates between the TV and the heat source. But putting it over a fireplace mantel could cause damage to your TV. Remember, most manufacturers recommend that a TV’s temperature shouldn’t exceed 104°F (40°C).
A fireplace mantel is one of the easiest and usually the default option that homeowners consider when looking for a place where they can put their TV. Although it’s a lot easier than mounting a TV, it’s not the ideal location because of the viewing angle.
Besides comfort and aesthetics, putting the TV over a fireplace mantel also poses a huge risk because of its depth and heat exposure. So, even if a fireplace mantel can hold a new TV, it’s not something that we’d recommend because there are too many things that could cause damage to your TV.
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