TV Over Fireplace

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Mounting a TV over a Fireplace

It is an age-old debate, well, as old as flat panel TVs anyway.  In practice, it is the most common place we install a TV.  A lot of self-proclaimed experts will tell you that it's the absolute wrong thing to do...that the heat and smoke from the fireplace will destroy your TV. 

I can't count how many we've installed in the past nine years...not one customer has complained of a failed or even smoke tinted TV.  Our installations over fireplaces are in the hundreds.  

So, why do some scoff at such a mounting?  It must come down to assumptions--its easy to assume rising heat, smoke, and soot will be convected right into and on to your TV.  Unless the fireplace is defective and inefficient, the heat just isn't that much nor that hot riding the wall straight up from the fireplace opening (although, I'm sure some soot would escape any fire--it's just not been found to be depositing on the anything above the fireplace at any noticeable rate--maybe fifty-years worth of build-up might be an issue?)

Look at it this way, is the bottom of your mantle burned, scorched, smoked over?  If it is, get the fireplace fixed...most likely, it isn't, and your TV will be just fine as well.

The other problem with mounting over a fireplace is the height.  That is just logistics...if you're going to mount above the fireplace, the TV will be "above the fireplace".  We'll always use a quality tilt mount or articulating arm mount so the glare from overhead lights is not a nuisance, but it still means the TV is at a height where you must look up.  In practice, we have not had any customer complaints after the fact that the TV was too high (and our customers do always choose the height themselves based on our recommendations)...it seems when watching TV most people aren't sitting straight up in a chair looking straight forward.  Most of us rest our heads back a little or are even laying down in all kinds of positions.  

A lot of experts (us included) will say that the TVs are designed for the best viewing pleasure being with the vertical center of the TV at viewing height--this is true, but it is also not as straight forward geometrically as one might think.  After all, if you are leaning back or laying down, your center of vision is up at an angle from the position of your head, plus, since your eyballs do move, they naturally align themselves to the TV.  I don't think I'm contending that everyone should mount their TVs with the center at a 45° angle from seated head-height, but what I am saying is that a little bit of height is not a bad thing and is a more natural viewing angle.

All-in-all, lots of people will give their opinion and will tell you how wrong you are (about more than just TVs over fireplaces), when the bottom line is, the best place to install your TV is exactly where you want it...low; high; on the ceiling; on the floor....

Our warnings about mounting above a fireplace:

  • Studs can be hard to find, especially behind rock or other facades
  • Fireplaces aren't always framed like a wall...be sure you are in solid studs that are solidly framed in
  • Make sure your wires in the fireplace cavity are clear of any hot surfaces...if the fireplace is installed right, should be no problem, but be sure...no need to turn the entire house into a fireplace.

The hardest things about installing over a fireplace:  

  • Ladder time
  • Getting power behind the TV so you conceal all wires
  • Mounting flush on uneven rock surfaces

If you're confident and handy, it's no harder than any other installation other than most of it is on a ladder.  If you have any doubts, give us a call...we do this professionally and we know exactly where the liabilities lie!

Once your TV is installed above your fireplace, from our customer's experiences, you will not be disappointed.

Give us a call or drop an email or hit us up on Facebook for an estimate or to arrange a site-survey so we can let you know if your fireplace is ready to host your TV.

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