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Make your TV a feature presentation
A flat-screen lends itself for display over a mantel but hang one with caution
Owners of flat-screen TVs have the option of hanging them over a mantel. But this isn’t something for a novice — hanging one requires some reinforcement and expertise. - photo by Tom Reed
One of the joys of owning a shiny new flat-screen TV is in its display.

No, not the TV picture — although, yes, that is pretty cool. But figuring out a place to put it is half the fun, too.

You can purchase a console to serve as a stand, but flat screens can also be mounted on a wall. And if your home has a fireplace, more homeowners are considering the mantel for the best place to hang this new piece of furniture.

But there are a few things to consider before just adding a few brackets onto your wall above a fireplace.

"You would need to think about heat — how much heat is rising — and stability," said Reeves Doss, owner of CBC Construction off McEver Road in Gainesville. "You have to have backing in there to carry the weight of the TV and the mounting bracket, and you want to make sure you don’t damage any of the flue pipes or anything."

And consider what you’re hanging the TV on, too.

"If it’s masonry then that is a different application than if it’s a sheetrock-and-wood frame," he added. For brick or stone, you are going to have to have backing to install your TV, Doss said.

Dan Rosenbaum, owner of Dan Rosenbaum Masonry Contractor, agreed that more support will have to be behind the stone or brick.

"The stone itself would not be strong enough to hold the TV," he said.

Doss added that epoxy will be needed for the anchors for a masonry application.

"You don’t just put anchors up there, you have to epoxy them in and there’s a lot of steps you need to go through to ensure ... the anchor does not vibrate out of the brick," Doss said.

And if you’re installing a flat screen on sheetrock, make sure you add extra support there, too.

"A lot of times you’ve got to cut out the sheet rock and install backing," Doss said. "Then a lot of times we will put a metal shield back there, too, for additional security from the heat of the flue pipe. You have to have the mantel, so the mantel will deflect the heat before it got to the TV."

To make the TV a little more appealing to the room’s design, Doss said he will sometimes install the TV behind a movable painting.

"(They) are actually hidden behind a painting and you push a button and the painting goes up and you push a button and the painting comes down," he said.

Jennifer Reynolds, owner Jennifer Reynolds Interiors, agrees that the best design idea would be to cover the TV with art.

"The best-case scenario is to use roll up art and totally hide it," she said. "A lot of mantels are too high — and way too high for viewing ... but if the homeowner really wants to do it, I’d like to make the (flat) screen a total feature, trim it out, frame it out and kind of incorporate that around the TV.

"Every client is different ... I think it really is a personal preference."

Reynolds added that to avoid a sore neck, be sure to adjust the TV for viewing.

"If the TV is higher than 6 feet you might want to tilt it down," she said.