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So you have a stone fireplace

How do we get your TV installed over your stone fireplace?

If your home is less than 20 years old and has a stone fireplace, I’d be willing to bet the stone isn’t really stone at all. Some homeowners know this to be true, and many others are surprised when I inform them of this fact. It may look and feel like real stone but it is actually manufactured stone (faux stone) made from concrete or some other aggregate compound.

"Stacked" Stone

How can you tell if your stone is actually faux stone? If you’re still in the building process you can simply ask your builder. Another way is a game that I play with a contractor of mine called “spot the duplicate stone”. Faux stone manufacturers only have so many moulds to use in the creation of their product, so it’s inevitable that a shipment of stone to the build site will include a number of stones that shared the same mould. If the installer did a poor job you might see two identical stones nearby one another over your fireplace. Otherwise, you may have to look a bit harder but you’re almost guaranteed to find two (or more) that match.
WARNING: Playing this game may result in your eye being drawn to those stones every time you look at your fireplace from now on.

So what does this mean for your dream of having your TV mounted over the fireplace? Well, if your fireplace were made of real stone then I’d likely consider it structurally sound enough to mount your TV directly to that surface, with some special anchors of course. However, with faux stone fireplaces the stone is simply adhered (clad) to the wall in much the same way that your tile backsplash is in your kitchen. Behind the stone is generally a wire mesh, stapled to a plywood board, nailed to a stud frame. Since we can’t find the studs (because of the stone), we can’t be sure the weight of the TV is properly anchored to the studs (as the mounting bracket manufacturer recommends). Therefore I don’t believe that your fireplace can be considered structurally sound enough to support a TV. And, even if it were structurally sound, the stone usually has such a varied profile that your TV likely wouldn’t hang straight anyway.

Some builders or TV installers may disagree; I don’t care. I care about ensuring that anything I mount on the wall stays on the wall, I care about ensuring that you are as happy with my work on day 1000 as you are on day 1, and I care about ensuring that your property and family are safe from the threat of a falling TV.

It’s starting to sound like I’m giving you a long-winded speech that could be summed up by saying “it can’t be done”. That’s not the case at all. In fact, I have developed a process for these faux stone installs that I have refined over the past 5+ years. Our recommended method for achieving your goal of mounting your tv over your faux-stone clad fireplace goes as follows.

  1. Remove a section of stone just large enough to provide a flat surface for the mounting bracket.
  2. Now that the stone is out of the way, locate the stud framing behind the wall.
  3. Implant a plank of wood in place of the removed stone, anchored to the stud framing
  4. Cut or reshape any necessary stone and patch them back in around the newly implanted wood plank.
  5. Install the TV mounting bracket and TV.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.

If you still have questions feel free to reach out via phone, text, or email:

Black Friday 2018 – Steals & Scams

I try to find the best deals for my customers and networking partners each year, so here are the best deals to grab this Black Friday (and things to avoid).  As new ads get leaked I’ll update this post, so check back thru the coming week for updates.

The Steals


LG 70" 4K Smart TV

Walmart has the best deal I’ve seen so far is a 65″ 4K TCL with built-in Roku for ONLY $398.  In case you haven’t heard of TCL don’t worry, it’s actually a very highly rated TV with some of the best feedback on Amazon.  It’s my go-to recommendation for any customer looking for great bang for their buck.

They also have a 55″ Hisense with Roku for $248 and a 40″ Hisense non-smart TV for $99.  Last year we thought a 32″ for under $100 was a steal so these deals are amazing.

Looking for a huge TV?  Best Buy has a 70″ LG 4K Smart TV for only $699.  That lands squarely on the $10/inch mark I look for on premium brand TV deals.




KitchenAid Stand Mixer

Instant Pots are super popular now and they’re also on sale nearly everywhere.  It looks like Walmart has the best deal though at only $59.  Keep an eye out for Amazon though because they did a lightning deal on them last year for $40.

Kohl’s has a great deal on two different immersion blenders, with one for only $5 after rebate!  And it’s not just the hand blenders on sale.  Check out this page for all the $5 appliance deals at Kohl’s.

Best Buy is going to have a KitchenAid stand mixer for $219 ($280 off).

Belk is also offering an entire selection of Bella appliances for $7.99 after rebate; the most notable being a toaster oven.

The best deal on an air fryer is at JCPenny$4.99 after a $20 mail in rebate.  They’re also offering a toaster oven at the same price.


Game Systems

Xbox One S and PS4’s will be on sale pretty much everywhere for $199.  Both will come with one game or another.  However, the best deal I’ve seen so far is Kohl’s where they’re offering an additional $60 Kohl’s cash bonus.  Bonuses like this are how you make your holiday budget stretch the farthest.

GameStop is offering a $50 gift card with the purchase of any new gaming system.

GameStop is also offering Xbox Live subscription cards for $10 off.

Also at GameStop is the Seagate 4TB Xbox One Game Drive for $99 ($60 off).



If your TV is lacking in the sound department, Target will be running this Samsung Soundbar with wireless subwoofer for $119 ($80 off).


PC’s and Peripherals

32" Dell Monitor

If you’re looking for portable storage Best Buy has a great combo deal on a Western Digital 4TB hard drive with a 32GB thumb drive for only $79.99 ($120 off).

Best Buy also has a 120GB USB 3.0 thumb drive for $18.99 ($61 off).

If you need an upgrade to your workstation or home office Staples has a 32″ Dell computer monitor for $129 ($90 off).

Staples also has a Brother Laser Printer for $49 (50% off).

Staples also has a selection of printers and projectors which offer up to an additional $50 savings if you trade in your old equipment.


Other Electronics

If you want Roku but don’t need a whole new TV don’t worry.  Roku Ultra 4K is going to be on sale pretty much everywhere for $48 (50% off).  However, Walmart is the best place to pick one up because they’re throwing in a package of streaming credits worth over $50 including Sling TV, Vudu, and Showtime.

Best Buy also has a deal on a Roku Stick for $29.99 ($20 off).

Another good deal at Best Buy is their select offerings of $7.99 4K Blu Ray movies.  These are generally $30 or more.  They also have standard Blu Ray movies as low as $3.99.

GoPro HERO7Sometimes retailers have price agreements with manufacturers which prohibit them from offering a discount on the item itself.  Instead retailers will make special packages or offers if you buy the item from them.  This is the case with Best Buy and the GoPro HERO7 for $399.  It’s the same price it always is, but BB is offering a $30 gift card and a free 128GB memory card with purchase.  That’s a solid deal if you’re looking to be the star of your own action film.


The Scams

It’s important to do your research before you head out on Black Friday because not everything the stores claim is a “door buster” is actually a good deal.

PowerBeats by Dre are a great example.  They retail for $199.  Kohl’s is offering them for $149 and giving $45 Kohl’s cash as an incentive to buy.  Target has the same ones for $89 with no strings attached.  However neither of these “deals” is better than the current ebay price of $75 with free shipping.  And yes, that’s new, not used.

PowerBeats by Dre

Rocketfish Full Motion BracketAnother example: Best Buy’s Rocketfish TV Brackets.  As far as quality, they’re fine, I can’t say anything bad about them.  That price though…  a full motion TV mounting bracket for 40″-75″ TV’s for $99 ($100 off).  $100 is reasonable, but we can sell you a full motion bracket for $75, and our prices include tax.  In fact, we’ll give you $25 off that price if we’re mounting the TV for you.

Also at Best Buy is a 4ft HDMI cable for $9.99 ($20 off).  Not only is this not a good deal, but at the original $29.99 it’s almost criminal.  Retailers make loads of money on accessories like cables and brackets.  At Install Heroes we charge $1/ft for HDMI cables no matter the length.  For more information about why expensive HDMI cables are a waste of good money check out this article on MUO.

Conn’s really should be more wary of making deals look better than they actually are considering their name is already what we use to convey an abuse of confidence.  That hasn’t stopped them from inflating the value of deal they’re offering on an HP laptop this Black Friday.  It’s a 15.6″ touchscreen i5 laptop with 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive for $399.  It’s actually not a bad deal.  The problem comes when they claim that it’s a savings of $600.  A laptop with those specs for $1000 is a rip off, and any claim that suggests it’s worth $1000 is a scam.  Just to compare; the computer I’m writing this post on right now is an i7 convertible touchscreen with 12GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive, and a 128GB SSD but it only cost $1100… two years ago.

This is just another example of the importance of doing your research and having a pro that you trust to answer questions.  Install Heroes always offers free advice, so feel free to contact us about any electronics you’re considering for purchase.  We’ll be happy to consult with you about your needs and whether the item your considering will meet them.

TV Wall Mount Installation

TV wall mount installation

TV Wall Mount Installation

One of the things that TV wall mount installation has taught me is that there are three basic types of people.  There are of course many subsets of these groups, but the three main types of people are: the “DIYers”, the “Can’t Do’s” and the “Could Do’s”.  The DIYers don’t need our help and they don’t want our help, unless they try to do it themselves and mess something up.  The Can’t Do’s really do need our help, either because they don’t have the knowledge or the experience to do it themselves.  Lastly the Could Do’s; who could do the job themselves but either don’t have time to do it themselves, or would simply rather pay someone to do it for them. No matter if you’re going to pay to have someone install the TV for you, or if you’re thinking of doing it yourself, there are a few things you should know before you get started.

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Data Backup – How to backup your files

iDrive affiliate link

Having a backup of your data is extremely important.  Not having a data backup when disaster strikes can take your computer problems from bad to worse.  Imagine your hard drive crashes and you don’t have a backup of your psych paper that’s due tomorrow, all the photos of your children since they were born or the Quickbooks files for your business with a tax deadline around the corner.  Now not only do you have to replace a hard drive, but you’ve lost documents which may irreplaceable.

Luckily, there are a number of ways to get your documents backed up these days.  This post is going to go over three of the most common methods.

Manual Data Backup

USB Thumb Drive - Data BackupA manual backup is as simple as connecting an external device such as a thumb drive or portable hard drive and saving a copy of your files on the external device.  You can do this by the drag and drop method or the copy and paste method.

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Computer Repair

Computer Repair TroublesComputer Repair

Computer Repair is a broad term.  Some people instantly think of viruses and malware, others think of broken laptop screens and hard drives.  Computer repair is such a broad term because computer repair companies specialize in troubleshooting and servicing a wide variety of hardware and software related problems with personal computers.  I’ve recently found that if I am more specific about what I mean when I say “computer repair” it tends to trigger more thought in the minds of those I’m speaking to.

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