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.
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.
- Remove a section of stone just large enough to provide a flat surface for the mounting bracket.
- Now that the stone is out of the way, locate the stud framing behind the wall.
- Implant a plank of wood in place of the removed stone, anchored to the stud framing
- Cut or reshape any necessary stone and patch them back in around the newly implanted wood plank.
- Install the TV mounting bracket and TV.
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.