Flat Screen TV Over the Fireplace

Lucky you! You snagged that movie theater flat screen TV for a few bennies from the Black Friday camp out, or Boycott Shopping on Thanksgiving Day Sale, or the Cyber Monday sales online. Fantastic!  Now what? Well, if you did not get ran over, pushed aside, beat up or shot in the process, somebody is going to have to set up the flat screen TV to watch it. Did you remember to get the TV mounting bracket? I gotta ask, were you first in line?

A strongly opined subject is that of whether a TV is or is not recommended above the fireplace. Great subject! Let us make a few insightful considerations. Search for flat screen TV over fireplace and one will find a plethora of images and reports as to whether of not to install a flat screen TV over fireplace. In summary, the bottom line is that it is a personal choice.

The following report is an opinion and observation and does not remove liability from the equation. Please be sure to quell any concerns with properly authorities, manufacturers, and fire marshals.

CAUTION: Safety First +

Fire hazard- Is a flat screen TV over the fireplace safe? There are plenty of arguments, but allow me to dispel the issues as it relates to the fireplace causing a TV to catch fire. Usually in between a fireplace and a flat screen TV installed on the wall above is, now hear this, a wooden mantel. Did you here that? A flammable, wooden fixture, set in place lower than the TV and likely in place many, many years before the idea of a flat screen TVs being installed above fireplace mantels. And what of the flanking wooden columns at the sides and many fireplaces? Flames would have to pass around the wooden mantel without burning it to get to the TV.  

Solid foundation- Some mantles are solidly affixed to the structure of the building, while other mantles are merely shelves that hold a few small items, such as pictures, plants, vases and candles. If it is a flat screen TV placed on the mantle, mounted on its stand, it is very important to be sure the mantle is firmly attached before placing the TV on it. Pull on the mantle, push down on it, see if it feels loose, unstable, or can easily be detached from the wall. It is easier and cheaper to repair or replace the mantle than a potential damaged device or an injured child.

Proper Installation


Flat screen mounted over fireplace

When a flat screen TV is set or “installed” correctly, the likeliness of it falling is minimal. Mounting brackets come in a variety, and not all of them assemble the same way. Be sure to read the instructions. Most brackets are made longer than the bracket legs so that the TV can be centered in the space, however, every situation and placement location dictates whether or not two wall studs can be used. Most importantly, if the TV is being installed on a wall mounting bracket, at least two bracket lag bolts should be driven into a wall stud. Sometimes it is not possible to hit two studs. If your TV is large and heavy, it is recommended that a carpenter or handyman be brought in, not to alter, but to enhance the structure of the wall to accommodate installation of the TV mounting bracket. While the wall is open, it is easy for an electrician to conceal TV cables and wires behind the TV.

Room Placement


Flat screen mounted to the side of the fireplace

Many smaller rooms that predate flat screen were planned or built before large, flat screen TVs. As a result, above the fireplace, although seemingly impractical from an opinion standpoint, is often the only place such a viewing monstrosity can be located for maximum functional appeal of the room, unless, of course, a major renovation is in the works. Room placement will always remain a personal preference. The flat screen TV installation professional will not be the ones viewing your TV. That said, to each his or her own.

Purpose of a Mantel

The original purpose of a mantel was to catch the smoke but these days, with the enhancement of ventilation, mantels are used mostly for home decor.

Heat From the Flames

Here are some physical considerations:

  • A mantle deflects the heat away from the wall above it.
  • Electronic components generate about the same, if not more heat than the air-cooled heat that resonates up from the fireplace.
  • Smoke and fumes are vented outside via a chimney.
  • Fireplace blowers, if equipped, push heat out into the room.
  • Wall should not get hot when the fire is lit. If that is the case, I strongly recommend contacting your local fire department for an assessment or for recommendations to professionals in your area.

Soot build-up and brick wall

  • Is there soot built up at all on the mantel? You may want to have that looked at as it can be hazardous to health, especially if fumes and carbon monoxide is being vented into the structure. Again, contact your local fire department for an assessment or for recommendations to professionals in your area.


Good Day!

Ryan Bruzan

Custom Built-In Cabinetry, Trimwork and Refinishing


Cell: (502) 533-8282

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