Budget Friendly: The French Cleat. Or, the Cheapest Way to Hang a TV on the Wall.

Inspired by an article in an old issue of This Old House, this weekend we decided to use a French Cleat to hang our new flat screen TV on the basement wall.

It seems really simple. It wasn’t.

First, one half of the 2×6 we were using cracked when Scott ripped it. Then Scott couldn’t drill the holes exactly 15 3/4 inches apart to line them up with the holes on the back of the TV. We also had problems hitting the studs in the wall.

As a side note, what is it about stud finders that they never QUITE work perfectly? Or is it user error? Probably.

Anyway, we also had issues with the table saw fence moving while Scott was ripping the 2×6 and subsequent 2x4s. So, it was not nearly as simple as it should have been. But, what project is?

Here is how to make your own French Cleat Flat Screen Mount.

Materials:

  • 1 2×6 board cut to a length shorter than the width of your TV
  • bolts that fit your TV and washers to accompany them
  • 4-6 3″ wood screws

Pretty cheap TV mount, right? You’ll need a table saw to rip the 2×6. Ours was relatively inexpensive; cheaper than most commercially available TV mounts.

1. Rip a 2×6 in half at a 45 degree angle.

(Ripping the first board in half at a 45 degree angle. This one was a 2×6. Half of it worked perfectly for the wall but, because of various problems,  we had to rip a few 2x4s for the back of the TV before we got one that worked).

2. Hang half of the 2×6 on the wall — put 2 screws into each stud through the cleat. We countersunk 2 1/2 inch screws, but if we’d had them on hand, we would have used 3″ screws without countersinking.

(First half up on the wall. Notice all the extra holes from missing the studs. Oops.)

3. Mount the second half of the cleat on the back of the TV. We used bolts that fit our TV pushed through holes in the cleat that were slightly bigger than the bolts. Your TV manual will tell you what size bolts to use. We needed 16mm M8s and we countersunk them. Longer ones not countersunk would work, but if the heads stick up too much, they might cause the cleat not to sit flush with the wall. I would recommend using washers between the bolt and the cleat, although we didn’t use any.

(This board was about try number 4 to get one right for the TV. Good thing we’ve got a lot of 2x4s lying around!)

4. Lastly, plug in the TV and hang it on the wall. Adjust it for center.

We’ll be sure to post some photos of the TV hanging on the wall once the basement is totally done.

Have you found another budget friendly way to mount a TV? Do you think the French Cleat method sounds doable or are you afraid we’ll find our TV lying face-down on the floor someday, covered in drywall dust?

Psst…we used the same method for our new 60″ TV upstairs. It was much easier the second time around!

We will be happy to see your thoughts

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