by William Murphy
Today we’re going to teach you how to mount speakers to vinyl siding, because doing this can be handy for a number of reasons, not the least of which is having music playing from strategic spots during a party, with the press of a button (these days that means activating bluetooth).
Whether you’re throwing a party, sitting in your hot tub, having dinner under your gazebo with friends and family, having some speakers right where you want them is a great idea, but if you have vinyl siding, the mounting process is different.
The end result should be twofold – the music or audio is playing and sounds great, and on top of that, no one has to argue or even think about how the audio situation should be handled, should it arise.
It’s taken care of – by you. And from there, everyone can just happily do their thing.
Tune into these steps and learn how to safely and properly set up an outdoor entertainment area.
To optimize for sound, one speaker will ideally go up high (not more than ten feet) on one side of the patio, and the other speaker will sit at the same height on the opposite side, both tilted down slightly.
The speakers being the same height is an important detail, as you also don’t want them to be too low or have one be high and one be low.
If you have even more speakers than 2, say, for surround sound, then you’ll have to be even more strategic about where you place them, as you’ll need to remember that sound can cancel itself out and create dissonance if too much sound is pointed in exactly the same spot.
A bit of pre-planning will ensure maximum coverage of the area where people will be congregating, but be careful not to separate them by more than twenty feet, because this will cause your guests to only hear one half of the song if they are too far from the other speaker, and that can be irritating.
At the same time, putting the speakers too close together can also create audio issues, so you’ll want to try moving the speakers to different spots to simulate how the sound will be once the speakers are mounted somewhere.
At the very least, there should be some wood under that siding to drill into. Be sure of what’s underneath, because this will determine how and where to mount the speakers.
If there is indeed wood, then you will be able to easily drill into it. To be clear, you will be drilling through the siding itself, so you’ll want to be sure that this is a spot you’ll want your speakers to be for a while at least. No use having a house riddled with holes from trying out different spots for your speakers.
By the way, when mounting speakers outside, make sure these are outdoor speakers, and that they are waterproof if they are in danger of getting wet. We’ve known people to forget this crucial detail and suddenly their new speakers are ruined because they somehow assumed that they were waterproof when they weren’t. Yikes! So be aware of the fact of whether they are waterproof or not, before you buy them, and certainly before you mount them.
When drilling right into plywood, we recommend using some seriously sturdy bolts, which will hold the speakers up reliably and pose no danger for them falling.
To be sure, we recommend talking to your nearest and most trusted home store expert, and tell him how much your speakers weigh, and where exactly you’ll be putting them.
Also you will want to go over documentation carefully when it comes to what the speakers themselves say about mounting them. Since this article is rather general, it is impossible for us to give specific advice, as we don’t know anyone’s exact scenario for mounting their outdoor speakers, but it is always good to err on the side of caution.
If you are using bluetooth speakers, your audio source is your phone, or some other device like a computer, and that means the speakers will need to get power from somewhere, whether that be a wire to an outlet, or batteries.
If you are using wired speakers that connect to an audio source, like some kind of amplifier, then ideally, your speakers will be as close to the audio source as possible, to minimize the amount of wiring needed.
If you’re being finicky about where exactly you drill into, which is understandable, there’s a handy tool called a Stud Finder available at home improvement stores. Unfortunately for the single ladies out there, it doesn’t find them handsome men, but will certainly find a plank of wood in the wall.
Simply hold it up against the wall, press in the button to activate the sensor, and drag it horizontally until it beeps and indicates a stud. Then release the button and move up a foot or two, and go horizontally again, until you reach where the stud should be.
You will have to drill the speaker bracket into the stud because vinyl siding alone is not strong enough to hold speakers. The wood bracing your home will be strong enough. Trust it.
Mark where the hole(s) will go, and then do the same along the rest of the wall, wherever you want your speakers to go.
If there are no studs in your walls, at least none that are available to drill into, get yourself some anchor bolts.
To drill into siding, go near the top of the siding where it’s most narrow. Siding itself is not strong enough to hold a speaker; try it, and the siding will sag and potentially drop your speaker.
So drill a hole, insert an anchor, and then bolt the mounting bracket into place. It is crucial that your screws are galvanized, so as not to wear down, and are long enough to penetrate the siding and the frame of the house to keep sturdy.
Another option is a mounting block, which is an industry standard for mounting all equipment (like lighting, etc.) to exterior surfaces. No matter what you use to mount the speakers, you will have to seal each hole with silicone to prevent moisture getting in.
Any wiring will ideally be hidden in the wall to maximize aesthetics but also to protect it from the elements. Water and electricity do not mix, as we all know.
We don’t want the wires to rust, either. You will drill a hole behind where the speaker will go, so that the hole is hidden, and feed the wiring through this and out the other side to an electrical outlet.
Any good outdoor speakers will come with some kind of mounting system. You may want to hide them up under the eave (soffit) or under an overhang.
Just remember: all good homes will have a wooden frame with studs that you can drill into. Find the studs, and use long enough screws, and your speakers should be good to go.
Finally, make sure the speakers you purchase really are meant for outdoor use. They will be made of a plastic fiber or coated paper and this will allow them to hold up to rain, etc.
No matter how durable, though, we always recommend bringing those babies in during winter.
A quick tip is to get a separate plastic mount that you attach to the permanent mount (which will go into the siding). Simply remove the speaker on the plastic mount before snowfall.
That about wraps it up for now. Let us know if you have any questions or leave a comment below. Thanks!
Here is an additional video on how to install a receptacle into vinyl siding, which we found informative.
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About William Murphy
William has worked as a general contractor in the city of Fremont, CA for over three decades. During that time, he's written articles about architecture, construction, and environmental protection for various publications. He is an expert on green building and sustainable design. When he's not writing or working, William enjoys spending time with his wife and two children.