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How to Find a Stud without a Stud Finder

Posted a few years ago by Rosie Wood - No Comments

This has got to be the most common DIY task which any DIYer should become an expert in: how to find a stud in a wall. It is especially important when you are hanging something really heavy on the wall. People, this is not a difficult job! Ladies – you do not have to get a guy to help with this. Studs are the solid beams which run beneath the surface of your walls: they are the framing.

These tasks (done properly) all require you to know how to find a stud in a wall:

  • Hanging a painting
  • Hanging a photograph
  • Putting up a shelf
  • Hanging up a TV

Need to know tips:

Often studs will be right next to electrical switches and plugs. In the USA most framing in houses is on 16” centers; although in older homes this may be 24”.

Finding the stud using sound

To find an approximate location for your stud, without using a stud finder, you should measure 16” from the outside of a power outlet. This just gives you an approximate. From this point – you will have seen people do this before – if you knock across the wall, it will sound solid where the stud is. Where it sounds hollow – like a drum -  there is no stud. To really hear the difference between the two sounds, listen for an echo this is where it is hollow.

How to tell if you have missed the stud

When you are drilling into a stud it will be easy to tell when you hit or miss. If you hit a stud it will feel more difficult to drill the entire length of the screw in, however if you were to drill and miss the stud, the drill would become quite easy and loose as it goes through the drywall.

When you nail into the wall it will be similar, if it goes in too easily after a few hits, chances are you have missed the stud. Tap it once and there is some resistance, but after a few taps (or just one if you are a man), if a similar strength hit makes the nail go really far into the wall it is because there is nothing behind it to give that resistance – you have missed the stud.

It is actually easier to go through the drywall – whether nailing or screwing something into it – than going through the stud. The wood in the stud is more dense. You will feel it get more difficult as you get to the solid wooden stud.

Rosie Wood - Author Biography

Rosie has DIY experience fixing up houses for herself and her family. She's been responsible for Painting, Tiling, Deck Building, Old Floor Maintenance, and home decoration. She brings a woman touch to our website, helping handymen and handy woman with DIY projects for their home.

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