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How do you find the studs in a wall without using a stud finder device?

Just need to know,    How do you find the studs in your walls without using a stud finder device? 

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Posted 2013-12-27T14:57:40+0000  by ladyhawke1782 ladyhawke1782

Hello Ladyhawke1782.  Welcome to the Community!


Well, it is possible to locate wall studs without using a stud finder, but the tool sure makes life easier.


First off, let's talk a little bit about how walls are constructed.


Studs can vary in depth, but are made of 2x? material which will actually measure 1 1/2" wide.

That 1 1/2" is the width that supports the wall.

There are always studs in the corner of a room.

There are always studs next to windows and doorways.

Usually electrical boxes are attached to a wall stud on one side of the box.

The placement of studs in areas without doors and windows will usually be spaced 16" apart, (called on 16" on center).

Sometimes they will be placed 24" apart, but 16" is far more common.


While this information is helpful if you are hanging curtains next to a window, most of the time you will be trying to locate wall studs in a place more suitable for hanging heavy pictures or shelving.  The middle of a larger blank wall expanse comes to mind for this.


So how do I find the studs that are not the obvious suspects?


The first thing I would do is look at the baseboard molding and/or crown molding that runs across the room horizontally.  See if you can locate the small depressions or possibly bumps where nail holes have been filled in.

The molding will be nailed to studs, and this is one way to get a feel for where they might be.  Drywall is also nailed or screwed to studs, and maybe you can see an imperfection in the wall where the mud was not perfectly matched to the rest of the drywall.  This will show up as vertical lines in the wall surface as you scan down the wall by placing your cheek next to it.


Second would be to lightly rap on the wall as you move across it..  Listen for the tone of the rapping to change.  It will be easiest to tell the hollow sound of an area where the wall has no stud nearby, and the sound will become much more solid as you get near a stud.  This method can work for drywall/gypsum construction, but is hopeless for older plaster walled homes.


If your home has plaster walls, then unless your visual nail hole inspections pan out well, a deep scanning stud finder is your best bet.  The good news is that unless you are hanging heavy duty shelving or a large mirror, the plaster wall itself will be strong enough for holding just about anything else.


Is this what you are looking for?




Posted 2013-12-27T17:09:48+0000  by Chris_HD_CHI

Before we had electronic stud finders, there were a couple of methods used.


The earliest stud finder I remember had a plastic body with a magnet.  When you

moved it around the wall, if the magnet found a nail in the drywall, that was a pretty

good indication of a stud.  You then looked for a pattern, a number of nails in a

vertical line along the stud.  You also looked for a pattern of studs every 16 inches,

if that's what they did.


The other option, most people used was to tap on the wall with your hand or a hammer,

listening for how solid the sound was, sort of listening for an echo or no echo.  Again,

listen for that pattern every 16 inches or so.  Last, you can pound a nail into the wall, to see

if it hits something solid.  If it passes through the sheet rock (assuming that's what you have),

move over 1/4 inch or so and keep trying.  You will end up with some extra holes to patch,

but that will find your studs.


Hope this helps


I tried to find a store associate today to help with some windows, they paged the person,

no response.  I left a large note taped to their computer terminal with a message, please

call my cell phone while I'm still in the store, still no response.  I was leaving and the

person was sitting at their desk, didn't notice the big note on their computer.


Once in a while you find an associate who knows what they are talking about, but rare.


I used to own a hardware store, I purchase a lot at HD, but HD is not a hardware store.


Thanks for looking -


Jim  (Empirical Technology)

Posted 2013-12-28T02:27:24+0000  by emptech
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