Wood Studs 3" Inside Drywall?


Old 11-20-14, 06:10 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 104
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Wood Studs 3" Inside Drywall?


My brother-in-law moved into a new apartment complex, and I'm helping him hang some TVs on the wall. I've put 2 up so far; which were easy because the wood studs were where they should be behind the wall.

However, the wall he has in his den; which the other side is the outside hallway wall, I couldn't find a stud at all. I tried with my stud finder, and nothing; so the contractors are still there because they are still finishing work on the apartment complex and he located the studs but they are 3 inches behind the wall; so to me it seems like the hallway drywall is right up against the wood studs...which makes sense.

But when I drive a screw from within the apartment; I first break through the drywall and then I don't hit the stud until 3 inches in.

I've never seen a setup like this and I really don't even know how they attached the drywall from within his den room...it's strange.

So I'm afraid to hang the TV on this wall because I'm picturing a 3 inch empty wall cavity between the drywall and the actual wood stud; so to me this doesn't seem like it would do a good job holding up a big TV.

Has anyone ever experienced this type of setup before? How could they attach drywall to his den wall when the wood studs are 3 inches deep inside the wall? It doesn't make sense to me...

Thank you!
Sponsored Links
Old 11-20-14, 07:30 PM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: New England
Posts: 10,523
Received 37 Votes on 34 Posts
The only thing I can think of is a double studded wall and those you are reaching for are the outer wall. But then there needs to be another set of studs for the inner wall.

Are there any electrical outlets on that wall? They should be fastened to something. If you remove the cover plate you should be able to probe BESIDE (not inside) the box to find a stud. Then measure 16 or 24 inches to either side.

Strange the contractor can't answer this question.

When a stud finder leaves me in question, I resort to tapping and judging the sound. Also, if there is nothing behind there then the wall should bow when pushed on.

Others I'm sure will have some ideas.

Old 11-20-14, 07:49 PM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,965
Received 6 Votes on 6 Posts
If it is a common hallway wall, it most likely is a fire wall with offset studs and fire rated sheetrock. It also decouples the sheetrock layers for sound deadening.
Old 11-21-14, 07:21 AM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 4,294
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Look at the baseboards and see if you can find some nails along the top of the base, they should be in a stud.
Old 11-21-14, 02:41 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 104
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the replies!

Yes, it's definitely strange...

I think there is an outlet box there but I poked around the middle of the wall lined up with the outlet box, but nothing was there. I thought for sure there would be a stud there; how could they possibly mount an outlet box without a stud going from floor to ceiling.

Yes, I didn't think of that; maybe the studs are offset which would make sense why they found a stud 3 inches into the wall. But if they are off set, I wonder why my stud finder didn't find the other set of studs on the den side of the wall...weird.

I'm going to have to tear down all the drywall...hahaha.
Old 11-21-14, 02:46 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,583
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
Get a magnetic stud finder. Run it back and forth above the receptacle.

Name:  47-400_web_detail.jpg
Views: 80
Size:  4.8 KB
Old 11-21-14, 02:49 PM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: WI/MN
Posts: 19,584
Received 94 Votes on 83 Posts
It seems to me that the drywall would have a lot of give if it was 3" from the studs.
Old 11-21-14, 03:47 PM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: New England
Posts: 10,523
Received 37 Votes on 34 Posts
They could have used remodel boxes that are just cut into the drywall and supported by built in brackets or tabs. It would be strange, but possible.

In a commercial building it would be common for them to use much thicker drywall.

Find a long thin piece of plastic that you can insert above or below that electrical box and probe left and right until you hit something.

One guess would be 8" or 12" left and right of the one stud they located (3" deep) you might find the alternate stud on your side. When desperate I will get out my 1/16" drill bit and drill a hole just above the baseboard. Easy to tell if there is a stud back there and easy to cover up afterwords.

Old 11-21-14, 04:09 PM
GregH's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Manitoba
Posts: 10,144
Received 38 Votes on 36 Posts
I have many times run into a similar situation and will use a 4" hole saw to make an opening that will give a clear view into the wall space.
If you need a solid backing for hanging something it is much easier to come up with a solid plan doing this and is very easy to use the round cutout to fill the hole back in.
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: