How to Locate Wall Studs How to Locate Wall Studs

What You'll Need
Stud finder (optional)
Pencil (if necessary)
Measurement tool (if necessary)

There are two possible methods to locate wall studs if you need to hang pictures or heavier items such as shelves, cabinets, or wall railing. Make sure you work accurately for the safety of your household by learning how to find wall studs with the instructions below.

Step 1 – Tap the Wall with a Hammer

One of the simplest ways to locate wall studs without even stepping out of your home is by using a hammer, which all homeowners should have in their toolboxes. Softly tap the wall with the hammer and listen carefully to the resonation of sound that the wall will produce. If the resonation sounds empty, there won't be any studs behind that wall. If the sound changed and is firmer, you’ve most likely tapped the stud. Knock around carefully in a horizontal fashion to find its edge. After you’ve found what you think is your first wall stud edge, mark the position with a pencil. From this mark, you’ll measure 16 or 24 inches in either horizontal direction to verify which standard stud distance was used to build your house. The space between wall studs should repeat consistently to help you locate the exact position of the next wall stud. By checking this, you can make sure you didn’t hit a pipe or other object in your wall.

Step 2 – Purchase a Stud Finder

A faster and more precise way to locate wall studs is by using a tool called a stud finder, which you can buy at your local home improvement store. There are several different types of stud finders. They can detect not only lumber studs, but also steel and iron studs. They can also indicate the presence of current conducting cables in drywall or plaster, as well as in concrete walls with precision from 3/4 inches to 1 1/2 inches in depth. There are also stud finders that can help you find the centers or edges of studs, and can also be equipped with a self-marking pencil to do the work more comfortably and efficiently. These pencils range from the basic kind to futuristic designs. Choose the appropriate type of stud finder depending on the type of walls you have in your home. In the end, this inexpensive tool will satisfy your needs and is a valuable addition to your toolbox.

Step 3 – Use the Stud Finder

Turn the stud finder on, either automatically by placing it against the wall or by manually switching it on. Move it slowly in a horizontal fashion across the wall. As soon as you approach the location of your wall stud, the machine will indicate its presence with a light or sound. Use the button or insert your own pencil into the special opening to mark either the center or edge of the wall stud. All of the stud finder’s functions will depend on the type of tool you purchased for your needs.

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