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How to Use a Stud Finder

How to Use a Stud Finder
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Last Updated: 20 February 2020

Unfortunately you do not have the option of not finding the stud when you plan on wall-mounting your TV for example. The risks highly outweigh the rewards in such a scenario and you need to figure out how to find wood studs. Missing the stud can result in a cracked TV or all your china turned to little pieces. But technology has advanced greatly in recent years and the best stud finder is becoming more precise and easier to use. Keep reading the article to have the know-how required to perform a flawless wall-hang and figure out how to find a stud. There are a few types of studs that we will cover in this article.

How does a Stud Finder Work

How does a Stud Finder Work

We will be covering electronic stud finders in our article as the magnetic stud finder is inferior and less reliable. The electronic stud finders work by detecting changes in capacitance and figuring out where the stud is exactly located. A plate within the best stud finder will detect the stud using dielectric constants (different density in insulating value). The values will differ greatly from the stud because the density is different. The electronic stud finder will then signal the perfect position to drill the hole in. If you are not equipped with the correct tools required to drill the said hole please consult our article on the best cordless drill for information.

How far Apart are Studs

Finding the wall stud becomes simple once the stud finder has identified the first stud. When a home is framed the industry standard dictates that the studs should be placed anywhere between 16 to 24 inches apart. If you start from a corner and work your way 16 inches and do not find a stud it means that the stud should be located 24 inches away from the corner as this is the typical stud spacing. Therefore, if your best stud finder indicates the first stud the others should be easily found afterwards. You can expect the distance between studs to be consistent in houses across the US.

How far Apart are Studs

Finding Wall Studs

Now that you have the tool you have to calibrate it and once it stops flashing it means that you can proceed with finding the stud. Keep the unit flat on the wall and slowly slide from the corner towards the right is how to use a stud finder correctly. When you hear a beeping sound it is advised to backtrack a few inches and find out exactly where the signal is the strongest. Use a pencil to mark the correct spot and if you are using a center-finding stud finder then you can also mark the edges of the stud so that you can hit the dead center of the stud. An important tip is even if you are certain that you have found the correct stud is to check for the other stud and mark it as well. If you find it exactly 16 inches or 24 inches apart from the one you marked you know for certain that your findings are correct and you can proceed with drilling the hole. If you need to figure out how to find stud in ceiling you should know that the same method can be applied.

How to Find a Stud in a Plaster Wall

How to Find a Stud in a Plaster Wall

Finding a stud in a plaster wall is going to be a challenge and sometimes it cannot be done even with the best stud finder. There are different types of walls in apartments and they all come with different challenges when it comes to finding the studs. While they do have a smooth outside surface the inside is a different story. Because of the way they are built there are severe inconsistencies in the density and the stud finder will become useless in such a situation. The only workout that is still not fool proof is to use a metal detector that locates the nails that are fastening the wood lath to the studs. In some countries they use metal mesh or even horsehair so if you are not fully aware of how your wall was made then this could prove to be a bad idea if you want to use a stud detector. You will have to figure out how to mount a tv on the wall without studs in this scenario. If you need inspiration when it comes to mounting your TV to a wall you can find some ideas in our best tv wall mounts article.

How to Find Studs in Drywall

Just as plaster walls you will have some issues using a stud sensor on a drywall. Tapping on a drywall with your finger and looking for solid or hollow sounds. Once you identify where the solid sound is coming from you can use a small skinny nail (could use a few) and drive it into the drywall. If the stud is there and you will feel it because of how slow the nail will go in. if you do not feel any stud over there move about half an inch to the left and try the same method until you find a stud. Visit us on homemakerguide for anything related to improving your house.

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