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How to Find A Wall Stud – 6 Simple Techniques

Amna Nazeer is a passionate writer and search engine optimizer. Her aim is to help her clients to achieve digital media goals.


Being an expert DIYer and carpenter, I always emphasize homeowners locate a wall stud before putting the hammer and adding a finishing touch to your wall shelves. When you randomly install a shelf anywhere in the wall, you do not have something concrete for your hangings to latch on to, and you let your precious piece susceptible to falling. For the best safety, you should find a find stud before installing anything! Here are easy-to-follow steps to locate a stud in the wall, both with and without a stud finder.

What are wall studs?

We call studs two by 4-inch beams that have a purpose to maintain the strength of your home's frame. Studs are made up of either wood or metal and have a better tendency to hold screws than the drywall.

Why is it crucial to find a wall stud?

If you want to hang bulky items on your wall, it is necessary to find a wall stud. There is no exact weight after which you can no longer use either a nail or an anchor. The best way however is to stay on the safer side and locate a stud as it tends to carry more weight and keep the shelves straight. This also avoids sagginess and allows you to put anything you want on your wall shelves.

People opt for different methods for finding a wall stud, but some people with an exceptionally good sense of sound can gauge when the sounds change after knocking on the sheetrock.

How to find a wall stud conveniently

Here are foolproof methods that work out in finding the studs. However, some ways may seem unorthodox, yet they are practical and help you locate the studs in no time.

Tap the wall before drilling a hole

No matter what method you opt to locate the stud, there is always a universal way to confirm the finding before hanging your favorite items. To do so, grab a drill to create a hole in the wall; you'll figure out if you have hit a block of wood or not. You can also find out whether there is a stud or not without damaging the wall. Tap the area gently with the hammer. When you realize the sound is a bit hollow or empty, tap left and right and see if the sound is muffled; you'll realize that you have hit a stud.


Use a stud finder

Having a stud finder in your hand makes the hunting process more streamlined. To use the stud finder accurately, locate the area where you intend to hang your items. Now place it in the approximate position where the mounting hardware can conveniently sit. Ensure you are holding it flat against the wall and slight it horizontally to either left or right. When it finds where the stud is, it will instantly beep or alert you with light.

Try a stud finder app

With the unstoppable progression of technology and an app for everything, you can also find a wall stud with an app's help. There are different apps available that are magnetic in nature and help you locate the stud. These apps use a magnetometer already present in smartphones to detect the metal objects in the wall. The app results may not always be correct as it can turn up a false positive because sometimes it detects other metal objects like nails and electrical wires. You can't entirely count on the app's result; you can reconfirm by utilizing the other discussed methods.

Locate the power outlet

Typical electrical boxes are attached to the studs. Hence, the best and most reliable way will be locating an area near the power outlet to place a bulky item that requires more reinforcement. To do the trick, all you need is to take a measuring tape and measure sixteen inches from there. Generally, wall studs are placed sixteen apart by the code. In some scenarios, the distance from the code can be 24 inches. It is an easy way, and in most cases, you will be able to locate the studs on a wall almost 16 inches distant from the power outlet.


Use windows as some general guideline

Windows do have studs on each side but finding the right edges will not be a cinch. The method is, however, less reliable than the ones discussed above. Still, when none of the methods works out, locating the edge of windows and measuring sixteen inches from, there will provide you with some general guidelines to get started.


Locate a stud with a wire hanger

If you cannot find the stud even after drilling, there is another easy-to-follow technique you can try; have a wire hanger with you, untwist it, fashion this into an accurate angle, and use the new tool, precisely fish around the wall. When a wall makes contact with any firm object like a stud, it will create a voice.


It is commonly thought that a stud finder is a must to place techy objects or rustic floating shelves for more reinforcement, yet not all homeowners have the stud finder, and there is no need to have one. You can employ some old-fashioned tips to locate the studs. Generally, studs can be found on either the right or left side of the power outlet. You can even use a piece of dental floss and keep dragging the refrigerator magnet; remember, the stronger the magnet, the quicker results will be; once a stud is found, the magnet will stick to the wall.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Amna Nazeer

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