The Best Ways to Find a Stud Without a Stud Finder

There comes the time when you decide that the best addition to your home is to hang a shelf, a picture, or mount the TV. When that moment arrives, due to the heavy-duty nature of the project that you intend to take up, you need to drive the screws into the studs that are found in the framing of the wall as they are capable of supporting the weight. Unfortunately, finding the elusive wall studs can prove to be one of the most frustrating challenges that you will ever be confronted with. Obviously, the easiest way to locate the studs is with a stud finder, but not everyone owns this tool. If you’re in a hurry and you can’t waste time buying a stud finder, or you simply don’t have the budget for this investment, use one of the ingenious methods described in the following lines.

What You Must Know about the Wall Construction

Before we move on to the old-fashioned methods to use to find studs in the walls, let’s first better understand the construction of the walls in your home. Although you might view your home as being unique, – and yes, it is unique in more than one ways – what you need to understand is the fact that some things are common in all of these habitable constructions. The position of the studs is one of these common elements, the spacing between them generally being 16 inches to 24 inches on center. The most common dimension and the one that you should check for first is 16 inches. Another element that you have to be aware of is the fact that most switches and outlets are attached to a stud on one of their sides. Knowing these pieces of information will make it a lot easier for you to find the studs without the help of a specialized finder tool.

Method #1 – Use the good old method of observation

Getting to understand the construction of the wall better was mandatory in order to understand this first tracking method, more precisely observation. To locate a stud, you must first check if there’s an outlet or a switch on the wall. Remove the cover plate and take a look inside while lighting it with a flashlight. If you spot a stud on either side of the switch or outlet, measure the distance from the corner to that location. Remember that the studs repeat regularly at an identical interval of 16 or 24 inches.

Method #2 – Gently tap on the wall with a hammer

Another great method that you can turn to is to use a hammer that you gently tap on the wall with. Make sure that you don’t use force as you will inevitably end up making a hole in the wall! Just gently tap on it, and when you hear a different noise, it means that you have tapped on a part of the wall where a stud is located. Obviously, this isn’t a guaranteed method to work, but if there’s enough silence in the room, it’s unlikely that you’ll fail.

Method #3 – Drag a magnet across the wall

Although this method might seem a bit unorthodox at first, it’s very effective and hassle-free. What you must do is to tie dental floss around a refrigerator magnet and drag it across the wall. Continue to slowly drag it until it sticks to the wall, moment when you have clearly encountered a stud. It’s definitely the easiest and fastest method to find the studs, even if it seems the strangest. If you have a stronger magnet around the house, use that one rather than an old and tired refrigerator magnet.

Method #4 – Analyze the trim

Usually, when constructing a house, workers attach the baseboard to the studs. If this is the case with your home, then you’ll have an easy time finding the studs as all that you will be required to do is to check for the spots where the baseboard has been nailed. Generally, these holes are filled with caulk and painted, but it’s not impossible to identify one of them, locating the stud at the same time with this discovery. To find the rest of the studs, measure 16 or 24 inches on either side, and you’ll find their position as well.

Method #5 – Use the room’s corner

This is a method that you can turn to if you suspect or know for a fact that the studs have a 16-inch spacing on center between them. It might not be a bulletproof tracking method to go with as the sizes of most rooms aren’t actually divisible by 16 inches, but it’s definitely worth a shot. To enhance the precision of this tracking solution in case the room’s size isn’t divisible by 16 inches, knock on the wall near the corner to determine – or at least try to determine – where the shorter stud-spacing has been added. From that point on, just add 16 inches on center to find the appropriate distance that you must use to locate all the studs in the walls.