Finding Wall Studs: Using Stud Finders for Hanging Things
Wall studs are framing posts within your walls that offer more hanging support than drywall alone. Typically, when you’re hanging something on your wall, you’ll want to locate the stud before installing anything. In doing this, your hanging object will have more support than if it was just posted into drywall.
The biggest challenge when hanging something up is finding the actual stud; however, it is also one of the most pivotal steps in ensuring that your paintings, frames, and decor stays up, no matter how heavy its weight.
There are a few ways to find wall studs, and depending on your budget and preferences, you may want to try a couple of them before hanging up anything fragile or weighty.
The Importance of Wall Studs
Wall studs are hugely important when it comes to hanging decor in your home. While walls may divide rooms, it is actually the studs that provide the true support. Most of your walls are made up of drywall, which can easily crumble and is unable to support heavy weight. For this reason, it’s essential to find a stud before hanging anything heavy on your walls at home.
How to Use a Stud Finder to Find a Wall Stud
Stud finders are the easiest way to consistently find studs within your walls. When it comes to purchasing a stud finder, the prices can range widely. Like with most things, you’re getting what you pay for when you purchase a stud finder. For this reason, you don’t want to skimp on your budget.
Stud finders can typically find any studs that are located underneath 1.5 inches or less of drywall. The way that electric stud finders work is by measuring the width of the wall and determining where changes occur. Magnetic stud finders work like metal detectors, finding screws and nails to determine where the studs are. Electric stud finders are typically more effective than magnetic stud finders and tend to be more proficient.
How to Knock on a Wall to Find a Wall Stud
If you don’t have the budget to afford a stud finder, you can simply use a closed fist to knock on a wall and listen for the stud. Knocking on solid drywall will lead to a more hollow-sounding knock, while the closer you get to a stud, the more solid the knocking will become.
If you’re not sure where to start, it’s always smart to begin near a corner and work your way towards the center of a wall.
Look Closely for Dimples to Find a Wall Stud
While this method of searching for a wall stud isn’t always the most effective, it can be a great place to start. Stand with your ear against the wall and look carefully across its surface. If you see an area with dimples, it may be a sign of screws that have been utilized to fasten the drywall to an underlying stud.
What to Do When You Can’t Find a Stud
If you can’t find a stud, there are some other options for hanging your decorations. Screw-in drywall anchors and expanding plastic sleeves offer two options for hanging decor that isn’t too heavy. Alternatively, picture frame hangers and nails can be used to hang photography. Tap-in expanding anchors, toggle bolts, anchor wires, and adhesive strips are some other solutions.
However, if the decoration that you’d like to hang is on the heavier side, it’s best to find a new location to hang it within your home where there is a usable stud.
What Kinds of Objects Need to Be Hung From a Stud?
Picture frames, tapestries, canvases, shadow boxes, clocks, decorative china, and curtain rods are often lightweight enough that you don’t need to find a stud before installing them into your walls.
Alternatively, large glass frames, mirrors, and wooden framed paintings should always be hung on studs. If you don’t do this, you risk these images falling and breaking, or worse yet, causing an injury.
Should You Invest in a Stud Finder?
While the decision is yours alone to make, investing in a stud finder can help save you a lot of headaches in the future, both in terms helping you find studs and preventing your decor from falling and breaking from being improperly hung on drywall alone.