To hang anything heavy — for example, large pictures, wall-mounted shelves, a mirror, or tech equipment — you’ll need to find a wall stud, which is a vertical piece of framing within your walls/ Otherwise, whatever you’re hanging won’t have anything substantial to latch onto, leaving your piece vulnerable to falling and potentially damaging your wall.
Here’s how to quickly and easily find a stud in the wall, with or without a stud finder.
1. Tap the Wall
To determine whether or not you’ve identified a stud without causing any harm to your wall, lightly tap the spot with your hammer. Tap a little to the left or right if you hear a hollow or empty sound. You’ll know you’ve hit a stud when the sound becomes muted.
2. Make Use of Windows as a Guide
Windows often have a stud on each side, but finding the edges can be difficult, making this method less dependable than the others mentioned above, according to Rothman. When all else fails, measuring 16 inches from the edge of your window can provide some general assistance.
3. Look For Dimples in the Wall
Dimples are a telltale sign of where drywall is secured to the edge of a stud, especially in plaster walls. These are sometimes visible to the naked eye, but a flashlight can be useful for lighting any little dimples in the wall. Hold the flashlights upright, parallel to the wall, to try this trick.
4. Fish Around With a Wire Hanger
Take a wire hanger and untwist it to form a straight angle. Rothman recommends using your new tool to snoop around behind the wall. When the wire makes contact with a solid object, you’ve found a stud.
5. Drill a Hole
Regardless of the approach you select, you should always confirm your findings before hanging your piece. Drill a hole in the wall to accomplish this. If you feel friction, you’ve hit wood (a stud!).
6. Find the Closest Light Switch or Power Outlet
The most dependable way is to locate a light switch or a power outlet. Because electrical boxes are often attached to studs, begin by selecting the one closest to the region where you want to add something that needs a little extra support. Measure 16 inches from there since wall studs are normally spaced 16 inches apart by code. (Because some are set 24 inches apart, you may need to measure twice.)
7. or Just Use a Stud Finder!
The easiest solution to find a stud is to use a stud finder, which is a handheld device like this one that does the searching for you. To use a stud finder, first, choose where you want to hang your item, then set the stud finder in the approximate location of the mounting hardware. Hold the tool flat against the wall and carefully slide it to the left or right. Depending on the model, it will flash or beep to warn you of the presence of a stud.