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How To Locate Wall Studs

March 11th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Finding the locations of wall studs when installing cabinets is vitally important. I am going to review a few of the most popular methods that cabinet installers use to locate where these steel or two-by-four (2×4) wood supports are hiding behind drywall.

If you are dealing with a block wall that has drywall over it, you will be searching for furring strips. A furring strip is just a piece of pressure treated wood that is three quarters of an inch (3/4″) thick by one and a half inches (1-1/2″) wide.

Knocking Technique
For all of the methods we will discuss, you will first knock on the drywall with your knuckles, listening for a difference in sound. When you are able to distinguish what sounds hollow and where things sound more solid, then you have located the “general” area where the stud is located.

Drilling Holes In The Wall
After finding the sound difference, you must know exactly where the cabinets will cover the walls. Take an electric or cordless drill with a three sixteenths inch (3/16″) wide drill bit in it and start drilling holes.

The idea here is to apply enough pressure to slightly breakthrough the drywall in search of the steel or wooden stud behind. All of the drilling must be in areas where the holes will get covered by the kitchen or bathroom cupboards.

Once you hit the stud, continue drilling holes until you find both edges and then put a pencil mark right where the center will be.

Tip: Not all studs are installed perfectly plumb. Always check high and low to ensure that the wood or steal is located in the same place relating to how you are measuring and marking the cabinets.

Using An Awl
With a hammer and your awl in hand, you can basically search for the furring strips or wall studs the same way as with the drill. Knock on the wall. Find the general location and then hammer the awl through the drywall until you hit the solid wood or steel stud.

Battery Operated Stud Finder
How To Find a Wall StudYou can get these at any hardware store. Hold the mechanism in your hand tight to the wall and slowly move it from left to right. The red light will come one and there will be a beep sound when the wall stud is found.

How To Find Wall Studs With A Magnet The nails or screws that the drywall was attached with are metal. Knock on the wall and find the basic location of the support and then run the magnet along that area until the magnet sticks.

Studs Are Usually Located Next To Electrical Outlets
This is generally the case when dealing with two-by-four (2×4) framed walls. The outlet boxes are attached to the stud on either the left or right side of the power supply. If you have block walls with furring stripes and drywall the outlet may not be next to a wooden strip.

If you have hit something in the wall and it seems odd that the placement would be where you think the stud is, cut a small area out with a razor knife. This is done to ensure that you are in fact screwing the kitchen or bathroom cabinet to a stud.

You must find the studs and anchor your cabinets to them. If you miss when screwing the screw into the wall, you will know it without any doubt. When installing cabinets, your drill will tell the story when you are anchoring into a stud by the solid resistance you will be feeling.

DO NOT take any chances if you think you did not hit the mark. Try inserting a screw into a different location until it hits solid on the wall stud.

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