Finding Wall Studs

Tips on How to Find a Wall Stud

By Mark J. Donovan

Finding wall studs is a common problem for many homeowners. Whether hanging pictures on a wall or trying to install crown moulding or baseboard trim, it is important for nails or screws to be fastened to wall studs. Pounding a nail into just drywall is insufficient for holding up a picture or holding trim snugly to a wall. In time, the nail will slowly dip south until your wall picture is lying on the floor, and trim will peel away from the wall.

How to Find Wall Studs

There are a number of techniques for finding wall studs. First, wall studs are normally placed on 16 inch centers, except near the wall edges. Thus, if you can locate a wall stud near the center of a wall, all you need is a tape measure to find the adjacent ones.

Second, electrical outlets and switches are normally attached to wall studs. Third, baseboard trim and crown moulding are nailed to wall studs. Consequently, by taking a close look at your existing baseboard trim and crown moulding you can usually find wall studs.

If none of these hints for finding wall studs are available to you, then you need to employ one of the following techniques.

First, if you are an experienced carpenter with a good ear, you can simply tap your knuckle along the length of the wall and hear the slight difference in pitch as you tap over the wall stud. When tapping over a wall stud, the sound has a dead thud sound compared to other locations on the wall. Again, once you find one wall stud, a measuring tape can help to find the adjacent ones.

If you lack an experienced ear, then purchase an electronic stud finder. An electronic stud finder measures the relative density of the wall surface to find wall studs. When it passes over a wall stud there is an indicator to let the user know.

An alternative and cheaper wall stud finder is the old magnetic type. These types of stud finders are inexpensive, however they take a little more effort to locate a wall stud. Magnetic stud finders utilize a magnet to effectively find the drywall nails or screws. Consequently you have to search up and down, and side to side to find the nails or screws.

Dress Up Your Home with Crown Molding – For specific instructions on installing crown molding see the “Installing Crown Molding Ebook“.  The “Installing Crown Molding Ebook” will show you how to properly measure, select, cut and install crown molding like a professional carpenter.  It provides detailed instructions on every step in the process of installing crown molding and includes 28 instructional pictures! Order and Immediately Download today!. 100% Money-Back Guarantee if you are not satisfied.

For information on installing Window and Door trim see’s  Installing Interior Window Trim Ebook and  Installing Interior Door Trim Ebook.  These Ebooks are loaded with pictures and provide easy to understand, step-by-step instructions, on how to install interior window and door trim.

Related Information

Additional Finish Carpentry Resources from

Free Home Addition Price Quotes with No Obligation!

Fill out our 3-5 minute quick and easy form, and receive a free price quote on a house addition from one of our prescreened and licensed home addition contractors. This process is free and there is no obligation to continue once you receive your house addition price estimate.