How to Find a Wall Stud

Four Easy Ways to Find a Wall Stud

By Mark J. Donovan

Finding a wall stud can be a necessary but frustrating task. If you plan to hang a heavy picture frame, television mount or a shelf then it is essential that you secure it to the wall with a nail(s) or screw(s) that penetrates not only into the drywall, but also a wall stud.

Before searching for a wall stud keep in mind that wall studs are usually positioned on 16 inch centers, and in rare cases 24 inch centers. Also, electrical outlets and switch boxes are normally nailed to one side of a wall stud.

One easy way to find a wall stud is to look for drywall nail/screw dimples in the wall. In a perfect world you should not see any dimples in the drywall; however, more often than not, if you look carefully enough you can see them.

Another easy way to find a wall stud is to look closely at the baseboard trim. See where the finished nails are located in the trim.

If the finish carpenter was worth his salt the finish nails should be located on the wall studs. Similarly, if chair rail or crown molding is installed on the wall, look for the finish nail locations on the chair rail/crown molding. Again, the chair rail/crown molding should be fastened to the wall with finish nails that are secured into wall studs.

How to Find a Wall Stud

Measure from the corner of a room to find a wall stud location, with the knowledge that wall studs are usually located on 16 inch centers.

This method doesn’t always work since most rooms are not divisible by 16 inches. However, when rough framers construct a wall they usually start at one end of the wall and add additional wall studs every 16 inches along the length of it.

If the above solutions do not yield results in finding a wall stud, then use a magnet of any type and gently run it along the surface of the wall until it sticks to the wall.

When it does, you’ll know the magnet is directly over a drywall nail or screw that is secured to a wall stud.

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.