How to use a wall stud finder

How to use a wall stud finder

What are wall studs?

In most homes you will find that behind plaster or other wall types there are wooden frames made up of strips called studs or wall studs. These were traditionally of uniform measurement such as 2 inches by 4 inches or 6 inches by 2 inches but as much else in construction and product manufacturing in general, the overall dimensions have diminished greatly of late. You may even find wall studs 1 inch by ¼ inch in use, sadly.

You generally cannot see any evidence of a wall stud from the outside without a plan or blueprints or a wall stud finding method or a tool called a stud finder. Wall studs are vertical membranes that make all the difference in the world; barring some other technology to meet their purposes, neither your house nor you could really get along without them.

What are they used for?

Wall studs work together with the construction of the whole house to provide and insure stability to the whole house. Your house can’t stand without them. Any other hardware, furnishings or ornaments rely on quality wall stud construction and placement so that they may stand and/or be affixed securely.

This can prevent devastating mishaps related to any of your appliances and utilities that must be secured or remain flat or still. Those little strips of wood, the wooden wall studs, stand between your roof, windows, doors, floors and you. They are a foundation for your siding, plastering, mason work and any other inside or outside wall coverings and finishings.

What is a wall stud finder?

A wall stud finder is an accurate and indispensable tool used in place of manually finding studs by hand and by sound. When anything is hung from a wall by nail or screw the nail must be hammered into a stud for solidity and so as not to tear holes in the plaster, wallpaper, paneling or other wall covering. Whenever home remodeling is done the studs must be discovered as well.

You will need to nail any new paneling to them or any new plasterboard. You will need to know where they are even to add insulation within and between walls. You can get one at a hardware store or possibly an electronics store. They come with instructions and sometimes even with batteries. If you have a model constructed and used in the same way as the one I have, this article will suffice for instructions.

What types are there?

The kind of wall stud finder I use is electronic and can be held and used in one hand. It emits an alarm and uses an LCD light array to acknowledge finding studs and edges of studs. I recently found studs in one room to hang a Monet print, a wall calendar, and a bulletin board. How does this kind of wall stud finder operate? It measures the mass and the volume of the wall and then finds the stud within it.

The technology behind this is one we are all quite familiar with, it’s called RADAR. Other types of wall stud finders find metal staples or screws that hold the covered drywall to the studs themselves. These are magnetic wall stud finders, which are dependent on there being metal there to find, and that the metal is in the studs and not somewhere else and thereby throwing your stud discovery mission off.

When, how and why are they used?

When you are affixing new lights to a ceiling (there are studs called joists there too), mounting paintings, shelving or other items to walls, or remodeling, you need to use a stud finder. To use the type of stud finder I use, hold it in your left hand. Press the button on the side in. Keep that button held in until you are finished. Have a pencil or marking instrument in your right hand.

Now with the button pressed, hold the stud finder against the wall flat at the height where you want to place a nail for example. Now move the stud finder vertically across the wall until you hear the first beep and the lights light up. At this point, you have found the edge of the stud and may want to mark it with the pencil. Keep moving the stud finder across the wall and when it beeps again you have just found the center of the same stud.

Now make the center by placing the pencil at the top middle of the stud finder and marking there. My model of wall stud finder has a hole at the top center for making this mark accurately. This center mark is where you will want to pound in the nail to hang a painting for example.

Stud finders are used to make sure all your building and remodeling jobs are done against and in conjunction with the solid framework of your house, known as the wall stud.

Stud finders
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