If you think “finding studs” is something gals do in a singles bar, you’ve come to the wrong column. We’re talking wall framing studs. Every once in a while, you need to locate studs in a wall, like when you want to hang something heavy or cut into a wall for access. You could use an electronic stud finder, if you have one, and you may strike it rich. But electronic stud finders are not always accurate. They also don’t work on thicker drywall or where there are obstructions on or behind the wall.
To find studs or confirm the reading of a stud finder, think about how a wall is assembled. The illustration provides various clues to finding studs. First, most studs are placed 16 inches apart — so if you find one, you can find others. Studs are also found next to electrical switches and outlets, and often they surround heating return grills.
Look at the wood base trim of the wall; often you’ll find nail holes filled near the top of the trim. These nails will be driven into wood studs. Also, look for any imperfections or nail pops in the drywall surface — you can shine a flashlight over the surface at a flat angle to see little bumps or depressions. This technique reveals drywall nails or screws that will be placed into studs.
By Tom Feiza, Mr. Fix-It