Locating a wall stud shouldn’t be a guessing game and there’s no need for punching extraneous nail holes when you can get it right the first time. Studs are typically located 16″ OC (on center) but they can also be found at 24″ OC. Once you find one stud you should be able to locate adjacent studs quite easily.
- To find that first stud you should look for an outlet or switch. Electrical boxes are usually anchored to studs. From the nearest outlet or switch, measure in 16- or 24-inch increments toward the are you are looking to place your nail.
- You can also examine the baseboards which should be nailed directly into studs. If you examine the baseboards closely you should be able to see exposed nailheads or patches over the nail heads which are a giveaway to a stud behind it.
- You can also measure away from a corner in multiples of 16 or 24 inches. Then gently tap the area to find a section of wall with a solid backing (a stud or joist).
- If you are still unsure of stud locations, you can use a handheld electronic device called a stud finder. The stud finder will beep or flash when it passes over a joist or stud. Slide the finder horizontally across the wall until it signals the location of a framing member, and by coming toward the stud from both ends, you can find and mark its edges, and then determine its center. Find adjacent studs by measuring 16 or 24 inches from center.
- Find studs behind plaster walls is trickier and can be done by driving a small test nail just above the baseboard.
Some tips for using a hammer most effectively.