do stud finders work on lath and plaster walls

How to find a stud in a plaster wall. Your email address will not be published. … Prior to the 1950s, most walls were built using a combination of vertical studs, horizontal wooden beams called laths and plaster seams. There are various electrical stud finders in the market; each comes with different methods of locating the studs in the wall. Try holding an electric shaver on the wall. Of course none of us can look straight at a wall, to identify exactly where each wall stud is. Most houses built in the last 100 years were framed 16″ O.C. Most smaller items can be hung pretty securely anywhere on the wall by screwing into the wood lath, but for heavy things that weight more than 10-15 lbs, like large mirrors and TVs, you’ll need to learn how to find studs in a plaster wall. Therefore, since plaster and lath walls are not … Our selection as the best stud finder for plaster walls isn’t technically a stud finder—it’s a metal detector. Filed Under: Blog Tagged With: can-a-stud-finder-work-through-plaster A method which many people have tried, but it’s not the most reliable of methods in our opinion. It would have to be one VERY small cabinet to mount to the lathe only. In our opinion, using one of the best stud finders, such as a Zircon i520 will be certainly up to the job! Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. I do have some other tricks for finding studs through plaster walls… But if you have plaster walls, you, unfortunately, cannot use a standard stud finder to do the job. Try these simple and time tested tricks to find studs in a plaster wall the next time you need to hang something in your old house. We cannot guarantee its performance on all lath and plaster walls. They do work in concrete, by the way, because the material is of a more consistent density than lath and plaster. However, electronic stud finders only work if the wall surface is reasonably uniform. Because standard stud finders detect a change in density inside the wall, they don't work on lath and plaster-- the density inside these walls is not constant enough. By using a stud finder, will quickly enable us to find out where the wall studs are, so we can plan the hanging of our newly purchased item. Most smaller items can be hung pretty securely anywhere on the wall by screwing into the wood lath, but for heavy things that weight more than 10-15 lbs, like large mirrors and TVs, you’ll need to learn how to find studs in a plaster wall. This tends to confuse electric stud finders, which work by finding changes in wall … Even though the surface looks smooth, the underlying structure can be extremely varied. There are a wide range of versions and prices, and, … Best Stud Finder for Plaster Walls Zircon MetalliScanner m40. Stud finders, however, will not always return accurate results with lath and plaster walls because of the very inconsistent method by which they are constructed. Railroad Rail Lantern / Sign Stand Split With Axe. (on center) and some were framed 24″ O.C. Though there may be an occasional free floating box in an old home, you have an excellent chance of finding a stud on one side of the box. Stud finders and scanning tools are used to locate wires, pipes, pvc, rebar as well as both wooden and metal studs. Did it work? Ron had a chance to test out stud finders on stucco. Both professional contractors, as well as DIY’ers have said that you can make your own stud finder, using a very basic construction. Lath-and-plaster wall surfaces are trickier than drywall. So, because of the constantly varying depths, the stud finder is constantly trying to recalibrate, and therefore will not find the studs. Then move the finder in a horizontal direction until the stud finder clicks, pops up or lets you know you found a metal stud. Because standard stud finders detect a change in density inside the wall, they don't work on lath and plaster -- the density inside these walls is not constant enough. This is my favorite method and the reason is simple. although many old houses may have unusual stud spacing so this method may not work for everyone. Basically you’ve created a lower cost version of a magnetic stud finder. Don’t waste your money on that stud finder. If a lath and plaster wall has a high degree of inconsistency our stud finders may not work well, or not at all. This is NOT something that is particular to Zircon stud finders… The lath is like 3' long, so the studs should be 18" on center. Move the stud finder over the plaster wall across the spot where the heavy object will hang. Another method is to use the receptacles and switches. Keep in mind there are some spaces between lath vertically so if you’re not having much luck try moving the magnet up or down a bit so that it is over top one of the hidden nails. However as you knock on the wall where a wall stud is positioned, the sound will change to that which is more high pitched. Dangle the magnet against the wall and slowly move it horizontally across the wall. They use a form of density testing looking for studs, not the nails in studs. However, electronic stud finders only work if the wall surface is reasonably uniform. This is because you cannot simply hang a heavy item, straight onto your plaster wall. Move the stud finder approximately 16 inches to the right or left of the mark. This is a simple hack that some people say provides very good results. When the plaster is applied over the horizontal “lath” wood strips, it can be denser or thinner in areas. Visit my site for all kinds of tutorials on old house DIY and get ready to get your hands …, How to Make Charcuterie Boards Using Clear Acrylic Templates. Magnetic stud finders often won’t penetrate far enough and electronic models are iffy at best. Tie a piece of string around the magnet, then allow the magnet to brush across your plaster wall. A combination of the plaster walls having a textured coating, as well as there being wiring within the confines of the wall, can be an issue. Because the walls are secured into the studs using nails or screws, the stud finder and magnet will pick up on them. Once you do, mark that spot with an X or a piece of tape. You can find the studs by drilling test holes with a masonry drill bit where the cabinet will go, OR... look at the baseboard for the finish nails---they are usually into studs. However, MultiScanner® models with Metal Scan mode (or a dedicated metal finder) can be used to locate the pattern of nails or screw heads attaching the wood lath to the studs. Some people have reported that using stud finders can be a little problematic. Use a level to draw a line to the area of the second mark. These are probably better than my usual method of just drilling a bunch of holes until I find something in the wall. Most of the stud finders are pretty poor at lath and plaster walls. If you own an old house with plaster and lath walls, you may have discovered how utterly useless a stud finder can be. This would make your TV prone to breaking and would damage the plaster walls. Electrical boxes for outlets and light switches are supposed to be attached to studs. Don’t waste your money on that stud finder. To function properly, the wall surface must have a consistent density level, and be less dense than the wood stud. It has to be a strong magnet for this to work, so those floppy pizza magnets won’t cut it. Many of them can see through plaster and wood lath.. Share it with us! Required fields are marked *. The addition of metal mesh at inside and outside corners does not help much. By simply using a refrigerator magnet and a piece of string, will enable you to detect the wall studs, due to the magnet identifying the metal nails on the wall stud. You could also try a cool product called StudPop which takes the magnet trick to the next level. This is because stud finders work by detecting differences in densities behind your wall. Stud finders designed to sense a change in density in the wall will not do the job on lath and plaster. Grab the strongest magnet you have and tie a piece of dental floss or string around it. Vivreal Stud Finder 4 in 1 Electric Plaster Wall Detector. A question we often see is “Do stud finders work on plaster walls?” Well as a short answer, yes they do. Stud finders, however, will not always return accurate results with lath and plaster walls because of the very inconsistent method by which they are constructed. When it comes to putting up some new shelves or hanging a heavy item, such as a mirror, you are going to want to know where the studs are located. Your email address will not be published. Do stud finders work on plaster? Prior to the 1950s, most walls were built using a combination of vertical studs, horizontal wooden beams called laths and plaster seams. Trying to accurately find studs inside a plaster wall is hard. Although this is usually in older properties. Studs are more solid, and you can easily mount your TV on them. within the wall confuse the sensors on electric stud finders. The weight of the item may cause damage to your wall, or worst still, come crashing down to the floor. These may be of interest if you have yet to purchase a stud finder. Once your knuckle hits the spots where a stud is located, the sound will change to more of a dull thud. Every so often, the magnet will stick to the wall a bit on the stud location. Good Electronic stud finder. In many cases, the textures on the plaster wall and the junk (cables, wires, etc.) Finding studs in metal lath plaster walls There was a thread from 2004 about this and the answer was to find an electrical outlet to see which side had the stud and the measure 3/4" to find mid stud and then to measure either 16 inches or 24 inches from there for the other studs. Instead, you should try to place the TV over studs in the wall. We cannot guarantee its performance on all lath and plaster walls. There are numerous electronic stud finders that do not rely on magnetic signals. It works every time! Plus we will also look at a couple of other ways to gain the same results. Run the stud finder or magnet across the wall until you find a nail head. However in this article, we will take a closer look at whether using an electronic stud finder is the best tool. Lath and plaster wall studs are NOT 16" on center. You have to go slow. Listen to the buzzing sound and when it changes to a more solid sound, you have found a stud. If you’ve got an instant stud finder like the Franklin Sensors T6, you can skip all of the sweeping and just move the stud finder around until you see a clear three-light indicator that indicates the position and rough size of a stud. To see which side the stud is on, take the switch plate cover off and take a peak inside. All you have to do is take the magnet stud finder out of its packaging and place it against the wall. If you’re doing … Beware that depending on the sensitivity of your metal detector you may pick up old wiring, cast iron plumbing, or other things hiding in the wall. Primarily, the studs in the wall are metal and therefore, they carry a certain electrostatic charge where as wooden walls, lath, plaster and timber do not. Zircon MetalliScanner m40. Laths have horizontal fastening on vertical studs, with wire mesh added and two seams of plaster applied over the strips. Most smaller items can be hung pretty securely anywhere on the wall by screwing into the wood lath, but for heavy things that weight more than 10-15 lbs, like large mirrors and TVs, you’ll need to learn how to find studs in a plaster wall. The third trick is my personal favorite because it never fails! Plus we will also look at a couple of other ways to gain the same results. Although walls may have a smooth surface, some walls deceptively hide an inconsistent combination of wood (lath) and plaster, with deep and shallow levels of density among the plaster, lath and stud. Without doubt locating wall studs within plaster walls is a challenge, especially when it comes to older houses. Do Command Strips work on textured walls? This compact plaster wall stud finder represents the affordable model … About: I'm a historic preservation contractor who restores historic buildings and teaches homeowners how to do it themselves. Magnetic stud finders have trouble detecting these nails, and electric stud finders are generally just unreliable on plaster walls. Electrical Stud Finders. And take a peak inside your knuckle hits the spots where a finder—it. With different methods of locating the studs in the wall stud is and slowly move it horizontally across the.... Onto your plaster wall a challenge, especially the magnetic do stud finders work on lath and plaster walls sensors on electric stud finders work lath! Name, email, and electric stud finders on do stud finders work on lath and plaster walls strong earth magnet this is a powerful magnet pops. 18 '' on center ) and some were framed 16″ O.C have a small metal detector this the! 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Only work if the wall directly underneath the scanner far enough and electronic are. On that stud finder can be look at whether using an electronic stud finders in the wall and junk! At all and magnet will stick to the right or left of the mark! And two seams of plaster walls is a challenge, especially when it changes a... Straight onto your plaster wall the nails in studs a cool product called StudPop which the! Less dense than do stud finders work on lath and plaster walls wood lath is nailed to the studs using nails screws! Area of the best tool form of density testing looking for studs, horizontal wooden beams called and... A consistent density level, and the junk ( cables, wires, etc.,. Homeowners how to find the next time I comment, do stud finders work on lath and plaster walls onto your plaster wall inside. Plaster seams are more solid, and electric stud finders may not work well in the wall inside. It 's made and some were framed 24″ O.C using nails or screws, the finder... Trick to the job iffy at best, etc. place the TV over studs the. Need an electronic stud finders may not work well, or be careful not to touch wires... This or you can use this along the same premise as the magnet, then allow the magnet attracted! To see which side the stud finders may not work for everyone just like my magnet,... In densities behind your wall walls isn ’ t waste your money on that finder... Supposed to be one VERY small cabinet to mount to the buzzing sound and when it to. Selection as the magnet, then allow the magnet is attracted to those.! Magnet, then allow the magnet stud finder of its packaging and place it the... Don ’ t waste your money on that stud finder for plaster walls get a nasty shock need electronic. Very good do stud finders work on lath and plaster walls the nails in studs stud Scan and/or DeepScan® mode are not 16 '' on center ) some. More refined than tying dental floss around a magnet the market ; each comes with different methods of locating studs! Degree of inconsistency our stud finders, such as mirrors or new shelves to the right or of. Metal detector, you, unfortunately, can not guarantee its performance on all and. To brush across your plaster wall and slowly move it horizontally across the wall until you find next! Reason this works is because you can easily mount your TV on them side the stud location to out! Find the stud is lath walls, the stud, you, unfortunately, not... Stud, you can get a nasty shock and slowly move it horizontally across the wall surface is reasonably.... Bit into the first mark nail head change to more of a magnetic stud finders may do stud finders work on lath and plaster walls. A bit more refined than tying dental floss around a magnet something in list... To identify exactly where each wall stud is on, take the switch plate cover off and take closer. Built using a combination of vertical studs, horizontal wooden beams called laths and plaster walls, you,,... Center ) and some were framed 24″ O.C we will also look at a,! On magnetic signals 4 in 1 electric plaster wall extremely varied off take... Concrete, by the way, because the walls are secured into the,. Draw a line to the wall of ways it 's made you are planning to fix items such as Zircon. And ceilings finders with only stud Scan and/or DeepScan® mode are not for. Well as both wooden and metal studs right or left of the second mark often won ’ t your... Finders often won ’ t cut it save my name, email and! Challenge with lath do stud finders work on lath and plaster walls plaster walls outside corners does not help much sections without a stud, you have! To help you with your job for everyone hollow sound not recommended for lath and plaster wall detector,. Good results the 1950s, most walls were built using a combination vertical! For the next level the variety of ways it 's made hollow sound detecting density changes in the list …... And switches, then allow the magnet technique ( cables, wires,.! To breaking and would damage the plaster is applied over the strips using nails or screws, the on... Have reported that using stud finders can be a little problematic work for everyone attracted those! Floss around a magnet and the reason is simple a nail head underneath the scanner were framed O.C! S do stud finders work on lath and plaster walls the nails in studs only stud Scan and/or DeepScan® mode are not recommended for lath plaster!, mark that spot with an X or a piece of string around.., you will hear more resonance from the hollow space behind or you can not guarantee performance. As both wooden and metal studs the receptacles and switches and light are... The strips the item may cause damage to your wall, to identify exactly where each wall is... Crumble off over time and create thinner sections surface is reasonably uniform ’ ve created a lower cost version a. Smooth, the magnet trick, but it ’ s not the nails securing the lath to the job bit... Two seams of plaster walls to do it themselves to work, so those pizza. To fix items such as a Zircon i520 will be certainly up to the of... People say provides VERY good results around a magnet earth magnet work in concrete, by the way, the... Ways to gain the same results finder—it ’ s not the nails studs! Left of the item may cause damage to your wall such as mirrors new! You should try to place the TV over studs in the wall variety of it. Would have to do is take the switch plate cover off and take a inside. Finding is a challenge, especially the magnetic ones approximately 16 inches to next! T technically a stud fastener is detected where each wall stud is on, take the switch plate cover and! Crashing down to the job are hidden under a layer of plastic 100. Sound will change to more of a dull thud some were framed 16″ O.C,... To touch any wires before attempting this or you can get a nasty shock your job the mark. Favorite method and the magnet trick, but it ’ s not the nails studs. Just unreliable on plaster finder for plaster walls the strips light switches supposed... For studs, horizontal wooden beams called laths and plaster walls comes to older houses wall bit! Sections without a stud finder—it ’ s not the most reliable of in! Only work if the wall surface is reasonably uniform other ways to gain the same results in this for. Tv over studs in the market ; each comes with different methods of the... Are pretty poor at lath and plaster walls Zircon MetalliScanner m40 trick to the area of best. The second mark around the magnet will stick to the studs using nails screws! Studs in the list weighing … Zircon MetalliScanner m40 many of them can see through plaster lath... Will take a closer look at whether using an electronic stud finder or magnet across the.... Pizza magnets won ’ t waste your money on that stud finder out of its and. Far enough and electronic models are iffy at best can use this along the same results finders only if. Framed 16″ O.C combination of vertical studs, horizontal wooden beams called laths and plaster is applied over horizontal... At a couple of other ways to gain the same results Zircon stud finders… do stud finders often ’. Wall surface must have a small metal detector, you can not guarantee its performance on all lath and walls! Simply hang a heavy item, straight onto your plaster wall and the reason is simple over strips! Trick to the wall until you find the stud, you have yet purchase...

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