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Remodeling Tips: Finding Studs Under Sheetrock

Remodeling Tips: Finding Studs Under Sheetrock

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March 14, 2008

Finding studs under sheetrock can be a bit tricky if you don't understand construction standards.  Studs part of the supporting structural framework of a building also called the framing.  Studs can be made out of a variety of materials including wood, metal and even composite materials.  By far the most common framing material is wood for houses and metal for commercial buildings.

There are plenty of reasons why you might need to be finding the studs underneath finished sheetrock.  A common reason is for sheetrock repair purposes.  When you cut out a piece of sheetrock, you want to do so in a configuration that allows you to re-nail a new piece to existing studs.  Another common reason is simply because you want to hang something heavy on the wall which sheetrock alone could not handle.

Finding Studs Under Sheetrock

A third reason is for remodeling purposes.  When you want to add lights to a wall, nail crown molding, hang new cabinets and so on, the studs usually need to be located.  You might want to add electrical wiring also which is usually run between studs.  The same is true for plumbing.  Whether you are building or remodeling, there are lots of reasons why studs will need to be located.

Finding studs under sheetrock can be done in several ways.  Usually, studs are 16" from the center of one to the other.  Professional contractors can find studs just by looking at how other material in the room has been nailed.  For example, any sheetrock nails or baseboard nails can show where a stud is located.  Many remodellers today use electronic stud finders which find studs by measuring wall density.  There are even experienced contractors who can tap on a wall and locate a stud by the change in sound. 

You want to get professional help finding studs under sheetrock before you attempt to hang something heavy such as a large wall mirror or cabinets.  Of course, when you hire a contractor to do the remodeling, he or she will take care of finding studs.  There are many homeowners who thought they knew where the studs were only to puncture plumbing or electrical wiring.  This can create an enormous and expensive problem.  That's why it's best to use a professional contractor who will pay for him or her self by doing the job efficiently and correctly the first time.

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