This is because you cannot simply hang a heavy item, straight onto your plaster wall. One other method of trying to locate wall studs without a stud finder, is by knocking on the wall at various points. As you knock on the wall in between the wall studs, you will hear a hollow sound. However, electronic stud finders only work if the wall surface is reasonably uniform. Railroad Rail Lantern / Sign Stand Split With Axe. If you own an old house with plaster and lath walls, you may have discovered how utterly useless a stud finder can be. Whenever the magnet detects the nails underneath the plaster, it will identify this to you – simply then mark off these points, so as to know where the walls studs are located. We cannot guarantee its performance on all lath and plaster walls. These are probably better than my usual method of just drilling a bunch of holes until I find something in the wall. Magnetic stud finders often won’t penetrate far enough and electronic models are iffy at best. Use a level to draw a line to the area of the second mark. 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. They do work in concrete, by the way, because the material is of a more consistent density than lath and plaster. They use a form of density testing looking for studs, not the nails in studs. Filed Under: Blog Tagged With: can-a-stud-finder-work-through-plaster A question we often see is “Do stud finders work on plaster walls?” Well as a short answer, yes they do. This is because stud finders work by detecting differences in densities behind your wall. Unlike the magnets which aren’t strong enough to be attracted to a pipe that is a couple inches recessed into the wall the metal detector may give you false readings. Try holding an electric shaver on the wall. Stud finders designed to sense a change in density in the wall will not do the job on lath and plaster. 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. The addition of metal mesh at inside and outside corners does not help much. To function properly, the wall surface must have a consistent density level, and be less dense than the wood stud. But if you have plaster walls, you, unfortunately, cannot use a standard stud finder to do the job. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. 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. It would have to be one VERY small cabinet to mount to the lathe only. Best Stud Finder for Plaster Walls Zircon MetalliScanner m40. Don’t waste your money on that stud finder. A: The challenge with lath and plaster is the variety of ways it's made. To find a stud you will need an electronic stud finder or a strong earth magnet. Move the stud finder over the plaster wall across the spot where the heavy object will hang. When the plaster is applied over the horizontal “lath” wood strips, it can be denser or thinner in areas. Plus we will also look at a couple of other ways to gain the same results. If you are having trouble finding studs, you can use a stud finder to help you with your job. Dangle the magnet against the wall and slowly move it horizontally across the 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. This tends to confuse electric stud finders, which work by finding changes in wall … You can try measuring on 16 inch centers from the nearest corner, but stud spacing was often not very even when lath and plaster walls were used. How to find a stud in a plaster wall. 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. 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. Without doubt locating wall studs within plaster walls is a challenge, especially when it comes to older houses. Zircon MetalliScanner m40. Although this is usually in older properties. Did it work? Plus we will also look at a couple of other ways to gain the same results. Do stud finders work on plaster? So, because of the constantly varying depths, the stud finder is constantly trying to recalibrate, and therefore will not find the studs. The weight of the item may cause damage to your wall, or worst still, come crashing down to the floor. However, electronic stud finders only work if the wall surface is reasonably uniform. Don’t waste your money on that stud finder. Another method is to use the receptacles and switches. Franklin Sensors FS710PRO. Once your knuckle hits the spots where a stud is located, the sound will change to more of a dull thud. If you’re doing … 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. Laths have horizontal fastening on vertical studs, with wire mesh added and two seams of plaster applied over the strips. 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. Stud finders are great for many walls, but they do not work well in the case of plaster walls and ceilings. You could also try a cool product called StudPop which takes the magnet trick to the next level. In our opinion, using one of the best stud finders, such as a Zircon i520 will be certainly up to the job! These stud finders work by detecting density changes in the wall directly underneath the scanner. Do Command Strips work on textured walls? Once you find the stud, you can measure off 16″ to find the next one most times. Lath-and-plaster wall surfaces are trickier than drywall. The lath is like 3' long, so the studs should be 18" on center. Grab the strongest magnet you have and tie a piece of dental floss or string around it. although many old houses may have unusual stud spacing so this method may not work for everyone. Finding studs in a plaster wall is not as easy as other types of walls, but it is possible – especially when you do not need to rely on a stud finder. 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. 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. If a lath and plaster wall has a high degree of inconsistency our stud finders may not work well, or not at all. This one may seem old fashioned, but gently knocking your hand along the wall and listening for differences is a pretty accurate technique to find studs. Magnetic stud finders have trouble detecting these nails, and electric stud finders are generally just unreliable on plaster walls. Trying to accurately find studs inside a plaster wall is hard. Electrical Stud Finders. Either turn the breaker off, or be careful not to touch any wires before attempting this or you can get a nasty shock. The third trick is my personal favorite because it never fails! Electrical boxes for outlets and light switches are supposed to be attached to studs. Every so often, the magnet will stick to the wall a bit on the stud location. Of course none of us can look straight at a wall, to identify exactly where each wall stud is. Listen to the buzzing sound and when it changes to a more solid sound, you have found a stud. Don’t waste your money on that stud finder. Vivreal Stud Finder 4 in 1 Electric Plaster Wall Detector. Ron had a chance to test out stud finders on stucco. Studs are more solid, and you can easily mount your TV on them. 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. Put a small bit into the drill, and drill into the first mark. Move the stud finder approximately 16 inches to the right or left of the mark. We cannot guarantee its performance on all lath and plaster walls. In many cases, the textures on the plaster wall and the junk (cables, wires, etc.) 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. within the wall confuse the sensors on electric stud finders. 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. Both professional contractors, as well as DIY’ers have said that you can make your own stud finder, using a very basic construction. However in this article, we will take a closer look at whether using an electronic stud finder is the best tool. About: I'm a historic preservation contractor who restores historic buildings and teaches homeowners how to do it themselves. Basic Zircon StudSensor™ stud finders with only Stud Scan and/or DeepScan® mode are not recommended for lath and plaster walls. 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. A question we often see is “Do stud finders work on plaster walls?” Well as a short answer, yes they do. However, with plaster walls, the nails securing the lath to the studs are hidden under a layer of plastic. If you own an old house with plaster and lath walls, you may have discovered how utterly useless a stud finder can be. Prior to the 1950s, most walls were built using a combination of vertical studs, horizontal wooden beams called laths and plaster seams. Good Electronic stud finder. 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. This is a simple hack that some people say provides very good results. To see which side the stud is on, take the switch plate cover off and take a peak inside. Basic Zircon StudSensor™ stud finders with only Stud Scan and/or DeepScan® mode are not recommended for lath and plaster walls. Share it with us! … This compact plaster wall stud finder represents the affordable model … When you knock on wall sections without a stud, you will hear more resonance from the hollow space behind. … 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. Therefore, since plaster and lath walls are not … All you have to do is take the magnet stud finder out of its packaging and place it against the wall. Q: Do electronic stud finders work with lath and plaster walls? Instead, you should try to place the TV over studs in the wall. You have to go slow. It has to be a strong magnet for this to work, so those floppy pizza magnets won’t cut it. This one is the best of all electronic stud finders in the list weighing … These may be of interest if you have yet to purchase a stud finder. Electronic stud finders are generally inexpensive, but many people complain that that they're semi-useful at best and useless at worst (especially in older houses). Stud finders and scanning tools are used to locate wires, pipes, pvc, rebar as well as both wooden and metal studs. However as you knock on the wall where a wall stud is positioned, the sound will change to that which is more high pitched. It works every time! Most of the stud finders are pretty poor at lath and plaster walls. There are numerous electronic stud finders that do not rely on magnetic signals. Do it themselves testing looking for studs, and the magnet, then allow the stud. 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