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do stud finders work on lath and plaster walls

11/01/2021

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. 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. All you have to do is take the magnet stud finder out of its packaging and place it against the wall. The lath is like 3' long, so the studs should be 18" on center. So, because of the constantly varying depths, the stud finder is constantly trying to recalibrate, and therefore will not find the studs. There are a wide range of versions and prices, and, … Laths have horizontal fastening on vertical studs, with wire mesh added and two seams of plaster applied over the strips. 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. 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. Most of the stud finders are pretty poor at lath and plaster walls. 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. Lath and plaster wall studs are NOT 16" on center. 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. Good Electronic stud finder. About: I'm a historic preservation contractor who restores historic buildings and teaches homeowners how to do it themselves. 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. In our opinion, using one of the best stud finders, such as a Zircon i520 will be certainly up to the job! Did it work? Your email address will not be published. Stud finders are great for many walls, but they do not work well in the case of plaster walls and ceilings. To find a stud you will need an electronic stud finder or a strong earth magnet. However in this article, we will take a closer look at whether using an electronic stud finder is the best tool. 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. They do work in concrete, by the way, because the material is of a more consistent density than lath and plaster. 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. 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. Plus we will also look at a couple of other ways to gain the same results. A method which many people have tried, but it’s not the most reliable of methods in our opinion. Additionally, the plaster can crumble off over time and create thinner sections. When the plaster is applied over the horizontal “lath” wood strips, it can be denser or thinner in areas. This is because stud finders work by detecting differences in densities behind your wall. Prior to the 1950s, most walls were built using a combination of vertical studs, horizontal wooden beams called laths and plaster seams. How to find a stud in a plaster wall. If a lath and plaster wall has a high degree of inconsistency our stud finders may not work well, or not at all. Just like my magnet trick, but a bit more refined than tying dental floss around a magnet. These are probably better than my usual method of just drilling a bunch of holes until I find something in the wall. This one is the best of all electronic stud finders in the list weighing … Railroad Rail Lantern / Sign Stand Split With Axe. In many cases, the textures on the plaster wall and the junk (cables, wires, etc.) Stud finding is a simple task and stud finders work in simple ways, especially the magnetic ones. Prior to the 1950s, most walls were built using a combination of vertical studs, horizontal wooden beams called laths and plaster seams. 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. 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. Don’t waste your money on that stud finder. Move the stud finder over the plaster wall across the spot where the heavy object will hang. This is because you cannot simply hang a heavy item, straight onto your plaster wall. Once your knuckle hits the spots where a stud is located, the sound will change to more of a dull thud. Many of them can see through plaster and wood lath.. We cannot guarantee its performance on all lath and plaster walls. Stud finders will not work with plaster/lathe. The weight of the item may cause damage to your wall, or worst still, come crashing down to the floor. 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. Put a small bit into the drill, and drill into the first mark. Once you find the stud, you can measure off 16″ to find the next one most times. Basically you’ve created a lower cost version of a magnetic stud finder. Tie a piece of string around the magnet, then allow the magnet to brush across your plaster wall. 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). Studs are more solid, and you can easily mount your TV on them. Magnetic stud finders have trouble detecting these nails, and electric stud finders are generally just unreliable on plaster walls. If you are having trouble finding studs, you can use a stud finder to help you with your job. Franklin Sensors FS710PRO. Every so often, the magnet will stick to the wall a bit on the stud location. To see which side the stud is on, take the switch plate cover off and take a peak inside. 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. Of course none of us can look straight at a wall, to identify exactly where each wall stud is. 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. But if you have plaster walls, you, unfortunately, cannot use a standard stud finder to do the job. Basic Zircon StudSensor™ stud finders with only Stud Scan and/or DeepScan® mode are not recommended for lath and plaster walls. There are various electrical stud finders in the market; each comes with different methods of locating the studs in the wall. Required fields are marked *. However, electronic stud finders only work if the wall surface is reasonably uniform. This compact plaster wall stud finder represents the affordable model … Ron had a chance to test out stud finders on stucco. If you happen to have a small metal detector, you can use this along the same premise as the magnet technique. If you’re doing … Because the walls are secured into the studs using nails or screws, the stud finder and magnet will pick up on them. Run the stud finder or magnet across the wall until you find a nail head. 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. 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. 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. Don’t waste your money on that stud finder. Most houses built in the last 100 years were framed 16″ O.C. Electrical boxes for outlets and light switches are supposed to be attached to studs. Dangle the magnet against the wall and slowly move it horizontally across the wall. A: The challenge with lath and plaster is the variety of ways it's made. As you knock on the wall in between the wall studs, you will hear a hollow sound. Even though the surface looks smooth, the underlying structure can be extremely varied. 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. To function properly, the wall surface must have a consistent density level, and be less dense than the wood stud. You could also try a cool product called StudPop which takes the magnet trick to the next level. In such instances, you will need to use alternative methods to find what you are looking for, and fortunately, they are many. Instead, you should try to place the TV over studs in the wall. Basic Zircon StudSensor™ stud finders with only Stud Scan and/or DeepScan® mode are not recommended for lath and plaster walls. These may be of interest if you have yet to purchase a stud finder. Another method is to use the receptacles and switches. Do Command Strips work on textured walls? However, with plaster walls, the nails securing the lath to the studs are hidden under a layer of plastic. Zircon MetalliScanner m40. Use a level to draw a line to the area of the second mark. A question we often see is “Do stud finders work on plaster walls?” Well as a short answer, yes they do. 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