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Finding studs in metal lath plaster walls

Finding studs in metal lath plaster walls

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Old 06-27-18, 06:21 PM
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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.

Problem for me is that the wall I have has NO outlets. My magnet adheres to every inch. It's the only wall I can hang peg boards for all my tools. Any suggestions , please?

Thanks!
 
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Old 06-28-18, 05:37 AM
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Have you tried a stud finder?
 
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Old 06-28-18, 05:02 PM
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I had a similar problem, in that my exterior walls are foil-backed sheetrock. My stud finder wouldn't shoot through it, so I ended up having to pop off the baseboard and start probing with a hammer and nail until I got lucky. When the base was replaced, it covered up my nail holes.
 
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Old 06-28-18, 06:20 PM
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You could use Marq's trick, and drill an 1/8" hole at an angle in the wall and insert a coat hanger until it stops. Then putty the hole.
 
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Old 06-28-18, 06:27 PM
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It is possible that you have plaster over metal lath that is attached to old fashioned metal framing systems. There are a number of ways this was done but they all involved steel supports about 3/4" wide. And it would be hard to get a screw into some of these.
BUT you may have wood studs. If there is a baseboard look carefully for nails in it. There might be a little dent where the putty shrank over the nail. Dry drilling a hole with the smallest masonry bit you can find. You will know if you hit a steel support. If you hit a wood stud you should sense a difference in the resistance if you use light pressure on the drill. The other way to hunt for wood studs is driving nails ever 3/4" until you hit the first one. If there are wood studs sometimes you can locate them with the thump method, at least get close enough to dry the drill or nail to get the center.

Plaster over metal lath holds toggle bolts pretty well from the front to the back of the plaster is an inch or more. The wings on the toggles hold against that and several strands of lath and resist pulling out pretty well. Most of the weight is down on the toggle and plaster not out of it. Now nothing holds as well as screws into wood studs. Be prepared for not finding studs.


X posted while I was typing. Never thought of that trick,
 
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Old 06-29-18, 05:22 PM
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You could use Marq's trick, and drill an 1/8" hole at an angle in the wall and insert a coat hanger until it stops. Then putty the hole.

Or make a little larger hole and stick a camera in.

If there are wood studs this could work. If it is done the old fashioned way it might not.
I don't know if an electronic stud finder can find wood in metal lath and plaster and I don't know if it can find steel in metal lath and plaster.

Please tell us what you did and what you found.
 
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Old 07-17-18, 09:39 PM
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We're in suspense here. Tell us what you did, how it worked and what you found.
 
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Old 07-17-18, 11:23 PM
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Usually.... the sensor cannot read thru the metal lath.
 
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Old 07-23-18, 06:12 AM
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No success so far.

So I haven't advanced yet. This wall is the outside wall of my garage. Someone suggested I go outside where there is aluminum siding from the 1970's to see where the nails were to identify the studs from there. I thought that was a brilliant idea. Unfortunately (actually fortunately since I wouldn't have wanted it) the nails/screw do not show on the outside.

So, so far, we contacted someone who had worked on the house a few years ago to perhaps either identify the studs or replace that portion of the wall with drywall.

Right now, our guy is recovering from an accident so we'll have to wait for that.

I'm afraid I didn't win this one.
 

Last edited by almadolan; 07-23-18 at 06:14 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 07-23-18, 08:57 AM
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What is it you are doing to the wall ?
 
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Old 07-23-18, 12:17 PM
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Well, This is probably good news. The systems I mentioned in earlier posts are not typically structural in nature. They support the plaster or stucco but not the floor or roof above. Since this is an exterior wall it is probably framed with 2 X 4 or 2 X 6 studs. If you use a small masonry bit and start drilling holes in the neighborhood of where you want to attach your peg board, drilling every 3/4" until you find the first stud, then you should find the next ones with only three holes, one where you expect the center of the stud to be and one an inch left and right to verify the center.
When I have done this I have not put the holes in a straight line but made some higher and others lower in order not to cause a crack along a straight line. In metal lath this is not much of a concern. Or you can use the other suggestion and put holes in at an angle then feel around with a wire coat hanger.
You need not be afraid of this. Just do it.

And still toggle bolts hold well in metal lath and plaster.
 
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