Finding Studs behind a wall


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Old 10-16-22, 11:24 AM
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Finding Studs behind a wall

Have been dealing with a somewhat strange situation regarding finding studs behind the walls. I could not find a stud between two known studs behind the wall, the problem being that the distance between these two known studs is about 30" (my understanding is that the distance between studs should not exceed 24").

Two electronic/digital stud finders could not find a stud in-between. Neither a magnetic stud finder that I swirled around all over the place.

Am I doing something wrong or missing something?
 
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Old 10-16-22, 01:22 PM
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It wouldn't be the first time someone "skipped" a stud that should have been installed. A couple of other things you can try: Before stud finders, people often rapped on the wall with their knuckles, moving across the space listening for a change from "hollow ring" to "dull" sound. You could try that. If there is baseboard molding, look for nails near the top of the molding; they usually indicate stud locations (the lower nails go into the wall bottom plate. Finally, you can drill a tiny hole just above the baseboard and use a wire to probe for the missing stud. Drill the hole about 8 or 10 inches from a known stud and angle it steeply toward the missing stud location. Use a stiff wire (coat hanger wire works well) to probe. Usually the tiny hole is not visible unless you get down to floor level.
 
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Old 10-16-22, 01:50 PM
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two known studs is about 30"
That's about the right size for a door opening. Could there be one covered up there? If that's the case there may be a horizontal header about 80 inches above the floor.
 
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Old 10-16-22, 07:55 PM
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If the wall is drywall, another way to find studs is turn the lights off and hold a flashlight against the wall. The light along the wall can expose the location of nails used to install the drywall. Sometimes you can get lucky with a magnet attracted to nails or screws.
 
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Old 10-16-22, 08:56 PM
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use two kitchen magnets and find the screws. leave the first magnet in the position and find the other screw
 
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Old 10-17-22, 10:31 AM
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I am good at using the knuckle tap method, even on plaster walls. I use the knuckle to verify what the stud finder “finds” and vice versa. There are reasons a stud is mislocated. There could be a chase there to accommodate a drain line or HVAC duct, for instance. Another clue is outlet boxes. They are on the sides of studs. If the electrician was right handed they are usually on the right side of the stud but sometimes you can see the stud if you remove the outlet cover. Then measure 16” and look there.
Carbide Tipped’s suggestion is good. Go both left and right with your probe. Angle the holes to allow easier directionality. If this is an interior wall check the other side of the wall.
3john02458,s idea can be verified by checking if the studs are doubled on the sides.
You must be wanting to hang something. What and how big and how heavy?
 
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Old 10-17-22, 06:15 PM
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Carbide Tipped:
I tried the knocking with my knuckle's tactic on the area between the two known studs (detected with both digital stud finders and magnetic one), and nothing. Nothing to be found in the baseboard. Drilling a tiny small hole near the baseboard could be an option, but I don't if it is worth doing it given that both stud finders seem to be working as expected and pinpointed other studs with precision, and so did the magnetic stud finder; but I will give it a try since I am intrigued with that situation.


2john02458: it is unlikely that it was supposed to have a door there, and then someone change his/her mind during the building phase. It is a condominium, and all units are built alike. But I will double check for that.

CycleZen: the flashlight trick did not work. The walls have some texture which would make it even more difficult for that to work out.

tightcoat:
I doubt there is any ductwork behind that wall since there is no hvac register or plumbing in that side of the wall, but it is possible. On the other side of the wall is another unit (condo), but I have seen the other unit a long time ago and they all seem similar.

I want to hang towel ring there. It is not heavy or anything, but people can pull it and whatnot. Maybe using "spring wing toggle bolts" will do it, but I would rather have a solid stud there. Anyhow, I probably will end up using the wing bolts.
 
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Old 10-17-22, 07:00 PM
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on the other side is another unit
That raises a couple of possibilities. It might be a double wall, I.e. two separate walls with offset studs for sound isolation and only one of them is load bearing, maybe not your side.

The other is that the drywall may be two layers for fire retardance between units. That might make finding the screws in the first layer more difficult. That stud may have been missed on the second layer or it might have been glued and screwing every stud not necessary.

Probing through a small hole could reveal either of those possibilities.
 
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Old 10-18-22, 12:32 PM
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Maybe using "spring wing toggle bolts" will do it, but I would rather have a solid stud there. Anyhow, I probably will end up using the wing bolts.
These so-caled "toggler" bolts will provide more security than the spring-wing kind. I learned about them on this forum and successfully mounted a fairly large bathroom cabinet to a wall with no usable studs. They are also easier to install than the wing bolts.

https://smile.amazon.com/12-TOGGLER-..._df_B01IU6HG48
 
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