You are probably aware that you can use a stud finder to find studs in your home's walls. However, there may come a time when you need to locate flooring joists beneath the carpet. For example, if you need to repair a squeaky floor, you will need to be able to find the locations of joists in order to correct the problem. Fortunately, if your stud finder has a deep scanning option, you can use it to find the joists under the carpet. After all, joists are essentially just large studs in the floor. This simple step-by-step guide will show you how to locate the joists in your floor using a stud finder.
Step 1 - Buying the Correct Type of Stud Finder
If you don't have a stud finder, or if you don't have one that supports a deep scanning option, you need to purchase a stud finder that you can use to locate the joists underneath the carpeting on your floor. In most cases, the $5 stud finders that you sometimes find at home improvement stores won't work to find studs under a carpeted floor. In most cases, you can purchase a high quality electronic stud finder for about $15-$20.
Step 2 - Power On the Stud Finder
Switch the power switch for the stud finder to the 'On' position.
Step 3 - Select the Correct Scanning Option
Some advanced electronic stud finders have option that allows you to select between thin drywall scans and deep thick material scans. If your stud finder supports this feature, choose the deep scanning option.
Step 4 - Place the Stud Finder on the Floor
Place the stud finder on the floor so that it is flat and level.
Step 5 - Calibrate the Stud Finder
Press the 'Locate' button on the stud finder. The stud finder will probably start beeping immediately. Do not move the stud finder until it stops beeping. The initial beeping on the stud finder is an indication that the stud finder is calibrating itself.
Step 6 - Begin Scanning for Joists
Slowly begin to move the stud finder across the carpeted surface of your floor. As you move the stud finder, observe the small lighted arrow lights on the front of the unit. As you get closer to a joist, the arrow lights should tell you which direction you need to move the unit.
Step 7 - Locate the Joist Under the Carpet
As you continue to slowly slide the stud finder across the floor, the green arrow lights (or orange in some cases) should begin to blink faster or become brighter. When this occurs, slow down the movement of the stud finder even more. Once you are directly over the center of the stud, the stud finder should display a red light (or in some cases the green light). Refer to the instruction manual that come with your stud finder to determine what the colors of the lights mean. Regardless, you should now have the exact location of the joist that is located beneath your carpeted floor.