Therefore, since plaster and lath walls are not … 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. If you are having trouble finding studs, you can use a stud finder to help you with your job. 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. This is because you cannot simply hang a heavy item, straight onto your plaster wall. These may be of interest if you have yet to purchase a stud finder. The reason this works is because the wood lath is nailed to the studs, and the magnet is attracted to those nails. However as you knock on the wall where a wall stud is positioned, the sound will change to that which is more high pitched. Once you do, mark that spot with an X or a piece of tape. However, electronic stud finders only work if the wall surface is reasonably uniform. This is NOT something that is particular to Zircon stud finders… Do stud finders work on plaster? As you knock on the wall in between the wall studs, you will hear a hollow sound. 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. It works every time! Your email address will not be published. If a lath and plaster wall has a high degree of inconsistency our stud finders may not work well, or not at all. If you’re doing … Additionally, the plaster can crumble off over time and create thinner sections. Laths have horizontal fastening on vertical studs, with wire mesh added and two seams of plaster applied over the strips. There are various electrical stud finders in the market; each comes with different methods of locating the studs in the wall. A: The challenge with lath and plaster is the variety of ways it's made. Stud finding is a simple task and stud finders work in simple ways, especially the magnetic ones. 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. 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. If you happen to have a small metal detector, you can use this along the same premise as the magnet technique. If a lath and plaster wall has a high degree of inconsistency our stud finders may not work well, or not at all. 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. 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. Move the stud finder approximately 16 inches to the right or left of the mark. Use a level to draw a line to the area of the second mark. When the plaster is applied over the horizontal “lath” wood strips, it can be denser or thinner in areas. 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. Filed Under: Blog Tagged With: can-a-stud-finder-work-through-plaster Good Electronic stud finder. Every so often, the magnet will stick to the wall a bit on the stud location. They do work in concrete, by the way, because the material is of a more consistent density than lath and plaster. Our selection as the best stud finder for plaster walls isn’t technically a stud finder—it’s a metal detector. 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. 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. A question we often see is “Do stud finders work on plaster walls?” Well as a short answer, yes they do. However in this article, we will take a closer look at whether using an electronic stud finder is the best tool. These stud finders work by detecting density changes in the wall directly underneath the scanner. Either turn the breaker off, or be careful not to touch any wires before attempting this or you can get a nasty shock. One other method of trying to locate wall studs without a stud finder, is by knocking on the wall at various points. Without doubt locating wall studs within plaster walls is a challenge, especially when it comes to older houses. Listen to the buzzing sound and when it changes to a more solid sound, you have found a stud. 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. In many cases, the textures on the plaster wall and the junk (cables, wires, etc.) Lath-and-plaster wall surfaces are trickier than drywall. When you knock on wall sections without a stud, you will hear more resonance from the hollow space behind. Franklin Sensors FS710PRO. So finding wall studs is a must, if you are planning to fix items such as mirrors or new shelves to the wall. The third trick is my personal favorite because it never fails! Once you find the stud, you can measure off 16″ to find the next one most times. Many of them can see through plaster and wood lath.. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. I do have some other tricks for finding studs through plaster walls… Put a small bit into the drill, and drill into the first mark. Both professional contractors, as well as DIY’ers have said that you can make your own stud finder, using a very basic construction. A question we often see is “Do stud finders work on plaster walls?” Well as a short answer, yes they do. Of course none of us can look straight at a wall, to identify exactly where each wall stud is. This would make your TV prone to breaking and would damage the plaster walls. Railroad Rail Lantern / Sign Stand Split With Axe. You have to go slow. 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. This is a simple hack that some people say provides very good results. Trying to accurately find studs inside a plaster wall is hard. However, electronic stud finders only work if the wall surface is reasonably uniform. Instead, you should try to place the TV over studs in the wall. 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. Share it with us! 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. Studs are more solid, and you can easily mount your TV on them. Then move the finder in a horizontal direction until the stud finder clicks, pops up or lets you know you found a metal stud. These are probably better than my usual method of just drilling a bunch of holes until I find something in the wall. There are numerous electronic stud finders that do not rely on magnetic signals. Even though the surface looks smooth, the underlying structure can be extremely varied. About: I'm a historic preservation contractor who restores historic buildings and teaches homeowners how to do it themselves. This compact plaster wall stud finder represents the affordable model … 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. Ron had a chance to test out stud finders on stucco. Did it work? 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. Just like my magnet trick, but a bit more refined than tying dental floss around a magnet. Electrical boxes for outlets and light switches are supposed to be attached to studs. 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. To find a stud you will need an electronic stud finder or a strong earth magnet. Stud finders designed to sense a change in density in the wall will not do the job on lath and plaster. 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. Best Stud Finder for Plaster Walls Zircon MetalliScanner m40. Some people have reported that using stud finders can be a little problematic. 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. Lath and plaster wall studs are NOT 16" on center. But if you have plaster walls, you, unfortunately, cannot use a standard stud finder to do the job. 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. Zircon MetalliScanner m40. 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. To function properly, the wall surface must have a consistent density level, and be less dense than the wood stud. If you own an old house with plaster and lath walls, you may have discovered how utterly useless a stud finder can be. 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. Electrical Stud Finders. … The lath is like 3' long, so the studs should be 18" on center. Plus we will also look at a couple of other ways to gain the same results. … It has to be a strong magnet for this to work, so those floppy pizza magnets won’t cut it. If you own an old house with plaster and lath walls, you may have discovered how utterly useless a stud finder can be. 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. Required fields are marked *. Dangle the magnet against the wall and slowly move it horizontally across the wall. You could also try a cool product called StudPop which takes the magnet trick to the next level. Although this is usually in older properties. Basic Zircon StudSensor™ stud finders with only Stud Scan and/or DeepScan® mode are not recommended for lath and plaster walls. So, because of the constantly varying depths, the stud finder is constantly trying to recalibrate, and therefore will not find the 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. They use a form of density testing looking for studs, not the nails in studs. Because the walls are secured into the studs using nails or screws, the stud finder and magnet will pick up on them. This simple stud finder is a powerful magnet that pops into place when a stud fastener is detected. There are a wide range of versions and prices, and, … 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. 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. In our opinion, using one of the best stud finders, such as a Zircon i520 will be certainly up to the job! although many old houses may have unusual stud spacing so this method may not work for everyone. This one is the best of all electronic stud finders in the list weighing … 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. Your email address will not be published. Stud finders will not work with plaster/lathe. The addition of metal mesh at inside and outside corners does not help much. Did you make this project? To see which side the stud is on, take the switch plate cover off and take a peak inside. This is my favorite method and the reason is simple. Most houses built in the last 100 years were framed 16″ O.C. Run the stud finder or magnet across the wall until you find a nail head. 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