Stud Finder Not Working? (Possible Causes & Fixes)
If you want to hang something heavy on the wall, you will need to locate the studs. This will help to ensure that your wall hanging is properly anchored and that the wall can support the weight of the object. To locate the studs in the wall, you can use a stud finder.
If your stud finder is not working, check the battery, review the instructional manual, and determine whether it’s an edge or center finder. Also, try calibrating the device and check whether your walls are too thick due to lathe or plaster. If the finder still doesn’t work, try locating the stud using a magnet or knock on the wall.
Troubleshooting Your Stud Finder
There are several ways that you can troubleshoot the issue if your stud finder is not working. You can check the battery, review the instructional manual, determine the type of device you have, calibrate your device, and check the type of wall you have.
Check the Battery of your Stud Finder
If your stud finder won’t turn on, there is a good chance that all it needs is a new battery. If the battery is the issue, remove the current batteries and replace them with a new set. It is important to make sure that the batteries you replace in the stud finder are not expired.
Review the Instructional Manual of your Stud Finder
Your stud finder came with an instructional manual, so check it out to see if is being used incorrectly. If you have thrown the manual away, search the internet to see if you can pull the manual up digitally. Search by the manufacturer name and model number.
Once you locate the manual, read it carefully to see if you are following the proper procedures for using the device. If you need to, alter the way that you are using it in accordance with the manual.
Determine the Type of Stud Finder Device
Check out your device to determine if it is an edge finder or a center finder. This may be impacting how you are using the device. If you are using an edge finder, you will need to mark both edges of the stud to identify the center.
Calibrate the Stud Finder Device
Check out the manufacturer’s manual to see if your device needs to be properly calibrated. If it is not properly calibrated, this could be a reason why it cannot accurately locate the stud on your wall.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to see if this will get the device to work properly. If there is still an issue, you can call the manufacturer’s customer service to ask for help with the calibration.
Determine Type of Wall to Locate Studs
Your stud finder is designed to work with drywall or plywood. If you have an older home that has thicker walls or uses lath or plaster, the stud finder might not work. Additionally, if you have tile made of natural stones, you might not be getting accurate results.
Your walls could have plaster over masonry. If that is the case, you can use a masonry drill bit, pre-drill, and then use a masonry screw. This type of wall will be able to support your heavy item, so you are free to hang it confidently.
Your stud finder might not be working because of the type of wall you have. If that’s the case, you need to find another way to locate the stud. Fortunately, there are several alternatives that could work.
If Your Stud Finder Is Not Working in the Garage
If your stud finder is not working in the garage, the best thing to do is to look for a wall socket. If you can locate a wall socket, you will find a stud either to the left or the right of the socket. Most commonly, sockets are vertically placed and are about 16 inches apart.
To confirm that you have located a stud, make a mark on the wall and then place a nail on the mark. Using a hammer, check to see if you located the stud. If you did, it will be slightly harder to put the nail in. If it is easy to put in, you need to try again by moving an inch to the left or right.
If Your Stud Finder Is Not Working on the Ceiling
Much like If your stud finder is not working in the garage, if you stud finder is not working in the ceiling, the best thing to do is to follow the sockets. Find the socket and measure 16 inches from there.
Next, mark the measurement on the wall. Then, place a nail on the mark. It the nail goes in very easily, that means that you have not located the stud. If it is harder to get in, this means you have located the stud.
If you have missed the stud, you can try again by moving the nail and inch to the left or right to locate the stud.
Alternatives Methods to Try if Your Stud Finder Is Still Not Working
If your stud finder isn’t working, here are a few options for how you can find the studs. These options include getting a magnet, knocking on the wall, considering the spacing, or using visual clues.
Locate the Stud Using a Magnet
You can purchase a magnet and move it in every direction across the wall. This can locate the screws that are used to fasten the drywall or lath to the studs.
You will feel a magnetic pull between the screws and the magnet. If you are able to feel this subtle magnetic pull, that would indicate that you have located the studs.
Knock on the Wall to Find the Stud
You can knock on the wall to see where it is hollow and where it sounds more like a thud. If you find the thud, that would indicate that you have found the stud location. However, it will be hard to tell the exact location.
This technique is only recommended for individuals who have experience with locating a stud based on this knocking technique as it can be confusing if it is your first time.
Consider Spacing of the Room to Find the Stud
Usually, studs are spaced 16 inches apart from each other. However, some homes do have studs that are placed up to 24 inches apart, but that is rarer. You can guess based on how far they are from center.
Use Visual Clues to Locate the Stud
You can also use visual clues to help you find the stud. Look for outlets and switches as they can indicate where the stud is located.
Additionally, look at the baseboards and crown molding as they might help you find a stud because they are nailed into the studs with nails. You will have to look closely because the nails will be small and most likely painted over.
What to Do If You Cannot Remedy the Stud Finder or Locate the Stud
If nothing works, you might consider borrowing a stud finder from a neighbor or friend or hiring a professional to help you find the stud. It’s important to take the time to locate the stud rather than simply hanging the item randomly on the wall in frustration.
Borrow a Stud Finder
If your stud finder is still not working, you might ask a neighbor or friend to see if you can borrow their stud finder. That will help you to know if the issue is with your stud finder or if it is not working because of the type of wall you have. This can help you get to the bottom of the issue.
Hire a Professional to Locate the Stud
If your stud finder is still not working and you cannot locate the stud based on the alternative suggestions, it is important to employ the help of a professional. Rather than hang something on the wall that is way too heavy, contact a professional to help you locate the stud. The professional will have the proper knowledge and tools to help you solve the problem.
What if my TV wall mount studs are far apart?
If the TV wall mounts are far apart, you can use a piece of ¾” plywood and run it across the distance between both studs. Then, secure the plywood to both studs. You can secure your TV mount to this to ensure the best support. Taking this step is important as TVs are heavy and need the proper support.
Can I install shiplap directly to studs?
Yes, you can install shiplap directly to studs. It is recommended that you add insulation between the studs before installing the shiplap siding. Shiplap can add a beautiful dimension and texture to the aesthetic of your room.
If your stud finder is not working, there are a few technical things you can try to get it to start working again.
If it still will not work, there are other alternatives to locating the stud in order for you to complete your DIY project. It is important to take the time to locate the stud so your wall object is properly supported.
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