Some of you may be rolling your eyes at what you consider to be the simplicity of this task, but keep in mind that not everyone owns a stud finder, so there may be times where you’re left to your own devices. Even if you do have a stud finder handy, they are notoriously inaccurate depending on the thickness of your wall, as well as providing false positives for picking up other items in your walls. To avoid unnecessary holes in your walls, we’ve got some quick and easy options to help you in your journey to locating a wall stud.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN: Be in the know

For anyone who has never hung anything before (think young professional living on their own for the first time), the first thing you should know is that studs are typically spaced every 16” on center (which means 16” from the middle of one stud to the middle of the next).


This tends to be the most recognized style of locating a stud, but you have to know what it is that you’re listening for. When knocking on the wall, if it sounds hollow or empty, keep moving to the left or right until you hear a solid sound. The solid sound signifies that you have likely reached a stud.


It’s a pretty safe bet to assume that screws were used in the construction of your home, making it very likely that the studs in your walls have screws in them. Simply slide a magnet along the wall until it gets drawn in and connects. Now you roughly know where the stud is, as well as where you shouldn’t drill or hammer directly (because there’s a screw right there).

Some other ways to identify a stud are:

  • Your trim is typically nailed into a stud, so try to identify any nail holes that might be visible 
  • Locate the switches/outlets: at least one side of the electrical box will be mounted to a stud. After determining which side that is (by using the aforementioned “knock test”), you can then measure about a 3/4-inch away from the outlet on the stud side and use that as the starting point to determine the 16-inch intervals.

Check out any of our other at home tips and tricks on our Builder’s Blog.

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