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How to Find a Stud with a Flashlight

If you want to hang a painting, install a new shelf, or mount your TV, the drywall might not be sturdy enough to support the weight. You might need to nail each on the support beams behind the wall if you expect them to hold.

Unfortunately, locating the studs is easier said than done because the screws holding the drywall are covered with primer and paint. Of course, you can locate the support beams easily when you have a stud finder. However, if you don’t have one on hand, a flashlight will do the trick.divider 4

What You Need

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Credit: Maria_Domnina, Pixabay
  • Flashlight
  • Hammer
  • Nail
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure

How to Locate the Studs

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Credit: Steve Johnson, Flickr

Before you fix or mount anything on the wall, you must first locate the support beams behind the drywall. And you don’t have to resort to trial and error as a flashlight can help you to be pretty accurate.

After turning off the lights, shine your flashlight against the wall at a steep angle. Although it is impossible to see the studs through the wall, you can pinpoint their location by tracing the screws. These will appear as small bumps or dimples on the drywall. If you’re having trouble finding them, try shining the flashlight at different angles. The screws usually run from the ceiling to the floor in a straight line.

When you find one, use a pencil to mark its location. It is easier to find the screw above or below since they are in a straight line. Horizontally, the next screws should be 16 inches away on either side. However, not every house will adhere to these standards. If the screws are not 16 inches apart, try 24 inches instead. For older houses, measure the distance between the studs in the basement and attic where there is no drywall.


Double Check Before You Mount

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Credit: Naypong Studio, Shutterstock

Before you mount your TV or shelf, make sure you got the right spot first. Hammer a small nail into the wall to ensure you located the stud correctly. Don’t panic if you make a mistake. Later, you can fill the hole with spackle and cover it up with a coat of paint. You can knock on the wall if you don’t want to risk making a hole in your drywall. It should feel solid and not hollow when you find the right spot.

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Conclusion

Finding a stud is crucial if you want your shelves, artwork, TV, or any other stuff you hang or mount to stay put. But with no stud finder, locating the support beams can be tricky. Fortunately, you don’t have to make unnecessary holes in your wall or risk damaging what you mount by resorting to try and error. You can locate the stud using a flashlight by following the simple steps outlined above. There is no need to hire a professional who will charge exuberant rates.


Featured image credit: wavebreakmedia, Shutterstock

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