Finding a stud in an old house

DiivvaAugust 6, 2014

We just moved into a house that is 133 years old and I am trying to hang a pegboard in my office but I can't seem to find a stud. My stud finder continuously says there's electrical behind the wall. The room is on the second floor and I don't know if it was original or added on later . Any advice as to how to hang something without drilling into electrical wiring etc.?

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Your stud finder is not set up to deal with plaster and lathe - it's totally confused and babbling. Try a different stud finder.

Or use adhesive hooks like "Command" hooks

Also, look for a thin molding a few inches below the ceiling - if you have it, it's called "picture molding" and you can hang things from it with "picture molding hooks" and not make any holes in the walls ar all.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 6:05PM
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Using a hammer, tap on the walls with the same consistency. You should be able to hear the stud locations. When you get close, use a 1/16" inch bit to confirm. The holes you make are easily filled.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 6:53PM
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The old style magnetic stud finders take more effort but can find the nails in the lath when the electric ones are confused by the density of the plaster and lath.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 10:39PM
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Use your fist. You will hear the difference.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 6:34PM
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Pound a thin nail in every 1/2 inch all across the entire room. I did that at our old house and found all the studs - both of em.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 11:43PM
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To follow up on mxyplx's comment, it is not at all uncommon to find "unusual" stud spacings in really old houses. My own house, the oldest portion of which was built circa 1810, has corner posts and "studs' around the window openings only. This leads to areas close to three and a half feet wide without any vertical framing at all. Since the corner posts are at least a full 6 x 6 inches and the window framing 4 x 4 with 1.5 inch boarding boards on the outside and 1 inch lathing on the interior, it's probably at least as strong as more conventional framing.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 5:40AM
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