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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Default How to Locate Studs in Plaster Wall (wood lath) ??

    My house was built 1965 with plaster walls and I think wood lath, and assume also built to 16" on center for Studs.
    What is the best way to find studs in a plaster wall ? (I would like to wall mount a 50" flatscreen TV).

    In the previous house that had drywall, the 16" on center rule was't very helpful as it MAY be true if I knew which side the 16" started. Using the $10 battery operated Stud Finders were also very iffy -- I ended up nailing finishing nails through the drywall to confirm whether I found the stud. I can't do the same with plaster as repairing holes is more difficult and the wood lath would give a lot of false positives on the presence of a stud.

    Any suggestions for wood lath plaster walls ?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    nova scotia, canada
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    Default Re: How to Locate Studs in Plaster Wall (wood lath) ??

    if the house was built in 1965 its less likely to be plaster and lathe, by this time its more likely to be plaster over top of plaster rock board. plaster board is similar to drywall but comes in 2' x 4' panels

    as for finding the studs, the cheap stud finders are very innaccurate at the best of times. they will read as fiding something but you might be over a pipe or it may go off when theres nothing there. a higher end unit will have a deep scan mode which is designed for plaster walls
    fire up the saw and make some dust

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Default Re: How to Locate Studs in Plaster Wall (wood lath) ??

    I knock on the wall while walking from side to side and locate the studs by the echo.

    I also choose watermelons this way at the market...and my wife says that I'm yet to bring a good one home.


  4. #4
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    Mar 2008
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    nova scotia, canada
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    Default Re: How to Locate Studs in Plaster Wall (wood lath) ??

    the knocking method sometimes works, although with plaster walls its much harder because of how thick the plaster is
    fire up the saw and make some dust

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Northern Virginia
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    99

    Default Re: How to Locate Studs in Plaster Wall (wood lath) ??

    I couldn't really tell any distinguishing sounds from knocking on the wall. It doesn't seem accurate enough to find a stud that is less than 2" wide at the vertical plane.

  6. #6
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    nova scotia, canada
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    Default Re: How to Locate Studs in Plaster Wall (wood lath) ??

    one method i use which is almost foolproof for nailing baseboard and chair rail is to locate a electrical outlet, pop off the face plate and look inside to see which side teh stud is located from there simply take your tape measure and lay it out so teh 16" o.c. markings line up with that perticular stud then nail at all the other 16" o.c marks. this works incredibly well. it also works for 24" o.c
    fire up the saw and make some dust

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
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    5,557

    Default Re: How to Locate Studs in Plaster Wall (wood lath) ??

    One item I think works well, you can pick up at most wood working stores and some big box stores, that's a small hand held metal detector. It doesn't work if you have steel mesh lath but with wood or rock latch it will detect the nails or screws used to mount it. I think the Little Devil metal detector is only about $30.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Northern Virginia
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    Default Re: How to Locate Studs in Plaster Wall (wood lath) ??

    A rare-earth magnet will quickly find the finish nails in baseboards, which of need got nailed into framing. They cost less than a buck...
    Casey
    Remove not the ancient landmark, which your fathers have set.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    6,480

    Default Re: How to Locate Studs in Plaster Wall (wood lath) ??

    I use the normal battery stud finder to narrow in on the location, then a nail/hammer to find the exact center of the stud. Keep in mind that while 16" spacing is standard, this goes south in a hurry if there are bisecting walls or structural supports within the area in question. If you prefer, a small drill bit will reduce wall damage rather than using a nail. The resultant holes can be filled with spackle, drywall compound, or caulk.

    Quote Originally Posted by dj1 View Post
    I also choose watermelons this way at the market...and my wife says that I'm yet to bring a good one home.
    Everybody knows you squeeze melons!

    In all seriousness, if you push with your thumb around the blossom scar, the melon should be slightly to moderately soft but firm. No movement and it's unripe, too soft or spongy and it's over ripe and should be left for the thumpers to take home. Once you get the hang of it, the wife will let you play with the melons more often.
    Last edited by A. Spruce; 06-09-2011 at 06:23 PM.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: How to Locate Studs in Plaster Wall (wood lath) ??

    Spruce...

    I like your thinking...

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