Finding Your Stud: "The Knock"
This is perhaps the most difficult of all skills in the building trade. It is more of an art than a science, and can lead the inexperienced to question their senses and partners to question their choice in lifelong mates. So, to help navigate the potentially stormy waters, here are a few tips:
- You can just start knocking away if you are confident, however many people prefer to look for existing power points that are generally fixed to one side of a stud. Which side the stud is actually on is anyone's guess, but at least you have a pretty good idea where the first stud is likely to be.
- So, to locate this first stud, you want to place your ear close to the wall. Then knock firmly enough to hear a clear difference in resonating tone between the hollow section of wall and the studded sections of wall. However you want to be gentle enough that you don't damage your wall (or hand). You've probably seen people at least attempt this before, and I would recommend some practice before you go any further. It is a bit like training your ear in music, it does take practice to be confident, and even more to be right.
- As you knock repeatedly along the wall, notice the difference in tone. A hollow, reverberating sound is NOT a stud. You want the higher pitched, more solid sound to indicate the general location of a stud. Note - most homes are generally built using timber studs, and this method works best for locating timber studs. If you are trying to locate studs in a recently constructed home, apartment or commercial space, you may have steel studs in your walls, and this method will not work as well for locating steel studs. You want to try the next method, which we call "The Magnet" (dramatic, I know). It is absolutely perfect for steel studs.
- In Australia, studs are generally located either 450mm apart, or 600mm apart. However this varies between builders, wall types (external/internal) and load bearing to non-load bearing walls. From the first stud, you can then move along the wall until you hear the same high pitched, solid tone from your knocking.
- You are probably starting to understand why we have spent so much time developing The 305 System to provide a better solution to suit stud walls! There is no real pattern or consistency to stud positions, and yet shelving suppliers produce everything at their own fixed widths that never line up with your stud positions.
- As you locate each stud, it is a good idea to put a light mark on the wall at about eye-level to indicate the located studs (or at a suitable height that will be concealed by your 305 System).
- Keep going, keep at it and keep patient. Your ear will develop, your confidence will come and you will end up being right more often than you are wrong. And remember, being wrong is easy to fix with a bit of plaster (as long as you realise you made a mistake before you fasten anything to your wall).
Stay tuned for the next method. If you found "The Knock" a bit too much like voodoo magic, then you are not alone. There are tools and methods for you. Coming next - "The Magnet".