An unfinished basement with studs visible.

Wall Stud

Originally contributed by • last updated 3/3/2021

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Whether you’re hanging a picture on a wall or you’re putting up new shelving, it’s always a good idea to put your nails or screws into a wall stud when possible. These supportive framing members are typically out of sight, hidden behind the drywall or other backing boards they are attached to. Finding them can be a bit tricky but with a few quick tips, you’ll be well on your way to securely hanging your favorite painting.

Definition

A wall stud is typically a slender board used as a vertical framing member in the construction of a wall. They are typically made from wood and come in two sizes, “two-by-fours” or “two-by-sixes.” However, in some newer constructions, modern studs are also sometimes made from steel. Each member is typically spaced evenly at 16 inches apart, but some constructions might have them at 12 or 24 inches. Wall studs serve several purposes, including providing structural support, holding windows and doors in place, and as backing support for fixtures such as lights, TV mounts, shelving, and electrical outlets.

What Is The Best Way To Locate A Wall Stud?

If you’ve ever tried finding a stud behind a wall, you already know that it can be a bit difficult if you’re not prepared. There are a few different ways to find a stud in the wall, but using a stud finder is probably the easiest and most accurate. This can be particularly important if you need to hang something from a wall that requires a firm backing:

  • The easiest way to find a wall stud is to use a tool called a stud finder. These devices can sense a stud’s position behind a wall, and use lights and beeps to alert the user to its location. They’re relatively easy to use and come in a range of prices with different options.
  • If you do not have access to a stud finder, you can also try locating the nail marks on your baseboards or the outlets and light switches on a wall, as they will be attached to studs. However, this method isn’t perfect and could leave you with unwanted holes in the wall if you’re not careful.