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BlackRichard 05-06-2006 06:29 PM

Hanging heavy pictures in an old house
I am about to open a photography studio in an old house, built around 1900. I had a local carpenter widen a door for me, and I am kicking myself for not taking pictures of the wall structure, but I'm hoping someone here will be familiar with what I'm talking about.

I think below the sheetrock is a layer of plaster or something, then behind that are horizontal strips of wood, like roughly 2" x 0.5", with more plaster or something between them. I assume there are studs, but don't know how to find them.

I have to hang my work in my showroom, which will be framed pieces, some possibly exceeding 15 lbs. How can I do this? Is there some type of hardware made for this purpose? Or do I HAVE to find the studs? If so, how do I find them?

Someone has mentioned some kind of adhesive plastic hangers by 3M, but I'm not sure if I want to trust those.

I hope someone here can help!!

Mike Swearingen 05-07-2006 07:53 AM

What you're describing are the horizontal plaster lath slats, not the wall studs. The vertical structural wall studs are probably on 24" centers, but may be on 16" centers, especially if remodeled at some point.
You may be able to find the studs by measuring from a corner and using trial-and-error drilling. (A magnetic stud finder won't work on a plaster lath wall due to the metal mesh.)
To prevent permanent plaster wall damage, you may want to do what they did back 100 years ago...hang heavy pictures from long wires on wooden "picture molding" at the ceiling level. Adjust the hanging wires to adjust the height.
And it will look "period authentic" with your c1900 studio.
If you don't want to do that, you can drill thorugh the sheetrock and the plaster wall and install molly bolts (see them in any hardware store).
Good Luck!

BlackRichard 05-07-2006 08:41 AM

Thanks, Mike.

I've been doing a bit of research, and have considered the picture rail option. I was wondering if I wanted to run a 2 x 4 all the way around the room, right at the ceiling, how would I atach that? Presumably the joists could be easily found, and I could use them on two of the walls, but what about the other two walls, where they run the opposite direction?

BlackRichard 05-07-2006 04:25 PM

OK, I was hoping I could find the joists with a studfinder, but it doesn't seem to be working. Are the ceilings probably plaster as well??

Mike Swearingen 05-07-2006 08:35 PM

A c1900 house normally will have plaster walls and ceilings.
Heavy crown molding around all four walls at the ceiling could be used for the picture rails. It would look much nicer than 2X4s.
You nail or screw molding to studs and/or ceiling joists. You'll have to find them with a small drill and patch the holes that miss with spackle.
Try them at 24" centers and then at 16" centers.
Good luck!

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