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fw2007 02-10-2008 02:01 PM

Any good stud finders?
 
I need a stud finder that will work on plaster/lath walls & ceilings. I would also love it if the same device could help me locate BX cables in the walls & ceilings.

I was looking at a Zircon model that does all of that, but after reading the customer reviews on Amazon.com, I don't think I want to spend the money. They all said it didn't work most of the time, and that was just for finding studs.

Does anyone make a decent stud finder (with or without metal detection capabilities) that will cost under $50?

Thanks

FW

220/221 02-10-2008 03:16 PM

I haven't found ANYTHING that will work on plaster/lathe. The vaiiation in the plaster thickness is one issue and the metal lathe REALLY throws them out of whack.

fw2007 02-10-2008 06:16 PM

I guess I'll just have to go with the nail or the drill trick. One suggestion I read was that the wall boxes are usually attached to the studs. Ha Ha. Not in this house! They're just screwed into the wood lath.

Another possible method is to measure from a corner of the room, assuming that the studs are any standard distance apart<g>. In an 80 year old house, that's a pretty risky assumption.

FW

Sammy 02-10-2008 06:32 PM

I have a five year old Zircon top of the line that really doesnt work well in my house.

1970's drywall with a sand texture overcoat.. More false readings than its worth. Yet my neighbor says he has a ten dollar [not sure of the brand] sensor that works good.

I'm sure Yummy will have some input on this..

Me, I just knock a hole in the wall and stick my head in to see where the studs are...

Oldhouseowner 02-10-2008 09:08 PM

Hi there,

I found tapping on the wall and listening if it sounds hollow or not seems to be the only thing that works for me. Another indicator I learnt here are the locations of nails for the baseboards. Don't waste any money on a studfinder - I don't think any work on L&P.

Good luck

220/221 02-10-2008 10:26 PM

Use a 1/8" (dead) drill bit and the holes will patch easily. Check for studs low by the base.

fw2007 02-11-2008 09:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sammy (Post 96707)
I have a five year old Zircon top of the line that really doesnt work well in my house.

1970's drywall with a sand texture overcoat.. More false readings than its worth. Yet my neighbor says he has a ten dollar [not sure of the brand] sensor that works good.

I'm sure Yummy will have some input on this..

Me, I just knock a hole in the wall and stick my head in to see where the studs are...

I hope you're not using your head to knock that hole in the wall <g>

fw2007 02-11-2008 09:04 AM

Thanks for the advice on the studfinder. I'm happy that I didn't go out and buy one, only to be just as frustrated with it as I had been with the old Radio Shack model I had until recently when I trashed it because it never worked.

I guess in some cases, modern technology doesn't make life easier, only more frustrating!

FW

wfischer 02-11-2008 10:56 AM

My wife had no problem finding a stud, but I'm not loaning her to you. :)

End Grain 02-13-2008 10:11 AM

I have a $20 Zircon as well as a $70 Zircon and the $20 Zircon is pretty accurate to 85%. I found that you must be very patient and move slowly with them. Please indulge me on this next explanation only because a few new DIY-ers may not know this. The first beep you hear or LED flash you see is the edge of the stud and not the stud itself. If you drill there, you'll get air. You have to go completely on the opposite side and move back towards the spot you were at to get the second beep or LED flash and the other edge of the stud. The space in-between is the actual stud and should be no more than the width of a stud face with the "sweet spot" in the middle. If you get repeated beeps and flashes, and there's no electrical line around, you may be encountering a crosspiece between the studs or other wooden piece. I simply go up or down the wall a bit to a different spot. Constant beeping in one spot where there's a stud tells me that an electrical line is probably stapled onto the stud. Gotta be extra careful there. Whenever I am hanging or affixing something very heavy onto a wall, I take my trusty cordless with a 1/8" drill bit in the chuck and like others have already said, I drill a small hole at the point my tester suggested just to make absolutely sure that sawdust comes out with the drywall dust.

fw2007 02-15-2008 11:26 AM

I think one thing I am up against in using any electronic stud finder is that my walls have wood lath behind them. They are real plaster walls, not wallboard.

comp 02-15-2008 01:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fw2007 (Post 98244)
I think one thing I am up against in using any electronic stud finder is that my walls have wood lath behind them. They are real plaster walls, not wallboard.

that is tough,,may have a metal mesh on them to

Wood Butcher 02-24-2008 02:32 PM

my last house was built in the 1930's with plaster & lathe so i feel your pain. the electrial box locations can be a good indicator if they are original. When they built houses 80 years ago, they usually only put a couple outlets in a room, not like today. Take the covers off the boxes, and take a peak. if they are metal boxes there is a good chance they are fastenet to a stud ( sometimes you can even see the nail heads ).

Another trick is to take multiple readings with your stud finder at different heights, and just put a small piece of blue painters tape in spots you get a reading. Then look for places where the tape lines up, and try those spots first to minimize patching

Happy Spackling

End Grain 02-25-2008 08:28 AM

The better stud finders - $40 & up - have a density calibration mode when you immediately depress the button that enables the unit to take a preliminary reading of the wall's density and set itself accordingly. Some have a deep scan mode which may be necessary for thicker walls such as older plaster construction. I grew up in a house that had plaster walls over scratch 'n' brown over wood lathing. If you purchase one at a home center and keep the package, IB and receipt, you can legitimately bring it back if it doesn't work for you for a refund.

kgphoto 02-26-2008 10:31 AM

I have never found one that works. Even the expensive ones.

Best to use a magnet and tapping and confirm with a drill bit.


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