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Stud finder for plaster . . . .

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  • Stud finder for plaster . . . .

    I have tried many different stud finders and can't seem to find anything that will accurately read through plaster (lath and plaster, or plaster over board). Occasionally I can get a very slight blip with the studfinder but nothing convincing. Tried several of the Zircon studfinders (20-60 buck range) that work fine any other time. Any personal experiences with a good studfinder that will work for this application????
    You only live once, so play with your tool often.

  • #2
    Re: Stud finder for plaster . . . .

    Yup, it's hit and miss on plaster walls with a stud finder. Especially of the house is older...you never know what you got under the plaster that will mess up with the reading the studfinder is getting. The worst situation is Old plaster on wooden lath that has been repaired/replastered with steel mesh at some point, then covered up with 5/8" drywall 20 years ago! (100 year old house). Try finding a stud in that house with the studfinder > sometimes you get it, sometimes you don't.

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    • #3
      Re: Stud finder for plaster . . . .

      My way of doing this, I will use the stud finder and try to find the gaps between the lath, when I think I found the gap, I then try to find a stud. I will do this near the base board, mark the stud location on the wall, then drill a hole after removing the base board. Measure over 2' or 16"s, chances are it's 2' in an old home. Drill another hole and see if I hit another stud. Everything is done behind the base board, easy to cover up. Use a level to run my markings going up or write down my measurements on a paper. Some times the nails in the base boards can tell you where the stud locations are, "sometimes". Also, now and then there may be a chunk of plaster missing behind the base board, and this may give you a location to, chances are slim, but I have ran into this. This hole can also tell you, if that crevice is insulated properly. Be careful, when removing your base board, as the plaster may crack. Use a backer board when using the pry bar.

      I don't know what your doing, but if your covering up the plster with drywall and this is on an exterior wall, you should demo the wall and insulate it properly and maybe run new electrical wire, also add a moisture barrier. There are codes involved when doing demo work, take this into consideration, electrical and plumbing is could be required to be updated when a wall is opened up. Don't forget about a fire alarm, hard wired in, this is a must. Time to open up that can of worms, if you demo, which any remodeling is expected. That is if your planning on drywalling the room/s.
      Last edited by garager; 08-29-2009, 10:21 AM.
      Great Link for a Construction Owner/Tradesmen, and just say Garager sent you....

      http://www.contractorspub.com

      A good climbing rope will last you 3 to 5 years, a bad climbing rope will last you a life time !!!

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      • #4
        Re: Stud finder for plaster . . . .

        Watch yourself if you are demo'ing old plaster! Many old plasters after 1920's and before 1975'ish could contain asbestos...a "nasty" if you inhale the fibers over time.

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        • #5
          Re: Stud finder for plaster . . . .

          Originally posted by Chemeng View Post
          Watch yourself if you are demo'ing old plaster! Many old plasters after 1920's and before 1975'ish could contain asbestos...a "nasty" if you inhale the fibers over time.
          Too true. Even 1980's drywall mud can contain asbestos. Pipe insulation that looks like corrugated cardboard or has hard, concrete like coatings on the valves, elbows, tees and other fittings indicate asbestos. You will also find many types of boiler coverings, floor coverings, siding/roofing and fabric products that contain it. It is always best to treat an assumed material as it is contaminated in my opinion but proper sampling can save you quite a bit of work. Look into having an environmental company sample building materials in your house before doing demo if the house is 40 or more years old.

          Just my advice,
          -Mark

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          • #6
            Re: Stud finder for plaster . . . .

            I have a Ryobi, probably not the best or the worse as I get pretty much the experience that the previous posts express. If I think I've got a stud, I usually will check it higher and lower on the wall to see if the reading is consistant and then usually will drill a pin-hole to see if its solid.

            From there I go with the old methods, before such instruments were invented. That means taking a measurement from the corner stud or the stud that I've located and then drilling a pilot hole.

            My home here in Painted Post is close to 85-90 years old and the future home in Binghamton was built in 1887 with an extension at the back of the house that was probably done in the 20 or 30's. So you can imagine the challenge.

            While I haven't run into asbestos in the walls, I have run into what I think is horsehair embedded in the plaster... Man, does that eat up a sabre saw blade. Likewise, some of the lath seems like it's hardwood.

            CWS

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            • #7
              Re: Stud finder for plaster . . . .

              my best stud finder is joey


              but the best one i have is a good old rare earth button magnet.

              the magnet penetrates the plaster and will home in on the nail heads.

              pretty simple to get the feel for it in no time.

              just a hint. cover the magnet surface with a strip of clear tape to protect the wall surface.

              the ones that come on those 3' extended antennas are not bad as long as you extend them to make them like a floppy pointer.

              the best are just the ones that are not attached to anything.

              of course when you thing you've found the spot, then go up and down to verify the spot.

              of course on modern drywall, the magnet will hold onto the nail or screw head.

              rick.
              phoebe it is

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              • #8
                Re: Stud finder for plaster . . . .

                Put the magnet on a string as well.

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                • #9
                  Re: Stud finder for plaster . . . .

                  check out the studthud. It's magnetic. It is supposed to work on everything from sheetrock to tile to wood lath. It's just starting to sell in Australia but site says it'll be available in U.S.early 2012.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Stud finder for plaster . . . .

                    If you don't mind spending a few bucks this baby will do the trick. It uses a serious penetrating radar to find anything in a wall, floor etc... It will even see through concrete.

                    D-tect150 Wall/Floor Scanner with UWB Radar Technology | Bosch

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