Locating wall studs should be your first mission when installing new windows in your home as part of your remodeling project. With any luck you will find a stud that is in the perfect position to serve as the starting point for the new opening. If you don’t, not to worry, it simply means you will need to add one additional stud to frame the opening for your new project. Be sure to check out our article and video on “How to Frame a Window Opening” before you get started.
Locating Wall Studs | 4 Easy Methods
Using a Stud Finder
You can’t go wrong using a stud finder. This easy-to-use tool will help you find the center of most wall studs with ease. In my mind, every home owner should have one of these handy tools in their toolbox. Priced right, at just 20 bucks for a decent model, you won’t break the bank either. It may be the best 20 dollars you have ever spent. When you are done with your window installation project, you can use the tool for locating wall studs when hanging pictures or mounting a book shelf, or a wall mounted TV.
Locating Wall Studs Adjacent to Wall Outlets
Generally speaking; most wall outlets are mounted to a standard wall stud. Meaning the contractor will take advantage of one of the existing studs in the plan, in lieu of adding a special stud just for the wall outlet. To find out which side of the outlet the stud resides, you can simply remove the cover and take a peek inside. Remember to turn the power off on the circuit before you go poking around inside.
Use the Trim as a Guide
If you look close at the baseboards, crown molding and chair rails, you can usually find the location of the nails that are holding the molding in place. This would be your first clue that there must also be a stud behind the trim at this location. Locating wall studs using this method is fast, easy, and generally fairly accurate.
Locating Wall Studs by Measuring from the Corner
Standard construction practices in most areas dictate that wall studs are placed on 16” centers. So, you can usually measure from the corner of any room and you will find a stud every 16” from the that point. A couple of caveats here, some really old homes may have wall studs on 24” centers. The other problem is what corner do you measure from, the right or left of the room? If there is any doubt, you can couple this method with one the methods above to confirm the location of the studs.