If you have ever went to hang a TV or a heavy mirror and just tried to simply nail/screw your mounting hardware randomly on to the wall, you may have been rudely awakened by the object crashing down on you!
The safest way to secure items such as these as well as pictures, plaques, memorabilia, etc., is to do so by nailing/screwing in your mounting hardware directly into the studs that are behind your walls.
A stud is the vertical support portion of your wall’s framing that is inside the wall and that the wallboard and plaster on the inside of your home is attached to (as well as what your exterior wall system is attached to).
There are electronic devices called “stud finders” that when passed over a wall can help you find a stud.
Many prefer this method of locating studs.
Although certainly not a bad technique,
it is not always my particular method of preference.
When possible, I personally like to use a strong magnet and pass it over the wall.
The magnet will be attracted to the nail or screw that the wallboard is hung by and because the nails/screws will typically be on either side of the front of the stud, the stud should easily be able to be found by marking 2 nail/screw points within a couple of inches apart from each other horizontally (though most likely at different points vertically) and nailing/screwing in the middle of them.
The above-mentioned method will work like a charm in “newer” homes.
In older homes that did not use today’s building methodology, you may have to be a little more creative.
In older homes, I would say to use the above described “magnet”-finding methodology on the baseboards of the room as the trim carpenters often made sure they were nailing directly into the studs.
Another way would be, knowing that your electrical outlets are either fastened to the left or right of a stud, measuring 16” from the left & right sides of the electrical outlet (from both sides of it) and drilling tiny test holes with a small drill bit that is fairly long. You should hit a stud at one of these measured points.
If you are still having a challenge and are able to get in the space above the walls
(attic, crawl space, etc.),
you may be able to locate the studs from there.
Finding studs in order to properly hang something on your walls can be an enormously frustrating task!
As frustrating as it is however, it is MUCH less frustrating than having a TV or large mirror come crashing down on you after you thought you may have it hung the correct way but were not properly locked into a stud after all!!