How Do You Know If You’re Drilling Into A Stud?

You may need to drill through the wall for various reasons. But one common problem that you may face is to drill through a stud. As studs are placed inside the wall in a frequent manner to support the walls, it becomes difficult to locate them. But only if you know how to locate it, you can easily avoid drilling or drill through a stud, whichever is required. 

While drilling, if you suddenly find it difficult to drill through, that is where the stud is located. As studs are harder than walls, the drill will get stuck for a moment and it would be tough for a person to drill through. There are other ways to locate it before drilling, however. 

It is better if you locate the stud before drilling. This makes your drilling more efficient and accurate. 

4 Ways To Locate The Stud Before Drilling: 

It is always better to know the position of the stud before drilling. Because if you need something heavy, it is better to drill and nail in the stud so that the walls don’t get damaged. But to hang a lightweight thing, drilling in the stud is not necessary. This means, if you know the location of the stud, you can easily decide where you should drill according to your purpose. 

To know the position of the stud in the wall, you have 4 ways to execute. Here are the 4 ways to locate the stud before drilling: 

1.Knock The Walls: 

The easiest task is to check the position of the studs manually. To do this, you have to knock on the walls. Start from one end of the wall and keep knocking on the walls to the end of the wall. So how would that help? 

In most places, you can hear a hollow sound. These are the areas where there is no stud. But after a certain distance, you can hear a solid sound, much bolder and stronger than the previous ones. This is where the stud is located.

However, you may not need to knock the entire wall if you know the approximate distance from one stud to another. Generally, studs are placed 16 to 24 inches apart from each other. So you can also knock the wall after every 16 inches on the wall after you find the first one. 

Though an easy method, it is not the best way to know the exact position of the stud. The better ways are coming your way!

2.Locate A Plug Point:

Here comes another procedure for locating the stud manually. This is one of the effective ways if you know that the electric plug point is positioned over a stud. 

Basically, most of the time a plug point is set up on a stud. So the vertical line along the plug point is where the stud is. You can now knock the vertical line to confirm and drill at the desired point. 

Moreover, you can use this stud to locate another stud. Simply knock the wall after crossing 16- 24 inches from the first stud. Hear the sound and locate the stud. 

3.Electronic Stud Finder:

If you want an accurate result, you need to get a device called an electronic Stud Finder. 

Extremely useful and handy, an electronic Stud Finder is able to locate the exact location of the stud. Basically, it measures the density of the wall to give signals. And it makes a beep sound where the wall is thicker compared to other areas of the wall. So when you hear the beep sound, you know the location of the stud. 

It is pretty easy to use and can give you accurate results.

4.Magnetic Stud Finder:

But what if you don’t want to invest in an electronic Stud Finder? Can you think of a way that people used to use before the invention of an electric stud finder?

If you are finding an alternative to an electronic Stud Finder, go for a magnetic Stud Finder. It works differently from the electronic one. 

As studs contain metallic elements like nails and screws, they can be located with a magnetic field. This is exactly what a magnetic Stud Finder does. It locates the nails and screws to tell the position of the stud. That’s it!

These are the 4 ways of locating a stud so that you can decide where exactly you want to drill.

Related Questions:

Do You Drill Into A Stud Or Not?

Many people remain in a dilemma regarding whether it is right to drill through a stud or not. Let me clear your confusion. 

There is nothing wrong with drilling through a stud. In fact, it is necessary to drill into a stud if you are about to hang something heavy on the wall. While a heavyweight material can damage the wall, a stud can take the weight preventing wall cracks and damages.

However, remember to make a small hole only so that the hardness of the stud remains intact. 

How Many Holes Can You Drill Into A Stud?

You can’t make as many holes on the stud as you want. It not only goes against the building code but is risky as well.

Ideally, a hole on a bearing wall should not be above 40 percent of the stud’s width. However, if it is a non-bearing wall, you can make a hole below 60 percent of the stud’s width. And with this measurement, you can make only two consecutive holes on the stud. 

Therefore, you should not make more than two holes on the stud. But you also have to maintain the measurement to keep the strength of the stud intact.

How To Locate A Stud While Drilling?

You can locate a stud while drilling. In fact, it is easy to understand if your drill had bumped into a stud inside the wall. 

If your drill hits a stud, you will feel resistance. It will become difficult for you to penetrate the stud layer. If you require extra pressure to drill through, you are actually drilling through a stud. However, for accuracy and safety reasons, it is better to locate the stud prior to drilling.

Hence, you can feel resistance and find it hard to drill when the drill bumps on a stud.

Does Drilling Make Studs Weak?

If you maintain the building code and drill accordingly, drilling won’t make studs weak. 

You should not make too many holes on the stud. Besides, for bearing walls you can only drill through 40 percent of the studs’ width, and for non-bearing walls, the measurement is 60 percent. Make sure the hole is small and not drilling through the stud too much.

Unless drilling is cracking or splitting the stud, drilling is okay. Be precise about the measurement to prevent the weakening of studs. 

How Strong Of A Drill Do You Need To Drill Into A Stud?

Drills are generally strong enough to penetrate a stud. It is just that you may need to be patient while drilling through a stud. However, you need to decide on which drill bit you are going to use. 

As you need to make a pilot hole only, choose a sturdy wooden or metal bit. The bit has to be smaller than the screw you are going to nail on the wall. However, the length of the bit matters. It should be long enough to penetrate the wall and at least 1 inch through the stud. 

Therefore, the trick is to find the right bit. Other than that, any high-quality drill can make a hole through the stud.


Now that you know how to locate a stud while and prior to drilling, I believe you can drill into the wall more efficiently and precisely. 

Masud Rana

This is Masud Rana. I run this blog. My Tools Guide is a blog where I share product reviews of different tools. Stay tuned to get more helpful articles!

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