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handyman nailing a wall

You Must Find The Stud

Today I want to discuss the importance of a basic DIY skill. Something that you should know, and something that every professional should (but does not always) know. Finding the stud behind drywall.

I was reminded of this recently in a newish home (less than a year old) where the homeowner put something up on the shelf in her closet and was walking away when the shelf came off the wall. The weight of the upper shelf, upon landing on the lower shelf, brought it down also. There was a tangle of clothing, shoes, and twisted wire shelving on her closet floor. I will note here that this shelving was installed by the builder, not the homeowner. Somebody that should have known.

She had the clothes and personal affects out of the closet when Mr. Handyman Serving Greater Jacksonville arrived. What he found was that the shelving was all screwed into the drywall. A few screws had found a stud behind the drywall, but not nearly enough. When my staff install (or re-install as was the case here) we try and get most of the anchor screws into studs. DIY types must do the same. I still would not recommend boxes of books for the top shelf, but shelving anchored into the wall studs are far sturdier.

Handrails at stairs, grab bars in bathrooms, and wall mounted TVs should all be anchored through the drywall and into a stud. If that is not possible, a special anchor (there are many on the market, each designed for a specific application) should be used. Drywall, all by itself, is not designed to carry much weight when there is nothing, but a screw drilled into the drywall.

Similarly, things mounted to your ceiling should also be anchored into more than drywall. This would include the storage units mounted to your garage ceiling, and the pot-rack on your kitchen ceiling. All need to be anchored into the joists or trusses behind your drywall ceiling.

If you are a DIY person and do not know how to find the stud in a wall, I suggest you visit YouTube and watch and learn. One can buy a stud finder, but you need to know how to use it. It will not work though the tile in the bathroom, when installing a grab bar, so you need to understand other methods. This is a basic, but very important, DIY technique that will serve you well for as long as you do your own installations.

And, for most guys, there is always the opportunity to hold the stud finder up to your chest and explain to others present that it found a stud.