I have this small slightly over 2' wall in bathroom of an older house.
I used my finder and got a reaction right almost in the center of that
wall. I then drilled a small hole to confirm it. I did hit something
and pulled the drill out. Now, my question is that i had to drill
almost 2'' before it made contact. Aren't studs suppose to be almost
flush against a drywall, with the exception of the depth of the
What do you mean by "older house".
"An older house" is a rather relative term.
Older than this one?
or older than this one?
Something like a "1940's house" or an "1890's house" might help us
determine what you have found.
In any case, when you drilled through the wall, did it feel like you
went through the wall material, then went through some open space and
then hit the "something" or did it feel like you were drilling through
2 inches of wall material before you hit the "something".
If there was open space, you could have hit a vent pipe, a piece of BX
cable, who knows.
Depending on your wall thickness and material, the stud finder could
be giving you inaccurate readings.
For example, my walls are 3/4" thick, made up of 3/8" brown paper
covered, tongue and groove plasterboard (laid horizontal) then covered
in a 3/8" layer of plaster. Using a stuff finder is a bear on these
walls and I've gotten lots of false positives over the years.
I use the small round super magnets to find nails or screws, and find that
they give me a better picture of what's behind the tape. Everything is not
put butt square on. Sometimes two sheets are put up, and a horizontal strip
is put up that is from three to twelve inches wide. Horrible to figure out
with a stud finder, but easy with the magnets.
In a 2' wide wall, there may not be any studs between the sides of the
wall (24" on center).
The bathroom wall cavity may be deeper than a standard 2" x 4" studded
wall.to allow a 4" drain/waste/vent to pass through. Possibly a 2" x 6"
Both of the above may hint that what you finally hit 2" in was the
drain/waste/vent pipe. If so, I hope the hole drilled into this pipe was
above any fixture that drains into the pipe. Better a slight odor than a
well i did that and without going all the way, I withdrew the drill
and saw some deposits..but its hard to distinguish it, it almost
looked like powder. Yes the hole i drilled is top floor bathroom above
all bathroom fixtures. Now i am getting concerned if i am hitting a
vent pipe. Stud finders are suppose to go by nails I presume, and
vents are metal. What puzzles me is that before i make contact with
whatever the drill hits, I have to go through almost 2'' inches of
space. Even if it is a stud, I will need a long wood screw ...about
4'' at least. I have to go through a half inch of the cabinet wood ,
then the drywall, and then the 2''space, and at least another inch or
so to go into that stud.
Odds are it is a vent pipe, or if the house is REALLY old, maybe an old
abandoned gas line for the wall lamp that used to be in the next room.
Even if it is wood, you don't wanna hang anything off it. As the screw
draws up, it is likely to screw up the plaster. Just how heavy is
whatever you are trying to hang? Butterfly anchor or multiple
large-caliber molly anchors are usually plenty, unless it is a cast iron
shelf or something people will be hanging from. Wait, you said a
cabinet- how about hanging it from a metal cleat the full width of the
cabinet- you should be able to tie that to the wall (and maybe even a
stud) in multiple places. How old IS the house anyway? Pre-1950s
probably is not drywall. Probably plaster over wood lathe or blueboard
(the old version that was actually brown, with all the holes for the
plaster to squish through and form keys.) If it was plaster over metal
lathe, you would have noticed.
Its pre-1950 built, like 85 years old or so...The wooden cabinet is
about 15 pounds, and its being held up now with 2 anchor screws, where
one somehow has loosen, so the cabinet is leaning slightly. I had make
a pen mark on the sides when i first installed it, just to see if that
line changes and it has about a 1/4 of an inch in 5 months, on that
weak side.... so I want to reinforce it, hoping to find a stud...but i
believe it is the vent that i hit. Its being held between 2 sides
walls, a niche so to speak...so i doubt there are any studs there,
and I have bad luck with the anchor one...it would be easier for me to
drill a hole in the inside of the cabinet, where it would not be seen
and screw it into the wall...if there were a stud. Wouldn't a lath
hold it? I don't know how to add a cleat in that space. If i am having
a hard time now attaching it, imagine with a cleat., wood or metal.
The cleat I was referring to is the kind where you screw one half to the
wall, and the other half to the cabinet, and then hang it like a
picture. It does make the cabinet sit out from the wall a hair, though,
so unless back of cabinet it is recessed, it may not be what you want.
Only 15 pounds should be no problem for toggle bolts or the extra-big
molly anchors. Tell the guy at the hardware store you are working with
old plaster and how thick the back of the cabinet is, and he will fix
you right up. Drill 2-3 holes in back rails of cabinet, hold it up where
you want it, and have somebody poke a nail or marker through the hole to
mark on the wall where to drill the holes. You do have to be careful to
line things up carefully. Use big washers under the screws on the
cabinet side when you hang it, especially if the cabinet is the usual
pressboard stuff they sell for bathrooms these days.
It ain't hard, just tedious.
In a newer post you said the house may be 85 years old, so the DWV pipe
would not be ABS plastic unless some renovation was done since then.
You certainly would know if you tried to drill into a cast iron pipe,
and more than likely, would not be able to do blindly since the drill
bit would have to be held on the exact center of the pipe (even then, a
center punch may have to be used).
Stud finders come in all flavors, from the very cheap magnetic type that
finds screws or nails in the studs to the electronic deep seeking kind
that can also find electric wires and pipes in the wall cavities.
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