Unlocking Secrets: How to Find Studs Behind Shiplap

To find studs behind shiplap, use a stud finder or a handheld magnet. Alternatively, you can also use a tape measure and a level to locate the studs.

When hanging heavy objects on shiplap walls, it’s crucial to locate the studs behind the wood paneling. Studs are long framing boards that make up the structural support of your home’s walls. Finding these studs behind shiplap can be a tricky and time-consuming task without the right tools.

Fortunately, identifying studs behind shiplap walls is a relatively simple process. With a stud-finder, handheld magnet, or a tape measure and level, you can quickly locate the studs and hang heavy objects safely. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps for finding studs behind shiplap using different methods.

Understanding The Basics: What Are Studs And Shiplap?

Explanation Of Studs And Their Function In Wall Construction

Studs are vertical pieces of lumber that are part of the framing of a wall. They are usually made of wood or metal and are spaced evenly apart to provide structural support for the wall.

Bullet points:

  • Studs play a vital role in the construction of walls as they provide strength and stability to the structure.
  • The most common spacing between studs is 16 inches on center, but it can vary depending on the wall’s design and the load it will carry.
  • Studs are typically positioned on the bottom plate and then attached to the top plate to create a secure framework.
  • They also provide a surface for attaching drywall or other finishing materials to create a smooth, even wall surface.

Definition And Benefits Of Shiplap As A Popular Interior Design Trend

Shiplap is a type of wooden board that is often used as a decorative element in interior design. It is characterized by a series of overlapping horizontal or vertical boards with a rabbet joint, which allows them to fit tightly together.

Plain paragraph:

Shiplap is a popular design trend due to its simplicity and versatility. It can add warmth and texture to any space and can be used in a variety of ways to create a rustic or modern look.

Bullet points:

  • Shiplap is often used as an accent wall or to create interest in a room.
  • It can be painted or stained to match the existing décor or left untreated to showcase the natural beauty of the wood.
  • Shiplap is relatively easy to install and can be a cost-effective way to update a room’s appearance.
  • It can also be used on ceilings or as a decorative element on furniture or accessories.

Finding Studs Without A Stud Finder: The Old-School Method

If you’re looking to mount a heavy item on your shiplap wall, you’ll need to make sure the support comes from a stud. While a stud finder can make this process much easier, it’s not always necessary. In fact, you can still find the studs in your shiplap wall using a simple, old-school method.

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Here’s how:

Look For Visible Nail Heads And Screws

One of the easiest ways to locate studs behind shiplap is to look for visible nail heads or screws. These are typically found along the edges of the shiplap boards or in areas where the shiplap has been cut or trimmed.

Once you’ve found a nail head or screw, measure 16 inches to the left or right to find the next one. This is the standard distance between studs and should help you locate the others along your wall.

  • Look for nail heads or screws along the edges of the shiplap
  • Measure 16 inches to the left or right of the nail/screw to find the next one
  • Repeat until you’ve located the studs

Use A Flashlight To Look For Seams In The Shiplap

Another way to locate studs without a stud finder is to use a flashlight to look for seams in the shiplap. When the shiplap is installed, the edges of the boards are typically butted up against one another, creating a seam.

These seams can help indicate the location of a stud behind the wall.

  • Turn off all the lights in the room
  • Use a flashlight to shine light across the wall
  • Look for seams between the shiplap boards
  • Measure 16 inches to the left or right of the seam to find the stud

Tap The Wall To Listen For The Sound Of A Solid Backing

If all else fails, you can always tap on the wall to listen for the sound of a solid backing. When you tap on the wall, listen for a solid sound rather than a hollow one. This indicates that there is a stud behind the wall.

  • Tap on the wall and listen for a solid sound
  • Keep tapping along the wall until you hear the same sound repeatedly
  • This indicates that there is a stud behind the wall

By using these old-school methods, you can find the studs behind your shiplap wall without the use of a stud finder. While it may take a little more time and effort, it’s a helpful skill to have in case your stud finder needs batteries or is not available.

Finding Studs With A Stud Finder: The Easy Way

When installing new shelves or hanging wall art, locating a stud behind shiplap is crucial to ensure sturdy and secure support. Although finding studs can be a daunting task, using a stud finder simplifies the process. Here’s a breakdown of how a stud finder works, tips for accurate usage, and the different types and their pros and cons.

Explanation Of How A Stud Finder Works

A stud finder is a small electronic device that locates studs hidden within walls. A typical stud finder uses either a magnetic or electronic sensor to identify where wood backing is situated. This device will help you trace the position of each stud with impressive accuracy.

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The way these studs appear on the device is by showing you the differences in material density they read as you move over the wall. Generally, the studs are of higher-density material as opposed to the rest of the wall.

Tips For Using A Stud Finder Accurately

Finding studs accurately requires some practice and patience. Below are some tips:

  • Make sure the stud finder is calibrated correctly before use by testing on a surface that you know contains a stud.
  • Move the stud finder slowly over the wall in a straight line while simultaneously pressing against the wall with firm, steady pressure.
  • Start at one end of the wall and move vertically until you find the next stud to the left or right.
  • If you locate a stud, make a small mark at the bottom and top of the wall for future reference.
  • Beware of obstructions like electrical wires and plumbing pipes.

Different Types Of Stud Finders And Their Pros And Cons

Stud finders come in different types, and each has its pros and cons. Here’s an overview:

  • Magnetic stud finder – this type uses a magnet to detect nails and screws that secure the drywall to the studs. It is straightforward to use and doesn’t require batteries. However, it may not locate non-magnetic metals such as aluminum, and its accuracy depends on the position of the nails or screws.
  • Electronic stud finder – this type uses sensors to detect changes in the material’s density, identifying where the studs are located. It can detect studs with impressive accuracy and more reliable than the magnetic type. Yet, its accuracy can be reduced if there are any objects blocking the device’s signals, such as plaster or electrical wires.
  • Instant stud finder – this type works by shining a laser on the wall and indicating where the studs are located. It is quick and easy to use. However, it is less accurate than the other types and more expensive.

Using a stud finder is an easy and efficient way to locate studs behind shiplap. Always calibrate the device correctly, move slowly over the wall, and mark your findings. Try different types and choose one that best suits your needs.

With practice, you’ll become a pro at finding studs with a stud finder.

Additional Tips For Finding Studs Behind Shiplap

How To Deal With Textured Or Painted Shiplap

If you have shiplap that is textured or painted, finding studs can be a bit tricky. Here are some tips to help you locate them:

  • Look for nail heads: If your shiplap was nailed to the studs, you may be able to see the nail heads. Try running your fingers over the surface to feel for any bumps that indicate the presence of a nail.
  • Use a stud finder: While not always accurate due to the texture or paint, a stud finder can still be useful for locating studs behind shiplap. Try using one that has a deep scanning feature.
  • Measure: Studs are typically spaced 16-24 inches apart, so measuring between known studs can help you locate additional studs in between.
  • Knock on the wall: Studs are usually made of solid wood, so they will produce a different sound when knocked on compared to hollow parts of the wall.
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Using Magnetic Stud Finders Or Strong Magnets

Magnetic stud finders are a handy tool for finding studs behind shiplap. They work by detecting the nails or screws that attach the shiplap to the studs. You can also use strong magnets, such as neodymium magnets, to locate the metal nails or screws.

Here are some tips for using magnetic stud finders or strong magnets:

  • Move slowly: When using a magnetic stud finder or strong magnet, move slowly and steadily to ensure you cover the entire surface area.
  • Look for changes in force: When you pass over a nail or screw, you should feel a slight change in the magnetic force. This can indicate the presence of a stud.
  • Test your magnet: Before using a magnet, test it on a known metal surface to ensure it is strong enough to detect the nails or screws.

Considerations For Finding Metal Studs

If your shiplap is attached to metal studs, you will need to approach stud finding slightly differently. Here are some things to consider:

  • Use a metal detector: A metal detector can be helpful for finding metal studs behind shiplap. Be sure to calibrate the detector to the specific thickness of the shiplap.
  • Look for screws: Metal studs are typically attached to the shiplap using screws, rather than nails. Look for small bumps or indentations that may indicate the presence of screws.
  • Measure: Metal studs are typically spaced 12-24 inches apart, so measuring between known studs can help you locate additional studs in between.


To sum up, finding studs behind shiplap can be a tricky task, but with the right tools and techniques, you can easily locate them. As we discussed, a stud finder is your best friend in this process, but it’s equally important to know how to use it effectively.

You should also keep in mind that electrical wires and pipes can sometimes be mistaken for studs, so it’s essential to be cautious. Another way to detect studs is by using a magnet, and if all else fails, you can make an educated guess based on the location of the studs in other areas of the wall.

By following these steps, you can maintain the structural integrity of your room and hang your decor without any worries. Happy hunting!

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