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screwing into a "sheet" of stud?

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  • Dec 12th, 2017 3:59 pm
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[OP]
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screwing into a "sheet" of stud?

probably didn't word that question very well.

we're redoing the entrance/foyer in our condo and planning to put up a small shelf and hooks on the drywall. my studfinder is telling me there's a "sheet" of something behind the drywall. from what i can tell, it spans about 48" horizontally and runs floor to ceiling. no live wires detected. there's also nothing metal in that, or so my trusty earth magnet is suggesting.

so what could this be? and would it be safe for me to drill?
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Deal Addict
Oct 14, 2004
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Is it on a wall which adjoins another unit? If so, it is likely a concrete wall behind.
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Oct 22, 2007
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These would be my personal two options.

1. Borrow another stud finder and get a second opinion.
2. Drill into the drywall with a tiny 1/32 drill bit and see if there really is a stud/sheet of drywall behind the wall. When you remove the tiny drill bit, observe what material if any is at the end of the drill bit tip. E.G. concrete, wood, drywall etc. The hole left will be so tiny that it will be easy to touch up.

If infact there is wall reinforcement, I would ensure that I don't use screws longer than what you believe is re enforcing the drywall, in other words, drywall is 1/2" wall support maybe another 1/2', than I would go past 1" behind the wall with a screw.
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Jan 25, 2007
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Paris
I saw on Family Handyman many moons ago to test for studs after studfinding with a tiny tiny finishing nail and hammer FIRST. The hole is so small the drywall almost repairs itself if you miss, but if you hit you know you have a stud.
Gbill2004: Thanks but I'll just smell the couch before/if I buy it.

jonnyb: I go in there like PICASSO and toss the glue everywhere, I don't care what house I'm on.
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Apr 8, 2010
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toronto
if you have an electric shaver it works great for locating studs. just put the shaver up against the wall and move it. you'll hear the different in pitch. if the pitch is high, there's something solid behind it.
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Maybe it's a duct, and your magnet isn't strong enough to pick it up?
[OP]
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appreciate all the responses!

James_TheVirus wrote:
Dec 6th, 2017 5:50 am
Is it on a wall which adjoins another unit? If so, it is likely a concrete wall behind.
wall adjoins a utility (or something) closet in the hallway outside. further down the same wall inside my suite is the washer/dryer closet. there's a chance it could be brick or woodbeam -- the building has a lot of that. some suites have no drywall at all, just exposed brick.

Maymybonneliveforever wrote:
Dec 6th, 2017 7:21 am
These would be my personal two options.
If infact there is wall reinforcement, I would ensure that I don't use screws longer than what you believe is re enforcing the drywall, in other words, drywall is 1/2" wall support maybe another 1/2', than I would go past 1" behind the wall with a screw.
drywall is 5/8" (confirmed, as there's a section exposed where the washer/dryer is). was planning to use 1 5/8" -- too risky?

denti72 wrote:
Dec 6th, 2017 8:06 am
if you have an electric shaver it works great for locating studs. just put the shaver up against the wall and move it. you'll hear the different in pitch. if the pitch is high, there's something solid behind it.
definitely something behind it. there's a hollow section just to the left of this "sheet" — where Shaw Cable have their lock box embedded into the wall -- but the rest feels/sounds solid.
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Maymybonneliveforever wrote:
Dec 6th, 2017 7:21 am
2. Drill into the drywall with a tiny 1/32 drill bit and see if there really is a stud/sheet of drywall behind the wall. When you remove the tiny drill bit, observe what material if any is at the end of the drill bit tip. E.G. concrete, wood, drywall etc. The hole left will be so tiny that it will be easy to touch up.
just tried this. drill went in smoothly, no resistance or change in feeling. only material that came out was white. assuming it's just drywall?
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If it's brick behind the drywall, you might have just hit mortar... Which won't give you much support, if you're trying to put an anchor in it. For that matter, neither will drywall.

C
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Aug 18, 2014
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Post the stud finder model? I am curious what stud finger has a "sheet" detection??
And that's sounds like a horrible/confusing words to use. (unless the manual state what that actually means)
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pinkdonut wrote:
Dec 6th, 2017 6:05 pm
Post the stud finder model? I am curious what stud finger has a "sheet" detection??
And that's sounds like a horrible/confusing words to use. (unless the manual state what that actually means)
yeah, i'm describing it not very well. my apologies.

i'm only using "sheet" because there's a big section where the finder stays on. the stud finder itself doesn't do anything besides give indication.

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CNeufeld wrote:
Dec 6th, 2017 5:27 pm
If it's brick behind the drywall, you might have just hit mortar... Which won't give you much support, if you're trying to put an anchor in it. For that matter, neither will drywall.

C
if it's not wood behind the drywall, then i should use an anchor, yes?
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Are you putting the stud finder on the drywall then turning it on so it gets the baseline? yes you will need an anchor if you are just going into drywall
Gbill2004: Thanks but I'll just smell the couch before/if I buy it.

jonnyb: I go in there like PICASSO and toss the glue everywhere, I don't care what house I'm on.
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AMRadio wrote:
Dec 6th, 2017 6:19 pm
if it's not wood behind the drywall, then i should use an anchor, yes?
Was there constant resistance for the entire depth of the drill bit? Or did it break through after the drywall?

My concern (if it's mortar) would be that if you happened to hit the space between two bricks, and then try to drive an anchor in there, it may or may not fit where you want it to go. Of course, worst case scenario, you end up with a couple of holes that you need to patch up. Best case scenario (if you end up sinking a couple of holes) is that you can cover up the holes with the shelf. :)

Basically, I think you're on your own on this, and you'll have to play it by ear. Anchors are good; I've had good luck with these ones: https://www.homedepot.ca/en/home/p.papc ... 03219.html. I think they're rated for up to 75 pounds, depending on the size you get. I wouldn't trust them with that, though...

C
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Jerico wrote:
Dec 6th, 2017 6:41 pm
Are you putting the stud finder on the drywall then turning it on so it gets the baseline?
affirmative.

wish i knew just WHAT the studfinder is identifying as a "stud". made a tiny hole using the smallest drill bit ... there was nothing except more drywall. or at least, no brick or anything harder that i could tell ...

could it be like an extra layer of plaster or something?
Last edited by AMRadio on Dec 6th, 2017 7:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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