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Organizing your garage? Find wall studs and ceiling joist first!

Jun 29, 2020

Trying to hang something on the wall and the ceiling of your garage? Surely, you’ll need to find a stud (but not the tall, dark, and handsome type) and a joist so you can attach whatever you need to attach in your ceiling or wall securely. You wouldn’t want to put a wall shelf that will just ruin your wall because it’s heavy and doesn’t have something solid to attach the fastener. But what are these studs and joists? Wall studs are two-by-fours (2 X 4) or two-by-sixes (2 X 6) vertical boards that function as framing in your home supporting the walls; while ceiling joists are horizontal boards that provide a structure to fix the ceiling. These studs and ceiling joists are usually placed 16 to 24 inches from each other. So, once you found one, it is much easier to find other studs and joists.

Super easy ways to find a wall stud without using an electric stud finder

Despite its very essential role in building and decorating homes, these studs are much harder to find than you think of. It’s true that you just need to find one stud then you can find them all with the use of your construction meter or tape measure, but finding the first one is really hard. Here are some tips on how you can locate your first wall stud.

  1. Locate your electrical outlets and light switches

Most of the time your electrical outlets and light switches are attached to a stud. Turn off the power and remove the switch cover and look inside to see the vertical stud. Once you spot them, it’s easier to find the rest of the stud member on that wall. Just measure 16 to 24 inches from the first stud you saw. If you’re hanging a frame or mirror, you can measure upward from the electrical outlets because these studs are built from ceiling to floor. You can also put light markings on your wall so it’s easier to find the stud the next time you’re planning to decorate or re-arrange furniture in your home.

  1. Windows are attached to a stud

Each window is attached to a stud on each side. Depending on the trim of the window, it’s also hard to approximate where are the edges of the stud. But always remember to double check if you’ve already found a stud with other techniques before nailing the wall because it may cause damage.

  1. Use the knock test

Another effective technique is to hear the difference of the sound when you tap the wall. Tapping on a spot where a stud is located will produce a solid sound, while every place without it will produce a hollow sound. You just need to know how to differentiate each sound so you’ll effectively find the stud. Put a mark on the first solid sound you’ll hear then use a tape measure to find all the other studs. Double check it by tapping the walls.

  1. Use clothes hanger

Surprised? Yes, you can also use clothes hanger as a wire stud finder. Just fashion your clothes hanger to a right angle, then insert one side of your wire to the wall and spin the wire in a circle. Note that wherever the wire makes contact, you’ll have your stud. By using the abovementioned techniques, you’ll surely find your studs without resorting to using the finish nail or drill bit that sometimes leave permanent marks in your wall. You can now easily decorate your home and garage as how you’d like.

How about finding ceiling joists?

Not like finding wall stud, locating ceiling joists is much easier. Ceiling joists are the horizontal member of your roof that are extremely important for the structural integrity of your house. There are two type of joist in a house: the hidden ceiling joists and the exposed ceiling joists. Hidden ceiling joists are the standard for most homes, used only for the practical aspect and covered up by ceiling boards. It also always looks good no matter what style of house you have. They usually hide the wirings of your home. On the other hand, exposed ceiling joists are for those who would love a rustic feel to their home. These are used to have aesthetically pleasing roof. If done right, these joists can give beautiful look and complexity to the house. Just like the studs, the standard spacing between joists is 16 to 24 inches. There is one easy way to find these ceiling joists – the flashlight technique. Step 1: Stand in a ladder and hold your flashlight in an obtuse angle. Your light should run nearly horizontal to your ceiling boards. You have to look out for dimples in the paintwork because that’s the nail that is holding your ceiling board to the joist. Step 2: Measure the space with your tape measure. If you are not sure if you found another joist, lightly hammer a nail in it and if there’s a lot of resistance, you’ve found your next joist. If not, try again by measuring 24 inches and there might be your joist. If you do not want to use the flashlight technique, you can also use your wall stud finder to locate your joists. But first you have to calibrate your stud finder so it will accurately locate the ceiling joists. Since you have found where are the wall studs and ceiling joists, you can start organizing and decorating your house garage. Maximize your garage’s space and start organizing There are many ways how you can maximize the space in your garage. Figure out how you want to start your organization project and what type of tools will you need. You can also search the internet with tips on using different kind of shelves that will surely transform the look of your garage. Attach garage shelves in your garage walls Garage shelves are used to utilize additional storage space to your walls for all the items you are using every day. Transform your garage by adding shelves to organize your stuff. You can organize your things in your garage thru this wall shelves. You can even maximize your walls by strategically assembling your shelves. Attach one shelf for the things and tools you are always using in the house; add another for those that you’re not always using; add another for different aesthetics you want in your garage. Put some overhead garage storage in your garage for your laundries These overhead garage storages are used to maximize the overhead space and it’s perfect for the items you don’t regularly use. You can use this storage to put your wash bins and other paraphernalia in washing. Aside from storing your laundry tools on the overhead racks, you can also utilize these racks as ceiling mounted laundry racks. Hang your washed clothes, duvet, comforter, and others. It’s sturdier than the laundry racks that you’ll see online. Add some overhead platforms for your treasured bikes and other collections Most of the time you are storing your collections in your garage and these collections just accumulate dust. Think about your precious things like motor bikes, mountain bikes, and others and give them a special place in your garage area. Attach a special overhead platform for them so they won’t be in your way in the garage. You can also treat this platform as your viewing area for them, in case you have decided to sell these collections. You can definitely give them the care they deserve by giving them this special place. Add some spice to your garage by putting some aesthetics Your garage doesn’t have to be as down as your mood when you’re troubled because you can add some aesthetics that everyone will enjoy. Put some wall frames about security or about enlightenment as an example. You can also install a wooden puzzle so when you don’t have anything to do you can play with your kids or siblings in your garage – solve the puzzle! If you are ready to mount everything on the wall or ceiling, make sure to really find the wall studs and ceiling joists so you’ll never worry that your storage areas are unstable. If you can’t find them, speak to the one who construct your house or someone knowledgeable on this matter. For more garage and home renovation tips, visit