I was drilling into my wall in my laundry closet (contains my washer, dryer, and water heater) to install shelf brackets above my dryer and washer. After using a stud finder, I drilled where I thought a wall stud was above my washer, but it seemed that after drilling through the drywall part, the drill hit something solid. I gave the drill some hard pushes, thinking it was hitting the stud, but the drill did not go any further. I tried drilling in another spot around the same area and encountered the same thing.

I'm now worried that I hit a pipe of some sort. It does not seem to be a water pipe at least, since there are no water leaks, so I am worried that I hit a gas pipe. Would it be noticeable if I hit a gas pipe? (I don't smell anything, so am reluctant to call the gas company if I'm just being overly paranoid). Is there anything else I should be concerned about, and, if so, how would I diagnose it?

  • 1
    If you hit a nail plate these are hard but you can drill through them SO STOP pushing. Try 3” up and down a nail plate normally is not that long. Nail plates are there to keep you from nailing or screwing into things that go boom.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Feb 15, 2021 at 22:55

1 Answer 1


If you had hit a copper or plastic pipe, you probably would have drilled further after pushing a little harder.

I think it is most likely that you hit a nail plate. These are steel plates that are attached to the studs in locations where electrical cable or various pipes pass through. Their job is to prevent these items from being damaged by a drill or nail, so it seems the plate is doing its job here. Unfortunately, there isn't really anything you can do about it. The presence of the plate indicates that you picked a spot where you won't be able to hand your shelf. You will need to find out which direction the pipe/cable runs and find a different spot to drill that's out of the way.

  • Thank you! I can totally find different spots to drill, I was just worried that I could have done some damage.
    – User130286
    Commented Feb 15, 2021 at 22:53
  • I fully agree and have had to replace feeders in the past where the home owner drilled through not only the plate but conduit and into a large feeder.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Feb 15, 2021 at 22:58

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