I'm attempting to mount a TV (a monitor actually) to a wall in our old house. This particular room was originally plaster walls and at some point, someone decided to redo the whole thing with drywall, by attaching the drywall to the plaster with furring strips. There's 1/2 - 3/4" of space between the two walls. The studs are basically impossible to find.

Is there any way to do this safely short of cutting a big whole through both to find the studs and re-drywalling?

The monitor's about 10 pounds, and mount would probably be 10-25 more. Ideally would be able to use a mount with an extending arm, so effective weight would be more.


  • 1
    Can you find the furring strips, they may have been attached to the studs. What about the other side of the wall, do you have access to find the studs there. Commented Feb 24, 2022 at 18:35
  • You can typically safely do at least 25 lbs with a drywall anchor, unless the drywall is very thin, like 1/4". If you can use 6 fasteners it's almost assuredly fine. If in doubt, attach a square of material to the drywall with many screws, then attach the bracket to that.
    – dandavis
    Commented Feb 24, 2022 at 19:44
  • Unfortunately, it's an upstairs, outside wall. And the furring strips run horizontally :) I think they wanted to make sure future residents would have as much pain as possible. I was under the impression that the weight ratings on drywall anchors was for a vertical load flush against the wall. My fear here is the whole thing pulling out. No? Commented Feb 24, 2022 at 19:47
  • A hole big enough to locate the real studs wouldn't need to be very large. Just needs to be big enough to stick a piece of solid #12 to go left and right poking around.
    – Mazura
    Commented Feb 24, 2022 at 21:41
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    I dunno, I put up 8' tall by 10' wide by 12" deep shelving on metal stanchions on a plaster & lathe wall. They held books, papers, toys, what have you for nearly 30 years. I paid absolutely zero attention to whether screws went into lathe or studs. I evenly spaced the stanchions and just drove a screw at every hole. Plaster & lathe will support a lot of weight. I'm not sure I'd recommend an articulating arm, sticking out of the wall at full extension, but then again, I'd trust it to support 25lbs spread across 4-6 screws through anchors into the plaster & lathe.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Feb 24, 2022 at 21:48

1 Answer 1


I don't think you can mount an articulating arm on this wall. An articulating arm must be mounted firmly in studs. Aside from finding the studs, you'll have two other problems:

  • Your screws need to be two inches long just to reach the studs through the first wall, the space, the plaster, and the lath or other backing. Then you get 1-1/4 or 1-1/2 inch of penetration into the stud. The problem is that you have so much screw, 2 inches, cantilevered out of the stud and acting to damage the part of the screw that is threaded into the wood.
  • You'll have to put spacers between the two walls on each screw to prevent them from crushing the outer wall.

All the above issues can be surmounted but it seems inadvisable to me.

Buy a fixed, flat-against-the-wall TV bracket, and for a 10-lb TV you can use high quality drywall anchors if you know how to install them well. Use 6.

Without too much detail, if you insist on using an articulated mount:

  • FIND STUDS. Use a 2-inch core bit to make an access port all the way into the stud bay, then a wire hanger to find studs both sides. Do this behind where the bracket will go. Then use a plastic grommet or the drilled out outer layer to patch the hole.
  • Use 3-1/2 inch lag screws, at least four of them, in at least two studs. Do not buy a single-stud mounting bracket. They exist. Don't.
  • Drill oversized holes for the screws through all layers of wall, all the way to the stud. DOn't penetrate the stud. Then drill appropriate pilot holes (7/32") into the stud for the screw and use plastic spacers to fill the space between the face of the wall and the stud so the bracket won't crush the wall.
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    Use a 2-inch core bit ... or a hammer. Make hole. Use wire. Find stud. +1
    – Mazura
    Commented Feb 24, 2022 at 21:39
  • 1
    Ha ha @mazura. Core bit is much easier to patch using the piece you drilled out. He has to go through drywall, plaster, and backing that might be wood or metal lath. The backing is almost two inches behind the surface. Good luck doing all that with a hammer and AND keeping the damage hidden behind the bracket.
    – jay613
    Commented Feb 25, 2022 at 16:15
  • Thanks @jay613 - decided to just do it flat. Feels like otherwise I'm going to have to make a large mess on purpose (to find the studs and connect everything, or end up with a large mess when it falls off the wall... Commented Feb 25, 2022 at 22:08

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