My house was built in 1943. It is a wood frame house and the interior walls are lath and plaster. My goal is to find the studs so I can mount a TV bracket for a flat screen TV. I have read that the stud detectors can in some cases detect metal nails used to mount the lath prior to the plaster being applied. It may be removing the baseboard to look for the studs might be just as successful. My question is if the convention for studs being centered at 16 inches would have been in effect in 1943? I think the house was built by a European builder since the kitchen counters depths are a couple of inches less than the depths in more recently built homes.

  • 4
    It's as good of a measurement as any to start with. What I'd suggest is find the relative center of where you want to mount the TV. Drill a big hole. Poke a wire (coat hanger, for example) into the hole until you hit a stud. Measure the distance and then do the same for the other side.
    – DA01
    Commented Oct 28, 2013 at 19:51
  • 2
    Is anecdotal information any use to you? My 1922 house is mostly 16" o.c., 15" in the first stud bay in an interior wall and 15" to 17" for the cripple studs above doors and windows. I also have some spots where I have no idea what's going on behind the wall. Take a look at some of the related questions on the site for some more help.
    – Niall C.
    Commented Oct 28, 2013 at 20:15
  • If you can find an electrical outlet and light switch mounted on adjacent studs, you may be able to take the outlet covers off to find the studs and measure them. Assuming, of course, that all of the studs are placed at the same width.
    – Johnny
    Commented Oct 28, 2013 at 21:26

1 Answer 1


16 inches on center.

Note that lathe and plaster has a number of advantages over more modern drywall, but studfinding is not among those. A standard stud finder you might buy or rent is likely to give confusing results. However a super powerful magnet, or a magnet based stud finder, will work just dandy. A row of small nails runs up and down each stud holding the lathe strips.

Removing the baseboards probably won't help at all. Often, but not always, one edge of an electrical outlet aligns with a stud. Framing can get funny near doorways or windows... the magnet is your friend.

  • Thanks Bryce. I will definitely try a magnet. I had to pull down all the lath and plaster in one room in my basement since all the galvanized pipes has to be replaced with copper ones. I seem to recall they had used flat headed, tin or alloy-like nails. Does that make sense (?) and would the magnet be attracted to nails like these?
    – Matt
    Commented Oct 29, 2013 at 12:17
  • The nails will almost certainly be primarily composed of iron, which is magnetic. They may be plated with something shiny, but they won't be all tin or nickel.
    – mac
    Commented Oct 29, 2013 at 17:54

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