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I have a new house, and the garage shares a wall with an interior wall... trying to hang a pull up bar on it, so I need to find the studs. I took pictures of the house as it was being built, but all of the earliest ones show the garage wall covered in plywood.

On top of the plywood is a layer of drywall. I tried using the Zircon i520 but it fails to pick up anything, except right around the tape joints. My magnetic stud finder shows a couple of hits within 1/4" of each other at the same spot at the Zircon, so I drilled three test holes around the area and only managed to hit nothing.

Is there anything I can do to make this possible? Strangely, I stuck a screwdriver in the hole that I had drilled and it went in 7" until the insulation started to make that difficult. I thought that the studs were only 3.5" deep.

  • You got an addic above the garage can you look down the wall? Also if the plywood is thick 1/2" or greater a couple of toggle bolts should do the trick but preferable here to find some framing to anchor on – rhill45 Jan 1 '15 at 0:37
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    My bedroom is above the garage, so that won't help. The pullup bar weighs probably 30 pounds, and I'm another 200, so I really want to get this thing in a stud. – NinjaCat Jan 1 '15 at 0:45
  • Your having trouble finding the studs I think because of the plywood. Be sure your finder is set to a deep scan (if possible). You may even want to resort to drilling out a decent enough hole to get a mirror and light in it. I don't know how your bar is set up but consider the beams in your ceiling as well. They are usually more accessible i garages and you won't risk cracking out your drywall panels on your verticals walls. – rhill45 Jan 1 '15 at 0:54
  • Yeah, the plywood is def. messing with it (and have used the deep scan)... thing is, the magnet is picking up things, but then drilling over it, finds nothing. I am thinking of just making the hole bigger and using the mirror trick. The ceiling is drywalled too, so I might as well put it on the wall - easier to patch :) – NinjaCat Jan 1 '15 at 1:03
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    As a work around, consider installing a 2x4 on the walking using multiple toggle bolts. Then installing pull bar to that. Good luck! – rhill45 Jan 1 '15 at 1:10
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If the drywall was hung on top of plywood with nails or screws there's a decent chance those won't align with the studs, which is why your magnetic studfinder could lead you astray.

The plywood has to be anchored to studs, and those should be 16" on-center. So you only have to find one as a reference point. As an alternative to opening enough of the wall to probe for a stud you can use the fact that the plywood anchors are magnetic and roughly 16" on center, combined with the existing holes that failed to find a stud, to map out likely stud locations.

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    Yep, so what I did was cut open a hole for a ire hanger and try to rotate it to hit a stud. Problem was that the insulation was packed so tight it made that almost impossible. But once I found a hit, I drilled mni test holes to see where the stud was. Kept drilling out in both directions until I hot nothing and then I knew where the center of the stud was. – NinjaCat Jan 6 '15 at 5:32
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Possible the garage doesn't have vertical studs? An alternative construction method is large corner posts with horizontal supports to hold the walls up. If you search horizontally you will never find anything. Go 24 inches up or down and there it is. (one place I worked drilled test holes for nearly 10 feet horizontally searching for supports).

If this is how your garage is made you have a problem - the structural posts are too far back to be useful, the lumber behind the wall is not strong enough to support much more than the walls.

  • Nope, solved it (in comment above)... thanks though, for the comments! – NinjaCat Feb 2 '15 at 7:09
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Find a socket. Should be a stud on either side. Locate that stud then measure 16".

  • This is actually a good answer. Perhaps elaborate and provide some helpful tips, precautions, experiences etc. and Welcome to DIY Stack Exchange! – Kris Jul 3 '16 at 15:12

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