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I've been trying to mount a TV on my wall, and have encoutnered a problem locating and drilling into studs.

I used a stud detector to look for studs in my wall, and proceeded to drill.

Instead, I have just hit a metal plate. I did some searching and reading, and it does not appear that the metal is a metal stud. I say this, because I can drill above or below where I hit the metal, and hit nothing. If I drill to the side I also hit nothing. The metal objects seem to be 16" apart.

Whatever the material is, is very tough. I was reasonably certain it was not a protective plate, so so applied some pressure to drill through, but was unable to even get close. I can see where I drilled on to the metal, and it barely left a scratch.

I don't have the experience to cut open and replace a section of my drywall, and so would prefer to avoid that if possible.

I've attached a photo of my wall. I tried to get FiOS installed which was a problem because of the metal I have in my walls, although the technician was not more specific.

What would this metal be that I can drill above, below and to either side of it?

edit: not sure if relevant, but the entire door frame and door are metal also.

enter image description here

edit2: the metal does not go in a straight line from top to bottom, but is rather on a diagonal slant. There is no wood to be found anywhere surrounding the metal.

edit3: I managed to take a picture inside the wall, by putting a phone through the hole to feed speakerwire. It looks like something is bolted in..not sure if this helps to identify what is there though.

enter image description here

  • When you drill above or below, do you hit wood or nothing at all? Is this in a basement? Is this in a wood framed home? – Tester101 Mar 2 '15 at 3:52
  • @Tester101 This is in a single bedroom, 3rd floor apartment. The only thing I hit when I drill around it is insulation. I don't know if it is a wood framed building or not, but I suspect not. – Sam Flores Mar 2 '15 at 3:59
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    ...a protective plate is certainly the most common item you'll find that's metal and hard to drill through. Drywall repair is fairly easy to learn, and useful to know.... What's on the other side of this wall? I have become fond of using a high strength magnet and a light pencil to map out where the screws are, as more diagnostic than most "studfinders." – Ecnerwal Mar 2 '15 at 6:32
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    If I was the landlord of your apartment I would be rather upset with a tenant having free will to drill up the walls in my building. I would strongly urge you to consult with your building manager and/or landlord. As far as your TV you should be getting a console type stand and using that to support your TV. You can even get these with a spine type pole that can hold your TV up and allow it to tilt and swivel - all by it simply sitting on the floor AND you can move it with you when you move to another abode. – Michael Karas Mar 2 '15 at 7:17
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    Drilling isn't something I need special permission for, nor do most renters unless the lease explicitly states that (rare). Any holes in the drywall are easily filled, and there are no permanent changes made, which is the only usual provision. I'm moving from a console type stand to having it wall mounted, as I think it looks nicer and will save space. – Sam Flores Mar 2 '15 at 9:49
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What makes you reasonably certain it's not a protective plate? I ask because this is almost by definition what a protective plate does.

This is likely protecting an electrical cable. When you run wires to outlets or switches, it's good practice (and required by code in many places) that you place protective plates on the wooden studs where electrical cable has been ran through it. This is an important safety measure, to keep you from drilling or nailing into a live electrical cable.

for example:

Safety Plate

  • I don't believe it to be a protective plate, because there is no wooden stud to be found. The protective plate would not be running from floor to ceiling on every stud. It seems I have metal studs, but a metal that is very hard to drill through. – Sam Flores Mar 2 '15 at 17:50
  • Metal objects spaced 16" apart horizontally are either metal studs or protective plates. There's nothing else, really that they could be. shrug Metal studs are rather flimsy individually, and thin, so drilling them (with a sharp drill or a self-tapping sheet metal screw) should be a piece of cake. – TX Turner Mar 2 '15 at 18:01
  • I suppose that if this is in a basement, there could be a supporting column from floor to ceiling, and that would be quite hard to drill through. – TX Turner Mar 2 '15 at 18:12
  • This is in a 3rd floor 1 bedroom apartment. if it is protective plate it covers every stud, from floor to ceiling. I'm going to assume they are metal studs that are unusually hardy. I haven't had luck drilling through yet but will keep trying. – Sam Flores Mar 2 '15 at 18:58
  • Do you live in an area that might be hit by earthquakes/ hurricanes/ extreme weather? If so, my best guess is that it's a steel cross brace (like a Simpson RWCB). – Aloysius Defenestrate Mar 3 '15 at 3:38
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A few things that you stated stand out. One, you are on a third floor apartment. Two you stated the wall is between two rooms. Three, the metal runs at an angle. Some contractors place rolled-edge wall bracing beams that run diagonal from the top to the bottom of internal walls.

I could not find an image of a commercial (as used in apartments)version of it but for residential, something like this: http://www.menards.com/main/tools-hardware/fasteners/connectors-reinforcements/miscellaneous/wall-braces/rolled-edge-wall-bracing-1-3-8-x-11-4/p-1343658-c-8877.htm should give you a pretty good idea. The residential version is usually placed between wall studs in a diagonal groove but for apartments no studs of wood or metal are required.

The fact it is very difficult to drill through tells me its a rolled-edge wall bracing.

EDIT:

After re-examining the picture it appears the side you are trying to attach your TV to is on the OPPOSITE side of the studs. Which means it is the same as used in residential framing and there are slots cut for the wall bracing to fit into the studs. So the link to menards.com I added would be accurate. I would assume if you went to the other side of the wall you would find studs there. It's possible there may just be a large internal gap between the wall you are on and the studs. You may try to measure 16" O.C. from the edge of the wall and use an awl or probe to find the studs.

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From your description, it seems unlikely, but the image you posted liiks like it is BX cableenter image description here

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Looks to me like plumbing strap.

enter image description here

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