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I need to attach a curtain pole (for a heavy curtain) above a window. To be consistent with another window in the same room, I'll need to affix a 4-inch wide strip of wood to the wall, and attach the curtain pole to that.

In a modern house with plasterboard walls, this would be fairly easy. However, my house is 130 years old, and the walls are lath-and-plaster with old-style, horsehair-bound plaster. This means that most fixings won't work, and I think I'll need to attach the wooden strip to the vertical studs in the wall.

However, I'm at a loss to know how to find the vertical studs behind the plaster. How can I do this? Do I need to remove a section of plaster?

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Finding studs behind lath-and-plaster walls can be difficult because the plaster is so dense. See Am I having trouble finding studs because my walls are lath and plaster? for some suggestions.

However, since you know exactly where the strip of wood has to go, you should be able to drill some small pilot holes behind its eventual location, then fish some wire into the wall cavity to find the studs on either side of each hole. I wouldn't count on having all the studs at 16" centers, and you may even have some studs doubled up, so I'd do more than one pilot hole to be sure to find enough mount points to attach your curtain rail securely.

  • Sorry, how does the wire work? I poke it through the wall and then... what? Also, if I drill a series of holes along a horizontal line, am I not then making a fault line for a big structural crack in the plaster? – Gary McGill Apr 27 '15 at 6:25

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