We just bought a house that was built in 1941. The bathroom doesn't have a toilet paper roll holder, so my husband tried to install one. In 4 different areas of the wall he hit something solid and our drill can't get past it. In the kitchen I tried to hang a broom holder (lightweight 4 broom holder) and when I ran the stud finder (with electrical detection) it alerted to wires running throughout the wall. When I tried to hang a plastic bag holder on the wall it bent 4 different screws. What could this be? cinderblocks/concrete?

I appreciate all the help, I'm at a total loss

  • Is it a single house, or a multiple unit structure?
    – Tester101
    Sep 5, 2015 at 18:58
  • Single house, with a finished basement. I am not trying to hang things in the basement though.
    – Christina
    Sep 5, 2015 at 23:08
  • @Christina- does the plastic bag holder screw into the wall? or are you hammering it ? Also how did you attempt hanging the broom holder? Drilling holes for plastic wall anchors?
    – ojait
    Sep 7, 2015 at 21:59

2 Answers 2


Your walls ,because of the year you stated it was built are probably plaster. Plaster walls use lathing as an attachment under the plaster , but I don't see this as the problem you are encountering when securing accessories to the wall. I'm thinking that while drilling the wall in the bathroom: 1) you may have encountered a cast vent/waste pipe beneath the wall or 2) it could be a pipe or electrical wire protective plate that are installed when a wire or pipe are installed through a wall stud. Either of these would explain not being able to drill an opening. The first thing to be sure of is the material of the walls. Try to drill a small opening in an unobtrusive location ( down low and in a closet). You should see grainy course sand ejected as the bit pierces the wall.


A stud finder alerting to the whole wall means metal lath. The construction of your wall is most likely plaster -> metal lath -> something. "Something" could be gypsum backer board if you have a wood-framed house, or concrete blocks if it's a block house. Look behind an electrical plate cover to see. If it's a wood wall, just push through; you're likely hitting the metal lath. If it's a concrete block wall, use dedicated masonry screws.

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