I moved into a building that was originally constructed in 1890 in New England, and this is my first time dealing with walls which are not recent construction with sheetrock over studs. The bedroom closet is my first challenge. I am trying to set up two rods - one very high the whole way across, and one halfway down and halfway across to do two tiers of clothes on the left, and one on the right for longer pieces of clothing.

There is currently one rod installed at a level which wouldn't allow for hanging two tiers of clothes.

Walls in the rest of the place seem to be plaster (a thumb tack won't go in) and using a strong magnet seems to show nail heads where I would expect them (consistent with studs every 16" measured out from the side of a light switch box).

The one existing rod was mounted on the sides and with one bracket in the center. The walls "sound" thin and hollow with no obvious changes to suggest studs. In the photo you can see magnets on some of the nail heads in vertical lines (NOT 16" or any uniform distance apart). I assumed the back wall was a panel of some sort attached to studs and tried to drill along one of these vertical lines, but the wall seemed to be hollow where I expected studs.

I've also included a picture of one of the corners of the closet that seems to show the most about how it is built. Thin plaster layer over some sort of panel?

Any suggestions or input from someone who understands how this is built? I'm debating just attaching the brackets for my closet rods using toggle bolts to whatever this back wall is made of. Is there a better way to do this?


  • I'd grab one of the new crop of electronic studfinders with a "deep" mode. There's framing in there somewhere. – isherwood Jul 11 '16 at 20:45
  • Toggles are good, as are ledgers that run full width (corners are usually really good for finding framing). You might have found expanded metal lath, although I don't think that would be original to the house. – Aloysius Defenestrate Jul 12 '16 at 1:23

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