Stud Finder Doesn’t Work On The Ceiling: What To Do?

Is your stud finder not helping you in finding the joists? Or are you facing any problems using the stud finder on the ceiling? Well, you are in the right place. Here, you will get a step-by-step guide on how to use the stud finder, and I will also discuss the most common issues a person can face while using this device. Stud finder helps you find the joists behind the ceiling, but people often face some difficulties in using this device and, as a result, get frustrated.

Mark the ceiling 16″ and 24″ in from the wall, put the stud finder in this area, press the side button and start moving. The red light will indicate one edge of the joist. Mark it and start moving it from the opposite direction toward the mark, where it indicates the red light; mark it. These markings show the width of the joist.

Stud Finder Doesn't Work On The Ceiling

If you are using the stud finder and not getting the results, there is no need to be worried. You will certainly find the solution on this page. Here is the step-by-step guide on how to use a stud finder on the ceiling.

Properly Use Stud Finder On The Ceiling

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Here is a step-by-step guide about using the stud finder. The main purpose of using the stud finder is to locate the exact positions of the joists.

Step #1: Prepare the Stud Finder to Work

Check the battery of the stud finder and whether it is inserted properly. Then turn on the stud finder and hold the scan button until it indicates it is ready.

Step #2: Essential Measurements Before Using Stud Finder

Get on the ladder and access the roof near the wall. Measure the 16 inches in from the wall by using the measuring tape. Then measure the 24 inches in from the same point. Joists should be about 16 to 24 inches apart center to center. Mostly in the new houses, the Position of the joists is 16 inches in. For the old houses, the Position of joists is 24 inches in. These measurements lead you to get a map of the possible positions of the joists.

Step #3: Start Placing the Stud Finder on the Ceiling

Now you should move the stud finder around the 16- or 24 inches mark because the joist must be there. Put the stud finder on the ceiling, press the side button, and start moving it. You should not do a lot of twisting. Keep it straight and move it left and right. The stud finder detects the joist edge and will show the red light.

Step #4: Markings

Mark the point where the stud finder is showing the red light. It is the first edge of the joist. Then start to move from the other direction toward the mark, where it will show the light again; it is the other edge of the joist. You got the two marks, and now you can find where the center of the joist is where you have to drill.

If your stud finder is still not working on the ceiling, there you must be making the below-mentioned mistakes.

Common Mistakes People Do While Using The Stud Finder And Solutions

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Here are some common mistakes people make when they use the stud finder. That is why their stud finder doesn’t work properly.

Pressing the Side Button

Please do not press the side button before you put it on the ceiling. When you press it, it will start sensing the density. And then, when you put it on the ceiling, it will start showing an error. The right method is first to put it on the ceiling, then depress the button and move slowly, and you will find the outside edge where it will turn its red light.

Starting from the Joist

If you accidentally put the stud finder right over a joist and after depressing the side button, you get an error message. Since the stud finder finds the joists by sensing the density, it finds everything less dense than where we have started. It will not even pick the next stud. If you face such a situation, start it again away from a couple of inches where you started before and start moving slowly. It will start to work properly.

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False Detection of the Stud Finder

When you use the stud finder to locate the joists, sometimes it shows a red light at a point where the joist does not exist. It detects any pipe or wire behind the ceiling and turns its red light. But it doesn’t mean that your stud finder has some problem. You must remember that the joists should be 16 or 24 inches apart from center to center. Anything the stud finder detects between the distance is not a joist.

Stud Finder on the Popcorn Ceiling

If you have a popcorn ceiling or any textured ceiling. You may face difficulty while finding the joists behind it because the stud finder will not work properly on these types of ceilings. But you don’t need to be worried because I have a solution.

If your ceiling is textured, an easy way to use the stud finder is; to put a piece of cardboard on the ceiling where you want to locate the joists. Put your stud finder on the cardboard, and then you can find the joists easily. Mark the point-outs of the stud finder, and you can get the center of the joists.

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So, that’s all in this guide to using the stud finder on the ceiling. A stud finder is a magical device that helps you find the joists behind the wall. All you need is a proper guide to use this instrument. I hope the above guide to using stud finder and discussion about the common errors in using this instrument has benefited you. If you are still facing any problems, you can share them with us in the comment section below.

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