Scanning Lath and Plaster Walls

“Hi this is Eric with the Zircon Tip Minute.

Today we’re going to cover scanning a lath and plaster wall.

Before drywall became popular many walls were built in the lath and plaster style. You’ll find them today in older and rural homes.

This is the back of a lath and plaster wall, you have the studs and attached to the studs are thin horizontal slats, called laths. Plaster is spread on the surface and pushed through the cracks. When it dries the plaster bulges or keys holding the plaster to the lance. So why is it hard to find studs behind this? Well stud finders are scanning for changes in thickness and density and all this variation of keys and laths throws off the tool.

The best way to find a stud through a wood lath and plaster wall, is to actually use a metal finder. You can use a tool like the MultiScanner i520 which has a metal mode or a tool designed specifically for locating metal, like the MetalliScanner m40.

When you scan with a metal scanner you’ll actually be looking for the nails holding the laths to the stud. This isn’t perfect as you can’t tell the exact edges and centers of the studs but you’ll at least be able to locate the rows of nails attaching the laths to the studs behind the wall.

Make sure to see our next video ‘Scanning for Metal’ for more information.”

Eric, aka the Zircon Tip Guy and host of Zircon Tip Minutes on YouTube, shares essential tips about construction, general DIY, and your favorite Zircon tools that you can use in your DIY and home improvement projects. Drop him a line or post a comment on his YouTube page.