How to Find Blocking in a Wall

Looking for a simple solution to finding blocking in a wall? We've got you covered!

With our easy-to-follow guide, you'll learn how to locate blocking, or pieces of wood installed between wall studs, to ensure your home improvement projects are safe and secure.

Constructing a load bearing wall

Whether you're hanging cabinets or shelves, our step-by-step instructions will help you find the answer you're looking for.

Understanding Wall Structures

Knowing the different parts of a wall, one can identify where blocking may be needed and how to properly install it.

Types of Walls

Load bearing walls of a house

Different types of walls exist in construction, and each type has a unique structure. The most common types of walls include:

  • Load-bearing walls: These walls support the weight of the structure. They are usually thicker and made of materials such as concrete, brick, or stone.
  • Non-load-bearing walls: These walls do not support the weight of the structure. They are usually thinner and made of materials such as drywall or plaster.
  • Partition walls: These walls divide the interior space into rooms. They are usually non-load-bearing and made of materials such as drywall or wood.

Wall Components

Walls are made up of various components that work together to provide structural support and functionality.

Some of the key components of a wall include:

  • Studs: These are vertical framing members that form the structural framework of a wall. They are usually made of wood or metal and are spaced at regular intervals.
  • Headers: These are horizontal framing members that provide support for the weight of the structure above an opening such as a door or window.
  • Blocking: This is a short piece of lumber that is inserted between studs to provide additional support and stability. Blocking is commonly used in wall framing to prevent buckling under vertical compression.
  • Sheathing: This is a layer of material that is applied to the exterior of a wall to provide additional strength and protection. Common types of sheathing include plywood, OSB, and fiber cement board.
  • Insulation: This is a material that is used to reduce heat loss or gain through a wall. Common types of insulation include fiberglass, cellulose, and spray foam.

You might also like: Do Concrete Walls Have Studs?

Tools Needed for Finding Blockings

To find blocking in a wall, you will need a few tools. The following tools are essential for this task:

1. Stud Finder

It is a handheld tool used to locate vertical framing members in a wall called studs.

These studs are often used as anchor points for blocking, making a stud finder an essential tool for finding blocking in a wall.

Worker using a stud finder on the wall

There are two types of stud finders: magnetic and electronic. Magnetic stud finders detect metal nails in the wall studs.

While electronic stud finders produce a small electrical field that changes when it reaches a denser wall region.

The stud finder's circuitry detects this change and alerts you with a light or sound.

Be sure to read: How To Use A Magnetic Stud Finder [Step By Step Guide]

2. Hammer

You will need a hammer to tap on the wall to listen for the sound of a solid wood block.

Using a hammer on the wall

When you tap on the wall, listen for a solid sound, which indicates the presence of blocking.

3. Drill

Worker using a drill to make a hall in the wall

You will need a drill to create exploratory holes in the wall to locate the blocking.

When drilling exploratory holes, be sure to drill at a slight angle to avoid damaging any electrical wiring or plumbing that may be in the wall.

4. Tape Measure

Tape measure on a blue wall

You will need a tape measure to measure the distance between studs to locate the blocking.

Blocking is typically installed between studs, so measuring the distance between studs can help you locate the blocking.

5. Flashlight

Using flashlight to find blockings on the wall

A flashlight is used to see inside the exploratory holes you create to locate the blocking.

It also can help you see inside the wall and locate the blocking more easily.

Identifying Wall Blockings

In wall framing, blocking is a vital component that provides stability and support to the structure.

It's installed horizontally between the studs and is used for attaching heavy items like cabinets, shelves, and towel bars.

We know how important for you to locate blocking and ensure your home improvement projects are safe and secure. That said, let's get started!

Visual Inspection

Worker checking the wall of the house

To find wall blocking, the easiest and most common method is visual inspection.

This involves looking for irregularities on the wall's surface, like bumps or thicker sections.

You can also look for nail or screw heads that aren't flush with the wall's surface.

This could indicate that the fastener is securing the drywall or plaster to a blocking behind it.

Physical Inspection

Physical inspection is a more accurate method for identifying wall blocking but requires more effort.

Start by tapping the wall with your knuckles or a hammer to perform a physical inspection.

A hollow sound could indicate an empty cavity, while a solid sound could indicate a blocking behind it.

Another way is to use a tiny drill bit to make a hole in the wall.
If you encounter resistance, it could indicate a blocking behind it.

Using a Stud Finder

It works by detecting changes in density behind the wall's surface.

To use a stud finder, calibrate it according to the manufacturer's instructions, then move it along the wall's surface until it detects a change in density.

Man using stud finder to search apartment wall for studs and live wires

This could indicate a blocking behind it. It's important to note that stud finders can sometimes give false positives, so it's best to use them along with other methods like visual and physical inspections to ensure accuracy.

You might also like: How To Use A Stud Finder App? [Step By Step Guide]

Safety Precautions

Following these safety precautions, to ensure a safe and successful search for blocking in a wall:

Wear Protective Gear

Before starting any work on a wall, it is important to wear protective gear such as safety glasses, gloves, and a dust mask.

This will help protect you from any debris or dust that may be released during the process.

Turn Off Power

Worker turning of the main power source of the house

If you are working on a wall that contains electrical outlets or switches, it is important to turn off the power before beginning work.

This will help prevent any electrical accidents from occurring.

Use Proper Tools

Using the proper tools for the job is essential to staying safe.
Make sure to use a stud finder, level, and hammer to locate and mark the blocking in the wall.

Stud Finder man hand holding white painted wall, How To Use Black & Decker Stud Finder [Step By Step Guide]

Avoid using tools that are damaged or in poor condition.

Work with a Partner

Working with a partner can help ensure safety and make the job easier.

One person can hold the tools while the other marks the blocking.
This can help prevent accidents and improve accuracy.

Check for Hazards

Before beginning work, it is important to check for any hazards such as water damage, mold, or asbestos.

If any hazards are present, it is best to call a professional to handle the situation.

Putting it All Together

We hope this article has been helpful in providing you with the knowledge and tools needed to locate blocking in your walls.

Remember that finding blocking can be a challenging task, but with the right methods and tools, it can be done.

By taking the time to locate and reinforce blocking, you can ensure that your walls are strong and stable and that your home is safe and secure.

Don't hesitate to reach out to professionals if you need assistance, and keep in mind that with practice, you'll become a pro at finding blocking in no time!

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