HomeArtsyHow to Find Studs Behind a Tile Wall

How to Find Studs Behind a Tile Wall

Home improvement projects can be satisfying, inexpensive, creative and massively frustrating. Almost every wall project begins with the words “find a stud.” If you live in a newer or amateur-remodeled home, this is a call to arms. Technically, studs upright planks that support the wall are placed sixteen inches apart. This is not always the case. Finding wall studs behind drywall is hard enough. If you are looking for studs behind tile, you may be in for a long day. Gather your tools, take a deep breath and make sure that the beer or lemonade is iced and waiting.


1. Measure in sixteen inches from a corner. Sweep the stud finder slowly along the tiled wall until it indicates a stud. This probably won’t work, but it’s best to try the simplest methods first.

2. Go to the room that backs up against the tiled wall, if there is one. Measure 16 inches in from the nearest shared perpendicular wall, and run the stud finder over the wall in slow sweeps. If you find a stud, measure from there to the perpendicular wall. Go back to the tiled room and measure out that exact measurement from the shared perpendicular wall.

3. Measure out from a perpendicular wall in 16-inch increments, until you find one that lands on a stripe of grout instead of a tile. Put the 1/8-inch glass or tile bit on your power drill and drill though the grout. If you find a stud, you should be able to measure 16 inches to either side and find another one.

4. Bend your heavy-gauge wire and stick it through the hole you drilled in the grout. Poke around along the back of the wall to either side of the hole to see if you can find a stud. If you do, pinch the wire between your thumb and forefinger, right at the hole. Draw the wire out and lay it along the wall, with your pinching fingers held at the hole. The stud should be at the other end of the wire. Mark that spot with a marker.

5. Drill a hole into the stud. Measure 16 inches to either side of that stud, and you should find another one.

6. Fill in any pilot holes in the grout by squirting silicon caulk into them. Let the caulk dry for 2 to 3 hours and then use a craft stick to apply a little matching grout over the caulk.

Tips & Warnings

Two people with two stud finders will have a better chance and get less frustrated then one person hunting alone.

Never just start drilling holes in the tile randomly. You’ll be tempted, but you’ll also be sorry.

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