If you want to mount something on the walls inside your RV (more van build resources here), you’re going to need to find a stud. Finding a stud in your RV walls can be trickier than in your home because they may not follow a predictable pattern. However, there are a few tricks that can help you locate the right stud for your project.
To find studs in your RV wall, follow these 5 steps:
- Request a frame detail.
- Use magnets.
- Use a stud finder.
- Check behind an access plate.
- Use visual clues.
In the rest of this article, we will look at each of these options in more detail. We will follow step-by-step instructions for each of the options to help get you started finding studs in your RV today.
1. Request a Frame Detail of your RV
To have a better visual understanding of your RV, you can check out its frame detail, which is a drawing that looks like a blueprint, showing where the frames are located inside your vehicle. You can contact the manufacturer and request the frame detail for your particular RV.
You may also be able to locate the frame detail drawings that you need on the internet, depending on the vehicle you have.
Studying these drawings can show you where the frames and studs are located in your RV. This can help your planning if you are thinking about mounting some cabinets or other heavy objects inside.
However, be sure to double-check before you start your construction just in case there are any variations between the drawings and your actual RV.
2. Use Magnets to find Studs in your RV’s wall
A great way to locate studs in the walls of your RV is through magnets. Here is how to do that:
- Take two strong magnets and tie them together at the end of a string.
- Run the dangling magnets along the wall and wait for the magnets to stop and stick.
- When they do, it means they have become attracted to the metal underneath.
- Even if the studs are wood, the magnets can pick up on the metal nails or screws inside the studs.
For a guided tutorial on how to use magnets in your RV, you can check out this Youtube video here:
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3. Use a Stud Finder
Another option you can try is using a stud finder. You can choose between a magnetic or electric version, and these are usually economically priced. You can find one for less than $20 online or at your local hardware store.
Follow these steps to use a stud finder:
- Place it on an area of a hollow wall and press the button. This will set the default mode for the stud finder.
- As you move it along the wall, it will react when it senses something else besides the empty, hollow wall.
- Its signal indicates that there could be a stud, piping, or another object in the wall at that particular spot.
4. Check Behind an Access Plate
Another thing you can try is removing any access plates built into the walls of your RV.
When you remove these plates, you will be able to take a look at the wall to see the construction. You might be able to see where the studs are, so you’ll want to mark them on the outside of the wall accordingly. While the plate is removed, you might consider taking a picture of what you can see behind the wall for future reference.
To see how removing your access plate may be advantageous, you can check out this video link:
5. Use Visual Clues
Depending on the design and construction of your RV, you might be able to use visual clues to find some of the studs. If you notice metal fasteners like rivets on the inside of your RV, these are likely holding your wall to a stud.
These can be an indicator of the stud’s layout in your vehicle.
You can spot a stud if you get up early in the morning. If you go outside at the first light of day when there is still dew on the ground, you can notice a pattern on the outside of your vehicle. The dew on the RV’s exterior will appear different on the area covering a stud than a hollow area.
Observe this pattern to get an idea of where your studs are.
Gently press on the wall of your RV to get a feel for where the studs are. You will want to do this carefully, but you may be able to feel where there is extra support. If you notice the wall material bending gently around a certain point, that is likely where the stud is located.
Tips to Keep in Mind
When you are using one of these methods to locate the studs in the wall, try to find as many studs as possible. Follow these tips to quickly and easily locate the studs in the walls of your RV:
- You can use a pencil to mark the wall as you find each stud, which can be helpful when it comes time to hang and mount your desired decor.
- Keep in mind that your RV may have studs made either from metal or wood. Metal ones will be easy to detect with a magnet, but these can be tricky to drill into and mount your home decor.
- Wood ones may be slightly trickier to detect with magnets, but the screws and nails they contain can still be sensed.
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You can easily get started with your next DIY mounting project in your RV once you know how to find your studs. When you know where the studs are, you can plan your project and execute it effectively.
You can choose between a simple magnetic or stud finder to get exact feedback on the stud’s location. Reference the frame detail drawings and use your physical senses to locate these important structural parts of your vehicle.