How To: Locate Cables, Pipes And Studs (Battens)

What you will need

  • Cable & pipe detector
  • Stud finder
  • Or ‘Multi-Purpose’ detector


Click here to view PDF.

  • 1 It is essential to locate any pipes, cables or studs in a wall before you do any drilling to hang shelves, mirrors, pictures etc.
  • 2 Individual stud detectors will accurately find the centre of a wooden stud ensuring items to be hung are weighted evenly.
  • 3 Individual metal & live wire detectors will automatically detect pipes & live wires for increased safety.
  • 4 A really handy tool is a multi-purpose detector that locates pipes, cables and studs. Top Tip: There are certain tell-tale signs to look for before drilling into a wall. Look for light switches or plugs which indicate cables; radiatiors or taps indicate pipes; whereas popped nails or the position of nails in skirting boards can indicate the position of studs in a plasterboard wall. Knocking on a wall can also help you locate hazards but this should really only be done by professionals who would have more of a trained ear. Studs are usually centred 16” apart so when you have found the centre of one it should be easier to find the centre of the next one.
  • 5 Read the manufacturer’s instructions before you use your detector, as different brands will work in different ways.
  • 6 Run the multi-purpose detector along the wall. The device will indicate when there are studs, pipes or cables behind the wall. The manufacturer’s instructions will tell you which indication corresponds with which hazard. Multi-purpose detectors are a great tool for your toolbox.