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Tips for Drilling into Drywall

Plaster walls do not present a challenge to drill into them, however, you have to be careful when drilling drywall to prevent damage or drilling in the wrong place.

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A metal detecting device can work well on a wall with plaster, but it does not determine the location of studs behind drywall. You may be able to get close to the location of the studs in the wall using one of these devices.  Once you find a stud, you can estimate that the others are about 16 inches (40.64 cm) apart from each other. If you’re still unsure about the exact location of the studs, drill pilot holes in the wall with a small mason bit. If you feel that the drill bit touches an air pocket behind the plaster, this indicates no studs. If you encounter resistance, you hit into a stud.

Perforated technique

When drilling plaster, you cannot use excessive force otherwise you run the risk of forming cracks in the drywall and the plaster crumbling. This means that if the drill has a hammer motion, do not use it, although the plaster may resist the drilling at first. You must start out drilling slowly, because the plaster is slippery on the surface and the drill can jump through the wall, entering at a wrong point.

Masking tape

An old plaster wall may collapse or break when penetrated with a nail or a drill, unlike new walls. The outer surface of drywall is where it would start to crumble, as it is broken by the force of the drill bit. To combat the tendency of the plaster to crack and crumble, place a piece of masking tape over the place where you want to puncture the wall. The tape keeps the drywall in place, instead of leaving it to break apart and crumble. When you have finished drilling, remove the tape from the wall without fear of the paint coming off.

Enlarge the hole

You can widen the hole you drill into a plaster wall if you need one wider to fit a stand. Sometimes the biggest drill bit you have available is smaller than the hole you need to use to hang an object on the wall. In such a situation, you must insert a long, thin instrument that fits inside, like a knife or a screwdriver. Use the tool to that will make the hole the size you need using circular motions against the sides of the hole.

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