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Does a Stud Finder Work in an RV?

When hanging items with some weight, you must screw or nail them into a stud. This helps ensure the object stays in place, and you don’t have to worry about damaging the drywall or item you’re hanging as it falls to the floor. 

Many homeowners use a stud finder to help mount heavy objects firmly into a stud.

However, RVing has become incredibly popular, and many RVers want to decorate and make their rigs homier. So does a stud finder work for hanging things in an RV? Let’s look and see!

What Is a Stud Finder?

Stud finders are small handheld devices that allow an individual to locate the metal and wood supports behind a wall. Manufacturers typically use a variety of distances between the wall supports and having a stud finder can help locate where they’re hiding.

While there are a variety of stud finders on the market, they all serve the same purpose.

Locate the studs if you want to hang a heavy object like a picture, piece of art, or television. This can help you avoid causing damage to your wall or whatever object you hang. If you don’t have a stud finder in your toolbox, now is an excellent time to add one to your shopping cart. They’re inexpensive and worth every penny to ensure objects you hang are secure.

Does a Stud Finder Work in an RV?

RVs, like residential homes, have studs hidden behind the walls to create a secure living structure. However, unlike residential homes, RV manufacturers consistently vary the distances between studs.

Luckily, most stud finders can pinpoint the studs’ location behind the walls in your RV.

However, because of the materials that RV manufacturers use when building rigs, locating studs in an RV without a stud finder is relatively effortless. The materials are much lighter and much more flexible, so you can simply press on the wall to locate the studs.

However, even an inexpensive stud finder readily available at your local big-box retailer will easily find most studs in the wall of an RV.

Pro Tip: Always have an RV stud finder and these Weird RV Tools Actually Work Wonders on hand in your RV.

Man testing wall studs in RV
Most stud finders will work in your RV.

How Thick Are Studs in RV Walls?

Most walls in an RV are no more than two inches thick, including the paneling and the stud. The thickness of the stud will depend on the wall and the type of RV. 

However, you should never use screws more than an inch long in your RV.

If you’re screwing into an interior wall, you can easily damage the exterior of your RV with a long screw. This can create a potential entry point for moisture and prove a costly repair, especially if you have a fiberglass exterior.

Pro Tip: Get inspired with these Top 5 RV Renovation Upgrades you can do in your RV.

How Do You Hang Heavy Things in an RV?

Command Hooks are an RVer’s best friend. They can stick to many surfaces and usually leave no evidence behind when you remove them. 

However, as effective as Command Hooks can be, they’re not always the best solution. The constant changes in humidity and temperature in an RV can drastically decrease the effectiveness of Command Hooks and send them, and anything they’re hanging, to the ground.

You’ll want to find a stud and an appropriate-sized screw if you plan to mount heavier items. Never use screws longer than one inch to avoid going through the wall. Many manufacturers will use metal studs in an RV wall, so you’ll want to use metal screws when drilling into these studs.

Man drilling wall in RV
Mount pictures, TVs, and more in your RV with ease by using a stud finder.

Can You Mount a TV in an RV?

Because of the weight of TVs, many manufacturers install reinforced studs and backing boards to help disperse the weight. The manufacturers typically place sticks to indicate a safe location to mount the TV. However, many RVers have found that sticker locations are anything but accurate compared to the actual reinforced mounting boards.

You can press on the wall. The place where the wall is harder is where there’s a metal support. 

Magnets can also help you find these metal supports. Place the magnets on the wall to locate the four corners of the metal plate behind the wall. You can then place your TV mount on the wall and use a pencil to mark where you’ll need to drill holes for your mount. When done right, your TV will stay firmly in place as your RV travels down the highway.

What’s Behind RV Walls?

That depends on which RV walls you’re dealing with. Exterior walls are typically a sandwich of the outer wall, insulation, and interior wall. You’ll find studs sporadically placed to support the RV’s walls. However, the interior walls are slightly different as they don’t typically have any insulation.

Exterior walls will often use metal studs instead of wood studs. However, some manufacturers will place wood inside the metal studs to help give screws a more secure surface to bite into. Interior walls are likelier to have plywood or MDF (medium-density fibreboard) studs. So make sure you use the appropriate screws when mounting anything inside your RV.

Remember that networks of wires, plastic water lines, and vents are hidden behind your RV’s walls. You want to be careful when screwing or cutting into your walls, so you don’t puncture or cut any of these items. If you do, you could have a pretty frustrating situation on your hands.

Is Using a Stud Finder in an RV Worth It?

If you’re mounting lightweight objects, you likely won’t need to use a stud finder. You may be able to get by using a wall anchor to help keep in place whatever you’re mounting or hanging in your rig. 

However, if you’re hanging something with some weight, you’ll want the security of knowing it’s connected directly to a stud hidden behind the wall. You won’t have to worry about waking up in the middle of the night or opening your door after a travel day and discovering a precious object has crashed to the ground. So make sure you use a stud finder when hanging things in your RV.

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