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Bang, Bang, Psssssssh! Wet Walls & Stud Finders

how to install bathroom moldings

Don’t do what I did. A few notes on wet walls can help avoid calling the plumber.

Think Before you Hammer

I drove the nail through the baseboard with one final, satisfying whack.  And then I heard a faint hissing sound.

Pressing my ear to the wall I listened in disbelief.

Sure enough, the sound was coming from inside the wall.  A hissing sound.  I am such a dork!

I didn’t mean to hammer a nail into my master bathroom hot water pipe.  But I did.

I was a novice, it was my second molding installation, so I like to think that I had an excuse for what I did.  And here’s my excuse.

A Lack of Sophistication

My then stud finder was not sophisticated enough to tell the difference between a wood stud and a metal object.  Oh, it told me something a little less than an inch was there, but I thought it was just a bad reading.

So really, it’s not that the stud finder was not sophisticated enough to know the difference, it was the user that was not sophisticated enough to know how to interpret the information it was giving.

stud finder ryobi

The replacement. I’ve been using this Ryobi stud finder for over ten years with great success.

Jerry to the Rescue!

The repair cost me only a little dignity when I pleaded with Jerry — a friend who’s a wiz with household plumbing repairs — and asked him to come over at this odd hour and rescue me.  He made the repair with his usual good-nature and that was that.

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

Ever since I tape notes on every wet wall I’m working around as part of my room prep.  And since I’m working in our half bathroom right now, I thought the topic timely.

[This is part of Our Molding Makeover.  See all series Updates here.]

installing moldings in bathroom

Tape wet wall warning notes at eye level and baseboard level.

2 Responses to Bang, Bang, Psssssssh! Wet Walls & Stud Finders

  1. Gwuinifer August 29, 2012 at 10:51 AM #

    Oh, man, what a bummer! Thanks for the warning! On this happy note, what stud finder would you currently recommend? Ours is a useless hunk of junk that cant tell the difference between studs and drywall… we’ve resorted to thumping walls and listening for a hollow noise, followed by perforating the drywall with countless tiny exploratory drill holes.

  2. Ken August 29, 2012 at 11:38 AM #

    I added a picture to this post of the Ryobi stud finder I’ve been using for many years.

    It has a metal-detecting function that I use on the wet walls. I’ve never had a problem with it and it’s easy on batteries, too.

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