When it’s time to install your closet system, a tape measure is invaluable for measuring the rail and the centers of studs.
A tape measure blade is marked both in inches and in feet. The end hook always appears to be loose and this is intentional. It's designed to slide a distance equal to its own thickness so both inside and outside measurements will be accurate. The upper scale is in 1/16-inch increments, so it reads 1/16, 1/8, 3/16, 1/4, 5/16, 3/8, 7/16, 1/2, 9/16, 5/8, 11/16, 3/4, 13/16, 7/8, 15/16, and 1-inch. The bottom scale reads in 1/32-inch increments, so it reads 1/32, 1/16, 3/32, 1/8, 5/32-inch, and so on. Studs read out at 16-inch on center, and are normally marked in red. These wall studs are what you'll usually be most interested in for closet installation, and any time you are preparing a closet system that includes a wall bed you'll want to make sure you affix the system directly to wall studs. Trusses or floor joists read out at 2-foot on center and are normally marked in black. These may be of use when installing certain closet systems, garage organizers, or custom closet organizers that may use additional attachment points.
If you are hanging anything on your wall, it is safest to hang it from a wall stud. This goes double for wall bed systems. Here are three methods for finding your wall studs. Whichever method you use, keep in mind studs are spaced either 16 or 18 inches apart.
The first method is to use a stud finder. These devices come in two variants: magnetic and electronic. Magnetic studs work by using a floating or pivoting magnet that points toward nails and other metal in the studs. This type of stud finder is most effective if you come across many nails in your walls. Electronic stud finders sense the density of your walls using capacitance. When the finder passes over a stud, the dielectric constant changes and the finder's display lets you know it found something.
To use any stud finder effectively, you must exercise patience, especially with magnetic stud finders. Move your stud finder very slowly across your wall in a zig-zag motion back and forth. Make sure each time you sweep the finder back and forth, overlap some area you just covered to ensure the finder does not miss a hard-to-find nail. Be aware that nails are not necessarily placed in the center of a stud! Electronic stud finders are generally better at finding the edges of studs.
The second method for finding studs is to tap the wall with your knuckles or a hammer (be gentle!). While you slowly tap your way across your wall, you are listening for a change in sound. Most of the wall will sound hollow. This indicates you are tapping between studs. When you come across a stud, the sound will seem more solid. This is not the most accurate method.
The third method is not for those shy of putting holes in their walls. You can find studs by knocking or use of a stud finder, then use a nail to probe for the exact location of a stud. If the nail goes in easily and can be pulled out by just your fingernails, then you missed a stud. It can be useful in finding the edges of studs. Again you'll want to keep in mind that wall beds and closet organizer attachment points should use holes drilled directly in the center of each wall stud.