Screw won’t go into Stud Wall? (Why and what to do)

It can be frustrating when you are trying to hang something on the wall, but the screw won`t go in. Sometimes you end up messing up the wall by trying to fix the screw into different parts of the wall to no avail. The screws not going through the stud wall can be due to a simple error on your part. The problem could also be something more complex and technical. 

There are many reasons why a screw won`t enter a wall stud or stop halfway. Some of the most common reasons include; using the wrong drill bit, the drill rotating in the wrong direction, metal stud, or you are using a low-power drill. Each of the reasons will be explained in this blog. You will also learn the right ways to make screws enter wall studs. I will round things up with how to fix holes in your drywall. Let us dive in.

Top 5 Reasons why a Screw won’t Enter the Stud Well

Stud walls are made from 2-8 inches thick, sturdy wood or metal beam that are arranged vertically. The frames are arranged 16-24 inches apart. The stud serves as the main skeletal material to which every other material is attached. Wall stud comprises many layers of materials before the outward visible drywall. The screw must penetrate into the stud for anything to stay on the drywall.

Below are some of the common reasons screws are not entering your stud wall or stopping halfway. 

  1. Your drill is rotating in the wrong direction

Drilling through stud walls is not as easy as it looks. 

I once tried to drill a screw through the wall to hang a photograph. I noticed that the drill was rotating and was not drilling through the wall. Here is the problem, I set the drill to rotate anticlockwise instead of clockwise. I didn’t notice my mistake at first till my dad put me through. 

When drilling through a wall stud, make sure your drill is spinning in a clockwise rotation.

  1. You could be using a low-power drill

Another avoidable issue is the power of your drill. Some drills a rechargeable, while other uses batteries. Some new models now combine both batteries and rechargeable. 

Ensure that your drill is fully charged before drilling stud walls. This is because studs are made from strong and dense wood or metal that require extra pressure for anything to penetrate through it. 

drill machine
  1. Dull drill bit

 There are various types of drill bits created for different purposes. You cannot use drill bits with thick heads on stud walls it won’t penetrate them. Stud walls require a long drill bit with a sharp tip or edge.

  1. Wrong drill bit

Ensure that you are using the drill bits created specifically for stud walls. A normal drill bit will easily penetrate the drywall but will stop mid-way when it gets to the hard wooden or metal stud.

 A drill bit that can easily penetrate a wooden stud might not penetrate metal stud walls. If you are not sure about the stud frame material, I will explain how to detect the type of material used for the frame later in this blog.

  1. The studs are metal or you hit an Obstacle behind the stud (e.g, metallic plate)

As stated above, drill bits meant for wooden studs might not penetrate metal studs.

Some engineers use small metal plates to cover wire points within the stud. They do this to prevent homeowners from drilling through naked wires in the stud. When drilling through studs, the drill might stop when it gets to the metal plate. 

The Right Ways to Make Screws Enter Stud Walls

Generally, observe the surface of the drywall before you drill any holes in it. Observe things like electric sockets and water pipes. This will give you a general outlook on the possibility of the presence of wires or water pipes behind the wall.

Find the location of the stud

The position of studs can be located on the wall by two methods. The first method is for you to create a small hole in the drywall and use an endoscope to check behind the wall. Alternatively, you can use stud finders devices to detect the position of studs on the drywall.

  1. Stud Finder

Stud finders are devices used to detect the position of studs on drywall. They can be used to detect wood studs and metal studs. They can also spot electric wires attached directly to the drywall.

Studs finder might not detect water pipes, floating electric wires, and PVC pipes. I do not recommend stud finder because of its high risk. You can drill through electric wires unknowingly. Below is another amazing alternative to detect the position of wall studs. 

  1. Endoscope 

Endoscopes are inspection devices with long flexible tubing, image sensor, optical lens, and light source. An endoscope has many functions; it is used medically to view internal organs. In the case of your drywall, it will be used to view the internal content of the wall. There are some brands of endoscopes with mobile apps to view the images. You can purchase the brand with a mobile app for ease and convenience.

  • Carefully drill a small hole directly into your drywall through which you can insert the endoscope
  • Drill the hole at the part of the wall without studs. 
  • Fold the endoscope to form an S shape. This should be done so you can turn the endoscope 360 degrees after you insert it into the drywall.
  • Insert the tip of the endoscope into the small hole. Turn the endoscope in all directions to view the layers of materials behind the drywall. 
  • Carefully observe the position of electric wire, water pipes, PVC pipes, and studs. 
  • Once you are sure that the point you want to drill on the stud has no wire connected to it, you are free to continue your drilling.

Drill through a stud wall

Carefully avoid all the issues listed above. Such as; using a dull drill bit, low-power drill, wrong drill bit, etc. 

Summarily, mark the position of the stud on the wall with a pencil. Gently drill through the drywall and increase the pressure when it gets to the stud. Do not forget to set your drill to spin in a clockwise direction, as indicated below. 

How to fix a hole or damage on a stud wall

To fix the holes you created on the drywall, buy a DryDex or any other drywall adhesives from any home improvement store. DryDex is pinkish in color and will turn white when dry. Use a putty knife to smoothen the surface of the hole. Apply a little DryDex on the surface of the hole. Evenly spread it and allow it to dry.


You will always want to mount a lot of things on your wall. Screws refusing to enter into the wall stud can be really frustrating. Once you can drill the screw in once, the process becomes easier.

Familiarize yourself with all the possible reasons why screws won`t enter your wall stud. This will help you to avoid future occurrences. Use the right equipment to find the position of the studs on your wall. Drill in the screw by following the steps in this blog. With these, you will be able to hang anything on your wall.

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