Why Can I See the Studs Through My Drywall?

If you find yourself looking over at a wall in your house, you may notice studs through the drywall. 

This is a pain to fix as a full wall replacement. 

Luckily, other options are less expensive and time-consuming, but we need to start by understanding why we can see the studs through the drywall in the first place. 

Seeing studs through the drywall, also called wall ghosting, results from poor insulation. If a wall is not properly insulated, humidity and condensation get stuck behind the wall. This reacts with dust in the wall and results in shadowy lines where there are studs behind the drywall.  

Seeing the studs through your drywall is a bit of an eyesore. 

Knowing why it happens helps you know what to do next to take away the problem. 

why can I see the studs through my drywall

Why Are The Studs Showing Through My Drywall?

Looking up to see the shadowy-looking lines of wall ghosting in your house is frustrating and disappointing. 

This happens when a wall is poorly insulated. 

The poor insulation allows condensation and humidity to collect behind the drywall. 

This reacts with the airborne dust and causes dark lines to appear on the cold spots on the wall. 

The dust particulate deposits on the colder surfaces of the wall result in dark spots. 

While it is easy to get frustrated with the builders who didn’t do an adequate insulation job, there are ways to fix it. 

There isn’t a huge reason to be concerned if you see the studs showing through the wall, but it is not the most aesthetically pleasing thing in your house. 

It is just not nice to look at more than anything else. 

It is simply the result of static electricity and dust carried by air current and sticking to the wall. 

Dust is caused by various things like tobacco particulates, candle smoke particulates, and other microscopic particulates in the air. 

If the visible wall studs are bothering you, there are a few different ways to take care of the problem and get your wall looking perfect. 

It will take a bit of work to fix the issue, but it is not too serious. 

Temperature and humidity fluctuations cause the studs to show dark shadow lines. 

The key to fixing this is proper insulation to prevent cold surfaces. 

Replacing the wall with better insulation will keep the problem from occurring more down the line. 

Alternatively, covering the wall with additional insulation and another layer of drywall will also stop the problem. 

What Causes Studs To Become Visible?

Studs become visible for a few different reasons. 

Most commonly, this is the result of poor insulation behind the drywall. 

How exactly does poor insulation make studs visible and cause wall ghosting? 

There are a few different factors responsible for making this happen. 

We’ve all seen dust and air particulates accumulate on appliance surfaces. 

They stick to rough surfaces and plastic surfaces alike. 

Your walls are no different. 

Humidity and temperature fluctuate. 

In some climates, the fluctuation is fairly dramatic. 

When the humidity gets high, condensation occurs. 

Then when temperatures drop, the condensation collects across the studs on the cold spots on the wall. 

The condensation attracts dust particles and causes them to stick to the wall when the combination of moisture and indoor humidity has condensed. 

The result is shadowy lines along the cold surfaces on the studs. 

This makes them much more visible than others. 

Wiping off the airborne particles may help in the short term, but it won’t prevent this issue from happening whenever humidity is high and temperatures fluctuate. 

How To Fix Visible Studs In Drywall

There are quite a few ways to fix the issue of the buildup of ghost marks on visible studs in the drywall. 

Depending on how much time and money you want to spend, there are quick and cheap fixes and more pricey and time-extensive solutions. 

Let’s look at the main ways to get rid of visible studs, so you don’t have to see them through your drywall anymore. 

Clean Shadowy Lines From Wall Ghosting

The shadowy lines from wall ghosting are caused by condensation and a supply of dust and soot. 

The quickest way to get rid of this is by cleaning the dirty walls. 

We recommend using a bleach solution of ¼ bleach parts to ¾ water. 

This is a quick fix and won’t stop the problem from happening again. 

However, if you don’t have the time, money, or resources to permanently fix the problem, this is a great solution to avoid overpaying a drywall guy. 

Alternatively, getting a matching gallon of paint to apply another coat of paint will cover up the problem temporarily. 

Using low-priced latex paint will make it much easier to clean in the future. 

Step One: Make Your Solution

Make your bleach solution by combining one parts bleach with three parts water. 

This is an effective solution for removing all the dirt and soot particles collected on the walls. 

Step Two: Apply To Dirty Parts Of Wall

Apply the solution to the dirty spots on the walls. 

This will likely be on the studs where the soot has been collected. 

Step Three: Allow Solution To Soak And Sit

Once the solution is on the wall, allow it to sit and soak for about 5-10 minutes. 

This allows the solution to do its job at effectively cleaning up the accumulation of dust.

Step Four: Scrub Wall

After it has sat, it’s time to scrub the walls. 

Use a gentle brush or sponge to scrub the walls, so you don’t risk chipping or damaging the paint on the walls. 

You don’t want to end up with a botched paint job. 

Step Five: Wipe Off Residue

Wipe off the leftover residue and use a cloth soaked in warm water to remove the rest of the bleach solution and excess soot. 

After this, you’ll have nice clean walls with no visible studs. 

Replace The Wall 

Replacing the entire wall and properly installing insulation will keep you from ever having to see the studs through your drywall again. 

This is a big job and requires a good bit of investment. 

If this isn’t in your wheelhouse, there are other options for fixing the visible stud problem caused by inadequate insulation in your home. 

Cover The Wall

Some people opt for covering the wall with additional insulation and drywall. 

You don’t have to completely tear down and replace an entire wall this way.

Using ½” inch drywall to replace the dirty drywall panels will help fix the discoloration on walls caused by ghost walling.  

Adding additional insulation over the existing drywall will provide enough insulation to keep the problem of wall ghosting from happening again. 

This is still a fairly intensive project, but it is less involved than replacing the whole wall. 

It will still provide a permanent fix to the problem, and you won’t have to bleach clean your walls every time dust or soot accumulates over the studs.