How To Read A Tape Measure – Simple Tips To Learn How

There was always some interesting discussion in the local barbershop and Scott really enjoyed taking part in it every time he went in to get his haircut. While Stuart was trimming his hair, he overheard his friend Burt talking to a younger fellow that Scott did not know. He was asking Burt about the new hardwood flooring that he was installing in his living room. It seemed that no matter how careful he was with his tape measure, he was having a great deal of difficulty getting the right lengths.

As soon as Scott’s haircut and trim was finished, he went over to greet Burt. After they exchanged pleasantries, Burt introduced Scott to his friend from work, Matt. He mentioned to Matt that if anyone could help him with his tape measure queries, it would definitely be Scott. Burt told Matt that Scott was the neighborhood authority in almost everything with home repair and improvement. Once Scott learned all the details of Matt’s dilemma, he proceeded to tell him everything he needed to know about using a tape measure to get exact results every time.

Tool Quality is Important

One of the first things Scott asked Matt was “What kind of tape measure are you using right now?” He knew that the quality of the tape measure greatly influenced the performance and end results.

“I just have a cheap one that I received as a gift for my birthday back when I was a teenager, he said. I know it is pretty old but I didn’t think that mattered much” as he pulled it out of his pocket and showed Scott.

Scott explained to him that a US tape or Stanley tape measure would be a better choice because they are very high quality and dependable tools. They are made with durable materials and the markings on the tape did not usually wear off with use. And they were made of metal, not plastic, which was very likely to be damaged easily at the work site. He checked out Matt’s tape measure. He could barely read the measurements and there were indeed cracks on the casing too.

This is How it is Done

Just in case Matt’s difficulty in measurement was not entirely due to the quality of the tool itself, Scott explained in detail how to use a tape measure. He told him to take a look at his tape measure. He pointed out the pattern of markings along the tape showing inches and feet. Scott also mentioned that some tapes were available in metric measurements too.

Then he went through the actual marks appearing all the way across the face of the blade. The scale between inch marks is divided into 1/16” increments where there are four different sizes of lines. The longest lines are the ½” marks, the second longest ¼”, followed by shorter ones for the 1/8” and 1/16”. Matt asked if measurements should always be calculated in sixteenths of an inch but Scott told him that when measuring, the length was usually noted as the lowest common denominator. For example, 4/16” would be ¼”. Scott also told Matt that there were laser and digital tape measures that automatically showed the lengths without having to deal with the marking on the tape measure itself.

Scott went on to tell Matt that on most tape measures, he would see other symbols as well. Usually the markings for each foot of length were printed larger and with color. Every 19.2”, there was a small, black diamond shape which signified length used when installing framing materials such as sheets of plywood or wallboard.

At the end of the tape measure, Scott pointed out the metal tip. He talked about how it was slightly moveable which meant that accurate measurement could be obtained whether the end of the tape was butted against material or hooked over the end of it. The curved blade on most quality tape measures was also specifically to give it more stability so that it would not bend or break with use.

Finally, Scott mentioned to Matt that maintaining the tape measure was a very important safeguard to ensure that is was working well every time is was used. If he was working around sticky or sandy areas, it was always a good idea to wipe the tape measure before letting it retract into its case. This could prevent build-up and poor performance later on. He also warned Matt about safety with the tape measure. Always keeps hands clear of the sharp edge of the blade when retracting the tape measure.

A Few Weeks Later…..

As Scott walked past the barbershop a few weeks later, he noticed Matt inside and went in to chat with him. “So, how did the hardwood flooring go, Matt?” he asked with great interest.

“It turned out absolutely perfect. I bought a really good Stanley tape measure and I couldn’t believe it. I got every measurement bang on! The floor looks great. Thanks Scott. Now, do you know anything about installing fencing?” Matt asked with a funny grin on his face.