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Things You Didn't Know About Your Measuring Tape

Blog things you didn't know about your measuring tape

There is one tool that everyone should have no matter what they do. Whether you are an engineer, a builder or simply a homeowner, a tape measure is vital to almost every building project. No matter how experienced you are, there are a few things you might not know about this handy device.

Blog things you didn't know about your measuring tape

There Are Different Types of Tape Measures

Not all of these measuring tools are alike. There are several categories of measuring tape. These categories are:
  • Spring or coiled tape measures are the most common and versatile
  • Cloth tape measures are useful for measuring around corners and fabric
  • Magnetic measuring tapes have magnetic ends to pick things up
  • Laser or digital types can measure distances up to 650 feet
There are many more, but these are the main categories you can find around the job site. Each serves a different purpose or need. In addition to these common options, there are several types of professional tape measures. These are often larger and more sophisticated than traditional measurement devices. Some of them are even coated with marking chalk, which allows you to mark specific lengths without using a pencil or other device. Professional tape measures tend to be a bit more costly. In exchange, they are also more versatile and sometimes more accurate.

A Word of Caution About Measuring

The old adage to measure twice and cut once is very true. Fortunately, a measuring tape can help you to do this. Despite all of the features on a tape measure, you should always check your measurements, especially when working with an older home or building. Some older homes and buildings are not straight and use true cut lumber instead of the modern pressure-treated lumber. This can cause problems when you attempt to replace or repair portions of the structure. Many contractors will measure something on an older home multiple times to make sure that the measurements are correct before cutting expensive lumber. Your measurement for one side may be different than the measurement for the other side. Also, measurements between studs in older homes are significantly different than in newer homes. This is why you should always use a stud finder in addition to a measuring tape.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Digital Measuring Tapes?

Blog things you didn't know about your measuring tape

digital tape measure is excellent for finding measurements at a distance. These are also known as laser measuring devices. They can measure distances up to 650 feet depending on the specific style. This type is accurate up to an eighth of an inch and is mostly for professional use.

What Are the Black Diamonds For?

On some professional tape measures, you might notice that there are black diamonds at regular intervals. This is for measuring timbers. Manufacturers design timbers to meet the average 96-inch plywood panels commonly used for the subfloor. The black diamonds allow contractors to obtain accurate measurements for setting timbers and determining the number of joists necessary.

Why Does a Tape Measure Have That Weird Metal End?

Most of them have a metal end with different notches and hooks. The metal end can:
  • Serve as a hook
  • Serve as a notching tool
  • Hook onto a nail
  • Catch onto surfaces
Each of these things offers a more accurate measurement between distances. Your standard tape device has all of these.

What Are the Numbers on the Housing?

The numbers on the housing of standard tape measures refer to the size of the housing. This allows you to lay the device flat on an inside surface and still get an accurate measurement. The numbers normally indicate how much you have to add to account for the tape housing.

What Are the Red Numbers For?

The red numbers on your measuring device make it easier to measure for studs in walls. They normally appear at every 16 inches, which is the standard distance to place a stud or support in modern homes. Although this is not always the case with older homes, it works very well for new construction.

It doesn't matter if you are a contractor, designer or homeowner; a tape measure should be part of your tool kit. You can purchase a wide selection of these, other measuring devices, drafting tools and supplies at Engineer Supply, which has the essentials for almost every construction or engineering project.
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