How To Read A Tape Measure

A tape measure is also known as measuring tape. It is a flexible ruler.  It can be made from different materials such as cloth, plastic and fiber glass. The tape measure is normally the self -retracting and roll up tape measure which is being used most of the time in carpentry.  The tape potion is known as the ribbon and it is made from the stiff material which may be stiffening if the need arises.  It can still be rolled up for storage and simple use.    However, sometime this term will cover each type of the tape measure, including the tape used by the tailors.

The current tape measure started with the tailors and it was used to change or to fix the clothes. The tape measures are found in imperial units of feet and inches and metric of meters and centimeters. There are unit breakdowns used for accuracy.

Some of the specialized versions have special marking as measurements on a tape measure, and they can cover the truss lengths when doing the roofing and there are stud intervals used for the housing.

Using the tape measure may not seem hard but most of the time, people get it wrong. They may read 13 inches or just 13 and half inches, but in reality it can be 13 11/16.  However, it is important to understand how to read the tape measure and it is important to know how to use it.

Read A Tape Measure

Different types of the tape measures

Easy- read tape measure:  this is the type of a tape measure which has the label for an entire inch and there are also eights and the quarters for the inch which are labeled as 1/8 , 1/4   with 3/8.  This makes it easy to read the tape measure.  However, the measurement will end falling in any of such little lines and where tape measure markings for these numbers.

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However, there is also the basic tape measure which has different numbers with different line sizes.  This can be somehow confusing and it will take long in measuring up to the time that you can be reading a tape measure these lines much easier.

What it is the easiest way to read a tape measure?

The normal tape measure marks starts at 16 lines which shows up to 1/32th of the inch. It is good if you can learn about the easiest and quickest way that you can lead the tape measure using all these lines.  The first step in learning how to read a tape measure is to understand about the markings.  The line marking, staring from the longest towards the shortest, it will include the

  • The entire number measurement which is found at 1 inch, 2 inch and 3 inches
  • The half of  inch
  • The quarters of the inch which are ¼ or 3/4
  • The eight of the inch which are 1/8, 3/8, 5/8 or 7/8
  • The sixteenth of the inch are 1, 3,5,7,9,11,13,15 over 16 of an inch.

When you write down your findings, you should remember that 15’’ means inches while 15’ means feet.

What are the lines on a tape measure?

Use a big and numbered marking to use as inches.  If the tape measure is labeled using the imperial units, most common marks will be one inch mark. The tape measure inches are marked by long and thin lines with large numbers.

After each 12 inches, there is a foot marking.  This will be in a new color, compared to other markings. It can be red contrary to the yellow marks that were used before.  After the foot marking, a number of the other mark, it will be the repeat of 1-11 or it may the ongoing counting.  Everything will be different from one tape measure to another.  The bigger marks found between the two inches, it will mark a half inch.  The half inch is always found at the center of a two one inch mark.  There is always a second   longest mark. There is a one half inch mark, with two half inches mark within each inch.

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The smaller lines found within the half inches will read as the quarter inches. After each half inch, there is a quarter inch and the marking gets smaller from inch mark.

 What it is 1/32 on a tape measure?

The metric measuring tape  does show the centimeters which are divided in 10 millimeters while it can also show the tape measure measurements  in inches which are divided at their turn into quarters, eights, sixteenths or thirty seconds.   Most of the tape measure will have the marking at each sixteenth of the inch and you will have to estimate where the half is found.  However, if the tape measure has the markings for 1/32 inch, it will be more precise.  You can have the tape measure that have the inches at one side and centimeters at the other side.

 5/16 on a tape measure

How do you use a measuring tape?

To measure an item, you should start by putting the tape measure at an end or at a space you would like measuring.  If the length ends, then record the tape measure reading.

To known the length of something, you have also to record the lengths of the inches also. For the tape measurements in inches, you have to be clear if the length is a foot, inch, half of the inch, quarter of the inch, eighth of inch or sixteenth of inch.

If your read measure tape in metric,  you will have to mark the meter, decimeter, the centimeter and millimeter.

Other measurements to keep in mind are:

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Stud measurements:  the red squares after 16 inches will be indicated on the center wall with stud spacing.

Joist measurement: the black diamond found at the on center joist spacing.

The tape measure will have the following parts.

Housing: this is a metal or plastic housing where the tape is found.

Tang:  metal clip on the end of a tape is also called hook or clip.  While using the tape measure, this tang will indicate zero.

Lock: a button at the front of housing locks on the tape and when it is pressed, it will prevent the tape against getting pulled out or being retracing.

Blade:  this is the technical term used for the tape on its own. The blade get used when it is pulled away of the tang and it will stretch near a distance that will be measured.  It has the reading with numbers of a symbol for the face.

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