How To

How To Read A Tape Measure

How To Read A Tape Measure-We all have seen a tape measure or a measuring tape as most people will call it and it is mostly used in construction and craftsmanship to take accurate measurements.

Also, measuring tapes can be found in the home regardless of your skill level as some people use it to hang artwork while some others use it to tell the size of the rug they need in a room.

When you get familiar with how to use the tape measure properly, you tend to work faster and more efficiently and this is what we are going to be showing you in this article.

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Reading a tape measure can be so tricky and confusing but we are going to be giving out some basic tools that you can use to read a tape measure even if you are not a craftsman or working under construction.

What Is A Tape Measure?

A tape measure is also called a measuring tape and it is a flexible ruler used to measure size or distance. It is a portable measurement device used to measure the size of an object or the distance between objects.

It is a common measuring tool that is designs to allow you measure a great length and it can be easily carried in the pocket. The tape measure can also be used to measure around curves or corners.

How To Read A Tape Measure

In this part of the article, we are going to be breaking the discussion into different categories to help you understand how to read different type of tapes like the retractable tape and manual tapes.

Let’s proceed…

How To Read Imperial Unit

  • Use the big, numbered markings for inches

The one-inch marks are the most evident marks on a tape measure that is labeled with imperial units and they are usually marked by long, thin lines and large numbers too.

For every 12 inches, there will be a foot marking (but not always) and it would be in a different colour than the other markings which might be red while the other colours are black markings.

  • The second largest line between two one-inch marks is half-inch

The half-inch mark is usually in between any two one-inch marks and it has almost the second-longest marking after the one-inch marks. If you look at the tape measure closely, you will see a line in between two one-inch mark (let’s say 1-2) and there is one half-inch mark between each one-inch mark and the half-inch mark divides the one-inch mark into two halves.

There are two half-inches in a one-inch mark

  • The smaller lines between the half-inches are quarter inches

The quarter inches come after the half-inches and they are smaller and sometimes skinner than the half-inches. They are evenly spaced between each half-inch mark and one inch-mark. There are four quarter-inches in one-inch.

  • Use the small, regular marks for one-eighth-inches

These markings are in between the quarter-inch markings and there are eight one-eighth inches in one-inch mark, four in the half-inch mark and two in the quarter-inch mark.

  • Each of the lines of an inch is one-sixteenth-inches

The tiny line in between a two inches can be measured in sixteenths and this means that there are sixteen one-sixteenths in an inch, eight in the half-inch mark, and four in the quarter-inch mark.

How To Read Metric Unit

  • The big, numbered markings are centimetres

Centimetres are mostly used in for reading metric measuring tapes and they are labeled with large lines with numbers. The lines mark each centimeter and not the number itself.

  • The smaller markings between centimetres are 0.5 centimetres

The medium-sized marks that are spaced in between each centimetre mark are called half-centimetres and they are not labeled with numbers.

It divides the one centimetre mark into two halves which means that there are two half-centimetre marks in a centimetre mark.

  • Each of the lines of a centimetre is a millimetre

There are ten millimetres in a centimetre and five millimetres in half-centimetre.

How To Take A Measurement

We have talked about how you can read a tape measure but the article will not be complete if we do not take about how you can take a measurement using a tape measure. We are going to be looking at the two types of tape measures that are commonly used which are the retractable tape and manual tape.

How To Take Measurement With A Retractable Tape

  • Catch the hooked end on one side of the object you want to measure

This is the common type of tape measure that has a metal or plastic box that automatically sucks the tape back up when you are done with your measurement and the end of the tape has a small metal notch at the zero mark.

The metal at the end of the tape is used to hold the tape in the right place as you measure so try to catch the metal head on the edge of the object you want to measure to start your measurement.

  • Stretch the tape across your object

After you must have pinned the metal edge of the tape to the end of the object you want to measure, pull back on the plastic box you are holding and let more tape come out.

If the metal edge is not stable, you can use the help of a friend to hold it or pin it tightly to the object.

Let the tape come out until it stretches through the distance you are measuring and try to keep the tape straight as you do this so that you don’t get a wrong result.

  • Take your reading directly from the tape

Look at the point where the tape meets the end of the object you are measuring and the nearest number below the end of the tape is your number of units and the markings between this number and the one above it are the fractions of the unit.

  • Lock the tape with the lock switch

When you have measured the object, you can lock the tape measure with the button or sliding switch as some measuring tapes have this to prevent the tape from being sucked back in.

With this, you can easily compare the length of two objects to see which is bigger and longer.

How To Take Measurement With Manual Tapes

  • Hold one end of the tape down at the start of your distance

This is usually a long, skinny ribbon or ruler made out of flexible material although it lacks some of the convenient features of the retractable tape measure.

Grab the zero end and line it up with the object or length to start taking your measurement and this tape measure requires you to use both hands.

This tape measure is usually used to measure short distances unlike the retractable tape measure.

  • Stretch the tape across your distance

Since it cannot go too far unlike the retractable tape measure, stretch it across the length you want to measure and make sure you keep the tape tight to get an accurate measurement.

  • Take your reading directly from the tape

Just like it is done with the retractable tape measure, you will have to look at the spot where the end of the object lines up with the tape measure and take your measurement.

If you are measuring a round object, you will have to wrap the tape all the way around the object you are measuring and pinch the tape and mark the point where the tape measure first passes the zero.

Final Note

Using a tape measure can be tricky but if you know the techniques, you will be able to read and take a measurement with it just like we have explained in this article.

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