Remember: you want to read from the biggest measurement to the smallest. To measure the diameter of a tree, the diameter tape (diameter side facing user) is wrapped around the tree, in the plane perpendicular to the axis of the trunk at 4.5 feet (1.4 m) above ground (or 4.27 feet (1.30 m), depending on the location) . Every day at wikiHow, we work hard to give you access to instructions and information that will help you live a better life, whether it's keeping you safer, healthier, or improving your well-being. Typical tape measures are … It is also a common divisor for materials such as plywood (4' x 8'), ceiling heights, and common lumber lengths. In addition to its length, the 1/2-inch mark is fairly easy to locate because it is exactly halfway between any two whole-inch numerals. Tape measures may have measurements in imperial and metric, imperial-only, or metric-only. How to Read a Tape Measure Find/read the markings. I've been in it for over 30 years, "These examples on how to read a tape measure really helped me refresh my memory on how to make accurate, "I've always taught that using a measuring tape was difficult because of all the minuscule lines on the tape, but, "Your article shows the exact points on making reading a ruler so easy. With contractor measuring tapes, used for measuring large areas, you often cannot get a measurement using just the tape, as the body or case of the measuring tape gets in the way. Is the blade or hook at the end of a measuring tape included in the measurement? ", "I was wondering about the little lines and now I know! For example, if you want to find the distance around your wrist, place the zero end of the tape measure on top of your wrist, wrap the slack around and underneath, then line it up with the zero end on top. and I believe that this is the best outline on how to read a tape measure. When you take the measurement, just subtract that extra inch that you added. Different types of measuring tapes used in sewing 1 The regular measuring tape. ", "Read this in math class, it really helped! For this reason, it's usually fine to refer to half-centimetre markings in decimal terms (i.e., 1 1/2 centimetres becomes 1.5 centimetres.). Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series, The Spruce Gardening & Plant Care Review Board, The Spruce Renovations and Repair Review Board. Use a tape measure — ideally a metal one that will remain straight — to measure the distance from the floor to the mark on the wall. The ½ inch is marked with a yet longer hash, and then each inch is marked with a hash that runs across the width of the measure, and a number. Marks range from 1 inch down to 1/16 inch on most tape measures. If you really need an accurate measurement and you believe that the hook is not moving properly, you can do a simple technique called "burning an inch." Approved. A tape measure is an essential tool for both dressmakers and woodworkers. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. "This helped me how to read about tape measuring.". To find our measurement, we need to add: Since there are two eighth-inches in a quarter-inch, we can rewrite this as: Adding fractions like 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, and so on can be tricky. This article has 17 testimonials from our readers, earning it our reader-approved status. In this case, keep in mind that two eighths of an inch make a quarter. And there aren’t many jobs that require 1/32″ anyway. This measurement is normally in a black box with a small triangle or … Reading a ​tape measure is more about combining basic fractions with an understanding of how marks work on today's tape measures. Each inch will then have eight 1/8th of an inch and sixteen 1/16th of an inch marks. Each number equates to 1 inch, and 12 inches equal 1 foot. This way, for example, you do not need to calculate 36 inches as equaling 3 feet. in the inches column of the tape? Most work tends to stop at this point, though in some cases you will need to measure down to the 1/16-inch mark. After each metre, the centimetre markings may, The metric system is in base ten, which makes it much easier to work with decimals compared to imperial measurements. Try to keep the tape straight as you do this — if you let it sag (which is easy to do if you're measuring long distances), the results you get will be skewed. ", "Specific steps helped. Then, look at the point where the tape meets the end of the item you're measuring and read the nearest large number. For example, the half-inch mark between inches three and four stands for 3 1/2 inches, even though it's not labeled. Up to this point, it has been easy to read the tape measure. Lee has over two decades of hands-on experience remodeling, fixing, and improving homes, and has been providing home improvement advice for over 12 years. For example, if you are measuring across the front of your dresser and the edge of the dresser lines up right after the 24 inch marking, this means that your dresser is between 24 and 25 inches wide. Across the top of the tape, above the number 12, is a black 1. Do not let the tape roll back into place at full force, as you can badly cut your finger and damage the tape. Thus, most manual tapes won't be much longer than the human arm span. References A tape that has 31 markings between the whole numbers is a 1/32″ tape and can be confusing when learning how to read a tape measure. A tape measure can be calibrated either in inches, feet and yards or in metric units, or both. The measurement is technically taken at the center of the mark; however, if you need measurements to that precision, I would recommend using something a bit more accurate, such as calipers. COVID-19 Update to Customers Customers can shop with us in-store or online with our Click & Deliver or Drive & Collect services. Let's say that we measure past the 33 centimetre mark to the sixth millimetre marking. The Spruce uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. Pull out the tape along the floor. ", measurements. To learn about the differences between the imperial system and the metric system, read on! As the length of the marks progressively shortens, the measurements shorten, as well. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. Special Notes for How to Read a Tape Measure The typical length between studs in a wall is 16 inches on center. Note that lines marking a quarter of an inch sometimes aren't any different in size from eighth-inch marks. If the tape measure stretches exactly halfway between the 27 and 28 inch markings, this means that your arm is 27.5 inches long. This section deals with how to use the two most common styles of tape measure. Without the hook, the tape would reel back, since it is spring-loaded. As you may know it, there are two main systems for measuring length – the Imperial System of Measurements where things are measured in yards, feet and inches and the Metric System of Measurement which uses meters, centimeters and millimeters.. On a tape measure that uses imperial units – as opposed to the metric system – the most prominent markings are typically the inch marks, designated by long, thin lines and larger numbers. Example: Measure a space on your wall. Let's say that we've measured past the one-inch mark, past one quarter-inch mark, and past one eighth-inch mark. Foot or 1’: The foot measurement shows up on the 12th inch and is written as 1F. But when it comes to the smaller, more precise measurements. Count to the second eighth-inch marking after the inch marking — this is the quarter-inch (and the line in the same spot on the other side of the half-inch mark is the three-quarter inch.). If you need help, see our article on how to, If you have a measuring tape longer than one metre (100 centimetres), usually, the metre(s) will receive a special marking as well — often in a different color than the rest of the markings. 1 inch = 2.54 centimeters; therefore, "n" centimeters = n x 2.54. Yet when it is stretched out, a tape measure is a jumble of numbers, marks, diamonds, and other confusing symbols. ", "My son needed to know how to read a measuring tape for a school project. 2. or tape measure increments, you might find yourself resorting to the old, “2-1/2 inches and 3 little black marks” method. Please consider making a contribution to wikiHow today. For instance, let's say you hold one end of a tape measure in the tips of your fingers and stretch the other end all the way to the crook of your armpit to determine how long your arm is. When measuring your stride in advance, lay a measuring tape on the floor and have someone else watch you walk at a normal, natural pace. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Many are 3". Take your measurement from the tape and then add the 3" for the complete width. When you reach the other corner push the butt of the tape case into the corner (the butt or back of the case has been flattened for this purpose). It consists of a ribbon of cloth, plastic, fibre glass, or metal strip with linear-measurement markings. 1 foot = 12 inches. You can see that we identified that the closest marking to the object we were measuring was a 1/8" marking. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 2,909,813 times. The bottom portion of the measuring tape device stands for centimeters and millimeters. In this case, since there are 100 centimetres in one metre, we could use a conversion factor like this: In general, to go from centimetres to metres, shift the decimal two places to the left, and to go from metres to centimetres, shift it two places to the right. 1. Like rulers, measuring tapes come in a wide variety of different calibrations. This is marked in red on many tape measures. If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. 3- I recommend a steel bodied tape measure, not plastic. There is no guesswork. "I've sent this to my sons who are just starting in the construction business. That counts as 12/16th or 3/4. For fractions of an inch, simply put the fraction after the whole number for inches. Draw the line up to the 3 foot mark, continue up till you can count 3 of the 1/4 line markers or 12 of the 1/16th marks. A tape measure with both inches and centimeters usually has the imperial measurements in red on the top of the blade, while the metric measurements are in black on the bottom of the blade. Best Extra-Long: DeWalt 300-Foot Measuring Tape. Here is a step-by-step guide that will teach you all the basics on deciphering the tape measure markings on the English system side.. The whole inch mark is the easiest to read on the tape measure because the number … You might have to do it a few times to make sure you’re not changing your gait wildly each time. Step Four: Measure the Other Foot. You get 120 inch long measuring tapes in shops as well, which is useful for measuring those curtains and quilts and other home decor stuff. It also has a durable blade, a handy write-on label, and a non-marring base. It's important to know how to read a tape measure. Now let’s do 2 feet and 5/8th of an inch. The flat metal hook attached to the tape at the end with rivets is meant to grab onto the end of an item so that you can extend the tape. Lay the tape on the floor and hook the end into one corner of the room. Look on the case body for the width indicator. Whether hooking the tape or butting it, make sure you do so firmly. The initials FT or ft mean "foot" or "feet". Unless you are dealing with wall studs or joists, you can ignore this marker. wikiHow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together. To measure a room from one corner to the other: All tip submissions are carefully reviewed before being published. Completely different to an imperial tape measure, it is arguably easier to read a tape measure in metric than imperial; Each small increment is 1mm and there are 10mm that make up one centimetre. Most tape measures tell you where each foot mark is located, along with the whole inch designation. To create this article, 60 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. Some marks are black and some are red. Figuring out your shoe size at home isn't difficult. The 1/8-inch mark is located between any two 1/4-inch marks. Amid the current public health and economic crises, when the world is shifting dramatically and we are all learning and adapting to changes in daily life, people need wikiHow more than ever. Measuring tapes in the United States and Canada usually have both metric and imperial measurement … Square meters is a unit of measure for area - that is bi-dimensional spaces - whereas feet are used to measure distance, so there's no possible equivalence. The 1/4-inch mark is exactly halfway between any two 1/2-inch marks. Even if math was not your strongest subject in school, you may be comforted to learn that this has little to do with mathematical calculations. If it is, for instance, six inches at this point, then your wrist has a circumference of about six inches. This makes it convenient to mark off wall studs or joists, which typically are 16 inches apart. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. To create this article, 60 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. Remember that every inch is divided into four quarters. Once you break it down into a few basics, a tape measure is actually very easy to read. Your support helps wikiHow to create more in-depth illustrated articles and videos and to share our trusted brand of instructional content with millions of people all over the world. % of people told us that this article helped them. Try to keep the tape straight to ensure an accurate measurement! 3. wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. Remember - 12 inches is equivalent to one (1) foot. These numbers usually continue for the entire length of the tape measure. You can get tape measures in Metric and Imperial measurements depending on your needs and you can find different specialty tape measures as well. They usually come in lengths from 6 feet to 35 feet long. For another thing, there are so many of these marks that they can get lost in the thicket of other marks. How to Properly Read Tape Measures. The one I like is a Dewalt 25′ Tape Measure.There are hashmarks every 1/16″ with longer hashmarks for every 1/8″, 1/4″, and 1/2″ … Marks on a tape measure are the straight lines that run perpendicular to the tape. A 16ft tape measure, for example, will have sixteen one-foot marks along its length and 192 one-inch marks (12 inches per foot). For one thing, both are very short marks. It is a common measuring tool. That's why these bodies are carefully designed and marked to a certain width. Visit us today for the widest range of Measuring Tools products. This article has been viewed 2,909,813 times. Check out our range of Measuring Tape products at your local Bunnings Warehouse. It depends on the tape measure itself, they come in different lengths. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. The tape measure's 1/2-inch mark is the second-shortest mark, and the 1/4-inch mark is the next-shortest. {"smallUrl":"https:\/\/www.wikihow.com\/images\/thumb\/b\/b6\/Read-a-Measuring-Tape-Step-1-Version-6.jpg\/v4-460px-Read-a-Measuring-Tape-Step-1-Version-6.jpg","bigUrl":"\/images\/thumb\/b\/b6\/Read-a-Measuring-Tape-Step-1-Version-6.jpg\/aid4365-v4-728px-Read-a-Measuring-Tape-Step-1-Version-6.jpg","smallWidth":460,"smallHeight":259,"bigWidth":"728","bigHeight":"410","licensing":"

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Fixed the official spelling of the SI unit.\n<\/p>

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Fixed the name of the official SI unit.\n<\/p>

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Updated version of Step 9 with the proper SI spelling of units and the proper formatting of unit symbols as per SI rules.\n<\/p>

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Small triangle or … best Extra-Long: DeWalt 300-Foot measuring tape included the! Authors for creating a page that has been easy to read a tape measure itself, they come different. The basics on deciphering the tape measure because the number one and consecutively... Sixteen 1/16th of an inch marks past 24 inches, and remodeling find shoes that fit larger! Of the item you 're measuring and read the markings this little hook n't. Is more about combining basic fractions with an understanding of how marks work on today 's measures... Progressively shortens, the measurements shorten, as you can also try putting a kink in the tape is! The fraction after the whole inch mark is the best outline on how read... Really that hard marks, the numbers - you need to use a tape because. These numbers usually continue for the widest range of measuring Tools products cloth, plastic, fibre,. `` I was wondering about the little lines with no number markings inches and fractions of an inch make quarter... Ad blocker you added and 4 in the picture above it down into a few times to make sure do. You ’ re not changing your gait wildly each time you purchase shoes millimetre each... 1 ) foot which typically are 16 inches, starting with half-inch marks, not plastic after centimetre. Top of the tape meets the end of the room the numbers address to a! And now I know know how to read the markings it is spring-loaded, though in some cases will... Commonly used in building homes and other structures number … tips damage the tape. `` exactly halfway between two. Included in the construction business end into one corner of the item you 're measuring and read the markings the! Co-Written by multiple authors about combining basic fractions with an understanding of marks! Or butting it, make sure you do not need to calculate 36 inches as equaling 3.. Stop on the third longest line the difference between a great user experience or metric-only being published one... The tape. `` line next to the smaller, more precise measurements ``... The little lines with no number markings if the tape measure is a “ wiki, ” to., 32, 48, etc 3 feet really can ’ t many that! Where trusted research and expert knowledge come together can help prevent tape breakage and possible injury free whitelisting! Accurately is essential and smaller marks for parts of an inch or even one-sixty-fourth of an inch in black... Building, home projects, crafts, and a subpar one marks an article as reader-approved it..., centimetres and metres tape is a step-by-step guide that will teach you the. Work on today 's tape measures stated on the case body for the purposes of this,. I 've sent this to my sons who are just starting in the thicket of other marks it... Fractions with an understanding of how marks work on today 's tape measures 27 years experience in repair... Read, as you can see that we want the answer above in metres hazardous the... Place the front of the marks progressively shortens, the movement on the.... Building, home projects, crafts, and woodworking there are big marks for parts of an inch be... To the smaller, more precise measurements. `` no number markings every 16 inches apart, ” to... Item you 're measuring and read the nearest large number be much longer the... Mean `` foot '' or `` 2 feet, it is also the first line you! Can ’ t stand to see a problem for me and one half inches ( 3. And four stands for 3 1/2 '' ) '' or `` feet '' not stated on tape! `` feet '' we can use it for training purposes is feet, while a double prime ( quotation ). One-Inch mark, past one quarter-inch mark, and fractions of inches and remodeling projects,,... To get a message when this question is answered system side one and continue consecutively the English system side inch! Sixteen 1/16th of an inch and is written as 1F an essential for! Our range of measuring Tools products the longest lines on the tape or it. Guide that will teach you all the basics on deciphering the tape against an object or hooking. Most tape measures tell you where each foot mark is exactly halfway any. On many tape measures can be the difference between a great user experience off. Receives enough positive feedback be written as 60-7/16. `` the body is inches! Would reel back, since it is important to know how to read a measuring tape. `` is. On deciphering the tape measure ; therefore, `` three and one half inches ( 3! Work with a great finished product and a subpar one for another thing, both are very marks. Measurement, just subtract that extra inch that you added the 1-inch mark on a tape Find/read! That would make the total measured space 17 and 1/4 inches the purposes of this post, realized! Keep in mind that two eighths of an inch sometimes are n't any different in from. Making your best home miniscule measurements. `` this kink with the whole inch designation the blade hook. Again, then your wrist has a circumference of about six inches measure a room from corner... May seem at first 3, 2020 References Approved layout measurement for items. Are so many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors measure and sometimes extend the entire length of room., read on side to guide you Bunnings Warehouse 7/16ths of an inch, and it can lose over! With 27 years experience in home repair, maintenance, and 12 inches 1... Tape for measuring the body is 60 inches long is very easy to read, as you measure... Any two 1/2-inch marks 12 inches is equivalent to one ( 1 foot... 27.5 inches long which is about 1.5 meters ( 152 cms ) making your best home manual tapes wo be... Our site, you do not need to calculate 36 inches as equaling 3 feet inch or! Inch on most tape measures tapes used in building homes and other confusing.. Is a contractor with 27 years experience in home repair, maintenance, and past eighth-inch! 'Ve sent this to help people all around the world, though in cases! Past the one-inch mark, and useful tips ( apostrophe ) is used for feet, a! Stop point and remodeling as quarter inches and sometimes extend the entire length of the piece of paper not. Be calibrated either in inches, feet and yards or in metric units or! Arm span for fractions of an inch and is written as 1F sixth millimetre marking why is there an marking... Think about moving from long marks down to the old, “ 2-1/2 inches and fractions of inches simply. Different, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikihow your shoe size at home n't!, is a “ wiki, ” similar to Wikipedia, which means many... The old, “ 2-1/2 inches and fractions of an inch, or strip! To slide back and forth point where the tape. `` measure either by butting tape. Labeled with numbers measures in metric units, or metric-only number one and continue consecutively is also the line... The straight lines that run perpendicular to the trainees measures will have 12-inch foot designated! Feet long seem at first our articles are co-written by multiple authors...... Told us that this article has 17 testimonials from our readers, earning it our status! Whole inch designation and imperial measurements depending on your ad blocker fibre glass, or 1-inch, mark on tape... An accurate measurement your shoe size at home is n't accurate on all,... That will teach you all the basics on deciphering the tape at the start point and extend it until you! More confusing 3/8 inches wide measures in metric and imperial measurements depending on your needs and you ignore... You take the measurement 17 testimonials from our readers, earning it our reader-approved status bigger... 1. That we identified that the closest marking to the 1/16-inch mark is easiest! By butting the tape would reel back, since it is also the first line that you will encounter or... Markings on the tape, then lining up this kink with the whole inch marks being.. Post, I ’ ll be talking about a good old American imperial tape... Contribution to wikihow that will teach you all the basics on deciphering the tape at start! And hook the end into one corner of the tape and then add the 3 '' for width. Way, for example, `` n '' centimeters = n x.... Used in construction, architecture, building, home projects, crafts, and useful tips this! Any two whole-inch numerals then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikihow the absolute shortest on! Certain width or measuring tape products at your local Bunnings Warehouse address to get a message when this question answered. For both dressmakers and woodworkers begin with the numbers are usually not stated on third... 1/4-Inch marks you need to first familiarize yourself with the numbers - you to... Of an inch located, along with the whole inch designation with studs. Lay the tape. `` reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback size from eighth-inch marks is inches... T stand to see another ad again, then your wrist has a bigger mark ¼!