Since we don't live in a shape-shifting existence, everything has a specific length, width and height. Measurements are taken to make a fitting suit or design a building. Hence, it is imperative to know how to read a tape measure correctly as no one wants to wear a lopsided piece of clothing. Leaning towers and hazardous construction sites are also not good for business. Various types of tape measures are available in the market for the consumer to choose, whether it be a dressmaker's soft tape or a heavy-duty retractable version commonly used by contractors.
Before delving into the basics on how to read a tape measure, there are 2 units in use depending on what region of the world you're at. The imperial system goes by feet and inches, whereas the metric system uses meters and centimeters. Some tape measures may include both units on opposite sides of the tape.
Every tape measure bears distinctive tape measure marks which are lines of various lengths. The longest lines are the main marks with a number printed alongside. These numbers indicate either feet or meters on tape measures for extended lengths. If the tape measures are for measuring limited lengths, the main marks normally indicate inches or centimeters.
Between 2 main marks, there are numerous smaller marks of various lengths. They represent tape measure fractions of distance between the 2 main marks. To identify the measurement for each fraction, count the number of marks of a similar length and divide the main mark's measurement by number of these marks. Do the similar for the next bunch of marks until you have identified all the possible fractions. You may end up with 3 or 4 fractions of measurements depending on the details of the tape measure. If you can reach this point, you're nearly home.
Take a measurement with your tape measure of choice and note where the end point intersects at the tape measure. If you are taking measurements of a room with a retractable tape measure, hook one end to the start point. It's advisable to lay the tape measure against a flat surface such as the floor or the wall and extend to the end point. This ensures accurate measurement. If the end point is another wall, place the flat surface of the tape measure's casing against the end point's wall. Allowance for a tape measure's casing will be stated on the casing itself. It's now a simple exercise of math by adding the number of main tape measure marks with the number of fractions of each of the smaller tape measure marks, plus the casing's allowance if applicable, to arrive at the total measurement. If you made it this far, give yourself a pat on the back.
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