How to Use a Level

One of the handiest tools you can have around your home is a level. Just as the name implies, a level helps you make sure that things are level and straight. Whether you are mounting shelves or pictures on the wall or doing more serious construction projects, knowing how to use a level is a valuable skill to have.
Before you learn to use a level, you need to decide which type of level you are going to use. There are actually a variety of different styles out there including some of the most popular which are water, string, bullseye, and laser levels.

Laser levels are the newest innovation and have many benefits including being able to use and giving very true and accurate results. Although they are more expensive than other types, they can be a worthwhile investment and save you a lot of time and hassle with your projects.

In this article we’ll discuss how to use bubble-type levels as well as laser levels.

Regardless of the style of level, one characteristic that many levels share is the method in which they work. Typically they have a small vial filled with liquid with a small bubble in it. Depending upon the style of level there may only be one vial or there may be several. For instance, a torpedo level has 3 vials – one for making sure things are level, another for making sure things are plumb, and still another for measuring 45 degree angles.

No matter how many vials a particular level has, the way you use it is pretty much the same. To use it, you lay the level across the surface that you want to be sure is straight or hold it up parallel to it. If the bubble floats to one side or the other of the vial that means the surface is not level. If the bubble floats in the middle of the vial then the surface is level.

To use the level, simply adjust the surface until the bubble floats in the middle. You’ll notice that the bubble always floats on the side that is too high. So for instance, if you are mounting a shelf and the right hand side is too low, the bubble will float on the left hand side of the level. That means you need to raise the right hand side of the shelf until the bubble is centered.

Check out: How to Make and Use a Water Level

Laser levels work quite differently than traditional levels. Instead of a vial with a bubble inside, a laser level emits a visible laser beam that is used to make sure that an object is straight.

To use the laser level, position it where you need it and it will automatically find level and shoot out a straight, visible laser. You can buy a tripod to mount it on, use a wall mounting device or set it on a stable, hard surface. You can draw a line on the wall where the laser is hitting or drive screws in directly without drawing a line.

If you don’t have a regular or laser level on hand, you can always use the old trick of putting a ball or other round object on the shelf or the top of the picture frame and adjusting it so that the ball doesn’t roll off.

Taking the time to learn how to properly use a level can make all of your home improvement or DIY projects go faster and can also help you to get more professional looking results.

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