Guide to Using a Laser Level for Footings
If you are planning to pour concrete or build a project out of brick, it’s important to make sure your footings are level. With a laser level, you will be able to guarantee the accuracy of your footings every time. In this guide, you will learn how to use a laser level to properly check the level of your footings to guarantee the accurate start of a successful project.
1. What is a Laser Level and Why Use It for Footings?
A laser level is a tool used by contractors and DIYers, which emits a beam of light across a flat surface to help measure and calculate the vertical and horizontal angles accurately. It’s especially useful when working with footings—the support structure of a building, causing it to settle evenly.
For a proper installation of footings, here’s how you can make use of the laser level:
- Making Footings Evenly Deep: When working on a footing installation, a laser level can help create precisely arranged slopes and vertical structures. This is especially helpful for outdoor projects like decks, walkways, and retaining walls since it makes sure the footings are at the same depth for a more even and sturdy footing.
- Calculating Dimensions: It’s important to know the dimensions of the footings before they’re installed. Using a laser level can help accurately measure and calculate the horizontal distances between footings. As an added benefit, the beams are easier to see from a distance for convenience and accuracy.
- Marking Footings: Installing footings can get a little tricky without the right markings. When placed correctly, a laser level can help mark the exact spot where footings need to be installed, making it easier to get the job done with minimal mistakes.
Using a laser level for performing footing and baseline projects not only ensures a quick installation, but also a precise and accurate outcome. Plus, the laser technology makes it easier to read from far away, with sharper lines and being clearly visible even in sunny weather.
2. Preparing Your Laser Level for Footing Measurement
Use your laser level and tripod to set the right height for measuring footings. Follow these steps to prepare your laser level for use:
- Check the Level Type. Make sure you are using a self-leveling laser level, as these are typically the most accurate. If you are using a manual-leveling level, use a bubble level to ensure accuracy.
- Set Up Tripod. Place the tripod on a flat, solid surface. Place the laser level close to the tripod and adjust the tripod until the laser light is at the desired height.
- Adjust Brightness. Turn on the laser level and use the settings to adjust the brightness of the laser to the appropriate level.
Position the laser level on the tripod and check that it is at the right height. Use the bubble level or the leveling vial to double check that the laser is level and not pointing upwards or downwards.
When you are finished setting up your laser level, turn it on and use the remote control to ensure that the laser is emitting the right level of brightness. Once you have finished these steps, your laser level should be ready for footing measurement.
3. How to Use a Laser Level to Measure Footings
Carefully following the steps outlined in this section will provide you with accurate and reliable measurements for footings. Here’s how to get started:
- Position the laser level on a firm surface that’s not affected by vibrations or movements. It should be able to stay in place as measurements are taken.
- Turn the laser level on. If a tripod is used, it’s important to adjust the laser to the right height and direction.
- Once the laser level is set, ensure it’s square and do a quick calibration if it has this feature. This ensures the level is accurate.
Once the laser level is in position and calibrated, use a surveyor’s tape measure and measure out the desired height of the footing. Find the reference line and use the laser line as a guide when recording the level. To ensure accuracy, it’s recommended to take several readings at various angles and locations for reference.
No matter which laser level is used, it’s important to always make safety the priority when taking measurements at ground level. Pay close attention to the environment around the footing and if you’re working in hazardous environments, it’s strongly recommended to wear gloves and protective eyewear.
4. Tips for Getting Accurate Measurements with Your Laser Level
If you’re using a laser level to set up footings, the last thing you want to do is end up with inaccurate measurements. To ensure your measurements are as precise as possible, follow these key tips:
- Check the Beam – Take the time to check the laser beam before you get to work. Look for any signs of damage that could compromise its accuracy.
- Check the Level - Make sure the level is sitting level on the surface and check the bubble to make sure it’s centered flat.
- Use Tripods – Tripods are ideal for achieving accurate results as they keep the laser level straight during the setup process.
- Set the Level High – The lower the laser line is, the more inaccurate it may be. Keep the line high and align the tripod head with the existing surface to ensure accuracy.
- Use Checkpoints – You can double-check the accuracy of your measurements, by placing checkpoints around the work area. Move the instrument to the checkpoints and measure them to ensure they match up.
Once you’re done measuring your footings, double-check the measurements at your checkpoints to make sure everything is accurate. Also, check the bubble in the level once more to make sure the level hasn’t moved during the measuring process.
If you’re ready to skip the guesswork and tackle the task correctly the first time, now you’ve got all the information you need to use a laser level for your next footing construction project. With a little practice and some patience, you’ll be slinging a laser around like a pro in no time. Best of luck!