Laser levels are commonly used as a way to help with professional or DIY projects around the house. They can be used for a wide variety of purposes, from installing decking to tiling walls and, of course, for framing walls. Also, let’s not forget the crucial art of hanging something on the wall.
A laser level allows the user to follow a benchmark with accuracy and precision. This allows for the construction to be straight and level.
Why Do You Need a Laser Level?
In the fields of construction and surveying, laser levels are control tools that consist of rotating laser beams that are capable of being mounted atop a tripod. This device is leveled according to its accuracy and is used to project a green or red beam in a plane on the vertical or horizontal axis.
The concept of laser levels has existed since the early 70s, and the original spinning-mirror model laser plane and line level was patented during the 80s. The compact lens-based laser line level was patented in the 1990s and is produced by many tool manufacturers today.
Types of Laser Levels
There are a number of different types of laser levels, each with specific purposes and functions.
Point generators are the most straightforward type of laser level. They are essentially spirit levels that project a laser dot, and they can sometimes include a line generator that may be positioned in front of the beam. This makes the line from the level to the surface visible.
Line lasers are point-to-point levels that are able to project a number of vertical and horizontal lines with several LEDs across a distance of 70 to 100 feet. They are specially designed for use indoors, and they usually include plumb down and plumb up capabilities.
Newer models also include light-pulsing technology, which works in conjunction with a light detector. This enables the level to be used in bright areas or outdoors.
Dot lasers are another simple type of laser level. They project a single point that can either be level, plumb, or square. The less expensive models are suitable for indoor use only, but there are other, more costly models that can be used outdoors, as well.
Rotary Laser Levels
This type of laser level projects a rotating dot to create a 360° line. Detectors are used to read this line across a greater distance, and the majority of them feature single line generators and plumb down/plumb up capabilities.
They are ideal for work outdoors, particularly for grading roads, laying pipe, or laying foundations. They are the most expensive and most accurate laser levels on the market. Also, they are available in self-leveling and manual models, and they can be operated remotely.
Some rotary levels are designed for foundation work or grading and are so big that they must be mounted on a tractor or on a platform.
Using a Laser Level for Framing
Here are a few tips and guidelines you should keep in mind when using a laser level for framing.
1. You should always set up your laser level on a solid and firm surface. Since laser levels work by projecting a straight beam of light, the line will be crooked or at the wrong angle if the level is placed on an uneven surface.
This will cause all of your measurements to be inaccurate and can result in some serious problems that will impede the progress of your project. The majority of industrial-duty laser levels have a self-leveling capability that will automatically detect and correct this problem.
If you are using a smaller laser leveling device, you’ll need to make sure that it is properly level before you use it.
2. When framing or building a wall, you will want to ensure that the floor you are building on is level, as well. This can be done by setting your laser level to project a horizontal line across the room that you want the wall to be in.
Then, you should use tape to measure the space between the floor and the beam and take note of any places that are significantly higher or lower. You might want to level these spots out before you start framing your wall.
3. Ideally, you should set up your laser level so that it projects a vertical laser when using one to frame a wall. Then, you should set up the laser wherever you want the new wall to be.
The level should project a laser line across the floor and up to the ceiling. You can then use this line to build up the top and bottom plates of your wall, or you could choose to make a benchmark where the line is.
Note: it may be best to use a laser level that is able to self-level when framing walls.
Things To Consider When Choosing a Laser Level
As we mentioned previously, there are a number of various laser levels on the market, so there’s quite a bit to consider when you are on the hunt for one. Here are a few of those things.
Manual or Auto?
Automatic lasers, which are also called self-leveling lasers, essentially do most of the work on their own. Once they start, they will provide a level line without much input required. They will also deactivate projecting if they are disturbed so as to prevent inaccuracies.
Manual lasers are not less accurate than automatic lasers if they are set up correctly. However, they will not stop running if they are disturbed, unlike auto lasers, which makes them better suited for smaller projects.
Indoor or Outdoor?
There are different laser levels with different laser intensities to suit indoor or outdoor situations. Indoor levels have dimmer beams, while outdoor levels have brighter beams.
Green or Red Beam?
Laser levels with green beams are much more visible because they appear much brighter. They are mostly used for large scale indoor projects in which the line needs to be seen, rather than using a laser level detector.
Whether you’re framing a door or building a new wall, laser levels are essential to ensuring that your measurements are as accurate as they can possibly be. We hope that this article has provided some insight into laser levels.