View Full Version : Laser & other Measures

Kirk Hersee
01-21-2008, 02:51 PM
Does anyone use a laser measurer? I picked up a FatMax for $100 a couple months ago and it really saves time. If the sun is too bright it can be useless though. Also, are there any measuring wheels that are better than others? I started off with a unit with small wheels that wasn't terrain savvy. So, I upgraded to a large wheel type that's better anyway. But, sometimes gravel and similarly rough ground can cause it to be off in measurement. I don't need to be spending time measuring twice. I'm not a carpenter. Anyway, I'm checking on general opinion and consensus here. Thanks, Kirk

Richard Rushing
01-21-2008, 03:04 PM
I have a Leica A5-- great for measuring roofs and calculating anything that requires calculating.... I don't measure roofs or anything else in the capacity of a home inspector. However, as an insurance adjuster, these tools are quite valuable when working, wind/hail/ice/floor/hurricanes.

I have no need (ever) for one of the small wheels.

Question for you. What are you using the measuring devices for? Are you providing costs estimates? If so, what software are you using?


Kirk Hersee
01-21-2008, 03:55 PM
I have to measure the footprint of a dwelling for calculating square footage. It's part of the replacement cost report. I primarily do insurance inspections for Mass Fair Plan and this is a requirement. The wheel is handy for a home that has a long side (my tape measure is only 25' and I use it for smaller measurements) and requires like 40+ feet of measuring. Now, though, if I can set it up I use the laser. I have to set my clipboard up at the receiving end of the beam to catch the measurment though. It's accurate to within a quarter inch and has 100' capability. More than I'll ever need (I hope). This unit comes in handy when I have an old farm house that has 20 sides. I spent almost an hour one day getting dimensions with a wheel and tape. With this laser, I'll be able to cut that measure time down to nothing. For your last question, I don't use any software (although, I'd love to get mhy hands on APEX). The online report has a calculator.

Jack Feldmann
01-23-2008, 09:08 PM
I guess I'm just old fashion. When I do need to measure something, I just usea 30' tape or a 100' tape. I use a screwdriver for the dumb end when I can't find a helper, or the little hook has nothing to cling to.

In a past life when I did plot plans for schools, I used a big wheel, then went to a little wheel with a quick reset for the number. The big wheel I had clicked every two feet (1 revolution) and would "ding" every 100 feet. It was a pain, but very accurate. But the 100 foot tape was the main tool.

I have seen appraisers use a bigger tape, maybe it's 200 or 250. They seem to make their way around the house pretty fast.

Jerry Peck
01-24-2008, 08:09 AM
But, sometimes gravel and similarly rough ground can cause it to be off in measurement.

How far off? What accuracy are you looking for?

Within a 1/4", within a 1/2", within 1", within 1-1/2"?

If you use a tape and measure waist high where it is easy to measure, you may be measuring 'trim to trim' versus measuring the foundation walls themselves, and that could easily change measurements buy 3/4" to 1-1/2" *as each end*, meaning you are only accurate to within 2" to 3" anyway.

I suspect a large wheel will give better accuracy than that.

Kirk Hersee
01-24-2008, 12:14 PM
Well, when I roll the measureing wheel out and notice it "skipping", I tend to remeasure (somethimg, I'd prefer not to do) and the differences have been upwards of a foot. And I've remeasured a couple of times 3 or 4 times just to check this inaccuracy. This was with the smaller wheel. With the larger wheel I don't have that much of a challenge. Now, I usually just point the laser and it takes less time for sure. Also, I buy the cheap 25' or 30' tape measures from B&D or Stanley ($10 jobbers @ Home Depot or Lowes), but I have a hard time getting them to stay at one end while I draw the tape out. They continuously slip from the grip. Is there a recommended tape measure that will stay where you anchor it? Is it one of those, "you get what you pay for" deals? Kirk

Michael Thomas
04-12-2008, 08:31 AM
A while back (can't find the thread) we were discussing a service that provided measurements from photographs. I know how to do this in Photoshop in simple situations, but that's of little practical value to home inspectors as most photos depict the surface or object you want to measure in perspective (the size of an object in pixels is reduced as it's position recedes).

Well, today I found this:


Kirk Hersee
04-12-2008, 08:55 AM
That was very cool. Unfortunately for me, I only have CS2. I have been really diggin my FatMax Laser measure. Cuts down my measure time immensely. Also, I've picked up a 100' nylon roll-in type measuring tape that has nice little grippy teeth to hold onto house corners (unlike the standard measuring tapes which constantly lose their hold). $15! A steal.

Jack Feldmann
04-12-2008, 05:34 PM
I had the same problem and I took the toothy end off a broken tape and used a pop rivet to attach it to the end of my other tape. Yep, it's "off" a fraction of an inch, but the added grip was great.