Straight lines and right angles room must-haves for any construction project, whether it’s a wall, door, window, or entire frame. However “straightness” only goes so far—you have the right to have a line that is perfectly right (that is, no bending or curving), however if it’s no oriented correctly, it have the right to still result in slanted walls or a sloping floor.

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That’s wherein level and plumb come in—both measure up straightness, however with a various relationship come the horizon. “Level” refers to straightness next to side (horizontal), whereas plumb measures straightness up and down (vertical).


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But what does every one of this mean in practice? check out on to find out the definitions of level, plumb, square, and also true, exactly how they’re different, and how to measure up for each.


In this article


What walk “level” mean?

“Level” is what you contact a perfectly horizontal line. Horizontal means side come side. To it is in level v the world way to be parallel with the horizon.

“Level” is additionally the surname of the device you usage to determine whether miscellaneous is horizontally straight.

What is a heart or balloon level?

A spirit level—sometimes well-known as a balloon level, carpenter level, or a torpedo level (depending on size and also shape)—is a tool that supplies gravity to measure if miscellaneous is level.

These levels have a vial of liquid v an air balloon inside the runs parallel come the human body of the tool. As soon as the device is level through the earth, the bubble is exactly in the center of the vial, often significant with a line. If the tool (and the surface ar it is measuring) is sloped or slanted in one direction, the bubble floats come the greater side.

How to usage a heart or bubble level


A spirit level is only among the necessary tools you’ll need on a building and construction site. Learn an ext about the many important building tools—and exactly how to use them safely—in MT Copeland’s virtual class, taught by expert builder and craftsman Jordan Smith.

Tip: when you room holding a level, make sure it is ~ above or against a level surface, together a wall surface or flat straight boards, to ensure accuracy.

You can additionally use spirit levels to check if miscellaneous is plumb, together these tools measure both level and also plumb. (More on that below.)

Other varieties of levels

Water level use plastic tubing and cylinders that water to measure up level over longer ranges than can be accomplished with a simple bubble level.Laser level use a laser beam the light, to examine alignment. If you have to measure lot of lines, a laser level will certainly make things less complicated than having to ar a spirit level on every individual line. Laser levels work in every directions, for this reason you deserve to use castle to measure up level and plumb by pointing at whatever you room checking.

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Jordan blacksmith

Jordan smith is the CEO and also Founder the Smith residence Company, a design+build for sure based in Austin, Texas. The learned come build and also weld while working on the farm through his grandad, and also after earning a degree in Welding and Materials Engineering, he invested the following 10 years working in the hefty construction building everything indigenous robots come ships to offshore oil rigs prior to transitioning come residential construction. After spending a pair of years working with sector leading contractors in Austin, Jordan and also his mam Veronica struck the end on their very own to kind Smith house Co.Smith house Co. Strives come build much more beautiful, functional and resilient spaces which room self sustaining and harmonize v their organic surroundings.