Unless you use a measuring tape daily, you may have never even noticed those small diamond-shaped details on the top scale. And, even if you have, we bet that you only have a best guess as to what they might mean. That’s why we’re going to set the record straight regarding these unique features. Hint: They’re not just cute, they’re also super helpful!
Our guide for today’s valuable tip is YouTuber Tom Hintz from the website NewWoodworker.com. He posted a video to his channel to set the record straight on why these shapes have been included on the tape, and how to best use them to your advantage.
Now, there are several different types of markers on a standard spool of measuring tape. And, unless you’re a professional, you probably haven’t had too much use for them yet. Nevertheless, we think that some of these markings can be really beneficial, especially if you are working on a more heavy-duty DIY project.
What do these black diamonds mean anyways?
The black diamond is meant to signify the center area between studs in a home or building. The symbol will always be set at the 19.2-inch mark, but to best use it to its advantage, you must first take the time to understand the “8-foot rule.”
On Hintz’s website, he writes,
Many tape measures add red numbers (or some other graphical standout) every 16-inches, a very common spacing for studs in house framing. This spacing allows for six supports in each 8-foot length.
So, in a perfect world, you should be able to make pencil etches at your red marks to easily identify the placement of the studs. Now, if you want to locate a center between the studs, the black diamond is your best bet.
The woodworker goes on to explain,
If you divide the 8-foot space we have been using by 5 we get a spacing of 19.2”. The black diamonds on the tape measure represent that spacing.
The first black diamond is at 19.2” and after that black diamonds appear at 38.4”, 57.6”, 76.8” and 96”, or 8-feet. That is one less stud for every 8-feet of wall, counting the beginning and end studs.
Pretty cool, huh? Basically, if you know that your walls were built following this standard stud placement formula, then, instead of breaking out that cumbersome stud detector, you should be able to just use your measuring tape to locate them.
So, now that we’ve learned the truth behind these mysterious black diamonds, it’s time to discover some other measuring tape markings that may be new to you.
Watch Tom Hintz’s video below to receive a crash course on the merits of measuring via the seldom-used “bottom scale,” as well as an in-depth tutorial on how to use the 16-inch red box symbol to properly measure stud placement. Your project prep will go so much faster once you have these methods down!
What do you think about Tom Hintz’s handy tape measuring guide? Were you aware of the black diamond symbol prior to reading this article? Do you have any tips on faster or more accurate measuring? Tell us all about your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below!