How to Read a Tape Measure

Reading a tape measure is easy if you know what each mark means. Learn how to read a tape measure using the construction tool tips in this free video.

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Video Transcript

My name's Ryan Parker with Parker Home Renovations in New Braunfels, Texas, and today I'm going to teach you how to read a tape measure. First thing you need to know when reading a tape measure, is that you have your inch mark, you have your one inch, two inch, three inch, and so on and so forth, and then you also have your foot marks. Your foot marks are usually highlighted by the black square around the number, or a black circle around the number. Now within an inch, you have sixteenths, which are the smallest hash marks on a tape measure, you have eighths of an inch, which is the second to largest, and then you have a quarter of an inch, third to largest, half inch, fourth to largest and then an inch, which is the largest. Now there's sixteen-sixteenths in an inch. So you count your hash marks to whatever the measurement is. And there is eight-eighths, there is four quarters and so on and so forth. So if you're measuring, say you're measuring a piece of wood like this here, you would want to measure it and basically it is one hash mark past the two inch mark so that would be two inches and a sixteenth of an inch. And that's basics on how to read a tape measure. If you have any other questions, you can visit me at


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