Self-leveling Laser, a valuable tool to help you increase and protect your profits.

The following was written by a group of Peer Reviewed Inspectors

There are many relatively low-priced tools that can help us when evaluating sites for installation, or complaints.

A simple tool is the self-leveling laser you can buy at hardware stores, Lowes or Home Depot.

They usually range from $70 to $85. Today, that is relatively inexpensive for a tool you will find yourself using a lot.

First, self-leveling means, there is a “Bubble” in the tool that self-levels the beam to be a constant height off the floor,

even when placed on a slight inclined, such as low or high spot on the surface of a concrete substrate.

This means, once it self-levels, the beam will be constant height off the substrate. The beam will not angle upwards or downwards.

There are of course, more expensive models of this tool that can be as high as several hundred dollars.
The expensive models come with a tripod and sends a beam out in a circle.

What can you do with one of these? Well, first, you can measure the contours, map the contours, of the surface of a substrate.

Before you start, you must first determine the height of the beam off of the surface. You do this by placing the laser on a surface

you know to be flat and smooth, such as a counter top. After the beam self-levels, you place a ruler (many like to use a wood

ruler like children use in elementary school), and mark where the red beam strikes across the ruler with a fine black tip marker.

Now, you have the height set on the ruler, you can use it accurately.

Place the laser machine on the flooring, then place the ruler on its end so it is standing straight up, and move it away from the laser.
You will find the red beam moves up and down on the ruler. When the beam goes up on the ruler, you are in a low spot. When the beam moves down you are on a high spot.

Some people like to square up a room placing the laser in the middle so they work off a central location.

When evaluating commercial sites for installation, many use the more expensive models that send out the beam in a circle on a tripod. Using these when evaluating commercial sites for installations are precise and time saving method for evaluations.
Square up a room or find the middle by measure from corner to corner in a “X”. Set it up in the middle and repeat above. However, this method is easier on the knees and backs of us floor pros who spend so much time in uncomfortable positions. Use a yard stick so you can walk away from it mapping out the contours. To make it even easier on you, from an office supply or school supply store, by an extended chalk holder so you only have to bend over slightly. You can even color code the high and low locations using different colored chalk.

You can also map the contours or measure high and low spots on installed flooring but remember, the flooring will “take up” some of the low areas meaning they are deeper than measured and the reverse is true for the high spots.

Squeaky Floors? When you have a squeaky floor complaint, or movement, place the laser on the flooring, then step beside it. You will see the beam bounce up and down on the walls.
Place it in the middle of the planks first to see if the plank is deflecting.

You can also, place it between two planks or boards, repeat to see if the movement is in the tongue and groove. Some even say, once they use their magnets to find the tongue and groove sides, they can determine if the movement is within the groove

All this, for a tool less than $85.00 in your hardware or big box store.