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Old 08-22-2009, 05:10 AM   #1
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Foundation Layout


I am new to the site and seeking information. I am considering building another home and I am in the planning stage. It has been a real long time since I attempted this project. My question is When laying out a foundation these days with the technology at hand are most construction guru's laying out the foundation using theses new Lazers for foundation height or are they still using the Surveying Instruments.

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Old 08-22-2009, 07:52 AM   #2
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Foundation Layout


Mine used a laser, quick and easy.

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Old 08-22-2009, 08:24 AM   #3
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I have all three, transit, Laser, and a water level. If it is not going to be needed for an hour or more, or by several people at once across the slab, the laser stays in the case. (Too much hassle) The transit usually only gets used for longer distances or for checking the vertical rise of three-story and higher block walls. Exterior elevator shafts are a good example.

The water level actually gets the most use. It's simple to set up, never ever gets out of adjustment (no expensive recalibrations), and is truly more accurate than the laser... besides the fact that I can level right on around corners and on the other side of obstructions (like walls) that the other two levels cannot see through. It was inexpensive, too.

Oh, I do have one more that gets a lot of use. It's a laser plumb bob. A real plumb bob made of heavy brass (similar to THIS ONE) with an internal laser beam aimed straight upward. I do many homes where chandeliers are hung directly above specified points in tile floor layouts. This tool is indispensable for this sort of work. Shows a good, bright dot straight up to 60 feet high. It also works well to set on the floor in the center of the opening for a ten or twelve foot high double door to check the accuracy of the opening.

Now, you DID ask about HEIGHT only. A water level is totally useless for true layout work. You cannot turn 90's or do any vertical angle work with it (without considerable math)... nor can you bring in a surveyor's mark for a beginning foundation point with it. It's the cat's whiskers for level (up and down) work, but that's about it.
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Last edited by Willie T; 08-22-2009 at 08:56 AM.
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Old 08-22-2009, 12:02 PM   #4
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Foundation Layout


So willie T what would you use for basement foundation layout and general foundation stuff the laser seems intriguing and I peeked at the laser plumb bob wow what will the technology guru's come up with next? We used to use the transit when I was building.
Although surly you are not building to many basements in Florida?
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Originally Posted by Willie T View Post
I have all three, transit, Laser, and a water level. If it is not going to be needed for an hour or more, or by several people at once across the slab, the laser stays in the case. (Too much hassle) The transit usually only gets used for longer distances or for checking the vertical rise of three-story and higher block walls. Exterior elevator shafts are a good example.

The water level actually gets the most use. It's simple to set up, never ever gets out of adjustment (no expensive recalibrations), and is truly more accurate than the laser... besides the fact that I can level right on around corners and on the other side of obstructions (like walls) that the other two levels cannot see through. It was inexpensive, too.

Oh, I do have one more that gets a lot of use. It's a laser plumb bob. A real plumb bob made of heavy brass (similar to THIS ONE) with an internal laser beam aimed straight upward. I do many homes where chandeliers are hung directly above specified points in tile floor layouts. This tool is indispensable for this sort of work. Shows a good, bright dot straight up to 60 feet high. It also works well to set on the floor in the center of the opening for a ten or twelve foot high double door to check the accuracy of the opening.

Now, you DID ask about HEIGHT only. A water level is totally useless for true layout work. You cannot turn 90's or do any vertical angle work with it (without considerable math)... nor can you bring in a surveyor's mark for a beginning foundation point with it. It's the cat's whiskers for level (up and down) work, but that's about it.
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Old 08-22-2009, 01:13 PM   #5
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Foundation Layout


I will never forget the expense a miscalibrated laser cost me on one house. It wasn't off enough to catch with the eye, but when we started the roof, all sorts of demo and repairs had to be made. I was disgusted. They are far too easy to damage, and you often never know it... you just blindly use it, trusting in the touted accuracy.

I honestly do like the water level. It may not have the same technically impressive impact setting up a shiny rotary laser imparts, but it is stone-ax reliable. And, as I mentioned before they are honestly more accurate than lasers.

All your lengths, widths, and cross-corner checks can be made with a good steel tape, as long as the site for your foundation has already been accurately located.

But if you dig toys, have the money, and want to impress people, pretty good lasers start around $1,200 to $1,500. That part is strictly your call.
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