How To Best Tell What Is Square And What Is Not? - Building & Construction - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

 DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum How to best tell what is square and what is not?
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07-12-2012, 09:09 PM   #1
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## How to best tell what is square and what is not?

A couple of days ago I started this thread:

http://www.diychatroom.com/f14/what-...-walls-149729/

Which generated some heated debate. Basically I have an exterior wall along which is a shower, then the bathroom outside the shower, a hallway, then a closet. When I measured the dimensions of each of these areas, the north and south dimensions do not add up to be the same. Here is a sketch:

The hallway is the area delineated by points A, B, C, D. At first my inclination was to move points A and B west by about 3/4" which will even up the closet and the bathroom a bit more. After I posted the other thread, it was brought to my attention that by doing so I may be just making things more "parallel" but not necessarily square. Nonetheless I have already taken apart the stud from the bottom plate at point A, the north east corner of the bathroom.

Therefore my next task was to determine what is square and what is not.

This has turned out to be a rather complicated task in itself.

First let me provide a picture of the overall bathroom, showing the shower, bathroom, hallway and closet.

This is the west wall, edge of the shower.

This is the east wall, edge of the closet.

I wanted to determine if the west wall of the hallway (LINE AC) is square with the north and south wall AFTER I have moved the studs 3/4" west.

Due to the fact that that wall has a pocket door, with a door jamb, and the pocket door frame is a bit wider than a 2x, it makes it impossible to strike a line clean across all of them.

See this picture. I moved the stud at point A west and you can see where the bottom plate is.

I don't have enough room to do a 3-4-5, but I have a square and I used it against the south wall. The square seem to agree with the original unmoved point A.

Closer look at the square.

Now, if I move the piece of wood on the floor against the new line of the closet pocket door, which is hung from the position of the moved stud, the square is off!

Closer look:

That means the original LINE AC is square with the south wall, right?

So now I move inside the bathroom, and do a 3-4-5 against the south wall and the north wall, using the new position of the stud after I moved it. It SHOULD NOT be square, because that line wasn't square outside of the hallway. Well quess what, it is square.

I have a piece of 5' 1x2 and I marked 3', 4' and the moved wall is square with the north and south walls.

I am totally confused.

Now I have to admit, I was using a sharpie pen, and the width of the tip is like 1/4". May be the wood I used as reference lines are a little bowed? I don't know.

The fact is, each of these walls are not completely "cleared" they all have pipes, conduits furrings and other things touching the floor slab, and hence I cannot directly measure against it I have to offset a few inches inside and strike a line.

Is there a better tool to help me figure out what's going on? Will a laser level help me visualize what is square easily?

07-12-2012, 09:44 PM   #2
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A square is pretty small to tell with.

Measure diagonals and they should be the same.
Or use a multiple of 3,4,5 or in your case 3",4"5" X10 = 30", 40", 50"

 07-12-2012, 10:09 PM #3 Member   Join Date: Nov 2011 Posts: 1,370 Rewards Points: 1,584 In my case I am inside a hallway that is 32" wide, so there is a limit to how big the triangle can be.
 07-12-2012, 10:39 PM #4 Member   Join Date: Dec 2011 Location: B.C. Canada Posts: 2,656 Rewards Points: 2,202 That is why you use inches. 30" - 40" then 50" on diagonal any multiple of 3, 4, 5 works Or you can measure the diagonals of the room and they should be equal. As your walls are not parallel you may need flooring that will hide that. If possible get the shower square, although those walls that are existing (cinder block) I believe may be out of square and you may need to shim that square. Seems there may be a wdw on that wall? then the jamb may be a little crocked and you would have to have tapered fillers. Is there a window in the shower?
07-13-2012, 12:15 AM   #5
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by miamicuse I am totally confused. Now I have to admit, I was using a sharpie pen, and the width of the tip is like 1/4". May be the wood I used as reference lines are a little bowed? I don't know. The fact is, each of these walls are not completely "cleared" they all have pipes, conduits furrings and other things touching the floor slab, and hence I cannot directly measure against it I have to offset a few inches inside and strike a line. Is there a better tool to help me figure out what's going on? Will a laser level help me visualize what is square easily?
Your confused. I'm confused. Why did you start a new thread? You were getting advice from three top professionals. You also seem to be randomly trying things.

You missed their point. You can't determine if some thing is square or parallel until you establish a straight line to be square or parallel to. As you said with all the pipes and furring, plus some wall are 2x4 some 2x3 and I suspect the block wall is not straight, it's hard to find a straight wall. You need to snap a chalk line that you will set your walls parallel and square to. Ideally this would have been done before putting in all the stud walls particularly the 2x3 and 2x4 walls in front of the block wall. The snap additional lines for the other walls. It is easier moving chalk lines than walls.

P.S. You should not be jerking that pocket door around too much. If gets twisted your screwed. This is where I'm going to say what every DIYer hates to here. You might be better of to strip out all the stud walls and start with a clean slate (for the chalk so to speak) You can leave the block and pipes and work around them.

07-13-2012, 12:48 AM   #6
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by goosebarry Your confused. I'm confused. Why did you start a new thread?
Maybe because of the side argument that was going on?

You may be best served by picking one you trust and PM them. Sometimes too much info is as bad as no info.

 07-13-2012, 01:01 AM #7 Member   Join Date: Nov 2011 Posts: 1,370 Rewards Points: 1,584 That thread went into supernova, most times when that happens no one goes back to it anymore due to the heated exchange.
 The Following User Says Thank You to miamicuse For This Useful Post: mae-ling (07-13-2012)
 07-13-2012, 01:26 AM #8 Member   Join Date: Dec 2011 Location: B.C. Canada Posts: 2,656 Rewards Points: 2,202 Removing walls and strapping and start over is not a bad idea. You can snap a line parallel to the wall/block then measure off of it.
 The Following User Says Thank You to mae-ling For This Useful Post: miamicuse (07-14-2012)
 07-13-2012, 01:36 AM #9 Member   Join Date: Jun 2012 Location: Phoenix AZ Posts: 452 Rewards Points: 250 Miami. I'm glad you're going to make the walls square , which the original framer should have already done. But we won't get back on that one . Because the walls are already up it makes it a little harder, and me sitting on a laptop computer trying to explain it. Do you have a chalkline? if not that is fine... First, tell me the exact measurement from the inside of the north and south wall, on the east side.
 The Following User Says Thank You to CopperClad For This Useful Post: miamicuse (07-14-2012)
 07-13-2012, 08:26 AM #10 Mold!! Let's kill it!   Join Date: Feb 2008 Location: Central Pennsylvania Posts: 2,849 Rewards Points: 2,012 Have you considered calling the guy who did the original framing and asking him how or why he did the layout as it is? He may have had some logic behind it that we are not able to see. It's easy to say that the guy was a hack, but we've all had to polish a turd. And we only know what we are presented with here, not what other conditions may exist.
 The Following User Says Thank You to Maintenance 6 For This Useful Post: miamicuse (07-14-2012)
07-14-2012, 09:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by Maintenance 6 Have you considered calling the guy who did the original framing and asking him how or why he did the layout as it is? He may have had some logic behind it that we are not able to see. It's easy to say that the guy was a hack, but we've all had to polish a turd. And we only know what we are presented with here, not what other conditions may exist.
I think I figured out why, I will detail it next.

 07-14-2012, 09:38 PM #12 DIY staff   Join Date: Sep 2009 Location: Kane county,Illinois Posts: 25,728 Rewards Points: 7,174 I cheat--I have three laser squares that really speed up laying out a tile floor--- __________________ New members: Adding your location to your profile helps in many ways.--M--
 The Following User Says Thank You to oh'mike For This Useful Post: mae-ling (07-14-2012)
07-14-2012, 09:44 PM   #13
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by CopperClad Miami. I'm glad you're going to make the walls square , which the original framer should have already done. But we won't get back on that one . Because the walls are already up it makes it a little harder, and me sitting on a laptop computer trying to explain it. Do you have a chalkline? if not that is fine... First, tell me the exact measurement from the inside of the north and south wall, on the east side.
CopperClad, after all the confusion I decided to just sit down with a piece of paper instead of running around these rooms and removing studs and bottom plates... It is amazing that sitting down and breathing slower helps my brain work better.

First of all, I had to make a hard choice which wall I am going to declare as my wall that I am going to square everything from. I decided that it has to be the south wall. The east and west walls are too short to use as reference lines. The south wall cannot move, I had already framed a studed wall over the concrete wall, and had vent lines, supply pipes, electrical conduits all running through it, the wall cannot move. So it became the wall I am going from.

Then I went from there to establish in the middle there a perpendicular line. I measured everything off that.

From there, I figured out what is off. The blue dashed lines are slightly exaggerated to show the lines that are off.

First of all, it appears the east wall is square.

It also appears the north and south walls are parallel, which is a good thing.

The west wall, is off. The north corner is a little to the west. I think this will need to be corrected by shimming the furring to the concrete blocks before I screw the cement board for the shower tiles. The window there will be a little skewed. Hopefully inappreciable visually.

The big problem is that the wood studded south wall, the bottom plate in the hallway is a separate piece of 33" long 2x4. That piece was skewed because the concrete block there has a 3/8" irregular protrusion. I think the framer was going 90 degrees off that short piece of bottom plate, causing the two walls on either sides of the hallway to be perpendicular to the small portion of the backwall, but off square to everything else.

There are pipes going through the wood studded wall there near point C, so I can't move it. However, I am going to swing out point D, but adding some shims between the studs and concrete blocks. Once point D is shimmed out to be parallel with the rest of the south wall, I can move point A and B over.

At least now I have an approach.

It won't be pretty and I am sure I will ask more questions as I progress.

 The Following User Says Thank You to miamicuse For This Useful Post: mae-ling (07-15-2012)

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