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Old 03-22-2011, 10:41 AM   #1
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Laser Level Advice


Ok - so I'm just at the beginning of finishing my basement and figured investing in a laser level might be a good idea to help speed things along. Basement is coming from concrete walls and floor to fully finished. I do have three spirit levels (3 different sizes - I think 12, 24 and 48"), but was thinking of a cross-line laser level and was looking for advice.

My big concerns are of course 90-degree walls, but layout help as well and also trying to make sure the ceiling is good with level floor joists above me and plumb transfers.

Initial thought:

Bosch GLL2-50

Any thoughts/opinions/other options? Not looking to spend a ton, but if it speeds work along or accuracy, $200 isn't a big deal.

Oh - and total sq ft of the new basement finish is going to be around 1100 ft2, so it'll get a bit of use :D

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Old 03-22-2011, 12:42 PM   #2
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Laser Level Advice


I picked up a Black & Decker set at one of the big box stores years ago. Came with a tripod and TWO levels (one cross-line and one single line) I think they were closing it out cheap, has served me well around the house

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Old 03-23-2011, 05:37 AM   #3
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Laser Level Advice


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Any thoughts/opinions/other options? Not looking to spend a ton, but if it speeds work along or accuracy, $200 isn't a big deal.
A good level and a chalk box is all you need.
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:50 AM   #4
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Laser Level Advice


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A good level and a chalk box is all you need.
I agree----Spend the money on something more useful--You will be happier.
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Old 03-23-2011, 06:42 AM   #5
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Laser Level Advice


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A good level and a chalk box is all you need.
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I agree----Spend the money on something more useful--You will be happier.
For the homeowner, who is often working alone, a laser level and tripod is a pretty useful tool. I use mine a lot more then I ever expected to. The ease of use and accuracy can't be beat. If you don't imagine you'll use much once the basement is done you might want to look into renting one, but I think a laser is the way to go for what you're doing. Sure, you could do without it and be fine, but it's going to make life a lot easier, especially for a DIY'er working alone.
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Old 03-23-2011, 06:48 AM   #6
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Laser Level Advice


I own a few myself,however only the layout lazers see much action. (tile layout)
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Old 03-23-2011, 09:50 AM   #7
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Laser Level Advice


Going back to layout, I agree that sometimes simpler is better, or at least as good as. A dumpy level, laser level, transit, or whatever, often has limitations in a basement, due to obstructions, lighting, etc., so many times it is actually faster and easier with a level, framing square, tape measure, and some basic math. A lot depends on how straight and square your walls are, but I often start out with a mason line and a couple of bricks, just to get a rough idea of what I am working with, and once I've checked out what I consider to be critical, start chalking lines. For 90 degree corners, don't forget the fact that they are 3-4-5 triangles, and that opposing angles are the same. In my opinion, that's easier than trying to cut an angle with an electronic device, and certainly accurate enough for what you are doing.
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Old 03-23-2011, 11:09 AM   #8
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Laser Level Advice


Agree completely on the level, square, math, and chalk - those will be done as well! And really, that's one reason why I'm thinking of only a $200 or so purchase - it's not going to be a main workhorse by any stretch. But, $200 is an easy purchase IF it can help speed things along anywhere and that's why I'm looking at it. My main concern is the ceiling line in which I'm thinking a laser might be easier and straighter than string and more accurate than a 48" level . . . As for 90-degree walls, the laser would just be an assist, and as mentioned previously, for a solo DIY guy - anything to help the work is a good investment. At the same time, I found a $1200 laser level set . . . I wouldn't even begin to know what to do with it, and THAT is definitely overkill!

Oh, and I figure a cross-line laser will be helpful for later as well (another reason to justify the purchase) - hanging and tiling, so why not. Again, $200 isn't a huge investment, so I'm good with that. However, if anyone has some experience that a certain level is or isn't worth it, or that they aren't any good until you spend $400+, then I'll go with the old tools without hesitation.
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Old 03-23-2011, 12:08 PM   #9
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Laser Level Advice


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they aren't any good until you spend $400+
Setting up foundations.

Large commercial acoustic ceilings.

Layout laser for tile as mentioned.

For these applications the laser is well worth the investment.

You will not save time but in fact will spend more time using a laser to plumb a wall, create a line on a surface or just about anything else construction related.

Looks great on TV, you can have the straightest row of pictures on the block. But truly a laser wont save you any time on a remodel.

They can be a fun toy (cats love them) and itís your money but your $200 would be better served on a purchase of a new router or some other tool that has some real worth IMO.
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:39 PM   #10
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Laser Level Advice


I have that bosch unit and it is a great asset to me. Although I might use mine more than you as I do reno's for a living it will not let you down. I have only good to say about that unit.
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Old 03-31-2011, 02:02 PM   #11
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Laser Level Advice


Thanks for the advice everyone. I actually went ahead and made two purchases to start my framing work:

1) Laser Level
2) Plumb bob

I added both to my spirit levels, chalk lines, corner squares, tape measures, etc. Honestly, the store has a 30 day return and I figure if the laser level doesn't get used much in the next week or so, I'll take it back (no restock fee or anything, so little risk there). So far, it seems like it is helpful in assisting in the solo jobs that might have been easier with two people as well as helping to get straight lines without chalking. I've already used it to test lay some lumber out as well as finally hang a medicine cabinet in my bath. Double checked the cabinet work with the my standard level, and it was straight!!! LOL

My hope is to start framing here in the next week, so the usefulness of the level will be decided there. If it works - great . . . if I don't find it helpful or useful and am still using the spirit level every 5 minutes, I can send it back and spend the $200 on something else. So far though, it's an extra set of hands and has been helpful.
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Old 03-31-2011, 04:10 PM   #12
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Laser Level Advice


People r posting to many negatives about lasers bc they don't understand how to use them to their advantage bc they r noobs.

Buy a good one.
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Old 03-31-2011, 07:01 PM   #13
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Laser Level Advice


It's a basement wall, not a space shuttle component.
A simple square and the 3-4-5 triangle methodology will work fine.
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Old 03-31-2011, 07:17 PM   #14
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Laser Level Advice


I have a rotary laser that will scope a horizontal line on a wall or turn and scope a floor or ceiling. It is super beneficial and takes less time than a spirit level trying to run around a room.

I also have a cross hair laser that will layout both a horizontal and vertical line on a wall at the same time. Love it!

I think they are well worth the money and they don't cost that much these days.

What is most important is that you have a solid mount. Some of the tripods and extendable poles leave a lot to be desired when it comes to wobble created by a rotary level.
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Old 03-31-2011, 07:29 PM   #15
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People r posting to many negatives about lasers bc they don't understand how to use them to their advantage bc they r noobs.

Buy a good one.
Well count me in as one of the noobs.

Give me any examples of an advantage that a laser will give you in building walls that simple basic tools of the trade wonít.

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