Canadian Contractor

Site Tips Episode 11 (VIDEO): FOUR things (most) tape measures can do – that you may not know about

A tape measure can be used as a "slide rule" and three other cool things you can do with a good quality model of tape

Print this page

November 29, 2018 by canadiancontractor

Tape measures MEASURE, right? That’s what they are for!

But the better ones are useful for MUCH more than measuring, if you know how to use them.

DID YOU KNOW that you can use a (good quality) tape measure for…

(1) For drawing straight lines, without a metal straight edge. Watch the video. It’s the first tip.

(2) As a calculator for subtracting one length from another! If you can subtract 1′-9/16″ from 4′-3/8″ in your head, you are a smarter person than we are. In this video, Rob shows you how to do complicated subtractions like this – in 10 seconds – using a good tape measure. (Rob calls this the “Slide Rule” technique. If you still know what an actual Slide Rule is, it’s time to retire soon. But if you don’t, watch this tip!)

(3) As a note pad for marking down measurements. Watch the video for an explanation.

(4) For placing Engineered Wood floor joists at 19′-3/16″ spacing – a common spacing for 5 EW joists in an 8 foot section. Yes, those diamonds that you see on good quality tapes are spaced at 19′-3/16″ centres. Doing the math for every 19′-3/16″ yourself is tough work. This is way easier. Cool, huh?


To enter, send us a photo of you holding your oldest tape measure and you could win a $100 gas card if we determine that yours is the oldest tape measure submitted. Tell us the year you think your tape was probably manufactured (approx) and also a close up of the tape (as a second photo). Please email them to Steve Payne, editor, at

Canadian Contractor Site Tips are brought to you by Home Hardware.




Canadian Contractor is the independent voice of residential renovators and home builders everywhere in Canada.
All posts by

Print this page


Have your say:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.