How To Use A Laser Level For Grading?

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If you are a construction worker or even a DIYer, then a laser level is a tool that you really should have in your toolkit.

In the construction industry, this is a tool that you can’t do without, and one of it’s most fascinating use of a laser level is setting grade.

I’m going to show you how to use a laser level for grading in this step by step guide.

What is Grading?

Grading is simply the process that is performed before any construction or renovation works take place. It’s to even out the surface to provide a firm and level foundation.

Proper grading helps to restrict the flow of water flowing towards your new foundation and aims to prevent the standing of water in your property, as well as eventually securing the surrounding of the foundation.

If you have existing foundations, grading can be performed to improve existing drainage systems.

Why Should You Use a Laser Level to Shoot Grade?

When you need to establish grades for landscaping and building works, there really is no alternative than to use a laser level.

Shooting grades properly is a critical job. The fate of a construction project, such as foundation works, excavation, pipe laying, etc., depends entirely on the accuracy of the result.

Results that aren’t accurate can be a massive problem for the foundation itself, and if you want an accurate level, then you really do need to use a laser level, it’s an essential took for construction workers.

I find that a powerful and highly accurate rotary laser level is best suited for grade shooting, and many outdoor construction projects, though one of the best green laser levels will work well.

CST/berger RL25HCK Horizontal/Exterior Self-Leveling Rotary Laser Complete Kit CST/berger RL25HCK Horizontal/Exterior Self-Leveling Rotary Laser Complete Kit
  • Range w/ Receiver (diameter):1640 ft
  • The rotary head is enclosed with high-precision glass and a durable gasket material
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Things you will need

To ensure accurate grading and a flawless reading. Then you will need:

  • Rotary laser level
  • Tripod
  • Grade rod
  • Laser detector

How To Use A Laser Level For Grading

Following these steps with your rotary laser level will ensure success when shooting grade. So here’s how to use a rotary laser level for grading.

Setup the rotary laser onto its tripod

Firstly, place the tripod onto a firm and dry patch of ground on the construction site. You don’t want this to move or shift.

Spread the legs of the tripod so that the distance between each leg is equal.

Press the tripod’s pin firmly into the ground, if you don’t do this, it may tip over, and your laser level may become damaged.

Plus, if you want an accurate result, you really need your laser level to be stable.

Turn on the laser level

Once you’ve checked the stability of the tripod and mounted the laser level, it’s time to turn it on.

If you are using a self-leveling laser level, you may need to give it a little while to calibrate its level.

However, if you are using a manually leveling laser level, then use the adjustment screws to bring the bubbles in the vials of the level into the center.

Find out the initial height where you want the grade

You will need a friend or fellow worker to help with this part, with the help of your assistant, place the bottom of your grade rod at the desired height that you have decided for the grade.

Use the laser detector to detect the laser beam

Shoot your laser’s beam at that point on the grading rod. You may need to ask your assistant to adjust the position of the laser detector so your rotary laser can connect.

DEWALT Laser Level & Laser Detector Kit, Self Leveling, Rotary, 18V (DW079KD)

Adjust the laser detector

Adjust your laser detector up and down until you get the confirmation beep, the one that’s usually a constant beep.

If the detector is too high or low, it will often produce an interrupted beeping sound instead of a constant one. So keep adjusting until you get that continuous beep.

Set the grade rod at different locations of the construction site

Now it’s time to take a reading, and this will identify whether the ground is above or below the desired point.

You may need to lift the rod or dig into the ground to get the reading.

Mark the spot

The bottom of your grading rod represents the bottom of the grade itself. Use a stick to mark the spot.

Insert a stock into the ground to identify the desired height of the ground.

Alternative to Rotary Laser Level

Using a rotary laser level is a great option. But there is another option to measure elevations quickly with no calculations needed.

ZIPLEVEL PRO-2000 High Precision Altimeter ZIPLEVEL PRO-2000 High Precision Altimeter
  • Replaces rotary lasers for faster, easier and more precise measurements and true one-person operation that allows setup/pack up in seconds .
  • Read level and elevations directly in digits without math, line-of-sight, distance error or factory calibration for up to a year on one 9V battery.
  • Setup ranges of 40 feet vertically (4 feet in HP) and 200 foot circle and unlimited differential leveling without math using built-in carry function.
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This is a highly precise altimeter, which isn’t only used in leveling but also for measuring elevations quickly and in obvious precise digits.

Wrap up

Accurately grading the ground is an essential step in construction work. This secures the foundation and its surroundings.

This is a task where accuracy is critical. While using a laser level outdoors, you must wear safety goggles, especially if you are the one using and using the laser detector.

If you have any questions or feel I’ve missed anything, please let me know in the comments section below.

How To Use A Laser Level For Grading?