The tile industry utilizes a number of functional and time-saving tools. Many of these tools were created to meet a particular need while others introduced technology from other industries. And when technology is a part of the equation, a new chapter opens.
The ability of a laser beam to shoot a die-straight line over great distances would be a really valuable asset to the tile trade. The combination of technology and the tile installer’s need to create a square layout and project long straight lines, brought the laser to the tile world.
One of the key features of a laser is its ability to provide two lines which are square to each other. This provides a fast, one-person operation that saves labor costs while providing excellent accuracy.
But how do you know if your laser is projecting square lines on the floor? By verifying that the lines are indeed square to each other. You could take another laser and check its accuracy against the first one, but if there is a difference, how do you know which one is square? The best, fastest, and some folks would say, “old school” method is using a 3 - 4 - 5 right triangle.
For this test, you will need the laser and three folding rules. Place the laser on a flat and level floor in the square mode, projecting two lines. Carefully place one rule along the outside of each laser line with their ends touching at the line intersection of the laser, as seen in photo #1. Place the end of the third rule at the 48” mark (4’) going diagonally across the 36” mark (3’) of the other rule. If the laser is truly projecting a set of square lines, the 60” (5’) mark should cross exactly at the 36” mark as seen in photo #2.
If the laser is not providing a true 90-degree set of lines, it may be adjustable on site, but most will have to be sent back to the factory to be recalibrated.
One word of caution: As good as lasers are, you need a backup plan. Do you have enough batteries or if it is a rechargeable model, did you remember to charge it the night before using it? Given proper care and maintenance, lasers will serve you well.