Step-by-Step Guide—How To Use Spirit Levels

Posted June 14, 2021 by in Decor

If you are not a seasoned DIYer, then this tool may still be foreign to you. It does not get used as much as the hammer, screwdriver, or plier. But, it is a basic tool that finds multiple uses in construction projects. Even more, whether you buy your building supplies online or in-store, you have probably come across a spirit level.

The importance of working with leveled surfaces cannot be stressed, hence the need for a spirit level. Note that there are different sizes and even types available, but the mechanism is pretty much the same. With that in mind, here is a step-by-step guide; how to use spirit levels.

How a Spirit Level Works

If you are unfamiliar with how to use a spirit level, then it’s advisable to first understand how it works. Typically, a spirit level comprises a sealed glass or plastic vial filled with alcohol and a little air bubble. To make for a more accurate reading, the upper side of the vial is slightly bowed. This design ensures that when the vial is placed on a flat surface, it can objectively gauge how leveled it is. 

If the surface is perfectly straight, the bubble should rest right in the middle. Note that there are factors that affect the accuracy of a level. A major one is the quality spirit used; poor quality spirits will alter the results. Also, if the spirit level is placed on an uneven plane, it may affect the reading. In this case, a straightedge should be placed on the uneven plane, then the spirit level placed on that.

The good news is that there are ways to check the accuracy of a spirit level before embarking on your project. 

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Use a Spirit Level

  1. Place the spirit level on the plane you want to gauge. Ensure that the surface is both flat and smooth. This is so that the spirit level will have ample support and, in turn, gives accurate readings.
  1. Proceed to move the spirit level right until the vial is seated right in the middle of the guidelines. You may have to move the entire level around based on what the desired result is. One common example is when you are trying to hang up portraits or ornaments on a wall. If the desired result is to have them all on the same level, then you will have to move it along the wall.
  1. Examine the bubble. If it is not sitting in between the graduation marks then you may have to adjust either the left or right side. The logic is simple. If the right side is elevated, the bubble will gravitate toward the left side and vice versa. Once your bubble is resting in the middle of the graduation marks, you can mark the level and get started on your project. Do not neglect to measure twice for accuracy.
  1. The same thing goes for when you are using a level to measure a vertical plane. The only difference is that the spirit level itself will require a vertical vial to accurately indicate the correct results.

*Image by Michal Jarmoluk