Tools & Workshop

Radio: Tape Measure

I can barely think of a home improvement job that doesn't require a tape measure! Whether you're framing a new room or just hanging a few pictures, a tape measure is a must.

Listen to ON TAPE MEASURES or read the text below:

For small jobs, a six-foot retractable tape measure with a half-inch-wide blade may be all you need. For bigger jobs, it's helpful to have a tape measure that's not only longer but also wider-a wider blade can extend to greater lengths in a straight line, without sagging or wiggling. For most homeowners, a three-quarter-inch-wide tape measure in a 16- or 25-foot length will handle most jobs.

Look for a model with a brake that lets you lock the tape measure in place, so it doesn't retract while you're still calculating. Other helpful features include markings on the tape other than just inches-like easy-to-read markings at each foot increment, or marks every 16 inches to help you locate wall studs.

For truly big jobs, you'll want a wind-up tape measure in a 50 or 100 foot length-these have a ring at the end you can slip over a nail to hold it in place as you walk away.

Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to-or reading-Bob's 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.

For more on tools, consider:

The Essential Toolbox
Radio: Tool Tip - Toolboxes
7 Essential Measuring Tools for Any Job