How Do You Read a 1/32 Tape Measure?

A tape measure with a 1/32 scale can be read by determining how many marks short of a complete inch a given length is. For instance, eight marks on a 1/32 tape measure correspond to 8/32 inches, which can be rounded down to 1/4 inch.

The advantage of a 1/32 tape measure is that it provides far more accurate measurements. The drawback is that it can be more difficult to read and requires a fundamental understanding of how to simplify fractions; for instance, knowing that 16/32 is equal to 8/16, 4/8, and eventually 1/2. A 1/32 tape measure is important for measuring stairs; if stair risers are inaccurate by even 1/16 of an inch, this error compounds over the number of steps, making the entire stairway too tall or too short.

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