How to Use a Rotary Laser Level for Grading

A laser level is essential equipment for any builder or do-it-yourselfer. One of the first steps in constructing anything from a housing complex to a single-family home or even a simple outbuilding like a shed is to level the ground. 

A laser level is a tool for that job, perfect for land grading. But what is land grading, and why do you need it? Which laser level is ideal for land grading, and how is it used for this task specifically? We’ll provide answers to all these questions in this article.

Grading: What Does It Mean? 

Grading is figuring out a piece of land’s level, inclination, and flatness, then changing the angle or level of the ground to meet a particular requirement. Landscape grading lays the groundwork for outdoor features such as hardscaping walkways, trees, gardens, staircases, reservoirs, sheds, and other structures. 

Grading, to put it simply, is the process of changing a piece of terrain’s height and level to meet a particular building or agricultural demand. It is recommended that a slope of 10 percent be built for proper drainage for the first four feet surrounding all of the walls when building a house.

Why Is a Laser Level Needed for Grading? 

A laser level is the best tool to define grades for gardening and construction projects. The correctness of the outcome determines whether or not a building project, such as formwork, excavation and pipe laying, will be successful. Using a laser level is necessary if you want a precise level. A strong, accurate rotary laser level is the best tool for leveling the ground and doing other construction work.

The Best Laser Level for Grading—What Is It?

A key point to remember is that various laser levels exist for various purposes. True, there are mainly four distinct categories. Many laser levels are available, such as the dot, line, rotary, and hybrid types. A dot laser level is one tool that should never be used for grading a landscape. Dot laser levels only emit a single point of light, requiring a flat surface, such as a wall. 

Theoretically, a line laser level might be used to grade a landscape. A laser level capable of seeing or firing in any direction for 360 degrees is what you require for land grading. A rotating or rotary laser level is your best bet if you need to know the slope of your land for any reason—agricultural land surveys, renovating land, leveling ground for high-rise apartments, or constructing a house.

A Guide to Grading Using a Rotary Laser Level

We’ve shown that rotating laser levels are superior for landscape leveling, so let’s go over the process in detail. Don’t forget that you’ll need the rotary laser level, a base, a grading rod, and a laser detector to complete this project.

Step One: Layout the Laser Level 

When you get your tripod, set it up on the level ground. The ground must be a dry surface. Ensure that the tripod is highly stable and that an identical distance separates the legs. The sturdiness of the tripod will play a role in how accurate your result is. To prevent it from tipping over, carefully compress the tripod’s feet into the ground.

Step Two: Switch on the Laser Level 

Now is the time to activate the laser level. The adjusting bolts must be used to move the level’s bubbles into the center point if you use a remotely leveling laser. Since this alleged calibration will influence your outcome, conduct some study if you are unsure how to balance it by using the bolts and knobs. Even so, it is much easier to use a self-leveling laser because it takes only a few minutes to align.

Step Three: Calculate the Starting Grade Height

You’ll require assistance with this. With the grading rod’s bottom and someone else’s assistance, position it at the required height you have established for your grade. Remember that the grading rod is positioned at the other end of the graded area. 

The required grade height would be determined by setting the bottom of the grading rod at that level and then setting up the rotary laser level at the far end. Remember, you’ll need to know the laser’s starting height, so you have something to compare further measurements to. Additionally, you need to know how high the laser is in the air for this to operate.

Step Four: Find the Laser Beam 

You must point the rotary laser level at the laser detector, which must be attached to the grading rod. The laser detector’s position must be aligned with the laser beam. You can proceed to the subsequent step once the laser beam has made contact with the detector. You must adjust the laser detector upward and downward until it produces a consistent sound. If the device is set incorrectly (too high or too low), it will emit sporadic beeping sounds. A steady sound is produced if there is a strong connection between the laser beam and the beam detector. You may now determine the gradient of the ground from the laser to the beam detector by comparing the altitude of the laser to the level of the detector with the slope of the ground beneath. This allows you to establish whether the ground beneath the detector is above or below the land beneath the laser level.

Step Five: Check the Level of the Ground in Several Spots 

The grade rod must be moved to varying points or areas on the job site, and the operation must be repeated. Continue taking measurements of where the detector encounters the beam and the distance between the laser and the detector. In other words, you’re looking for height variations between points. This is how a large tract of land gets graded. 

All that is required is to establish a graded height and continue relocating soil until you have attained the desired terrain grading, angle, and levelness. You may then decide if any elevated places need to be scraped out or if low spots must be filled in after establishing the grade of various sites on the project at about the laser level.

Tips and Tricks to Avoid Errors

Finally, consider the following advice:

  • It’s best to use a green laser beam. A green laser level will be much clearer to see when working outside.
  • Use a sturdy clamp so that it is positioned correctly.
  • Invest in a self-leveling rotating laser if you want to save time.

Final Thoughts 

Accurate land grading is a crucial first step in the building process. That is what will make the base and its environs safe. When performing this operation, precision is essential. Wearing protective eyewear is necessary whenever working with a laser detector or level in the open air. There is a learning manual, but you can master it with time and effort.