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If you’re like me, a tape measure is an important tool in your utility drawer or tool box. And one thing my father taught me that I’ll never forget is to always measure twice and cut once. Because once you cut, you can’t undo it. I’m sure you’ve heard the old proverb yourself…

While you’re certainly familiar with the inches and centimeter markings on the tape measure, there is one object that might not be as familiar to you. But we decided to take it upon ourselves to educate the masses about the mysteries of the tape measure. And one thing we stress is the black diamond you’ll find if you look closely.

While people can always just do the math in their head, the visual aid of the diamonds makes it much easier.

With that black diamond, you can hang frames, decorations, and other things from the wall easier. You will no longer need to worry if you’re doing it wrong. Check out why in the video below!

All markings do the same thing in different ways. These included the 16-inch on center mark, the 24-inch on center mark and the black diamonds.

The 16-inch mark indicates the most common separation for studs. The 24-inch can be used for stud separation for small buildings like garden sheds.

The black diamonds are equidistant between the 16 and 24-inch markings. They allow you to lay five rafters beneath each 8-foot piece of plywood.

Watch us show you how to use the markings, starting with 16-inch centers, which is the most commonly used stud arrangement.

Here are some viewers’ responses about our useful tutorial.

“FYI. 24 inch on center is what most roof trusses are set at. 16″ is what most wall studs and flooring joists are set at. 16″ centers let you install 1/2″ drywall. With 24″ centers you must install 5/8″ drywall. That is why walls in houses are normally 1/2″ drywall and Ceilings are almost always 5/8″ drywall. I have never heard of someone using the black diamonds before. I live in MI and never knew anyone to put trusses less than 2′ apart. I am an electrician and have been doing residential wiring for 40 yrs. I have never seen 5 by 2s in 8 feet. Something to know though. I will have to ask some carpenters about this. :)”

“Over time in an effort to save on construction materials we have used 16in, centers, 24 in, and 19.2 inch centers each one will save on lumber depending on what is used for substrate. There are a lot of factors that play into which one should be used”

“The diamonds, many call them “truss markings”. But in Canada, the are joist markings. The 3/4 inch floor sheeting is rated to a maximum of 24inch span. Or, 4 spaces (5 joists) for every sheet. But to shrink it up so it has more tolerance and not at it’s “maximum” They use a spacing that is smaller than 24in, but bigger that the old standard, 16inch (6 spaces/7 joists).”

Check out the video below and you’ll see the black diamonds between the 16 and the 24 inch marks. Watch the video and you’ll see why it is useful to have these markings.

Did you know this about tape measures? These devices have more going for them than you’d suspect.