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Using the 3 4 5 Rule to build L shape & Square walls, rooms, roofs and more!

Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Tips on this page cover:

  • Why you need to check for square when you build things (mainly to save yourself loads of grief later on..)
  • How to square a four sided frame/roof/room/building
  • Squaring two sides with the 3 4 5 rule (pythagoras theorum)
  • Types of carpenters squares (tools) available

Why is it so important build things perfectly square?

Building things like walls, floors or decking perfectly true, plumb and square is when possible essential. It will help you avoid problems and save lots of time later on and is also the strongest way to practically form structures. 

Sometimes like in old houses for example exceptions have to be made. Sometimes you need to '', or accept the lesser of two evils and do what you can. In these instances I always imagine what I would do if it were my own place or, which is the least noticeable/most pleasing to the eye. 

<p>Building walls square will ensure sheet materials like plasterboard are fast and easy to install. Wall plates need to be square and level in order for the roof rafters to work. Garden decks and floor joists built perfectly square will be much easier to lay flooring/decking on. The list goes on and on, but an extra 10 minutes for 1 last update 2020/08/04 checking everything''t install door linings level and square. Miters will be a bastard to get right, and more scribing will need to take place meaning extra work, headaches - and time/cost.<p>Building walls square will ensure sheet materials like plasterboard are fast and easy to install. Wall plates need to be square and level in order for the roof rafters to work. Garden decks and floor joists built perfectly square will be much easier to lay flooring/decking on. The list goes on and on, but an extra 10 minutes checking everything''t install door linings level and square. Miters will be a bastard to get right, and more scribing will need to take place meaning extra work, headaches - and time/cost.

Whilst there are lots of carpentry squares available to check for 90°, when building a large stud-work wall or a garden deck for example these are usually much too small to accurately ensure the structure has perfect 90° corners.

There are two simple and easy to remember methods I use.

Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for How to check for square on a four sided frame

Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for To form a square or rectangle frame both the plates (top and bottom) should be the same length, and all the studs or joists should be the same length as each other as well. Once nailed up, to check the structure is square simply measure from corner to corner.

If the measurements aren''t have four corners to measure and so a different method is required to check for square right angle corners. This could be for example when building interior walls and setting down L shape wall plates. The picture below tells you all you need to know to check that a frame, wall or other structure is square using the 3 4 5 rule. When you measure down one side 3 and the other 4 the for 1 last update 2020/08/04 measurement between the two points should always measure 5 if the corner is 90 degrees. If the measurements aren''t have four corners to measure and so a different method is required to check for square right angle corners. This could be for example when building interior walls and setting down L shape wall plates. The picture below tells you all you need to know to check that a frame, wall or other structure is square using the 3 4 5 rule. When you measure down one side 3 and the other 4 the measurement between the two points should always measure 5 if the corner is 90 degrees. 

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