How to Measure and Double Check Angles

Most appraisers  know how to measure a house with right (90 degree) angles, but what if they are not square?  Measuring an angle incorrectly by even a few degrees can throw your entire sketch out of wack.  Here is a video showing a simple way to use your laser measuring tool to get accurate angles as well as a way to double check yourself.

15 thoughts on “How to Measure and Double Check Angles”

  1. Several points. Most including myself learned the rise and run technique within the first 20 minutes of the first home we ever measured. If any body doesn’t know this, than God help them with the rest of their report. As a secondary technique to determine the angle, why not use a protractor (sounds old school, but takes 3 seconds)? As most homes in my area have flat angle surfaces, there’s less eyeballing and more direct science when using this approach. In addition, when the rise and run may be 50 feet long, how accurate are we when we eyeball where the lines may intersect? If you know the angle, then you can direct measure the wall in question for faster results without needing to determine the ruse and run. As a bonus, degree and distance is easy to input within most sketch programs. Again, how accurate do you want to be, the nearest 1/2, 1, 3, 6 or 12 inches? This is a great example where a $5 protractor saves more time and money and defeats technology. Lastly, in your example, is this a picture window that you’re inaccurately including as GLA, or does the inside wall truly follow the angle? I’ve learned more from those who question me, than those that agree with me.

    1. The Appraiser Coach

      Bill. Thanks for the feedback. Yes, I did mention a protractor in the video. That is a good solution if you have a flat surface. Also, the bay window you see is ceiling to floor, so it is not incorrect in my market to include it in GLA.

      1. John (Mike) Scannell

        On the other hand, who does not carry a smart phone with them these days? Load up a free compass app (if you did not already get one with the phone, new) then hold the phone against the two walls and add or subtract the magnetic headings as needed. Yet, I also realize there are many people out there who would find this method too technical/confusing. I use it all the time as it’s (at least for me) much easier and faster than estimating rise and run. Long before smart phones I made my own protractor based on equipment I was already carrying by opening or closing down the two “arms” of a full sized Leatherman tool and then comparing the angle against a 180 degree chart I had (and still have, but no longer use it) on the back of my clip board. JMS in Central Fl. East Coast.

      2. Cathy Gillispie

        3401 S 181 Pl Why not show a difficult angle? The one you show is simple, we all know that but some are more difficult, especially if the angle is 20′ by 2′ etc. Followed by a 10′ by 3′, followed by a 5′ x 6′.

    2. My thoughts too Bill Johnson!! This is silly. Including an area with no foundation in the GLA? I learned his was a no no. I learned how to do this in the first 10 minutes of day one. I like the excuse “in my market”. I did learn something today. When I make a fool out of myself say well in my market it’s acceptable.

      1. Uuhh, really?! No foundation, no gla? I guess I am going to have to go back and correct every appraisal I’ve ever done where I included cantilevered 2nd story living space.

  2. Including a floor to ceiling cantilevered area is absolutely part of GLA. Not part of basement area. If you have a bay window, then its marginal – I do not count those. I would say if you are not counting these it is due to being lazy or sloppy or ignorant…or because no one does in your market.

  3. LOL. I eyeball them. I used to build houses and know the vast majority are 45 or 22.5, due to simplification of the building process. For a simple cantilever “kick-out” as I call it, I first measure the total wall length (to cross reference the other side of the house), then measure the individual wall lengths of the kick out walls. That is good enough in most all cases. I like the idea of bringing a carpenters angle finder for the hard ones. Thanks for the tips.

  4. Dustin:

    I love the CONFLICT in the comments!

    Only appraisers could essentially agree on something like measuring an angle, but present it so negatively.

    I appreciate the efforts of all in creating a list of methods for me to use in better measuring angles.

    1. Dustin Harris

      Lol. Yes, I was once told by an industry leader that Appraisers will argue about the color of the sky if given the chance. Thank you for your kind comments.

      1. In our industry Dustin our opinion of the sky color must be backed up with a 30 page report for all to review, however anyone and everyone (not our intended clients) can disagree with us. Is it blue? Is it white? Is it grey? Is it nighttime and black? What day did we look at the sky? What time of day was it? Is the person looking at the sky in their area (nighttime) or in our area (daytime)? Is anybody colorblind? Are we basing the color of the sky based on the limitations and interpretations of human beings? Remember, “the subjects established current market value by itself a single number, is neither a representation of an overvaluation or an undervaluation (what color is the sky). This single number is only perceived by other parties to be high or low when their interests are added”. Bill Johnson (06/08/2016.

        1. Bill ;
          “This single number is only perceived by other parties to be high or low when their interests are added”.
          Bill Johnson (06/08/2016.
          Love it ! Can I use that ?

  5. Good to check your work. Good tips. I agree with M I also worked in building trade long enough to know that most angles are simple angles and easy to eyeball. As far as the kick out goes it does not need to have foundation beneath it to be GLA in markets I serve and the building code allows a cantilever kick out such as the one depicted in this video to go as far as three feet out without special engineering and further with specific engineering. I would certainly count a floor to ceiling kick out as GLA as this is market reflective in the markets I serve.

  6. I think the larger issue is where an appraiser allows for errors to occur. Dustin talks about making sure the entire length of the wall ends up being correct and that’s the main point. If you allow the angles of the bay window to accidently lengthen or shorten that wall then your total error will be compounded by the fact that the wall’s length will then be multiplied by some other width.

    Make sure your ‘major’ wall lengths are correct, even at the expense of a few angles being off by a few degrees. Being off on the area of a bay window has a negligible affect on the overall area of the house. But I’ve seen appraisers who will blindly draw bay windows where the angles were off and then let that determine the total length of that wall segment.

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