String Line Level Information

Shop all string line levels and other special purpose levels from Johnson Level.

Line levels (or "string" levels) are a special brand of spirit level used for leveling across longer distances. They can be attached to a tightly pulled string to find level between two stakes in the ground to find level ground. Line levels are a much more cost-conscious alternative to line laser levels, but require a bit more preparation and patience to ensure the job gets done right. 

Line level from Johnson Level

How to Use a String Line Level

  1. Gather the materials for the job: a line level, a length of string, a tape measure and some means of securing both ends of the string (usually two wooden posts in the ground).
  2. Secure the string to one side or corner of the area you want leveled.
  3. Attach the line level to the middle of the string using the small hooks on the line level.
  4. Pull the string tight while sliding the level up the string within eyeshot.
  5. Pull tightly enough to avoid any sag in the string. Even the slightest dip in the string will negatively affect your reading.
  6. Hold the end of the string against the post or wall and adjust up and down until the bubble rests between the black lines on the line level.
  7. Secure the string.
  8. You have found level between the two points. You can use these marks on the posts or walls to make further measurements for your home construction projects.

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Line level set from Johnson Level

How to Use a Line Level for Pavers

  1. Dig out a large space for your patio or other paver walkway.
  2. You need to ensure the ground below your pavers is level, or, slightly graded to allow for better drainage.
  3. Insert wooden stakes across from each other on each side of the hole.
  4. Tie each end of a nylon string to the wooden stakes, leaving it loose enough to adjust later.
  5. Place a line level on the middle of the string.
  6. Tie the string tightly around one stake.
  7. Go to the other stake and adjust the string up or down until the bubble on the vial rests between the black lines.
  8. Take a tape measure or measuring stick and determine the correct distance from string to ground based on your desired depth.
  9. Take measurements at several points along the string, from string to ground, verifying the depth is correct.
  10. Dig, fill or tamp the ground where necessary to get to the right depth.
  11. Repeat the process crossing over the hole in the other direction.
  12. To further ensure the ground is level, use a long box level or I-beam level along the ground surface.

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Aluminum line level from Johnson Level

How to Use a Line Level to Level Ground

  1. Find a length of string and two wooden stakes.
  2. Tie one end of string to a wooden stake and hammer it into the ground at the highest elevation in the area.
  3. Hammer in the second stake across the area you want leveled.
  4. Pull the string across and tie the other end to the second wooded stake loosely.
  5. Place the line level on string within eyeshot.
  6. Pull the string as tight as possible to get the most accurate reading.
  7. Adjust the string up and down until the bubble sits between the two black lines on the vial.
  8. Secure the string.
  9. You have found level between both stakes. Use the marks on the wooden stakes to make measurements for your project.

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Shop all string line levels and other special purpose levels from Johnson Level.

For more instructions on how to use our wide variety of levels, consult Johnson Level's how-to guide