Flat Vs. Level

Are you building a flat and level desk for your project? Do you need a flat floor but have a little slope on it? Or need a flat floor with a perfect level? Do you want to build a kitchen cabinet that is flat and level?

The two terms flat and level are considered the same for daily life conversation. Scientifically, these terms are very different from one another. This article will discuss these two terms and try to explain these two terms easily.

When something is level, it should be flat. However, if something is flat, it’s not necessarily level.

The Difference Between Flat and Level

Although it’s impossible to find, a perfect flat happens when the surface doesn’t have any rise and dimple. So, it’s flat from edge to edge.

In engineering and metrology, a flat surface is important for measurement and inspection. Some examples of the flat surfaces are the surface plate, gauge blocks, rectangular straight edges, etc. These pieces of equipment don’t have a perfectly flat surface but it’s considered the flattest model in our life because having a very tight tolerance in terms of flatness.

In some cases, a flat surface inclines a few degrees. It’s easy to recognize its inclining by using a spirit level or inclinometer. Maybe, its inclining is 1 degree. This state allows water to flow. However, that surface is still in “flat” condition even though it is inclining or tilting. It’s flat no matter how many degrees it inclines.

When a flat surface is in a “level” state, the reading of your inclinometer is 0° and the water should not flow.

If you put an imaginary line aligned with the flat surface and extend it both to the right and left, this imaginary line will be completely perpendicular (shaping 90 degree) to the earth’s gravitational direction.

The term level can also be described as when something is horizontal toward the ground’s surface. Like a house is built on a surface is level or machine feet are placed as level with the floor. You can use machinist level in this case to level the machine feet.

Flat Vs. Level

When are Flat and Level Happening at the Same Time?

There is a condition where the flat and level is overlapping. As mentioned before, it is when a flat surface is perpendicular to the earth’s gravitation. The state of that surface is flat as well as level.

If you take a reading with a precision machinist level or inclinometer, you will find it has 0 degree of inclination or tilting.

Therefore, when something is level, it should be flat. However, if something is flat, it’s not necessarily level.

Tools to Measure Them

The flatness of the surface is measured by the instrument known as the flatness Gauge. It is a dial indicator type of instrument, and it comprises a body with a gauge having two feet in contact with the body. You can also use a dial test indicator with a magnetic base, and lay down that flat object on a surface plate.

A machinist level, also known as the engineer’s spirit level, is used to measure the level. It is generally used to level machines or large workplaces on devices. This tool can be mechanical or electronic. It provides higher accuracy compared to the spirit level. Some models of engineer level can check the levelness in 2 and even 3 axis surfaces.

Another instrument used to check the level is the inclinometer and angle cube. This device measures the angles, tilts, and elevation concerning gravity.

As a working surface, a granite surface plate must be flat and level. It is flat as it’s manufactured. To make it level, you can employ an engineer’s level before starting working.

no Flat Level
1.  The term flat is defined as planar surface no matter how much tilt or slope it is The term level is considered a plane perpendicular to the earth’s graviation
It’s about the rises and dimples of a surface It’s about a long line that is perpendicular to the gravitational direction
3. The flatness of the surface is measured by dial indicator To check the levelness, you can use spirit level, machinist level, inclinometer, and angle cube.
4. Rooftops are constructed as flat but not level Buildings and towers are constructed in level.