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How To: Install a Medicine Cabinet

Add beauty and storage to your bath by installing a medicine cabinet. Choose one that is wall-mounted—rather than inset—and the project becomes even more suitable for DIY.

How to Install a Medicine Cabinet

Photo: hgcinc.biz

Add storage to your bathroom—and in the process, give the space a jolt of fresh style—by installing a medicine cabinet. Even if you’re new to home improvement, installing a medicine cabinet makes for an excellent do-it-yourself project. That said, the process entails complexities best addressed through a careful, deliberate approach. Read on to learn how to install a medicine cabinet that mounts to the wall (as opposed to being recessed into the space between wall studs behind the drywall or plaster).

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Pipe locator
- Flush-mounted medicine cabinet with fixings
- Spirit level
- Pencil
- Drill
- Screwdriver

STEP 1
To install a medicine cabinet, you’ll need to drill into the walls. Since bathroom walls often conceal a warren of pipes and wires, it’s only prudent to make sure you won’t accidentally disturb any vital conduits of water or electricity (in the worst case, such a mistake could bring about extensive, expensive damage to your home). Stay on the safe side and run an electronic pipe locator over the area of the wall into which you are planning to drill. So long as the “coast is clear”, you can proceed.

How to Install a Medicine Cabinet - Chest Detail

Photo: signaturehardware.com

STEP 2
Next, position the medicine cabinet flush to the wall, approximately where you are planning to install it. Is the face of the cabinet mirrored? If so, pay close attention to the cabinet height; it should be at eye level. Finally, confirm that nothing (doors, fixtures, etc.) would be obstructed were the cabinet to be permanent.

STEP 3
Having determined the best place in which to install the medicine cabinet, enlist a friend to continue holding it in place. Meanwhile, reach for the spirit level, placing it on top of the cabinet (assuming there’s a ledge; if not, simply hold it against the top edge.) Make minor adjustments until you have gotten the cabinet to be perfectly level, then draw lines where the top and bottom edges of the frame meet the wall.

STEP 4
With your helper still holding the cabinet, open its door (or doors) and find the holes on the rear interior. On the wall, pencil an X-mark to correlate with each one of the installation holes that you identified on the cabinet. For the time being, take the cabinet away from the wall and set it aside at a safe distance.

STEP 5
Look at the hardware that came packaged with the cabinet; outfit your drill/driver with a bit whose size matches that of the hardware; then drill holes in the wall wherever you penciled an X-mark in Step 4. Tread carefully here; if the drilled holes are too large, then chances are the cabinet is going to wobble.

STEP 6
Position the cabinet back on the wall, matching its top and bottom edges to the pencil lines you drew in Step 3. While your helper holds the cabinet, screw the fasteners through each of the holes on the back of the cabinet. Don’t attach them tightly until you are satisfied the cabinet is precisely where you want it.

Additional Tips
• Temporarily tape the door (or doors) closed so as to safeguard against damage caused during installation.

• Power tools and moisture don’t mix: Before using the drill/driver, make sure the area is completely dry.

• Don’t worry about the pencil marks remaining visible post-installation. They can be removed via eraser.


ENTER to Win $1,000 in DIY Gift Cards

Enter today and every day in July to win one of four weekly prizes of DIY Home Improvement Gift Cards valued at $1,000 from InComm.

DIY Dollars Give-AwayWith summer in full swing, homeowners are heading outdoors for fun and relaxation.  If you’re backyard isn’t quite ready for the season, don’t despair. This month, we are giving away four weekly prizes of Do It Yourself Home Improvement™ gift cards valued at $1,000, courtesy of our friends at InComm. Improve your home’s curb appeal, add a new deck or an above ground pool—or create that outdoor kitchen you’ve been dreaming about—the choice is all yours if you win the DIY Dollars.

ENTER HERE TO WIN

Starting today and every day in July (from 12:00 p.m. EST Monday, June 30th, 2014 until 11:59 a.m. EST, Thursday, July 31st, 2014), you can enter to win one of four weekly Do It Yourself Home Improvement™ gift cards valued at $1,000. (See Official Rules below.)

InComm DIY Gift Card

Photo: InComm

The Do It Yourself Home Improvement™ gift cards from InComm are redeemable at thousands of home improvement retailers in the U.S. where Discover cards are accepted, including Home Depot, True Value, Sears, Sherwin-Williams, Restoration Hardware, Lumber Liquidators, and Menard’s.

Imagine what you could do with an extra $1,000 this summer. Put it towards a new lawn mower or power washer, update your old kitchen appliances, or maybe splash a fresh coat of paint on your walls. The options are endless and the choice all yours!

Enter Bob Vila’s DIY Dollars Give-Away daily to increase your odds of winning. And remember to check back next week for another shot at the prize!

To learn more about InComm, click here.

The “Bob Vila’s DIY Dollars Giveaway” sweepstakes is open only to permanent legal U.S. residents of the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia; residents of Alaska and Hawaii are not eligible. Void in all other geographic locations. No purchase necessary. Contest Period runs from 12:00 p.m. (EST) Monday, June 30th, 2014 through 11:59 a.m. (EST) Thursday, July 31st, 2014. One entry per household per day on BobVila.com. Alternative means of entry for Drawing is available by faxing your name and address to 508-437-8486 during the applicable Entry Period. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. See Official Rules.

The Do It Yourself Home Improvement gift card is issued by The Bancorp Bank; Member FDIC. Discover® and the Discover acceptance mark are service marks used by the Bancorp Bank under license from Discover Financial Services. Card is distributed and serviced by ITC Financial Licenses, Inc., which is Licensed as a Money Transmitter by the New York State Department of Financial Services. Card may be used at identified home improvement retailers in the U.S. everywhere Discover Cards are accepted.  Terms and conditions apply – see Cardholder Agreement.


Bob Vila Radio: Farmhouse Sinks

Farmhouse sinks, whose style harkens back to the 19th century, are enjoying a revival, with more models being offered than ever before.

Farmhouse sinks, also known as apron-front sinks, are a country kitchen staple. These distinctive vessels have an exposed front that sits above, not behind, the base cabinet. Common in early 19th-century kitchens, the farmhouse sink has enjoyed renewed popularity over the past decade, which has spurred manufacturers to offer a greater range of models, materials, and options than ever before.

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Listen to BOB VILA ON FARMHOUSE SINKS or read the text below:

Farmhouse Sink

Photo: houzz.com

The popularity of farmhouse sinks isn’t just a matter of aesthetics. Their deep basin comfortably accommodates large pans and helps cut down on splashes. Because the sink sits far forward, the user doesn’t need to bend down as much. And thanks to the style’s appeal, apron-front sinks now come in both single- and double-bowl models with a range of options.

On the downside, these sinks have a higher price tag and less selection than the more common drop-in styles. Because of their shape and considerable weight, they usually require additional support and a specially designed base cabinet. But this situation is changing: Due to such innovations as shallower bowls and overmount designs, it’s easier than ever to retrofit an apron-front sink. In addition, the introduction of clean-lined stainless steel models has made this highly coveted style appropriate for even sleekly modern interiors, with nary a cow in sight.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.


Weekend Projects: 5 Crafty Paper Lanterns to Create Quickly

Let your individuality shine with stunning personalized paper lantern projects that will add a pop of fun in your home.

To add a delightful detail to your home, you need not invest heavily in the effort, either financially or in terms of time. Likewise, you need not struggle to make use of any heavy-duty tools or cumbersome materials. Instead, reach for something that you likely have an abundance of: paper. Colorful, versatile, and easy to work with, paper lends itself to a variety of DIY projects, perhaps none more special and eye-catching than a permanent or temporary lantern. Scroll down to see five of our favorite DIY paper lantern projects. We hope that among these designs—some simple, some more elaborate—you find at least one that inspires your own creativity!

 

1. HANG A GARLAND

DIY Paper Lantern - Garland

Photo: ao.com

Make a set of traditional DIY paper lanterns and hang them via twine to create a decorative garland. Visit AO at Home for a step-by-step tutorial. What you’ll need to complete the project is only a small handful of common items that you may even have on hand already—a ruler, craft knife, stapler, scrapbook paper and glue.

 

2. ERECT A PYRAMID

DIY Paper Lantern - Pyramid

Photo: tinkerlab.com

A handmade alternative to store-bought candles, this tabletop DIY paper lantern makes for an ideal kid-friendly crafts project. TinkerLab shows you how it’s done. Once you’ve folded, cut, and taped your way to a pyramidal shape, a hole puncher produces the unique shapes through which a battery-powered tea light glows.

 

3. FESTOON A SPHERE

DIY Paper Lantern - Faceted

Photo: the3rsblog.wordpress.com

With such an unusual texture, this remarkable DIY paper lantern seizes attention, no matter whether the integrated light is turned on or off. Start with a standard, unadorned spherical lampshade, then go about hot-gluing—in a series of concentric circles—dozens of origami fortune tellers onto the waiting surface of the shade.

 

4. SAVE YOUR SCRAPS

DIY Paper Lantern - Shreds

Photo: designsponge.com

“Shaggy” is the word that comes to mind, seeing this out-of-the-ordinary DIY paper lantern spotted over at Design*Sponge. To make yours, simply cut long, narrow, palm leaf-shaped strips from the paper you’ve collected in your scrap pile. Then hot-glue those cuttings to a plain, white, orb-like shade, starting from the bottom up.

 

5. SKYLINE

DIY Paper Lantern - Skyline

Photo: rebeccasdiy.blogspot.com

Inspired by Stockholm architecture, Rebecca put together this charmingly simple DIY paper lantern. Having drawn a city scene on wallpaper, she wrapped her artwork around a glass jar, inside of which she’d hung tea lights. Not much of an artist? Create a similar effect by printing out a black-and-white graphic you love.


Bob Vila Radio: Rain Gardens

If you're concerned about storm water runoff, consider the practical—and yes, aesthetic—benefits of a rain garden.

In a heavy downpour, all of that water pouring through your downspouts can overwhelm your local sewer system, leading to flooding. Even worse, storm runoff can carry pollutants, fertilizers, and other chemicals into local lakes and rivers. A rain garden is a clever—and beautiful—way of diverting this water before it enters the system.

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Listen to BOB VILA ON RAIN GARDENS or read the text below:

Rain Gardens

Photo: betterground.org

A rain garden is a plot that is sited, sized, constructed and planted with the express goal of capturing a house’s rainwater runoff. Through planning, thoughtful selection of plants, and the right mix of soils, a rain garden acts like a water runoff sponge. In fact, compared with a typical lawn, a rain garden absorbs about 30 percent more water.

To be effective, a rain garden needs to be properly sited and sized. It must be at least 10 feet from the house to keep the water from seeping into the foundation, and it cannot be placed over a septic system. Its size and depth are determined by many factors, including the type of soil, the amount of runoff it needs to absorb, and the garden’s distance from the downspout. You’ll find plenty of calculators online, as well as suggestions for appropriate native plants and soil amendments.

Be forewarned: Establishing a rain garden takes some serious digging. Before you start, call to find out where your cable, electric, gas and other utility lines are.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.


How To: Hang a Hammock

Who doesn't dream of whiling away the afternoon cradled comfortably in a hammock? Make it your summer reality by following these easy tips on how to hang a hammock in your backyard.

How to Hang a Hammock

Photo: shutterstock.com

Laying in a hammock is the epitome of summertime relaxation. Getting the hammock set up, on the other hand, can be a frustrating endeavor. Consult the tips below to make quick and easy work of the process so that soon, you will have gone from hanging the hammock to hanging out in its comfy, swaying embrace.

Location
Choosing a location for your hammock is perhaps the most difficult part. While you probably don’t have the perfect pair (and ideally spaced) palm trees on your property, you might very well have two healthy oak, maple, or beech trees that are strong enough to support your weight. Ideally, those hardwoods would be as far apart as the total length of your hammock, fully stretched out.

If the trees are too close together, the underside of the hammock is going to scrape along the ground. If the trees are too far apart, you’ll need to extend the reach of the hammock by means of an added-on rope or chain. While there’s a simple remedy for the latter problem, there’s unfortunately no fix for the former (other than to buy another, smaller hammock). Note, however, that it can be a mistake to extend a hammock any more than 18 inches at each end. Doing so leaves it vulnerable to ripping. So if you fully anticipate having to add extensions, only consider buying a hammock outfitted with a spreader bar to inhibit rips.

How to Hang a Hammock - Detail Suspension

Photo: shutterstock.com

Suspension
For obvious reasons, it’s important to establish a secure connection at each end of the hammock. One option is to use tree-fastening straps (which may or may not be included with your purchase). These straps feature a loop on one end and a metal ring on the other. Simply wrap the strap around the tree, pass the loop through the metal ring, then attach the hammock to the ring with S-hook hardware. One virtue of tree-fastening straps is that while effective, they cause no harm to the trees involved.

Though there are countless hammocks on the market, most fall into one or two design categories. First, you have traditional hammocks, and then you have hammocks with spreader bars (like the one pictured at right). Traditional hammocks are meant to hang loosely between two trees, with the center dipping down. Since they get attached to points that are six to eight feet high up on nearby trees, you can, in a pinch, consider using tree branches, not tree trunks—so long as the branches offer sufficient heft.

The other type of hammock involves spreader bars, which force the hammock to remain open, so the occupant never becomes wrapped up in a hammock burrito. Unlike the traditional design, hammocks with spreaders hang only four or five feet from the ground. Also, whereas a traditional hammock hangs loosely, these hammocks hang taut; when unoccupied, they are virtually parallel with the ground.

Remember that the wonderful thing about hanging a hammock is that once you’ve finished the job, your reward is right there in front you. Collapse into your new favorite spot—hey, you’ve earned a break!


Bob Vila Radio: Painting Over Wallpaper

Wallpaper is even harder to remove than it is to apply. The good news is that if you've grown tired of your wallpaper, you can probably paint right over it. Here's how.

Getting tired of the floral wallpaper in your dining room or the Stewart plaid in the den? If you’re daunted by the prospect of removing wallpaper, don’t despair—you may be able to paint right over it.

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Listen to BOB VILA ON PAINTING OVER WALLPAPER or read the text below:

Painting Over Wallpaper

Photo: featheringnest.blogspot.com

First, a few caveats: You’re more likely to achieve satisfactory, long-lasting results if you just bite the bullet and remove the wallpaper first. If, however, you have cause to be concerned about the integrity of the drywall or plaster under your wallpaper, painting over it may be your best bet (so long as the paper is in good condition).

Before you begin, make sure that the wallpaper is securely adhered to the wall; repair any loose or damaged paper. Run a thin bead of caulk along the line where the paper meets the walls, at the ceiling and the base. If the paper is textured, lightly spackle and sand to get a smooth surface, and gently sand the wallpaper seams so they won’t show through the paint.

Once the wall has been prepped, apply a coat of oil-based primer to seal the adhesive and to protect the paper from the paint’s moisture. After the primer has dried, paint the walls the color of your choice, sticking with an oil-based product.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.


Planning Guide: Above-Ground Swimming Pools

An above-ground swimming pool is a great addition to any backyard, but don’t overlook these essentials before taking the plunge!

Above Ground Swimming Pool

manydesign.net

Nothing epitomizes leisure more than a swimming pool. For some it is a symbol of affluence, but for others a pool is simply a fun way to get exercise, relax, cool off, and gather with friends and family. Whatever your motive, putting in an above-ground pool has the appeal of being less expensive and less permanent than installing one of its in-ground counterparts. That doesn’t mean, however, that an above-ground pool requires any less consideration and planning for its location, size, and operation, or its ongoing care and maintenance. If you’re thinking of putting in an above-ground pool, use this guide to help you plan the essentials.

Siting Your Pool
It is vitally important to choose the right location for your pool. The first thing you should do is check your local building codes and see if the pool needs to be a certain distance from property lines, septic tanks, and roads. You will also want to avoid underground cables, pipes, and roots, as well as overhead power lines, trees, and eaves. When choosing a site, consider how much privacy you want, how easy it will be to supervise children, how you will secure the pool from wandering toddlers and pets, and how the pool will look in your preferred location. Also consider nearby trees. Trees provide welcome shade, but they may also keep your pool water cooler than desirable throughout the summer. Because trees drop leaves, blossoms, and other organic material, they can also—depending on how far into the fall you use your pool—be a nuisance that dirties the water and affects its chemical balance.

Above-ground pools come in many different sizes, but the size of your pool will be restricted by the size of your site. Once you determine where the pool will go, then you can think specifically about sizes from a simple 12-foot circle on up to a 41′ x 21′ oval.

Site Prep for Above Ground Pool

Photo: deltapoolsspa.ca

Prepping the Site
The pool needs to be installed on level ground, so if your site is sloped, you will need to dig out the area to make it level. This may take just a shovel, or you may need to get a Bobcat to adequately prepare the site. Whatever the case, the pool should be installed on soil that hasn’t been treated with any petroleum-based chemicals, and it shouldn’t be built directly on grass, concrete, asphalt, tar paper, peat moss, gravel, mulch, or wood. If it helps with leveling, you can sink part of the pool 12 to 18 inches into the soil.

Because you are dealing with lots of moisture, it is also a good idea to treat the area where the pool is going with a non-petroleum-based fungicide. Spending a little extra time prepping the site could save you some major headaches down the road.

Pumps and Filters
To keep the water clean and circulated, you will need a pump and filter for your pool. The size and capacity of these units vary and will need to match the volume of your pool. When in doubt, consider going with a slightly bigger pump than you think you need. It will not only perform better, but also more efficiently.

Hayward Above Ground Diatamaceious Pool Filter

Hayward's EC-50 Diatomaceous Pool Filter. Photo: aboveground-swimming-pools.com

There are three different types of filtration systems available: sand, cartridge, and diatomaceous earth (DE). What’s the best choice? That depends on who you ask and what’s most important to you. A high-end cartridge filter is very efficient and easy to maintain, requiring little more than a periodic hosing to keep clean. Some swear by DE filters because they produce the cleanest water possible. They can be messy to clean, however, and do require periodic backwashing (running the pump in reverse) to operate efficiently. Sand filters are simple and effective, but these also require backwashing and occasional replacement of sand. They are the least efficient of the three. Do your research and talk to fellow pool owners in your area to help you in your decision making.

Water Type
In addition to cleaning the water with a physical filter, it is necessary to treat the water with either chlorine or salt. Chlorine pools are the most common types and require using either disk-like chlorine cakes, or liquid or powdered chlorine to keep the pool clean.

Saltwater systems have been gaining popularity, but they do have drawbacks. Salt is very corrosive, so if your pool has any metal components, you’ll most likely need to replace them after a few years. If you do go with salt, you will need an all-resin pool, which means that it will be made from a very high-quality plastic that will not corrode. It is also necessary to add a salt cell, which creates chlorine from the salt through a process of electrolysis. (That’s right, a saltwater pool still uses chlorine to sanitize and disinfect the water. The chlorine is present in much lower concentrations, however, and is not detectable by smell or taste.)

A salt-filtration system is definitely much better for your skin and hair, because the water is softened and it won’t fade your swimsuit. These systems cost a little more up front but tend to save money down the road because you don’t have to add salt as frequently as you would chlorine. All in all, there’s not a huge difference in cost or maintenance, so don’t let these factors alone sway you. There’s lots of debate about the relative merits of salt systems, so do your research and know what you’re getting into before going this route.

Maintenance
Whether you go with a chlorine- or salt-based system, there will be plenty of maintenance to attend to. You will need to test and adjust the pH and chlorine (or salt) levels a few times a week, and make sure the water level is at its optimal height. Using test strips or a liquid testing system, you’ll want to ensure that the alkalinity falls between 80 and 150 parts per million (ppm), the pH is between 7.4 and 7.8, and the calcium hardness is between 200 and 400 ppm. For chlorine pools, you’ll also need to check its presence in the water and keep it between 1 and 3 ppm. If the chlorine falls below this level, you will need to “shock” the pool, which requires adding a high concentration of chlorine in powdered or liquid form and makes the pool inaccessible for swimming for several hours. Most likely, you will also need to add an algaecide to get rid of the green stuff that wants to grow. And of course, you will need to remove debris with a skimming net, vacuum the pool, and clean the skimmer and pump baskets regularly. Automatic cleaners are available—these patrol the bottom of your pool on their own—but don’t be fooled into thinking that they will eliminate all maintenance.

You’ll also need to close your pool at the end of the season to extend its life and keep your water as clean as possible.

Now that you know what is involved in planning for your above-ground pool, don’t lose sight of the rewards. Take a moment to envision yourself lounging poolside, sipping on an ice-cold beverage, and taking in the sights and sounds of your friends and family enjoying the summer to its fullest. That will surely make all your efforts worthwhile!


Bob Vila Radio: Lumber Grades

Did you ever wonder what differentiates the many grades of lumber you see at the local home improvement center? As it happens, there are only a few things necessary to remember. Learn more now.

If you feel a bit confused when you walk down the lumber aisle in your local home store, you’re not alone. For a basic DIY project, it can be tough to know exactly what the names and grades are all about. Here’s a primer on different grades of lumber.

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Listen to BOB VILA ON LUMBER GRADES or read the text below:

lumber-grades

Photo: shutterstock.com

The first thing to know is that no piece of lumber is perfect. That being the case, lumber grades are based on the number of defects in a board. The highest grade is called FAS, for “firsts and seconds.” After that comes “select.” Both FAS and select grades are good choices for architectural framing, molding, and other uses that call for long lengths of wood with few defects. What constitutes a defect? A number of things, including knots, bark pockets, decay, splits or holes.

After select comes “common,” which is suitable for uses that require shorter lengths of clear wood. Number 1 common is often called cabinet grade, since it provides clear boards in the lengths and widths needed for kitchen cabinets. Meanwhile, Number 2A common is an economy grade, so expect shorter lengths without defects. For smaller projects, where long lengths of clear, straight boards are not necessary, number 2A common is typically more than adequate.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.


How To: Start a Lawn Mower (and Troubleshoot Common Problems)

Starting up a lawn mower should be easy, right? But occasionally, particularly after a long, dormant winter, a mower can be tough to start. To get your mower humming along, follow these simple steps—and if it balks, try our tips for troubleshooting.

How to Start a Lawn Mower

Photo: shutterstock.com

Regular mowing is not only beneficial to the look of your lawn, but also to its health. Whether you’ve recently purchased a new grass guzzler or have finally dragged out your old machine for the new season, it’s not uncommon to be frustrated when trying to start up the lawn mower. Of course, different mowers operate slightly differently, but the following guidelines can help you start a lawn mower of the most common type—that is, gas. If you’ve followed the steps outlined here and still cannot start your lawn mower, be sure to consult the troubleshooting tips offered at the bottom of this post.

STEP 1
Safeguard the mower blades against damage by taking the time to remove all objects from the parts of your property given over to grass. Clearing the way entails not only picking up children’s toys and moving lawn furniture, but also addressing any tree branches that have fallen or rocks that have been unearthed.

STEP 2
Next comes a step that may seem glaringly obvious, but which, on account of its simplicity, some homeowners forget: Confirm the presence of oil and gas in the mower. Are you readying a new gas-powered mower for its first go on your grass? Consult the manual to learn the fuel and oil recommendations for the specific model you now own.

STEP 3
With the mower all set to go, press the primer button three to five times in order to channel gas into the engine. If, however, you’ve used the mower recently, you should be able to skip this step. Priming the engine is necessary only after a prolonged period during which the lawn mower has not been used (over the winter, for instance).

STEP 4
Notice how there are two handles on the lawn mower, each running horizontally only inches apart from the other. Press and hold these handles together, keeping them together as you pull the starting rope. Do so quickly and with considerable force. That action should cause the mower engine to turn over. Sometimes, as you have likely experienced in the past, it can take several attempts before pulling the starting rope achieves the intended result: a purring motor.

How to Start a Lawn Mower - Detail Mower

Photo: shutterstock.com

Troubleshooting Tips
You’ve checked and rechecked the mower for oil and gas. You’ve pulled the starting rope so many times that your arm is sore. You’ve flipped through the owner’s manual, muttering curse words all the while. At times, lawn mower maintenance can be truly exasperating. When all else fails, consider these possibilities:

• If you know that there’s oil and gas in the mower, but the engine still refuses to start, it’s possible that either the carburetor has flooded or the cylinder has become soaked with gas. (The smell of unburned gas is a telltale symptom.) Leave your mower on level ground for at least 15 minutes, which should allow enough time for the gas to evaporate from within the mechanism.

• If you are returning to your lawn mower after having left it to spend the off-season in your garage, any gas that was left in the machine may have gone bad. If you think that could be your issue, observe the mower the next time you try to get it going. Does it appear to start up, then quickly stall out? The fix is simple: Siphon out the old gas, replacing it with fresh fuel.