Bob Vila's 10 "Must Do" September Projects

With summer winding down and autumn on the horizon, September is the perfect month to perform crucial maintenance tasks, keep the yard in order, and kick clutter to the curb. Read on for my favorite jobs for this month.

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  1. Check the Paint


    Fall is an ideal time to check your house for peeling paint. Take a walkabout, diagnose any problem areas, and resolve the issue quickly to prevent water damage or rot over the winter. To repair the area, first scrape away peeling and cracked paint. Then clean the area, prime, and paint it. (Tip: A home improvement store can match the paint color on request.)

    Related: 8 Exterior Paint Colors to Help Sell Your House

  2. Seed and Sod


    Because of cooling temperatures and sunny days, early September is the perfect time of year to seed and sod cold weather grasses. Planting from seed is cheaper, but requires a bit more care and maintenance in the beginning. Sod is ideal for sloped lawns or areas prone to erosion, but will need heavy watering as the roots take hold in the yard. 

    Related: 7 Things to Do Now for a Greener Lawn Next Year

  3. Seal the Driveway


    If everyday wear and tear has left your driveway looking less than its best, take a couple afternoons and reseal it. First you'll need to clean the driveway and let it dry out overnight. Then, repair any cracks with a crack filler designed for asphalt. After that, apply asphalt sealer according to the manufacturer's instructions and work it over the entire driveway in an even layer. Once the driveway fully dries, it is sure to look as good as new.

    Related: 10 Popular Driveway Options to Welcome You Home

  4. Inspect the Roof


    A new roof can last 20 to 30 years, but severe summer storms or strong winds can shorten its lifespan. For that reason, it's wise to check the roof once a year for damaged or missing shingles, cracked or rusty flashing, loose gutters, and moss or mildew, which can point to water damage. If you're afraid of heights, conduct an inspection from the ground using a pair of binoculars. Then call a pro to complete any repairs and enjoy a leak-free roof for years to come.

    Related: 7 Signs You Need a New Roof

  5. Clean the Fireplace


    Temperatures will begin to dip in the coming months, and when they do, there's nothing better than enjoying a hot beverage next to a blazing fire. Make sure your fireplace is ready for whatever the weather brings by giving it a quick cleanup now. First, remove any ashes that may be leftover from last season. Then wash the walls and floor with a warm water and Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) mixture. Lastly, rinse with water and dry. Now you're ready for fall!

    Related: 7 Mistakes Not to Make with Your Fireplace

  6. Maintain the Yard—Safely


    Autumn yard work might seem innocuous, but when performed incorrectly, it can cause serious injury. Protect yourself by warming up and cooling down in between labor, just as you would for a work out. When raking, switch arms to avoid strain to the muscles and bend at the knees rather than the waist when picking up items. It's also important to choose ergonomic tools with long necks for easy handling and comfortable grips to prevent blisters.

    Related: Editor's Picks—7 Tools to Wage War Against Leaves

  7. Tidy the Mudroom


    Mudrooms work overtime in fall, checking clutter at the door and keeping dirt, leaves, and moisture from entering the house. If you're lucky enough to have one, now's the perfect time to give the walls, beadboard, and shelving units a fresh coat of paint. If you don't have a dedicated mudroom, consider adding a storage bench and wall-mounted coat rack to your entryway to keep outerwear and accessories on hand but out of the way.

    Related: 7 Ways to Transform Your Mudroom in 48 Hours

  8. Plant a Tree


    The best times of the year to plant landscaping trees are spring and fall. In most regions, the season's rainfall and stable temperatures (neither too cool nor too hot) promote ideal root growth before winter causes trees to go dormant. To plant, dig a hole about as deep as the root ball. Sprinkle a handful of fertilizer designed specially for trees at the bottom of the hole, then carefully place the tree inside, unwrap the roots from the tarp or burlap, and backfill the hole.

    Related: 10 of the Best Trees for Any Backyard

  9. Kick Out Clutter


    With summer on the way out, it's time to get serious—or at least organized. Take stock of your home office, workshop, or craft room by banishing junk from the junk drawer, disposing of expired paint and batteries, and bringing in new storage solutions, if necessary. Whether you choose a sleek high end organizer or low tech pegboard, make sure that every pen, paintbrush, or power tool has a dedicated home and always finds its way back after use.

    Related: 8 Organizers for the Little Stuff You Always Lose

  10. Replace the Kitchen Faucet


    If it's been a while since you shopped for a new faucet, you might feel overwhelmed by how many options are now available. But with so many new technologies—from built-in filters to one-touch and touchless models—it also seems possible to get exactly what you want. When making your choice, be sure to pick a faucet that will fit the number of holes in your sink. To install, follow a few of these simple steps.

    Related: 7 Kitchen Sink Sins to Avoid

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