Bob Vila's 10 "Must Do" October Projects

October brings cooler temperatures to much of the country, which makes it a busy time of year for weekend warriors. There's much to do, from winterizing the yard to battening down the hatches for cold and inclement weather. Take control of your home improvement to-do list, and be sure to add in my 10 top projects for this month.

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  1. Patch Concrete

    Concrete_steps

    Cracks, chips, and crumbling sections of concrete driveways, walkways, and porches will worsen over the winter, and when that happens fixing the damage will cost you. Make repairs now before the weather takes a turn and you'll save time and money. To patch concrete, first chip away at cracks to remove loose debris, then apply your repair material with a trowel or float and let the mixture cure.


    Related: Cement Your Place in DIY History with These 9 Easy Concrete Projects

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  2. Refresh the Bath

    Clean_tile

    A humid bathroom can invite serious mold and mildew growth. Don't despair; fight back with a few simple tips! First, clean surfaces with mold-killing cleaners like vinegar or hydrogen peroxide. Then, remove old, cracked, and moldy caulk with a utility knife or caulk remover and replace it with a clean bead of waterproof silicone. If possible, also increase ventilation to the room by adding an exhaust fan or running a dehumidifier.


    Related: The Dark, Dirty Truth About Household Mold (And How to Rid Yourself of It)

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  3. Winterize the Yard

    Garden_mulch

    Take a walk around the outside of your property and remove any dry or dead annuals from the flower and vegetable gardens—this crucial task prevents rot and pests from making a home. Then cover garden beds with a thick layer of mulch to keep the rest of your perennials healthy and moisturized throughout the winter. Container plants can come inside with you when nighttime temperatures dip into the 50s. 


    Related: Winterize Your Lawn and Garden in 7 Steps

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  4. Plant Bulbs

    Planting_bulbs

    It's not quite time to close up the garden. Before you put yours to bed, make room for spring-blooming flower bulbs. Plant tulips and daffodils six inches deep and six inches apart for best results. If deer or squirrels prowl your garden looking for snacks, stick to daffodils, which taste less appealing to critters than tulips.


    Related: Early Bloomers - 7 Spring Flowers Bringing Color to a Yard Near You

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  5. Seal the house

    Caulk_windows

    It takes more energy—and money—to heat a drafty house. That's why it pays to address drafts before you even switch on the furnace. Inspect window frames and door jambs, both inside and out, for holes, cracks, or crumbling caulk. Install weatherstripping to fill gaps in door frames and windows, and apply fresh caulk where needed to seal up your home. In a few months' time, you'll be glad you took the time to keep whistling winter winds at bay.


    Related: Drafty Windows? Solutions for Every Budget

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  6. Check the Detectors

    Smoke_detector

    October is National Fire Prevention Month, so take the time to review your home safety plan. Do you have smoke alarms installed in every bedroom and outside sleeping areas? How about the basement? Install additional smoke detectors if needed, and then make sure they're always fully powered by checking batteries monthly. Write a reminder on your calendar or set one on your phone to stay on schedule.


    Related: 9 Ways to Boost Your Fire Preparedness

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  7. Paint the kitchen cabinets

    White_kitchen_cabinets

    High quality cabinets go a long way to creating a beautiful kitchen where the whole family enjoys spending time. If yours are looking chipped, worn, or dated, consider a quick refresh. Remove the doors and hardware and give everything a couple coats of paint. To switch things up a bit, consider changing out drawer pulls and knobs, or leaving upper cabinet doors off the hinges to create a stylish open shelving unit.


    Related: 10 Favorite Paint Colors for Any Kitchen

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  8. Check the Fireplace

    Fireplace_maintenance

    Chances are pretty good that your fireplace wasn't used much during the summer, so give it a thorough maintenance check up before you light the season's first roaring fire. First, visually assess the chimney from the outside—chips, cracks, or corrosion are signs that you'll need to call a repairman. Inside, check the flue for soot buildup, and ensure the damper closes and opens with ease.


    Related: Which Firewood Burns Best?

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  9. Build a Boot Rack

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    For most of the country, the rainy days ahead mean mud and moisture inevitably finding a way indoors. Check it at the door with a homemade boot rack. By adding one of these simple fixtures to your entryway or mudroom, you'll keep floors cleaner and maintain better air quality as well.


    Related: 11 Smart Ways to Organize Your Winter Footwear

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  10. Pick a Pumpkin

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    Pumpkins are a fall home decor staple—and with good reason. Whether you're looking for a dining table centerpiece or a Jack-o-lantern for the front porch, this seasonal vegetable is the perfect kid-friendly DIY material. Take a break from your fall house chores for a little fun designing your own pumpkin project. Here's a little inspiration to get you started.

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