Fall by far has been my best season for DIY.  It’s just the way it’s been, and especially the last few years.  Ironic perhaps, the easy, cooler temperatures setting in, but a sorta kick in the pants somehow.  I mean – I inevitably find myself saying at some point to myself something in the way of … “Awww. Shit!  Winter, and the Holidays! … will be here before you know it.  Better git with getting it.”

This year, I’ve had a good start though.  Some (still smallish) projects now set in motion and thanks to the last two weekends.  For some of these projects, I am stoked to be working with a handful of products I have not used.  And in an effort maybe to keep with “keeping it real,” I have the idea to share a couple posts with absolutely zero “obligation” owed to anyone else … but you! Enjoy.


Henry 505 – FlashMaster

Fall DIY :: Roof Flashing Repair with Henry FlashMasterMost hardcore readers know that we chose to “restore” the German Lap Wood Siding on our 1889 farmhouse.  While this has mainly involved stripping the paint from the house (only a couple small areas to go), there were a few sections far too gone.

Last year, yes last year, I replaced (read: patched in) something like 400 board feet of German Lap siding (primed, clear pine).  Included in this was a few courses just above a flat rolled roof on the rear of the house.  The rear of the house an addition, where our office and our laundry room both now live… a converted porch.

From that, I had to redo the “flash” up from the surface of roof to the now new siding.  And for this project, I selected Henry’s 505 – the FlashMaster. FlashMaster, a bituminous product (aka tar), is designed not only to go down flat on the roof but also upright as flashing.  For me, I applied this coating, and pairing it with a fiberglas fabric (Henry‘s 183), with a pair of plastic knives, a 4-inch and a 6-inch, working intermittently with a roofing trowel.  Very easy, and especially when taped off, a new roof flashing – 20 foot (6 inches high) for around $35. Sweet, I’d say, but I will stop to say a pair of expendable gloves are a good idea for any diyer tackling this project.

Fall DIY :: Henry 505 FlashMaster with Repair Fabric


Ikea Stopp Filt

Fall DIY :: Ikea Stopp Filt Under Blue & Purple Ikea ShagAs it is in my house . . . aging cats, young kids, and a lot of hardwood flooring yet to be refinished, we have one simple strategy with our area rugs – *ahem* They gotta be affordable.  And this past weekend, we finally got it together and got ourselves out to Ikea Baltimore. We purchased two new carpets – one for our daughter’s newly re-decorated bedroom and a new 6×9 stripey one for our living room.

While in the store, I remembered something I had been thinking about for a while.  Many of our area rugs (we have nine) had never received the luxury of a pad.  As it is … some slip, some slide, and some just don’t feel all that fantastic underfoot.

At $9.99 each, I decided to grab a few Ikea Stopp Filts. The Stopp Filt is a 5’5”x7’9” 100% polyester thin rug underlayment.  Static perhaps makes them tacky, though the packaging references a latex coating. Easily cut with a pair of scissors, even more so with a utility knife and a drywall t-square (flipped over), it took me about a half an hour or so, per rug, to do two this weekend.

No more skidding, no more sliding, making our “affordable rugs” feel just a little more plush.  While I will retain the cut waste (as I am certain I will use it for something else eventually), it was also a great time to rotate these rugs.  Something I know, we should be doing anyway.

Ikea Stopp Filt Rug Underlayment


… Compost Tea

Fall DIY :: Vinca Patch Applying Compost Tea and Rope SwingYou guys may remember my adventures in landscaping from earlier in the year. And I wish I could report that my Vinca … patch (some 400+ sf) is now flourishing.  Well, not so much …not yet.  And I know that will (or won’t) happen when you don’t have time to be, well, downright militant with watering in such a dry summer.

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For disclosure, I bought two more flats of Vinca this past weekend and did do some filling in.  Felt I had to.  And whereas a soil conditioner was not really an option with spot planting, I turned to my local nursery’s (Poor Boys) proprietary … Compost Tea.  Don’t ask what it is make of, or how it is made . . . I just don’t know.  I do know that it does not have any distinct (or disgusting) odor, but that it is an organic fertilizer.  We like organic fertilizers because they (read: me) won’t burn plants if over-applied.

As instructed I mixed five parts water to one part tea, and used a 2-gallon pump sprayer (with the spray tip removed) to cover my entire Vinca patch.  A compost tea application replaces a watering and is done about once a week this time of year.  After all, Fall, you know, is a great time to plant, for deep roots and to set up for Spring.  Please wish me luck (or hey, maybe you got some tips. Thanks).

compost tea and a pump sprayer


Hopeful back soon . . . in a week or two maybe to tell you a bit about a few more products that I have been fondly using recently.  Happy Fall all, enjoy and thanks for reading. ~jb