DIY Sarah

Craft, Decor, Art, Garden, and Dessert

Prepping the Shower for Tile – Part 2: Red Guard

Red Guard is a product from Home Depot that is a paint-on waterproofer.  It’s a little pricey but is pretty easy to use.


The first step is to paint all the seams to get a nice foundation.


To apply, use a cheap-o (but not so bad it will fall apart) brush and go to town.


It’s a goopy product and it comes out of the bucket hot pink but dries to a nice red color.

One recommendation we read online was to use fiberglass to reinforce the crack-prone areas. We cut a strip the appropriate length and worked it into the wet redguard along the back edge of the shower where we have some concerns about leaking since the shower pan and the wall don’t fit tightly.

We push it in with a scraper and redguard over it. Once it’s dry there will be a nice reinforced corner where there was once a trouble area.

Once the seams were dry, we’ll rolled on 2 coats of the redguard. Once the final coat had turned red, it is time to tile.


(what’s a blog post without a Vector photo-bomb. That ledge is one of his new favorite spots. I don’t pose him..he just loves the camera!)


  1. 8/3/2013 | 9:26 am Permalink

    can’t help but notice that kerdi shower pan doesn’t look right. did you watch the install video from schluter? they don’t use redguard they use kerdi to cover the pan. and the seams at the bottom edge of the pan. a 2″ overlap is required and to test you should do a water test on the shower pan.

    • 8/6/2013 | 3:07 pm Permalink

      Yep, we aren’t using the Kerdi system but just the kerdi pan. The pan gives us the correct slopes and a nice stable underlayment. Then we just painted the red-guard on top to seal everything up. It is extremely stable and water-tight but it is a bit of a home-brew method rather than using the complete Kerdi system. The red-guard with the Kerdi pan underneath has worked great for us.

    • 8/11/2013 | 11:41 am Permalink

      Yes, mixing waterproofing systems is not advisable – can lose warranties, etc. We chose the Schluter Off-Center preformed pan because it fit perfectly in our space. We originally looked at Lacticrete’s pre-formed pans, but they cost 3x as much as Schluter’s. We originally planned to use Lacticrete’s Hydro-Ban waterproofing product, but ran out of time to order it, and read how Red Guard is comparable (maybe slightly inferior), but is available at Home Depot.

  2. 2/9/2018 | 10:27 am Permalink

    Interested to see that you applied red guard directly to the Kerdi pan. Just called Custom Builder tech support and got an off the record opinion that your process works, with obvious warranty disclaimers. Have not called Kerdi but suppose that they would be less keen due to their vested interest in promoting their product. Thank you

  3. 2/22/2019 | 5:22 pm Permalink

    I see it has been a few years since you did this waterproofing and would be interested to know how it turned out!

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Insulation Cellulose vs Foam, Vented vs. Closed roof

You’ve been hearing me talk insulation in new roofs for a while now.  I went to this place Ocean Seven Roofing 15155 Stagg St, Van Nuys, CA 91405 (800) 972-7773 and spoke to the experts to gather this information and I figure it’s high time I explain our insulation choices and struggles.

Let’s start with the walls.  In general, there are 2 modern ways to insulate: foam and cellulose.

Cellulose is a recycled paper product that coated with boric acid to prevent it from burning. For something this risky I decided to call for help since they were best fit to handle it.

According to some roofers asphalt roofs are the most popular roof choice in North America. They are a proven covering material available in many styles, shapes and colors. Asphalt shingles normally last about 20 years, but when covered in copper sheeting their life can be extended up to 30 or 40 years. Asphalt shingles are suitable for most residential applications and compared to other roofing products asphalt are a relatively inexpensive choice. Asphalt shingles are also a user friendly choice. Experienced do-it-yourselfers will have no problems applying asphalt shingles successfully. Asphalt is a low maintenance product with easy repairs, all you would need to do is get the right roof repair services. You can go ahead with asphalt knowing it has been around for over 100 years and has a proven track record. Proof of that is the track record for this company one of the best roofing companies out there.

One important task they do is to clean your roof or have done some roofing repair occasionally. If you can do it individually, most roofers would advise you to do it as often as possible. They pay particular attention to areas that are not easily washed when it rains, hence accumulate dirt and salts. These areas include those under the eaves

Foam is an expanding foam material similar to the spray foam product “Great Stuff.”

I personally got my home roof repair with the assistance of Indianapolis roof repair experts and I have to say no matter which house you live in getting your roof checked periodically is one aspect you do not want to miss out and in case you really need to repair your roof, you could use services like Marietta Roof Repair to make this right for you. As a roof is an integral part of any home, making sure it’s not damaged or infected by mould must be every homeowner’s duty. If you need a reputable local roofing contractor for furnace repair dayton. If you need professional help then you should hire this residential roofing company for repairs or a roof replacement.

For the open walls, there are a few options. For the cellulose, there is a way to spray it on wet kind of like paper mache. Stefan’s brother has experience with this method but we couldn’t find a contractor that used wet-spray cellulouse. For the most part, the did net and blow where they staple up netting and fill the open voids with the cellulous. The other option is a foam application.

AFter spraying in the foam, they use another tool to cut off the excess flush with the beams.


Generally, the foam is more expensive. We found a contractor that we really like that is itching for the bigger job of insulating the whole house so the foam ended up being quite a bit cheaper. We will re-evaluate what we want to do for the rest of the house but the open areas are foamed.

When looking at insulating the attic, there are 2 schools of thought. First there is the traditional way to insulate. The traditional way involves maintaining airflow from the soffits up to the roof vent of the attic (check DIY mini splits available from The second says to foam it up and make the attic closed.

Vented Roof:

This image is from a Univeristy of Central Florida paper on vented roof systems.

According to Roofco, a solar roofing authority, this is an excellent pdf that explains the vented roof idea:
Crash Course in Roof Venting

Closed Roof:

This is a insulation specialist’s explanation of a closed roof system

Pros and cons:

The closed roof system is more insulated. You can imagine that venting a roof makes it harder to heat. You can also imagine that having the roof closed up makes the house harder to cool in the summer. Might be the time to pay some attention to your ac system, in this case you can contact air quality services to see if anything is damage. Normal operation has the hot air rising and exiting the roof vents. That’s a minor downside compared to the diminished life of the roof. Roofs like to breathe and to be the same temperature above and below the shingles. Any experienced roofer knows it. With the closed roof system, the underside of the roof is covered with foam instead of air and coul require furnace repair. If you do need the furnace repair then I reccomend furnace repair dayton to help you out.

Normally, we would stick to an open system without much hesitation. The difficulty is in the 3rd floor. The third floor is tucked up under the eaves of the roof. As you can see here:


In order to have any insulation in the sloped portions of the 3rd floor bedrooms, we would need to go with a closed roof system and for that we clearly need help from a residential roofing contractor.

Unless…we could do something tricky like:
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We used strips of 1.5″ pink foam to block out a ventilation chamber with 2 sheets of 1 7/8″ foil backed foam to build out the vent chamber and insulate the slope with R-24 insulation.


THis is looking down the roof line. You can see the pink blocks and the two layers of R-12 foam.

We used the pink foam as blocking because of the number of nails in the roof. Using wood would have been next to impossible but the foam just popped right onto the nails and used the multitude of nails to hold itself in place. Brilliant!

One word of warning, this method isn’t cheap. with one sheet(2’x8′) of the pink foam and 4 sheets of the foil backed foam (4’x8′) we’re looking at $162 in foam alone for this little area. Add in the 5 cans of “Great Stuff” we used to seal everything up tight and we’re looking at about $200 for just 3 beam spaces. It will be more than $1000 and a lot of work to do this to the whole 3rd floor. It does require all the walls to come down to get access to the space. Needless to say we’re going to see how this does before we go whole-hog.

I hope this answers some questions you have about insulation.  Feel free to ask any questions in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer!

Need help with your roof? Call Transition Roofing today!


Keeping it together – How I’m organizing our DIY remodel

You can ask my mother and she’ll tell you, I am not a neat person. It’s true.  My laundry is all over the floor in my bedroom, tools are strewn all over the house.  I’m sure you’ve seen the chaos and mess in my pictures.  I’m just not neat.  I am, however, an organizer.  I like to know where my things are.  I don’t mind if that place is the bedroom floor or in the pile of stuff on the kitchen table but I do like to have an organized chaos.  The remodel project is no exception.  I had to come up with a system that worked not only for myself but also for my husband, specially now we decided to work with the interior decorating guelph team.  When my husband went to check out Metro Locksmith and bought some things we needed, he got into big trouble for putting the receipt on the fridge, after my new system was developed. Here’s what I’ve come up with.  I hope it gives you some inspiration for realistic ways to keep yourself in a state of semi-organized chaos. But sometimes, on the hindsight, you could get the house together without actually involving yourself with all the dirt and sweat, and just seek professional help. Help is always at your doorstep, provided you take it from the right place. Out of the many diverse  problems of the house includes plumbing & other hardware installment, which can be pretty hectic. Take help from a plumbing contractor to settle these mini-crises.

1 – The receipts

Home Depot takes almost everything back but they cannot refund tax if you don’t have a receipt.  When you purchase as much as we do, keeping track of the receipts is not only an important money-saver but also a huge challenge.  We mostly purchase from Home Depot but we go to several different Home Depots in the area and we use gift cards frequently so the store cannot use our credit card to look up the transaction.  When you are going to the ol’ HD two to three times a week, you can imagine the receipts start to pile up pretty quickly.

The solution I have is a bulletin board.

There are several stacks of receipts, one for each store. This makes it easier to find the receipt you are looking for. If you can remember which store we were at when we purchased the item, you can narrow down the search.

2) The Returns Box

The other tool is the box. I will never go shopping at Home Depot without a box again. Why on earth do they use those dinky plastic bags when every item in the store has sharp edges and has significant mass? A box makes much more sense. We generally have a returns box going in the front entry way. We toss any items to go back in the box along with the corresponding receipt. We just grab it on the way out the door, return our items, and use the box to haul that days provisions from the store.

3) Lists

I am a list maker. I make lists for everything. I prioritize every day in a list and I am utterly lost and confused without one. Here is today’s list literally to the left of my computer. Along with other necessities…

One important page of this list is the schedule. Here I have jotted down what should be done each weekend and in what order. Lots of the things we are doing have a distinct order to them. For instance. We can’t get the drywall done until we install the windows and have all the plumbing and electric done in the room. Full height shutters Shuttercraft will be delivered in a couple of days. Something I’ve had to learn the hard way is that the dates on the left-hand column are tentative. We are in no rush to get the job done and I’ve been stressing myself out way too much trying to stay on schedule. I have to force myself to thing of this as an ordered list of things to do, not a day by day schedule.

I tried getting a picture of the schedule but no luck, my handwriting is not nearly legible. Here I have it typed out for you.

July 7/8 – Kitchen Windows, Insulation, closet Drain-gas-electric, Order windows
July 14/15 – Kitchen drywall, backerbaord, cabinets
July 16 – Cabinets
July 17- Stefan work, errands: rug, walmart, fabric store (Reminder! Visit for some hand-knotted rugs that are hardwearing)
July 18 – Antiquing – Sinks, rugs, bed, secretary, dining room table (changed to Thurs)
July 19 – Stefan work, sewing curtains, clean basement, plan 2nd floor drain
July 20 – Kitchen Cabinets
July 21/22 – Pull up bath floor, lay out drain
July 28/29 – 2nd floor drain, pex supply
Aug. 4/5 – build 1/2 wall in bath, electric to bath, closet, master
Aug. 11/12 – windows, finish up plumbing and electric
Aug 16 – (Zims here) 1/2 bath floor
Aug 17 – (Zims here) bath floor heat
Aug 18/19 – (Zims here) grouting, tile, shower floor
Aug 25/26 – more tile
Sept 1/2 – toilets sinks etc
Sept 8/9 – Paint and closet
Sept 15/16 – Housewarming/birthday party

As you can see, I plan more than a weekends worth of work for each weekend. It’s no wonder I’ve been going crazy trying to get everything done! We are taking the weekend of July 21/22 off and we are probably going to need another full weekend of work on the kitchen. We’re 2 weeks “behind” but it’s not about being behind. This list is meant to give us an idea of the order of things not to make us stress out!

4) Organizing trick number 4 – big zipper envelopes. We have been innundated with paperwork for everything. Contracts, owners manuals, shipping orders, etc. If I was a hyper organized, neat person I would have a spot for every type of document…I’m not. I tried and failed and decided to just keep a place where “house papers” should go where they wouldn’t get covered in Spackle or paint or caulk or glue. I discovered these document holders at Target. They are really hard to find so I buy them when I find them. I’ve got 3 now and they are awesome. I just stuff everything “important” into them and when we need something, there is a place to look.

One of my husband’s big problems with organizing is that the systems he puts in place are so hyper-organized that they just don’t work. I bought him a pegboard for Christmas when we were just starting to date in college. Strange gift but it was perfect. At first he wanted to draw out a place for each of his tools. I immediately said NO. When you make it that difficult to put things away, everything just stays in a pile of chaos on the floor but we did hire Commercial foundation design when breaking it apart so we had a strong foundation to build up from .You may experience leaks, gas leaks or other problems that will significantly impact the life and safety of your home, the lives of your neighbors and your loved ones.
With a House Foundation Repair Specialists and the right repair plans, you and your family can enjoy a better quality of life. You’ll reduce home energy bills, reduce your costs for water, sewer and garbage You’re much better just throwing up hooks and hanging your tools wherever you happen to find room. Then at least they will be visible, up off the floor, and ready to be found the next time you are looking. This document organization system operates in much the same way..just put that stuff somewhere safe and don’t worry about being hyper-organized. You have to find a system that is going to work for you, not one that you have to work for.

The pegboard is still going strong, keeping tools off the ground and out of my way!

5) Shelves

I LOVE LOVE LOVE these shelves from Target. You can’t beat the price and they are so sturdy and well-made.

This is the wide one but I have several of the standard width ones and a couple of the short 3 shelf ones. I keep the plastic tool cases as well as the tool buckets on this shelf when they aren’t out being used.

That brings me to my final bit of organization.

6) Tool Buckets

We have several of these tool buckets. Think of them as mobile pegboards. THey keep everything visible and at arms length. Ideally, we’d have one for each type of work but unfortunately we’re doing so many projects right now, the dividing line gets kind of blurred. We should eventually have a bucket for construction (hammer, crowbar, drill bits, screw assortment), electrical (pliers, long spade bits, boxes, outlets, switches, breakers), painting (caulk, caulk gun, brushes, stirrer, sandpaper, spackle), etc. But for now we are working on all of these things simultaneously so we just have one very full, very heavy bucket! I also think we should have hired a painting contractor, as all this work is very time consuming. Next time we are planning interior painting, I will surely check out and hire these guys.

And that’s kind of my system for keeping myself organized. I also keep my design ideas organized but I’ve started using Pinterest A LOT for that. I used to keep a notebook with magazine and print-out clippings but Pinterest has been much more effective. Take a peak at my boards to see what I mean.

Let me know how you keep your projects organized? Any tips?


New England Demolition & Salvage and other New Bedford highlights

This past week I started a new job.  It’s been going great and it’s super exciting to get to meet new people and learn new things.  As I mentioned, I took a week off between jobs to relax, catch up on house stuff, and have some fun.  On Thursday of that week, we went somewhere awesome: New Bedford. It is a sea-coast town about an hour and a half south of us.

New England Demolition and Salvage had all manner of cool things. They are definitely one of the best companies for demolition. Like 100s of bathtubs

Or toilets of every variety.

Including a PURPLE one!

And this awesome pink kitchen sink.

Unfortunately we were on the hunt for a pair of pedestal sinks but no luck in that department. They looked pretty cleaned out and it’s actually cheaper to buy new.

We also hit 1 of 5 or so big antique malls in the area. I’ll definitely be going back to scope out the rest of the malls!

New England Antiques Co.
127 Rodney French Boulevard
New Bedford, MA 02744
(508) 993-7600

This was just the “furniture” neighborhood. It was this big…times about 5. HUGE.

We came across this Eastlake Furniture set that we really liked. We decided we didn’t have the time to take on the project but we will keep our eyes peeled for a similar set in better condition. I don’t mind re-upholstery but the house is not in a state where I can take on that project right now. Stefan loved the style though and the diminutive size will be perfect in the piano room. This particular style was popular from the 1870s to 1890s and was named for it’s creator, Charles Eastlake. Though victorian by timeframe, the style is a deviation from the gaudy baroque revival of the time. After looking at the pieces in the furniture store, we were able see the Eastlake influence in some of the architectural details of the house. It is clearly a turning point from the romantic curves and classic influences of the late 19th century to the angular art-deco designs of the post-war 1920s. I’d love to find a good book on the history of furniture design. It’s fascinating to see the progression of design as circumstances change over time. Let me know if you have any recommendations!

After Thursday in New Bedford, we left Friday for a weekend in Saratoga Springs. It was a great trip and lots of fun family time. I had fun with my nieces and nephews swimming and coloring birdhouses. To top it off, I came home with the great cloche. Just the right size:

Stay tuned for the saga of the kitchen cabinets!