Specializing in Painting, Drywall, Windows, Roofing and Siding

Alvarez Home Remodeling Blog

Specializing in Painting, Drywall, Window Replacement and Siding

Installing Drywall, or hanging drywall as the professionals usually refer to the task, can be done by the homeowner. However, it is usually best done with two or more people as it requires significant lifting of heavy material. Mudding and Taping can also be performed by the homeowner, however these tasks require some practice and artistry.

Measuring and Ordering Drywall

Prior to actually hanging the drywall, the material first needs to be ordered and delivered. To determine how much material to order, measure all of the surface area, starting with the ceilings and then the walls. Calculate the total square feet and divide by 32. The result should give you the number of 4’x 8’ sheets of drywall required for the job. I would also recommend adding another 5-10% to this figure to account for inefficiencies. Drywall does come in larger sheets, such as 4’x12’, however for a Do-it-Yourself homeowner these larger sheets can become unwieldy and maybe even impossible to bring into the existing home.

For bathrooms or other moist areas Greenboard should probably be used as this material is moisture resistance.

For bathroom areas where ceramic tile is to be applied, e.g. Shower/Bathtub areas, Concrete board should be used. The concrete board is also referred to as Wonderboard or Durock.

Joint Compound and Fiberglass tape will also be required for Taping and Mudding. Joint Compound typically comes ready-mixed in 5 gallon containers. I would suggest 1-2 containers per 500 square feet of drywall. Fiberglass tape is quite inexpensive so I would suggest picking up 2 to 3 roles for most Do-it-Yourself drywall projects.

Drywall screws or ringed nails will also be required. Typically I use 1.25” length screws or nails. Also, strips of corner bead will be required.

Drywall Tools

Prior to starting drywall installation, you need to obtain the proper tools. A Drywall Lift really comes in handy when hanging sheetrock/drywall on the ceilings. You can rent Drywall Lifts at hardware or home improvement stores. If your budget does not allow for this cost, Jacks (or Ts) can be made out of 2”x 4”s. The Jacks (or Ts) should be of a length such that they are just an inch or two taller than the height of the ceiling and have a cross beam that is approximately 3’ in width. Usually there are a couple of 45o angle braces connecting the crossbar to the main stem of the Jack. The Jack can then be used to hold up the drywall to the ceiling while it is screwed/nailed into place.

In addition to the Lift or Jacks, a drywall screw gun, hammer, T-square, carpenters knife, drywall saw and a keyhole saw are required. The keyhole saw is used for cutting around electrical boxes.

If mudding and taping are to be performed then Taping knifes, a Corner knife, sand paper, a pole sander and a Mud easel or pan will be necessary. For the taping knifes you will need a 6” wide blade and a 12” wide blade.

Preparing the site for Drywall

Prior to hanging the drywall, make sure the building inspector has first approved the Framing, Plumbing, Electrical and Insulation jobs. Secondly, a vapor barrier should be applied over the insulation on the outside walls if un-faced insulation was installed. Frequently sheets of plastic are used for creating the vapor barrier. The plastic is simply stapled to the framing, covering the insulation.

Finally, inspect all of the framing carefully. Ensure that nailers (e.g. 2” x 4”s) are existent at each corner and header, that the framing is straight, and that the framed walls create smooth planes. In addition, the ceiling should have strapping applied (1” x 3” cross boards). Also, make sure metal protection plates have been installed to studding where sheetrock screws or nails could inadvertently penetrate plumbing pipes or electrical wire.


Drywall installation is dirty, heavy work. The Gypsum in drywall can be irritating to the eyes, lungs and sinuses so wear safety goggles and masks to avoid breathing in the material. Gloves are also recommended to protect against sharp blades.

Installing Drywall

Start with the ceiling as this will allow the sheets on the walls to help hold the sheets on the ceiling. Use the Drywall lift or Jacks to hold the sheets in place while screwing or nailing them to the ceiling. The screws or nails should be installed such that they are slightly recessed and create a small dimple without breaking the paper. Screws or nails should be applied every 8 to 12 inches on each stud. Screws are typically stronger and can be placed further apart, e.g. 12 inches. It is best to fasten the screws/nails to the edges of the drywall first and then fill in the field afterwards.

Rows of drywall should be applied in a staggered pattern. This will create an interlocked pattern that creates a tighter and stronger ceiling/wall.

After the ceiling has been completed it its time to move on to the walls. Drywall should be applied from the top down, with the sheets hung perpendicular to the floor joists or studs. Again the rows should be staggered. The bottom piece should sit about ½ inches from the sub-floor.

For purposes of efficiency and strength it is best to apply the large sheets of drywall over the doors and window openings and cut out the excess later. This will create stronger/cleaner looking walls and save significant time.

Installing Corner bead

Once the drywall has been installed, corner bead should be applied to all outside edges. Corner bead should be nailed every 6-8 inches and penetrate the framing.

Taping and Mudding

Again start with the ceiling. Apply a skim coat of joint compound over the surface of a seam using a 6” wide taping knife. If the seam is wide, apply a liberal amount of joint compound to fill it. While the Joint compound is still wet, apply the fiberglass tape over the skim coat of Joint Compound. Make sure the seam is centered under the tape. Once the tape has been installed, apply additional Joint Compound over the tape, again using the 6” wide taping knife. Continue this for all of the seams. Note: the tape will still be visible. Additional coats will eventually hide it.

The inside corners are usually the most tricky and require practice. Patience is the best advice and note that additional coats will be applied later to smooth out any imperfections.

Once the seams are done, using the 6” wide taping knife, apply mud to all of the screw/nail dimples. A skim coat is all that is initially required.

Note: When applying the mud over the tape and screw/nail dimples, make sure all excess material and uneven patches are smoothed down with the blade. This will reduce sanding later.

Once the ceiling is done, you can move on to the walls. Repeat the same process, however with the outside corners just apply a liberal coat of joint compound to the valley that is formed by the corner bead. This valley typically represents the first 3 or 4 inches from the edge of the corner.

Once the first coat has been applied let it sit overnight or until it is dry, prior to starting the second application of Joint compound. Make sure to completely clean off the taping knife, the mud easel and any other containers or instruments that have mud on them prior to finishing up for the day.

Applying the Second Coat of Mud

After the first coat has thoroughly dried, it is now time to apply the second coat of mud. It is this coat that should hide the tape.

Again, start with the ceiling. Using the wider taping knife apply a generous amount of joint compound over the taped seams as you want to build up the area over the tape. Taking large strokes smooth the joint compound over the tape applying more pressure to the side of the taping knife further away from the tape. This will help to leave more mud over the tape. When complete, the mud should cover an area that extends beyond the width of the tape by 2 to 3 inches.

After the seams have all been completed, apply a second coat of mud over the screw/nail dimples. With this second coat, flare out the mud over the dimples such that the diameter of the mudded area is about 3-4 inches in diameter.

For the inside corners a Corner knife may come in handy. Corners involve a little artistry so again take your time. Apply a generous amount of joint compound and then run the Corner knife down the corner starting from the top. Take long, even strokes. A 6” taping knife may also be helpful to smooth out any imperfections.

For the outside corners, using the broad taping knife apply a generous amount of joint compound and flare out the material such that it extends out 6 inches or so from the corner. Again, apply more pressure to the blade side that is further away from the corner so that you leave more mud nearer the outside corner.

Once the second coat has been applied let it sit overnight or until it is dry, prior to starting the final application of Joint compound. Make sure to completely clean off the taping knife, the mud easel and any other containers or instruments that have mud on them prior to finishing up for the day.

Applying the Final Coat of Mud

After the first coat has thoroughly dried, it is now time to apply the final coat of mud. It is this coat that requires the most artistry and the least amount of joint compound. Here you are simply applying a final skim coat to the already mudded areas.

Prior to applying the skim coat it is best to take your wide taping blade and lightly pass over the mudded surfaces. This will remove any bumps or ridges.

Again start with the ceiling seams and apply a small amount of joint compound using the broad taping knife. Again continue to flare out the seam by extending the mudded area such that about 6 inches resides on each side of the now invisible tape. Remember this is a skim coat so little mud is required. The purpose of this coat is to effectively fill in any lines or recessed areas.

After the seams have all been completed, apply a final coat of mud over the screw/nail dimples. With this second coat, flare out the mud over the dimples such that the diameter of the mudded area is about 6-8 inches in diameter.

For the corners use the broad taping knife and add just enough mud such that you can flare out the mudded surface area to about 8-12 inches, taking care to filling in any lines or dimples.

Once the final coat has been applied let it rest overnight or until it is dry,


Sanding is a very dusty and dirty mess so please uses goggles and a mask. I find it best to use a pole sander with an open screened sand paper material specifically designed for sanding sheetrock/drywall mud.

Lightly sand all of the taped areas, however concentrate sanding on the outer edges of the mudded areas such that all seams and ridges are eliminated and blend into the main surface areas.

Once sanding is complete, vacuum up the dust and you are ready for priming and painting the walls and texturing the ceilings.


House siding can be a large investment for your home so you want to make sure you're investing in the best. From wood, to fiber cement to vinyl, siding comes with many options. Competent siding contractors can help narrow down your choices that are right for you. 
You know your house might need various repairs and you've probably contacted a number of contractors for advice and price quotes, but how do you know which type of house siding is best? From fiber cement, to real wood, to engineered wood to vinyl, choices are nearly limitless. If you're confused about which type is right for you, consider these factors.
Watch Out For Delamination 
Delamination is a serious that happens with wood composite materials like the LP SmartSide siding. When delamination occurs, moisture can actually creep inside and underneath the panels. This moisture can cause mold and eventually rot the panels, causing structural damage to the home, including flooring and framing damage, drywall deterioration and more.
If you notice the beginning stages of delamination, you're in luck. It's better and less expensive to catch it in the early stage. Early warning signs of delamination include fungus, swelling, separation, mold or mushrooms.
Potential Problems With Vinyl Siding
Vinyl can be a great product, as long as you buy it smartly. Builder's grade vinyl siding is typically sold with a 0.4mm thickness and is often used on newer houses. Builder's grade is less durable than thicker versions and can fade in the sun or crack and dent in a storm. Because of that, it's not recommended if you're redoing and upgrading your house's exterior.
However, if you choose vinyl that's thicker and fully insulated with a high Resistance (R) value and have it professionally installed, like Alside’s Prodigy siding you can enjoy a nearly maintenance free home exterior and save money on your heating and cooling bills each year.
Consider Fiber Cement Instead
Fiber cement house siding is considered to be one of the best values when it comes to a home's exterior. James Hardie Fiber cement is made up of wood or cellulose fiber, cement, sand and water. Although there are a number of companies that offer fiber cement materials, look for one that guarantees its products not to warp, delaminate or rot. This material can be five times thicker than vinyl siding and can withstand winds up to 150 MPH, hail and more.
Additionally, some manufacturers further customize their product for specific regions, ensuring homeowners are receiving the best for their specific home. Because a home that withstands the heat of Austin, Texas has different needs than a home that deals with extreme cold in Chicago, Illinois, some manufacturers have separate types of material, based on location. This allows a home's exterior to perform better, regardless of where it's located, while still allowing the house to have an authentic cedar appearance.
Finding Qualified Siding Contractors
Making changes to a house's exterior can be a big job. Some homeowners may be tempted to drive to a local big box home improvement store and complete the job themselves. Because so much is riding on this project, it's a good idea to instead find and interview contractors in your local area. Ask what types of materials they use and be wary of any siding contractors who only offer builder's grade vinyl or composite material that may delaminate. If you're spending the money on this type of project, you want to do it once and that means doing it right.

Exterior home painting brings out the best in your home. But, to ensure a successful transformation, you have to find out the best time of starting the painting project. Learn why now is the best time to add a splash of color to your home.

Colors have the power to change the look and feel of your home. They can alter the personality of a home from dull, dreary to warm and welcoming. Colors guarantee beautiful home transformations. But, for the best transformation, you have to choose the best time.

What are the Best Exterior Home Painting Months?

Usually, late spring and summer are the most popular months for exterior home painting. The reason behind is that the low moisture and warm temperature allows the paint to cure properly. It means it is easy to apply the paint and it stays longer as well.

1. Temperature

Paint manufacturers recommend a minimum temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit. However, there are premium paints available in the market that you can use in temperatures as low as 35 degrees. Remember that if you are using latex-based paints instead of oil-based options, the temperature should be between the range of 50 degrees and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Fluctuations in Temperature

Fluctuations in temperature can create havoc! You may consider the day temperature before starting the painting project. But, you have to consider the fluctuations as well. If the days are warm and pleasant, but the nights are cold and chilly, the painting results will be far from satisfactory. The paint will start to peel off or leave ugly cracks forcing you to redo the entire work.

3. Moisture

A dry surface is prerequisite for any painting job. And, when you are considering exterior home painting, it becomes absolutely non-negotiable. If you paint after a rain or snow fall, the paint will not stick to the surface properly. You may not find the exterior wall or siding wet but porous surfaces such as wood and brick can retain moisture and create problems while painting. So, it is best to paint in dry summer weather.

Before beginning exterior home painting, ensuring the right weather becomes a crucial task. You must choose the best time for starting the painting work because it will guarantee durable results and help you to increase the curb appeal of your home. If you fail to do so, you will be stuck with a dreadful painting job.

Painting the exterior of your home doesn’t end with choosing the best painting colors. For the best transformations, you require to hire the best painter and choose the best time for beginning the painting project. So, get ready for exterior home painting and begin the transformation now!


The purpose of this article is to discuss window replacement. Specifically, the benefits of window replacement will be elaborated on.
Are you sick and tired of your energy bill constantly going up every month, especially during the summer? Have you recently had damage to your windows and haven't yet committed to having it repaired or replaced? Or, are you currently entertaining new ideas to enhance the exterior appearance of your home through remodeling? If any of the previously mentioned scenarios are relevant to you, then it sounds like you are in the market for new windows. It is the intention of this article to discuss 3 reasons you should consider a window replacement through the discussing the benefits and potential hazards that can be averted by doing so.
The first and perhaps most obvious reason to consider a window replacement is to reduce high energy costs. Very few people realize that their windows are a significant contributor to their energy costs every year. This is particularly true if you have windows that don't offer adequate heat protection from the sun's rays. As a result of such, you may be causing your air conditioning units to work harder than they should, subsequently driving up your energy costs during the hot summer months. With energy efficient windows, you would be able to save significantly from month to month not only during the hot summer months but also during the winter as well by maintaining a comfortable indoor environment.
Another reason to consider a window replacement is to prepare for the winter weather. This is particularly relevant for those individuals that live in places with extreme winter weather. In fact, harsh weather can be devastating to your windows as a result of the extreme temperatures and its accompanying precipitation thereby causing cracks and other damage, particularly in already weak windows. More sturdy new windows can protect you and your family from the harsh winter weather before it's too late.
The third reason to consider a window replacement is for remodeling purposes. Whether you are looking to upgrade your home for yourself or so that you can sell it, new windows are a great way to draw attention to the property, in a good way. Not only can new windows increase the aesthetic value of the home, but they can also enhance the feel of the home, especially if windows of a specific style are added in the home, resulting in more or less light in a room, depending on your desires.
Regardless of whether you are in need of new windows as a result of an existing problem or you are simply looking for an easy way to enhance the exterior appearance of your home, window replacement should be a viable solution worth looking into. In doing so, you will be able to realize benefits that can and will contribute to a more efficient and perhaps more comfortable living experience. Specifically, 3 reasons to consider new windows can include reducing high energy costs, preparation for the winter weather and for remodeling purposes.





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