Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Holmes Makes It Right Season 2 - US Premiere 7/22/14

As I type this, we are only moments away from the US premiere of Homes Makes It Right Season 2. I've got my TV on and my DVR set to record the very first episode, "House Sandwich" which originally aired on HGTV Canada on September 24, 2013. I'm excited, are you? Critique to come...

Monday, July 21, 2014

Which Siding Are You On?

99% or more of the houses in the area where I live are stucco, and almost none are brick. However, the house I grew up in surprisingly enough did have aluminum siding, which is pretty rare for my area. My folks still live in that same house and still have aluminum siding, although about 5 years ago they had the old icky stuff replaced with newer, more modern looking siding. Not all siding is equal according to Mike Holmes in the article below. There are many advantages and drawbacks to pretty much any product you choose for your home. The trick is to pick the option that best fits your situation. Wood siding or "clapboard" is probably the most economical and environmentally friendly option. However, clapboard is by no means maintenance free and requires painting or staining in order to prevent it from deteriorating. Aluminum siding is pretty much maintenance free, however, as with my folks home, the product does get old and worn and ugly after awhile. It can also dent and scratch. Vinyl siding is also an alternative. It looks better than aluminum siding, however it's a plastic product, which means it's not very environmentally friendly and it can burn very quickly, releasing toxic fumes. Lastly, there is another option for siding: cement fiber board. Cement fiber board is essentially wood fibers held together with cement. It's a great choice for pretty much any climate, however, it's rather pricey and tricky to install. Regardless of what option you choose, it's important to do your homework and hire a knowledgeable and experienced professional who knows how to install the product.


From the National Post:


If your home needs new siding, start planning now.
Siding or cladding protects your home from the elements — especially precipitation — making it less vulnerable to mould, rot and all their related issues.
When it comes to materials, the three leading contenders are usually aluminum, vinyl and fibre cement board.
In the past, siding was made from wood and it was called clapboard, which is just painted wood cladding; it’s still around today. But wood requires maintenance, and so clapboard needs to be painted every couple years. Even stained wood siding needs restaining.
Some wood siding products come with a 50-year warranty against decay, or a 15-year warranty on the stain, as Maibec does. I've used Maibec on a lot of projects and I like what I see. But this is a superior product that not every homeowner can afford.
So people started looking for an alternative to clapboard to save time and money. That led us straight into the age of aluminum siding, which became popular because it was basically maintenance-free, durable and cheaper than wood. It was also textured to look like clapboard, so homeowners weren't shocked by it.
But aluminum dents and scratches, and the finishing fades. Homeowners wanted a product that wasn't just maintenance-free but looked a little more sophisticated, too.
Enter vinyl, which is now one of the most popular exterior siding materials. It’s usually installed over a brick veneer. You don’t want vinyl siding near the ground — it’s more likely to crack and develop mould.
But even when it doesn't touch the ground, vinyl siding can become brittle and crack, exposing the sheathing below to moisture. Strike one. After all, it’s a plastic product, which brings me to strikes two and three: It’s not environmentally friendly, and it’s a fire hazard.
It would take only five minutes for flames to spread from one vinyl-clad house to its neighbour six feet away. And once vinyl starts to burn it is very toxic.


Then there’s fibre cement board. It’s made to look like wood and it’s just as expensive, sometimes more, but it’s made from a mixture of cement, sand and cellulose fibres.
The great thing about fibre cement board is that it won’t crack, burn or rot; it will last for years and is really good at protecting your home against water and extreme climates. But there are a couple of drawbacks.
It’s expensive, and difficult to cut and install — you must hire a pro with plenty of experience working with and installing it, which could cost you more in labour.
Plus, when cutting fibre cement board the area needs to be well-ventilated and you must wear a respirator.
No matter what type of siding you choose, installation is key to its durability and performance. I’ve seen jobs done with the best siding products money can buy, but poor installation led to rot and mould everywhere. Also, a siding warranty can be voided if the product is improperly installed.
The right installation usually means installing weather-resistant house or building wrap over the sheathing, below your exterior cladding — vapour permeable on the exterior walls, so moisture can escape, and impermeable around windows and door jams so moisture can’t reach the structure below.
Vertical strapping is added on top of the sheathing. This allows for air movement, so any water that gets in behind the cladding can evaporate. The last step is the exterior siding.
The right products help make your home better and healthier, but you also have to hire the right professionals to install them so they stand the test of time. It’s all part of making it right.
Watch Mike Holmes on Holmes Makes It Right on HGTV. For more information visit makeitright.ca.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mike Holmes: Staying Cool in the Pool

An in-ground pool is a luxury I've never had in my own backyard, despite living in a very hot arid climate where average summer temperatures range between 110 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit. I've always heard pools are a lot of work, and are quite expensive to maintain, a sentiment that Mike Holmes confirms in the article below. Love 'em or hate 'em, spending money on a pool should always come second to maintaining home essentials, such as your roof or foundation. If you do decide to put a pool in your backyard, be prepared to invest some time and money into maintaining it.. Pools are anything but maintenance free. Cracked concrete and leaks are issues that warrant immediate attention to prevent major costly damage. Bottom line -- know what you're getting into and do your homework before investing in a pool.
 
From the Montreal Gazette:

Mike Holmes: Are pools more pain than pleasure?

 Depends on the state of your home and your budget

Duraroc has a rubber-surfacing material that is resistant to mould and mildew.

I love pools.
But they’re expensive, and that’s not just the installation but also maintenance and heating costs. Not to mention your home’s electrical will need to be upgraded to 200 amps. (Most new homes have 100-amp service, and older homes typically have as little as 60 amps.)
That’s why there aren’t too many homebuyers out there falling over themselves trying to buy a house with a pool.
If it’s a smart investment you want you will be better off putting that money toward a new roof, windows, upgrading the electrical wiring, finishing the basement or renovating the kitchen — these are things that all homebuyers can appreciate, especially if it can save them money in the long run.
In fact, pools are often a limiting factor in selling your home. Don’t install one thinking it will increase your home’s value.
And I will always recommend taking care of the essentials — such as the foundation or building envelope — first before thinking about getting extras like a pool. Any money spent on a pool is a huge waste if your house is falling apart or your energy bills are through the roof
However, if you’ve done your homework, kept up with your home’s maintenance and you have the budget, a pool can make sense — especially if the plan is to stay in the same house for many years.
But like I said, a pool requires maintenance. You can’t put one in and forget about it. If the concrete on the pool deck starts to crack or the lining has a leak it’s time to call a swimming pool professional.
When a pool liner leaks, the water has to go somewhere, and it will get in behind the lining and start to rust the pool wall. If that happens, the entire lining has to be removed and replaced, and if the rust is bad enough your contractor will have to grind the entire wall. A pro will then use a pre-galvanized paint primer or rust-inhibiting paint and paint the whole pool to protect the walls from future rust.
Replacing a pool liner is usually a two- to four-week job — three to four weeks during peak season, which is spring and summer.
A professional swimming pool service provider will come in, remove the liner, check out the pool, make any necessary repairs, and take measurements to send to the pool liner manufacturer because all pool liners are custom. It can take a minimum of four to five days before the new vinyl liner gets delivered.
When it comes to the pool deck you have options. Duraroc has a rubber surfacing material that is a very good solution for worn pool decks. It’s resistant to mould and mildew and can go right over the coping or plastic lip of the pool. It can pretty much cover everything but bare metal.
After 24 to 48 hours this product is so solid you will need a jackhammer to remove it. And because it’s rubber, it moves with the concrete underneath it, so you don’t have to worry about cracking. Remember: concrete shifts and heaves thanks to freezing and thawing cycles.
For anyone who has a pool, the best time to start thinking about maintenance is at the end of the season. Get a pro to take a look at your pool at the end of summer so they can talk to you about your options and budget. That way you can start planning ahead instead of being blindsided by maintenance costs come next summer.
Watch Mike Holmes on Holmes Makes It Right on HGTV. For more information visit makeitright.ca.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mike Holmes Interview on George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight - 7/14/14

On Monday, July 14, the interview with Mike Holmes that was filmed way back in March of this year finally aired on the hit Canadian late night talk show George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight. Mike is pretty boisterous during interviews, and is never shy to make a candid confession here and there. For instance, did you know Mike dabbled as a thespian when one of his favorite teachers selected him to play the Artful Dodger in Oliver! a play based on the Dickens novel Oliver Twist. Well Mike Holmes, consider yourself lucky that YouTube and cell phone cameras did not exist when you were 13 years old! Mike also discusses some ideas he's been mulling around in his head for new shows, including a show featuring his kids and other young contractors. The purpose? To show young people that you can make good money working in the trades, and that it is a viable career option.

Here's the full interview:



Pictures:





Saturday, July 12, 2014

Mike Holmes at HavenConf

On July 11, Mike Holmes made an appearance in Atlanta, Georgia at HavenConf, a DIY/blogger conference designed for people to come together and learn from their collective knowledge of DIY. Despite a delayed flight, Mike appeared at the conference courtesy of 3M and discussed how to make homes healthier with Filtrete, answering questions Tweeted to @Filtrete using #healthierhome. After answering questions, the ladies lined up to meet Mike -- I'm not kidding about that, there are a TON of lady bloggers! I would know because I'm one of them. Mike encourage people to take photos with him and tag them with #ISawMikeHolmes for a chance to win some serious swag. For more information, see Mike Holmes in Atlanta Georgia at Haven Conference.


Photos:


 





Friday, July 11, 2014

Mike Holmes on George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight

In March of this year, Mike Holmes sat down on the red couch for an interview with George Stroumboulopoulos. The interview was filmed in March and is scheduled to air next Monday, July 14.

Pictures from last March:




 
 
Here is a preview of Mike's appearance, released today: 




Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Mike Holmes in Atlanta Georgia at Haven Conference

Mike Holmes announced today that he would be in Atlanta, Georgia at Haven Conference, a DIY/blogger conference designed for people to come together and learn from their collective knowledge of DIY. The event will be held at Haven Conference will be held at the Crowne Plaza Ravinia. From the Haven website:
"Haven is a two-day conference July 10-12, 2014 that will allow people to learn from and gather with some of the most notable DIY/Home bloggers in blogland. Conference sessions will focus on DIY instruction with a mix of blogging and social media."

Well sh*t, why didn't I know about this? That conference seems right up my alley! Mike announced on Twitter:


I will be at #HavenConf this week. Take a pic with #ISawMikeHolmes for a chance to win lots of gear. 4 more products: http://makeitright.ca/products.


So, if you plan on attending HavenConf, be sure to be on the lookout for Mike. You could win some cool stuff and get to take a selfie with the man, the myth, the legend himself!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Mike Holmes Teams Up With Bachly Construction

For a construction or renovation company, having the Holmes seal of approval is the ultimate gold star, signifying to the consumer that the company on the list stands for quality and integrity. It seems that yet another company has met Mike's stringent standard and has been folded into the "Holmes Approved" family. Bachly Construction is a 50 year old company with a "longstanding commitment to high-quality construction, durability, sustainability and design."
 
Read the announcement here:
 
Bachly Construction is Holmes Approved

Mike Holmes' nationwide search for industry-leading builders and "homes built right" led him straight to Bachly Construction—now an official Holmes Approved Homes Partner Builder

Bachly Construction is recognized for sustainability, quality construction, and luxurious design. Bachly Construction is distinguished for continually exceeding the expectations of clients and industry associates through their continued commitment to prompt, courteous, and efficient service.

Over the course of more than 50 years, Bachly has grown into a multi-faceted construction company offering services in Emergency and Restoration services, Custom Home and Cottage construction, and Commercial building. BachlyBachly Construction a befitting partner with Mike’s Holmes Approved Homes program.

The program sources only the best builders, contractors, products and materials in order to maintain the program’s strict construction standards, ensuring that every Holmes Approved Home is "built right from the ground up".

As an official Holmes Approved Builder, Bachly Construction is not only reinstating its longstanding commitment to high-quality construction, durability, sustainability and design, but also taking the next step in providing its clients with the added assurance that their investment is protected.

Through the new partnership, Mike Holmes Inspections will be conducting stage inspections on every Holmes Approved Home built by Bachly Construction, which includes on-site field reviews by fully trained and certified Mike Holmes Inspectors that document everything they see throughout critical stages of construction. This helps provide clients with some peace of mind in knowing that their home was built above industry standards, and the documentation serves as an asset should homeowners ever decide to re-sell.

Bachly Construction has always stood for quality construction, from the foundation to the finishing touches on every single one of their homes. But now, they are giving their clients the undeniable proof of the quality and value that exists behind their walls.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Deck Size Matters

When it comes decks, size matters (hehe). Sorry, I'm having a Beavis and Butthead moment here, and it's about to get worse (my apologies).
 
Everybody knows Mike Holmes has an amazing deck. In fact, there are pictures of Mike Holmes' deck all over the internet. Here are some pictures of Mike's big deck:
 


 

 
 

 
(Why do I suddenly feel like a 12 year old boy?) Enough with the puns already. Mike Holmes does have very beautiful and well built deck, designed by none other than Paul LaFrance of Cutting Edge Construction and Design. One of the features I notice is that the deck flows with the natural landscape of Mike's backyard. Notice the trees and how the deck seems work with and around them, giving the deck a tranquil one-with-nature kind of property. In the article below, Mike describes his ideal deck, one that's both fun and functional. As you read it, glance back up at the pictures above. Did Mike meet his own requirements for the ultimate relaxation, party, and entertainment space? I think so.
 
From the Montreal Gazette:
 
Mike Holmes: When it comes to your deck, size matters

Go for three tiers to make it right, and take your time


Mike Holmes cares because he knows the work he, his crew and others do makes a real difference to the people they help.

Photograph by: Alex Schuldt/The Holmes Group, Postmedia News

The ultimate deck isn’t just about the deck itself. It’s about design, where you’re putting the deck, privacy, material and what’s going on the deck.
I like a nice, low deck. Something that just ties into the landscaping. Less stairs, less worries about safety — makes sense.
We should definitely be using pressure-treated wood for the structure, which you can clad over with something like cedar. It’s an inexpensive way of getting the look you want, as well as using a product that lasts a long time.
You have a couple of choices for the cladding. Personally, I like cedar. Unfortunately, it is very expensive. And if you use cedar, you have to seal it every two years, as a minimum, to keep that wonderful cedar look and smell. Otherwise, it’s going to turn grey like any other piece of wood.
You can also use composite wood, Trex, or a man-made product for the cladding, which works very well — lasts a long time. You can even buy a composite that looks like cedar. That works for me.
Installation is going to be key. I’ve seen a lot of these products use plastic clips to screw it down — that’s an absolute no-no. The plastic tends to break. I would like to see a stainless steel clip. It will last longer.
Now, do you make a small deck or do you make a big deck? We always say it: Go big or go home. There’s no sense in doing it small if you’re going to do it right the first time. You make it big. Size does matter!
You can also have different tiers. Let’s say the main area is 0.6 metres off the ground, you can create another section that’s about 0.3 metres down, relatively 35 cm to 40 cm, so you get that proper stepping height. And tier that down and make that another area.
To me the ultimate is three tiers. One tier is the party/entertaining area — it’s the big area. The second area tiered-down would be the dining area. Your third area could be the relaxation area that has chairs or a couch.
And plan it. I remember doing my garage, and it took me three months to plan just how it was going to look — never mind what the inside was going to be. So this is your opportunity to make the ultimate deck by taking your time and thinking about it.
What do we like to do on a deck? We like to entertain. So you’ve got to have a barbecue area. And also, doesn’t that mean you should have a bar area? For the big guys out there — the men of the world — we want a bar. And this is something you can incorporate.
You can get a temporary bar that you take in and out for the season. You can put it away for the winter, in the garage or shed. Or you can have a built-in bar, and kitchen area with a barbecue — now that’s the ultimate!
By adding a bar, you get a seating area with bar stools — a nice U-shape or L-shape area that has a barbecue, sink, bar and fridge.
Also, you must have the relaxing area. It’s not just about the dining. It’s about … the hammock! Find a place for a hammock, because that’s the area you’re going to need after you’ve eaten and had a few drinks at the bar area.
Next, think about privacy. Having privacy walls are great, but what happens if you have 20 people over and it starts to rain? Add a nice covered area. That serves a few purposes: It protects you from the rain, provides shade and privacy, and it gives you a place to install lighting, so your deck can be lit from the top down, which looks great at night.
And let’s not forget some accessories.
All of the lighting on my deck is LED because they don’t use a lot of energy — just 12-volts — and they last. If you want to add a fire pit, it should be propane or gas. You will need to check your local Building Code to see whether or not you’re allowed to have a wood-burning fire pit. In most cases, you are not.
And don’t forget to check whether or not you need permits. That will be based on your deck height; whether or not it’s attached to the house; the utilities you will need to run, like plumbing, gas and electricity; and how close to the property line you have to go. Cover all your bases and you will have a home run.
Remember: Take your time, plan it right and build it right, so you don’t have to call me to fix it.
Watch Mike Holmes on Holmes Makes It Right on HGTV. For more information visit makeitright.ca.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Three Things You Didn’t Know About Mike Holmes (Unless You Read The Holmes Spot)

A few weeks ago, Mike Holmes had a super busy day promoting his latest and most comprehensive book to date The Holmes Manual (See Mike's Super Busy Day Promoting His New Book for more information and photos). Part of his super busy day included sitting down in front of a packed house for a live interview at First Canadian Place with Canadian Living's Brett Walther. Brett stated that he felt the need to "be prepared" to interview Mike. Gee, I wonder if part of his research was done right here on this blog? Maybe. Probably, thanks to Google. But what Brett couldn't prepare for was what a cool dude Mike Holmes turned out to be. During the interview he conducted, Brett learned three things about Mike that he hadn't known before. Here are the three things you probably didn't know about Mike Holmes, that is of course, unless you read the Holmes Spot.

From Canadian Living.com:

Three things you didn’t know about Mike Holmes

By Brett Walther

Mike Holmes and Brett Walther.
Mike and me. Unfortunately, a chambray tie was the closest thing I had to a matching pair of coveralls.
Photography courtesy of First Canadian Place.

Whether it’s reading their latest book, or re-watching the most recent episodes of their series, I’ve found that the key to giving a solid celebrity-designer interview is simply to be prepared.
What I wasn’t prepared for when interviewing Mike Holmes a few weeks back, however, was what a warm, funny and totally engaging guy he really is.
I had the opportunity to chat with Canada’s Most Trusted Contractor at First Canadian Place to celebrate the launch of his latest book, The Holmes Manual, and ended up learning (and laughing) just as much as the audience of 200 that joined us on the day.
Here are three of Holmes’s most candid revelations from our chat:

1. He landed his first TV gig—Holmes on Homes—by being loud. Back in 2001, Holmes was working behind-the-scenes on an HGTV program, and was overheard by a producer complaining (loudly) about shoddy construction practices and seedy contractors. Seeing the potential for a series, the producer had a cameraman follow Holmes around from job site to job site, getting a taste of his no-punches-pulled approach to home inspections, new builds and renos. The rest is history!
2. Brad & Angelina are really down-to-earth. Remember when Brad Pitt inadvertently triggered a trademark violation by branding his Hurricane Katrina aid endeavour, “Make it Right?” Turning an awkward sitch into an opportunity to help out, Holmes took his crew down to Louisiana to assist in the rebuild, and to raise the standard of hurricane-proof homes. While there, he met both Pitt and Jolie, and was struck by how normal they were. Who knew?
3. He doesn’t think of himself as a celebrity. I specifically asked Holmes if he can still do normal things himself, such as getting his own groceries. Although he’s quick to deny his celeb status, and still does the same daily errands as the rest of us, he admits it takes him longer. “I’ve answered 100 questions since I got out of bed this morning,” he laughs, noting that the simple act of getting his Tim Horton’s fix takes a lot longer when he’s recognized.


Got a question for Mike? It’s probably answered in his latest book, The Holmes Manual (Harper Collins, 2014, $35)—a compilation of his most frequently asked questions!