Friday, July 24, 2015

Home Free -- Before and After Pics of House #1

I hope you all caught the premiere of Home Free, Mike Holmes' brand new show which airs Wednesday nights at 9 PM on FOX. During the episode, all 9 couples worked to renovate a dilapidated home for a deserving family under the watchful supervision of Mike and his crew. As it turned out, the deserving family ending up being the one couple eliminated by Mike at the end of the show. Just how dilapidated was the house that the couples worked on? Check out these before and after photos posted on the FOX website! From the looks of it, the couples did a fantastic job and helped to create a beautiful home!






















Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Secret to Hiring the Perfect Contractor

In case you didn't know, Mike Holmes has been a contractor for well over 30 years, so it's safe to say that Mike knows a little about how to hire a good contractor. Perhaps more importantly, Mike's seen the emotionally and financially devastating consequences of hiring a bad contractor and has built his career around making it right for those burned by so-called professionals who don't care enough or know enough to do the job right. Unfortunately for the vast majority of us, the chances of getting on one of Mike's shows is slim to none, so it's important to know how to hire a good contractor (and avoid the bad ones) before you start a renovation project. In this video posted by Home Free FOX, Mike gives his "secrets" to hiring the right guy for the job. If you've seen any of Mike's shows or have picked up one of his best selling books, you've probably heard this advice before. There's really no magic in hiring the perfect contractor - it's all about slowing down and using your head.



Want to know the secret to hiring the perfect contractor? Mike Holmes has a few tips & tricks for you!
Posted by Home Free FOX on Thursday, July 23, 2015





Home Free Premiere Episode - Review and Recap

Last night, the premiere episode of Mike's latest show aired on the FOX network. He promised it would be big, and I'm happy to say Mike delivered! Home Free is probably the biggest and most life changing reno-reality show on TV. It's also Mike's first whole-hearted jaunt into the US market. So how did Canada's most trusted contractor do south of the border? This American blogger thinks that Home Free is exciting, fast paced, and bursting at the seams with Mike's over the top personality. The show features 9 couples who work together and against each other to win their dream home in Atlanta, Georgia. After five days of hard work in the sun and the rain renovating a dilapidated house inside and out for a deserving family, one couple who doesn't meet Mike's stringent standards for quality gets eliminated from the competition. There is a twist however - every show has to have a twist! In true Mike Holmes fashion, no one goes home empty handed. At the very end after all the other contestants have been carted away, it is revealed to the eliminated couple that the home they worked so hard on belongs to them. Feelings ensue and the reaction is nothing short of TV gold.

Although almost everybody's favorite moment of the show is where the two teachers Jamaal and Sheena went from utter devastation to pure ecstasy after they found out that they would be receiving a new home, my favorite moment is a little different. I actually prefer the moment in the show when Kate was wildly swinging a sledge hammer and Mike flipped out, sending her outside to think about what she had done. If you've ever watched Mike's shows in the past, you know that Mike is all about safety, and I thought it was funny that if you don't work safely, Mike's going to put you in time out!

By the way, you can watch the entire premiere of Home Free on the Home Free FOX Facebook page.




Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Premiere of Home Free on FOX

Tonight is the big night we've all been waiting for! Mike's brand new reality show on the FOX network premieres tonight -- in fact, it's already premiered on the east coast, and it's currently airing on the west cost right now! I'll be posting more about tonight's episode tomorrow.

Earlier today, Mike was in LA doing some press on Good Day LA talking about his new sure-to-be-a-hit-show Home Free. You can watch Mike's segment on the show here.




Pictures from Mike's appearance:






Tuesday, July 21, 2015

It Feels Great To Be Back!

Hello everyone! I've been gone for a while, but there's a reason why, and I'd like you all to meet the reason why I've stepped away from this blog for the last couple of months. I'd like you all to meet Madison, my beautiful baby girl.


Mike has been doing some incredibly awesome and exciting things, and I've been doing my best to follow them all, with a newborn on my hip. I finally feel like it's time to come back and start blogging again, especially with Mike's new FOX reality show premiering tomorrow! More to come...

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Mike Holmes: The Proper Way to Sand and Stain Your Deck

Many of us live a very urban lifestyle and long for the simplicity of nature. There's no better way to reconnect with nature than incorporating natural materials in our everyday lives. A wood deck is a beautiful way to create a natural and tranquil environment that's perfect for relaxation, but wooden outdoor surfaces require constant maintenance to keep them looking good. Wooden decks need regular washing, sanding, and staining to protect their surfaces from the elements. In the article below, Mike goes into detail about the proper way to maintain a wooden deck, and believe me, Mike knows first hand how much work goes into deck maintenance. Just check out a recent photo of Mike relaxing on his own cedar deck:



Mike's rules for staining a deck right? If you don't know what you're doing or can't do it safely yourself, hire a pro to do it. Don't use clear or translucent stains in areas that get a lot of traffic. Last but not least, use the right tools for the job -- get a proper stain brush! Decks should be power washed, sanded, and stained as often as mother nature dictates to keep your wooden surfaces protected and looking their best.


From the National Post:

Mike Holmes: How to sand and stain your deck — the proper way

I’ve heard a lot of talk about outdoor wood structures and maintenance. Some people might tell you that if you go with something expensive, like cedar, that you don’t need to stain it — that it weathers to a natural grey-looking colour. But I know I wouldn’t want my wood going grey, especially not after spending so much money on it. Before it does, make sure you protect it properly.

I’ve spoken to a lot of pros over the years and they all agree on one thing: If you have wooden structures on your property, whether that’s a deck, shed or fence, they require maintenance, no exception.

All wood, except manufactured products like composite wood — even pressure-treated lumber — need to be sanded and stained. If you want it to last, you have to put in the time and some elbow grease.

Here’s how the pros handle their wood:

1. Start with a pressure washer. If you’re working on a softer wood, such as pine, spruce or cedar, be careful with the pressure washer setting (you want to use the wide fan) and how close you hold the wand to the wood surface, because a pressure washer can damage a softer wood. Test it out first on a spot that’s hidden. If you see that the wood fibres start to lift, back off.

If the wood surface has a lot of old product on it, you might need to use a stain or paint remover. Follow the instructions and use protective gear if you go this route, but try to avoid using harsh chemicals if you can. This is also a good time to use an anti-mildew treatment. Go with one that’s biodegradable. After it’s been washed, let the wood dry for at least a couple of days.

2. The next step is sanding, but make sure there is no chance of rain. If the wood gets wet after it’s been sanded, but not before it’s been stained or painted, it’s back to square one — you’ll need to wash and sand it again.

Some homeowners will want to rent a big floor sander to do a large wooden surface like a deck floor. Don’t do that. These machines are heavy and they won’t be able to reach the entire surface of most wooden planks. Floor sanders can only sand surfaces that are perfectly flat, and deck boards are slightly curved. That means it will take off too much in some sections and not enough in others.

Unfortunately, the only way to do it right is by hand with a belt sander, palm sander and sanding sponge — not to mention the proper safety gear, too, such as safety eyewear and respirators. If you can’t do it safely yourself, hire the pros.

Pros start with a belt sander using a heavier grit belt (something like 50) working backwards on the boards. Then they’ll use a palm sander for the areas the belt sander couldn’t reach; followed by a sanding sponge wrapped in sand paper for the areas the palm sander couldn’t reach. Then they’ll repeat that process using a lighter grit (60/80). This leaves a nice, smooth surface that will take the stain consistently.

3. Finally, it’s staining time. The general rule is the thicker the stain, the better the protection.

Clear coats provide no protection; so don’t waste your money. Translucent or semi-transparent stains are also very thin; you will need to reapply every year. For smaller structures, such as an arbour or a pergola, it might not be a big deal, but for larger surfaces such as a wooden deck, you’ll want to go for something thicker that lasts longer.

For maximum protection, use a solid stain or paint, at least on the surfaces that get the most wear and tear. Then you can have a more natural-looking stain on the other areas.

And always use a proper stain brush!

How often do you need to do this? It depends. I’d say at least once every two years, but Mother Nature has her own agenda. If the next time it rains, water beads and pools on the wood, that means it still has some protection. If it doesn’t, it’s time for some maintenance.

Watch Mike Holmes on Holmes Makes It Right on HGTV. For more information visit makeitright.ca.


Monday, May 11, 2015

Mike Holmes At the 2015 FOX Programming Presentation in New York City

As was announced earlier this month, Mike Holmes has been given the opportunity to host a prime time reality series on the FOX Broadcasting Network (home of the Simpsons, not the news network, although both are owned by the same parent company). The show will be called Home Free and gives nine deserving couples the chance to win their dream home. For more information about the series, see Mike Holmes to Host "Home Free" New Reality TV Series on Fox Network. Today, Mike Holmes was an attendee at the 2015 FOX Programming Presentation in New York City. The star-studded event was held at Wollman Rink in Central Park. The purpose of the event was for FOX to announce their new primetime series for the 2015-2016 season. Photos of the even were released today, and it appears Mike, whose entourage included his daughter Amanda, was all smiles.










Saturday, May 2, 2015

Mike Holmes: Don't Wait For Accidents To Happen

The month of May brings more than nice weather and flowers from all of those April showers. The month of May seems to inspire everyone to renovate and perform maintenance on their homes and yards. May is also Building Safety Month. In the past, Mike Holmes has served as an honorary ambassador for Building Safety Month, emphasizing that building projects be done with both health and safety in mind. In the article below, Mike implores homeowners to be proactive in preventing accidents by taking common sense measures such as wearing appropriate safety gear. Work gloves, safety glasses, and the correct footwear should never be optional when performing maintenance around the home and yard. Little safety measures could be the difference between a beautiful yard and a trip to the emergency room.


From the National Post:

Mike Holmes: Don’t wait for accidents to happen, prevent them

Mike Holmes, Postmedia News | May 2, 2015

May is a really big month in the world of construction and homes — everyone’s starting to work on their house, either by doing some regular maintenance and landscaping or starting a reno. But no matter what type of work you decide to get done, make sure the results not only look good but also give you a safer, healthier home.

May is Building Safety Month and building safety is really about being proactive. Don’t wait for an accident to happen — prevent it.

The scariest story for me was when a small boy accidentally drank paint thinner that was in a water bottle. A contractor working on the house had left it behind. And, if you can believe it, the contractor took the homeowners to court because they wouldn’t pay him more! (Don’t worry, he lost.)

There are certain basic safety rules we must all follow when working on our homes, whether you’re doing the work yourself or hiring someone else to do it. That includes things like wearing work gloves and safety glasses. Years ago, I almost lost my eye because I wasn’t wearing my safety glasses.


When I was about 22 years old, I was cutting a piece of plywood on a table saw.

I saw a knot and I said to myself, “You should be wearing safety glasses.” I wasn’t. When it got to the knot the blade fired the plywood back, and it hit me right underneath my eye. Less than a centimetre higher and I’d be telling a different story. That was enough for me. From that day forward, I’ve used safety glasses all the time.


Also, use a respirator when sanding and there’s debris or toxic fumes in the air. Also, make sure there’s proper ventilation when painting — no exception — or when using gas-powered tools.

And don’t forget to wear proper steel-toe work boots when working outside, in your house or whenever there is the potential for injury. I know too many weekend warriors with broken toes and feet because they decided to garden wearing sneakers or sandals.

Also, keep the job site clean. I don’t care whether you’re just painting or doing a big demo — clean up as you go along, not just at the end of the day. It’s one of the simplest ways to prevent an accident. Let me give you an example.

When I was still renovating with my dad, I was working on this job where I was pulling drywall and ceiling tiles and throwing them on the floor. It wasn’t long before the entire floor was covered. My dad told me I should clean it up; I thought I’d do it later. I went to stand on a chair to reach something — not safe — and next thing I know I was on the floor with a nasty cut. Why did I fall? Because one of the chair’s legs was sitting on a piece of drywall that was covering a hole in the floor for the register.

So there are the basic safety protocols we should all follow when working around the house or when other people work on our homes. But building safety is also about taking care of home issues that have a direct impact on your health.

There are plenty of instances where keeping your home safe protects your health, too, whether it’s building to code so there’s proper ventilation and no dangerous fumes coming into our homes, using VOC-absorbing drywall or paint, or doing a radon test and addressing a radon problem if there is one. (Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in Canada, and first for non-smokers.)

A safer, healthier home should be at the top of everyone’s priority list — not just during May, but every day. Be safe: Hire the pros when you need them, and do what you can to keep your home healthy for you and your family. To me, that’s making it right!

Watch Mike Holmes on Holmes Makes It Right on HGTV. For more information visit makeitright.ca.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Mike Holmes to Host "Home Free" New Reality TV Series on Fox Network

Back in November of last year, Mike was in Los Angeles being courted by TV executives. He couldn't say exactly what he was up to, but he assured his fans that whatever it was, it was "big" and asked his fans to wish him good luck (See What's Mike Up To? Rumors and Speculations... for more information). As it turns out, "big" just doesn't seem like the appropriate word to describe Mike's most recent activities. It was announced today by both Fox Broadcasting and Mike Holmes that Mike is slated to host his very own prime time reality series this summer. The show entitled Home Free features couples competing to win their dream home by renovating a dilapidated home every week under the supervision of Mike. The catch? The couples will have to live in the homes 24/7 as they are renovated, meaning the better they do at the challenges Mike throws at them, the more comfortably they live. Home Free is set to air Wednesday nights at 9/8C starting July 22 on Fox. As most fans are aware, Mike Holmes is no stranger to reality show series. Besides Holmes on Homes, Holmes Inspection, and Holmes Makes It Right, which are sort of reality series, Mike has been a host judge on Canada's Handyman Challenge and its across-the-border sister spin-off All American Handyman. Although successful in their own rights, these HGTV and DIY Network series are small bananas compared to prime time on a major TV network. A show like this will undoubtedly expose Mike to a whole new and potentially much larger audience than anything he's ever done! It's a fantastic opportunity for him to spread his message far and wide and gain some much needed support for the trades.

From Fox.com:

ALL-NEW COMPETITION SERIES “HOME FREE”

BREAKS GROUND WEDNESDAY, JULY 22, ON FOX

Host Mike Holmes to Award the Winning Couple a Dream Home

FOX has ordered HOME FREE, a new competition series that will feature never-before-seen twists and plenty of surprises, as couples vie to win their dream home. From Relativity Television and executive producer Tom Forman (“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”), and hosted by famed professional contractor Mike Holmes (“Holmes on Homes®”), the eight-episode unscripted series breaks ground Wednesday, July 22 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

“HOME FREE is a ‘renovation’ of the home makeover genre and FOX is, without question, the right network to partner with,” said Tom Forman, CEO of Relativity Television. “We’re thrilled to have host Mike Holmes, the most legit name in renovation. He’s going to inspire our contestants, but also push them to the limit...and that’s a great thing. I’ve done some big shows, but this is the biggest, complete with all sorts of twists and turns you’ll have to watch to believe. We can’t wait to get renovating.”

“A home is way more than brick and mortar. So being part of this new series and partnering with FOX is truly exciting for me,” said Holmes. “I’m ready to break ground with these couples. It’s going to be a lot of sweat and tears but I promise you, all worth it in the end...trust me on this.”

On HOME FREE, nine deserving couples are challenged to revive one run-down home every week. During each episode, Holmes will present the couples with tasks designed to test and challenge the skills of these do-it-yourself enthusiasts. Holmes will be with the competitors every step of the way – picking apart their work and demanding they meet his high standards, while also sharing his expertise and guidance to help them reach new heights. But in a surprise twist, when the work is done for the day, the couples don’t have far to travel to get home…because not only must they work together to restore the home, they must all live together in the same dilapidated home 24/7. The more they accomplish, the better they sleep at night.

Each week, the couples with the best work will move forward in the competition, while the couple who didn’t perform up to code will face elimination. Eliminations will continue each week, until only two couples remain, who will fight to the finish to win their ultimate dream home.

Holmes is a professional contractor and the host and creator of the hit TV series “Holmes on Homes®,” “Holmes Inspection” and “Holmes Makes It Right.” After working in the building and renovation industry for more than 20 years, Holmes was asked to develop and host his own television series, “Holmes on Homes®,” which became an international success and broke ratings records, solidifying his career in television. With more than 30 years’ experience as a licensed contractor, Holmes has been able to use television as a tool to educate homeowners on how to manage a renovation; what to look for in contractors; the right products for the right job; proper home repair and maintenance; and their rights as homeowners.

HOME FREE is produced by Relativity Television and executive-produced by Tom Forman, George Verschoor, Trice Bartow, Brad Bishop, Andrew Marcus and Mike Holmes. The series will be distributed internationally by ELECTUS.

About Relativity Television

Relativity Television is one of the largest suppliers of television programming in the United States. Since its inception in 2008, Relativity Television has produced more than 1,000 hours of programming for more than 55 networks, including NBC, MTV, Showtime, A&E, Discovery Channel, Food Network and Disney Channel. In 2014, Relativity Television produced 45 series/specials, including ”Catfish: The TV Show” (MTV), “The Great Food Truck Race” (Food Network), “The American Bible Challenge” (Game Show Network) and ”All About Sex” (TLC).

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Mike Holmes on Celebrating Earth Day

Today is Earth Day, and as a leading voice for building cleaner and greener, Mike is all about making small decisions that add up to big change. What does it mean to build green? According to Mike, going green is more than choosing so-called green products. A product can claim to be environmentally friendly, but if it doesn't work, it usually ends up in the waste bin. Building with the environment in mind is more about choosing products wisely, and choosing products that will last and don't have to be replaced in a couple of years. It's also about choosing products that will save energy and cut down on heating and cooling costs. Using energy efficient windows and strategically placed awnings not only look great and increase the value and aesthetics of your home, they also save big bucks off your utility bills by reducing the amount of energy you consume. It's a win-win for everybody and a big win for the environment.

From the National Post:

Mike Holmes: Celebrate Earth Day year-round with good building practices


Earth Day is April 22, and it’s a good reminder for all of us to make greener choices to help save energy (which means more money in your pocket), reduce waste and have better, healthier homes. Because that’s what it’s about — going green but being smart about it.
I’ve seen many so-called “green” products that end up creating extra waste because they don’t work. But I’ve also seen many great, durable products that protect our homes, so we don’t waste materials but do increase our comfort.
One example is Schluter’s Ditra-Heat floor-warming system. It protects the integrity of your tiles, so they don’t crack and need to be replaced, protects your floor against moisture and mould, and has heating cables so your feet feel warm and toasty in the morning, using minimal energy — all pluses.
Ensuring a home is built with better construction is thinking green. When we improve the building envelope — windows, insulation, roof, foundation and exterior siding — we make our homes more weather resistant and energy efficient. When things last longer and we don’t have to throw them away and replace them with new materials, we keep garbage out of landfills and save the energy that’d be used having a new product manufactured and shipped.
There are plenty of changes that most homeowners can do to make their homes more green, for example, switching to LED lights and using solar-powered outdoor lights.
If you’re replacing your roof, you can recycle the old asphalt shingles and, if you can afford it, go with a metal roof. A metal roof will last a minimum of 50 years; it’s fire-resistant, helps you save loads in heating costs and looks good, too. (Some metal-roof products look like regular asphalt shingles.)
You can also use landscaping to help block out heat in the summer and cold in the winter. You can install awnings, which act like visors for your home. In some environments they can reduce heat gain by 55 to 77 per cent and save homeowners as much as 25 per cent on energy bills. Then there’s the big stuff all homes are eventually moving toward, such as using geothermal energy — the earth’s natural temperature — to help heat our homes and domestic water. We could also use greywater or rainwater to wash cars and water lawns, use solar energy to power our homes and solar lights to light them, or add a green roof to help manage storm water and increase insulation.
But these bigger changes that affect the structure and the mechanics of the home, and require incorporating new innovative systems, are more difficult for homeowners to do today, either because they’re beyond their budget or it’s too difficult to modify their homes to accommodate those changes.
That’s why bigger, greener changes need to come from the top down — from the industry (whether it’s a builder, renovator, architect or contractor) to the homeowner.
That might mean more builders offering “green” home packages, where everything that makes the house more durable and energy efficient is planned out and developed before the first shovel hits the dirt. Renovators can specialize in “green” renovations, where they take a house that might have been built 30 or 50 years ago and update it with all the latest systems so it uses minimal energy.
This is where energy-efficiency home inspections can also really make a difference, because they can help identify all the spots in your home that are losing energy — and money. These types of inspections include tests like the blower door test or thermal imaging to find heat loss.
Most homeowners I talk to want a home that’s energy efficient and healthy. If you told them they could power their home with a reliable and clean source of energy for just a fraction of what it costs them now, they would be on board.
But these changes have to make sense financially, environmentally and construction wise. And they need to be accessible to the average homeowner if we want to really make a change, make it right and make it count.
Watch Mike Holmes on Holmes Makes It Right on HGTV. For more information visit makeitright.ca.