Friday, August 1, 2014

Happy Birthday Mike Holmes 2014!

Mike's birthday is August 3. So why am I posting this on August 1? Simply this, because August 3 is a Sunday this year, and also because I'm currently out of town right now attending a family event and I'm not sure if I'll have the chance to post this on Sunday!

I had so much fun making this video, which is my birthday gift to Mike. It got a little stressfull there at the end as we were trying to beat a thunderstorm that was rolling in from the south, but we got out of there just in time! Mike does so much to help other people, through not only his work on houses, but also by educating people to make better choices. He's taught me and inspired me so much over the years, I just wish there was a bigger way to give back!

We here at the Holmes Spot want to wish Mike the happiest of birthdays! We wish Mike nothing but health and happiness this next year and for many years to come. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Mike Holmes: Caring For the Outside of Your Home

In most places around the world, summer can bring on some pretty unique weather conditions such as extreme heat and rain. Where Mike lives in Canada, the late summer is a great time to do outdoor maintenance and yard projects because it's typically drier, and the best time to do landscaping and outdoor work is when it's nice and dry. If you plan on doing some outdoor landscaping projects, Mike wants you to know that now is the perfect time to do them. Landscaping and grading are more than just for show. When properly utilized, they help to divert water away from your home's foundation. The outside of your home needs just as much maintenance as the inside, because the outside protects the inside.
From the Montreal Gazette:

Mike Holmes: A home’s outside needs as much care as its inside

By Mike Holmes, For Postmedia News July 31, 2014 10:44 AM

Homeowners should work on outdoor projects and landscaping jobs until the end of fall to take advantage of dry weather.

A lot of you might be wondering if it’s too late to landscape around your home. Absolutely not.
There are plenty of projects you could and should be doing around your home’s exterior. And the optimal time for outdoor projects and landscaping is dry weather, so take advantage of it. Plus, some jobs — such as painting, staining, or putting polymeric sand in between interlocking — can be done only in dry weather.
If you’ll need to hire a contractor for an outdoor project, such as interlocking or re-grading, don’t wait until fall because a one-week project can easily be stretched to two weeks due to bad weather. The contractor will also need enough time to get the job done before cold, wet weather moves in.
In some cases it might already be too late to hire a pro, but it is possible — although you could be looking at a November start date.
You can do most landscaping projects up to the end of fall, but one thing you should get done by October is any pool work.
Some homeowners think they can handle most outdoor projects themselves. But a bad job outside can cause plenty of problems inside. The No. 1 problem I see from amateur landscaping work is compaction. People always underestimate how long it takes for soil to compact. It can take hundreds of years. Don’t think you can do it over one weekend.
Let me give you an scenario. Say you’re doing some interlocking and you lay down a bed of dirt and gravel. Most people think that they can rent a compactor for one day and compact 30.5 centimetres (12 inches) — to save some money — use it for four hours and then bring it back to the store. On average the most you can properly compact in a day with most compactors is about 5 to 7.6 cm (two to three inches).
What happens if you do it wrong? The soil will sink over time and water can pool or even go directly to the foundation.
Proper construction loves stable ground. It helps stop water from getting into places where it shouldn’t, such as around your home’s foundation or in the basement. That’s why I don’t recommend planting right up against the foundation.
For one thing, when we plant we disturb the soil, allowing water to penetrate — and that’s not good for your home. Two, if the soil is built up the way most gardens tend to be, that little mound of dirt will drive water to exactly where you don’t want it — your foundation. And three, when watering the plants you are directing water right to the exterior of the basement; if there is a crack, water can penetrate.
Your home’s No. 1 enemy is water. That means your primary job is to prevent water from getting into it. The landscaping around your home is meant to do this, not just give your home curb appeal. That means proper grading, keeping trees and shrubbery away from the perimeter of your home, and making sure water is constantly being directed away.
Some simple things every homeowner should do is regular yard maintenance, such as raking leaves that fall — especially in eavestroughs, and around interlocking stone to prevent weeds next year. Leaves that sit underneath the snow all winter long will rot and provide the perfect food source for weeds come springtime.
Remember, the outside of your home needs maintenance just as much as the inside, if not more. What you do outside will protect the inside, and landscaping is part of that.
Watch Mike Holmes on Holmes Makes It Right on HGTV. For more information visit

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Mike Holmes For Filtrete - New Video

For the past couple of years, Mike Holmes has been a spokesman for 3M Filtrete brand air filters. As most fans know, Mike Holmes doesn't just push products. He only approves products he believes in and personally uses. In this new product demonstration video, Mike talks about how using Filtrete brand air filters can help improve the indoor air quality in your home.

For more information about Mike Holmes and 3M Filtrete, see the following Holmes Spot blog entries:

Mike Holmes Filtrete Brand Filter Campaign
Mike Holmes and Filtrete Filters - Video
Mike Holmes at HavenConf

Monday, July 28, 2014

Happy Birthday Mike! Video Preview

Every year for the past couple of years, The Holmes Spot does something nice for Mike on his birthday. This means every year I have to think about something fun, creative and thoughtful to help make Mike's birthday special and show him how much his fans appreciate all that he does! Yesterday, I spent the better part of an afternoon filming Mike's birthday present. The shoot even involved a small hike up the side of a mountain! The entire time we were filming, a thunder storm was rolling in from the south. We managed to finish only moments before the storm hit. What great timing!

Mike's birthday is next week, August 3! Tune into The Holmes Spot blog to see Mike's birthday video in action! You won't want to miss it!!! Here's one of our outtakes from yesterday:

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Mike Holmes For Amvic Amdry Subfloors

It's always exciting when Mike Holmes announces another Holmes Approved product. It's even more exciting when Mike takes the time to make a video and demonstrate the product. Amvic Amdry Insulated Subfloors have been a Holmes Approved product for quite some time. In fact, when I was at the International Builder's Show this February in Las Vegas, I snapped this photo at the Amvic booth:

These innovative insulated panels are water, mildew, and vapor resistant, and install easily and quickly. Their unique design allows the wood to expand and contract naturally without buckling. Pretty smart! Mike thinks so, and so does his daughter Sherry! Best yet, you can put pretty much any floor on top of it, from carpet to laminate or wood. This product is so easy to install, in fact, that Mike approves this as a  DIY project, which as most people know is a rarity. See for yourself:


PS-- America's Most Trusted Contractor... I can't help but love it!!!



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

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

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:


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.