Home: it's a word that connotes warmth and comfort. It's a place where most of us feel our safest and happiest. People spend billions of dollars a year upgrading and renovating their homes to be more comfortable and safer for the people inside. In this interview conducted by Media Planet, Mike Holmes talks about home safety, comfort, and security. When I had my home built a couple years ago, one of the first upgrades we included was pre-wiring for a security system. Of course, now technology has changed a little bit and many security companies are going wireless with no hard installation required. Whether or not you choose a traditional hardwired system or a fancy new wireless one, Mike Holmes stresses that functionality is what's really important. Mike also talks about the importance of renovating your home from the outside in. You can have the fanciest furniture in the world, the finest hardwood floors, and the most expensive kitchen cabinets money can buy, but what does it all matter if you don't have a good roof to protect everything inside? It's always better to build it right the first time using the right products then to have to rip everything out and start all over again because you have a major problem.
Holmes' sweet homes
Host and creator of Holmes on Homes and Holmes Makes It Right, Mike Holmes provides advice on renovating for comfort and safety.
Question: What advice/tips would you give to homeowners who want to improve the comfort and safety in their home?
Answer: Work from the outside in, not the inside out. Most people just think about getting the new kitchen, the new bathroom, finishing the basement. But what’s protecting everything? Your roof, your exterior walls, the foundation, the windows and doors. Put your money here first. Because if you have a problem on the outside of your home, you will definitely end up with a problem on the inside of your home. Why spend all this money renovating just to rip it all out to fix a problem that should have been fixed in the first place?
Q: When do security systems play a role in the home building process? At what point are they implemented?
A: When the wiring in the house is being done. A licensed electrician needs to do the wiring for the security system—it should have a back up and it should be hardwired. They will also need to pull data cables for security cameras, if that’s what’s included in the security system. Some homeowners make the mistake of leaving the security system stuff for the very end of the build. They think it’s part of the finishes. But it involves wiring, and that could mean cutting through drywall. You might as well get all the wiring done at once.
Q:How do home security systems increase the overall value of a home?
A: A home with a proper security system will have a higher resale value. But it also has a lot to do with the security system’s functionality—the different options it gives homeowners when it comes to securing their home. Can it tell you who’s at the door? When your kids get home? Can you monitor everything from your phone? Will it automatically alert police when the alarm goes off? These are important things homeowners need to think about when choosing the right security system for their home. Do your homework.
"This opens the doors wide open on what you can do to protect your home—now and in the future."
Q:Who are the leaders in the home safety and security industries? Who inspires you?
A: There are plenty of great companies; CISCO stands out. They specialize in home automation. Over the last year or so they’ve been focusing more on building automation. But the innovations they’re doing there is changing home safety and security. CISCO has really pushed the industry forward. Now you can lock your doors, control the temperature in your home, turn the lights on and off, control smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, turn off your appliances—all from your smartphone. This opens the doors wide open on what you can do to protect your home—now and in the future.
Are there any home renovation techniques that decrease the chance of a fire? Alternatively, can poor home renovation plans negatively influence fire safety within a home?
A: Absolutely. We now have fire-resistant products, like PinkWood. This is wood that’s been coated with a treatment that slows down fire ignition. So when we use PinkWood in the structure of a home, like in the framing and sheathing, it gives homeowners more time to escape a potential fire. A secondary lint trap is also a good idea. Dryer lint is a huge fire hazard. All you need is a spark or enough heat, like from a pot light, and you’ve got total ignition. But a renovation done wrong, like with faulty wiring, can definitely lead to a fire.
Q:Why is it important to consider the safety of your home when consumers are in the building and renovation process?
A: Because there are plenty of things that you can do during these stages that will make your home safer. You can use fire- mould- and moisture resistant products in the structure of your house. Install better windows that are more energy efficient and secure. For example, there are multipoint lock windows that have three locks on the inside, so they can’t be picked. You can also add a multipoint lock to your door, so it’s secured at four points instead of two. But once construction is done, you can only do the smaller stuff to make your home more safe.