Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Lien on Holmes

The Holmes Spot is once again jumping back into its time machine and traveling back in time to the year 2008. February to be exact. It was quite a fun and exciting time in the life of Mike Holmes - well, not sure about the "fun" part, but definitely exciting, and very, very busy. Not only was he being honored with an honorary doctorate of technology from the B.C. Institute of Technology, but the watershed episode of Holmes on Homes, the infamous "Lien on Me" special, was about ready to air. "Lien on Me" was two years in the making, and had such a profound impact on Mike that it inspired him to create his own charitable foundation, The Holmes Foundation, to prevent another "Lien on Me" type situation from ever occurring.

This 2008 article from The Vancouver Province goes into detail about that fateful episode, and even gives a few pointers underscored by Mike about how to avoid getting yourself into similar hot water. Enjoy! And dont forget... four, count 'em 1-2-3-4, days and counting until Mike's birthday surprise! You won't want to miss it!

Holmes turns nightmare into dream home

Last year, Mike Holmes received 65,000 letters pleading for his help.

Last year, Mike Holmes received 65,000 letters pleading for his help.
Holmes of HGTV's Holmes on Homes turns his critical eye on home renovations in his weekly series. Of those 65,000 sad cases, he says, "only 13 or 14 make it to the small screen."
The process of selection, he explains, ends up with his staff going to a handful of homes and videotaping the interior and exterior. From what he sees on tape, he says, he chooses "according to how much the owners need me and how much audiences can learn by seeing it on television."
The burly, no-nonsense Holmes was in town last week to receive an honorary doctorate from the B.C. Institute of Technology for his work in improving the building trades.
The Province caught up with him, on his cellphone, while he was taking a tour of BCIT's facilities.
There's a kind of "tell," he says, when he tours horror-homes. "If you see sloppy finishing you can guess that there's also trouble underneath."
On Feb. 28, one of the worst situations Holmes has encountered is the subject of a two-hour HGTV special. "I knew there was big trouble when I first saw the house. I was still in my truck in the driveway and the husband and wife were standing there crying. . . ."
At that time, he says, they were just begging to get an occupancy permit to move back in. "I told them it couldn't be saved."
Holmes doesn't mince words when talking about this home's "so-called renovator/contractor."
"He 'liened' them for $343,000 on top of the $219,000 initial cost. I've never seen anything so contaminated."
After satisfying legal concerns, the Etobicoke, Ont., house was levelled and Holmes started building the new house, calling the project "Lien on Me." In the process, he took the opportunity to build not only a solid house but a remarkable one.
"The (Feb. 28) show featuring this house will knock you off your feet. It was lots of work and time and money, but we put it all together -- it's energy-efficient beyond anything out there.
"Over the years I've seen the different shades of "green" efforts in making houses energy-wise. What we have done is put them all together."
Holmes says he chose to educate himself on what technologies were available before working with the architect. The knowledge and the products are all out there, he says, and it will get easier to find them and apply them.
"I say to people who want these innovations -- and I hope you do -- that if something goes wrong, you can't get an average contractor to fix it." When they are installed, he says, get a list of people to call for assistance. "Whatever you do, don't play with them."
Or you may find yourself writing a begging letter to Mike Holmes.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Alexisonfire Loves Holmes on Homes

I found this video on YouTube of an interview with a Canadian band I've never heard of, Alexisonfire. The interview was being conducted on MuchMusic, which is (I think?) sort of like the Canadian version of MTV. Regardless, one of the band members had a major man crush on Mike Holmes (who could blame him?) and of course loved to watch Holmes on Homes. Although the producers tried to get Mike on the show, he had prior obligations and couldn't make it  :(  However, someone else did show up... Mike's daughter Sherry Holmes! And she came bearing gifts, including some DVD's of her daddy's show, some t-shirts, a hat, and some signed swag. I'm so jealous!

Oh, and FYI, five days and counting until Mike's epic birthday present is revealed to the world!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Canada's Busiest Contractor - A Blast From The Past!

What can I say? It's been a pretty slow news week in the world of Holmes. There are no more playgrounds being built, and I'm eagerly awaiting Mike's birthday next week so that I can post his super awesome birthday present. Mike's also been taking a Facebook hiatus for the last week, which has kind of left a void of new content for the time being. But never fear! We here at the Holmes Spot have hopped in our time machine and traveled back in time to the year 2008. The article is from the Edmonton Journal, and discusses Mike's busy life as Canada's most trusted contractor. Not a whole lot has changed from then to now. Mike's still a pretty busy guy.

In 2008, Americans were just starting to get to know Mike through his show Holmes on Homes. Of course, today he's just as much of a hero here in the good ol' USA as he is up north. (In fact more than half of the readers of this blog are American!) And of course, Mike's biggest fan (me!) is American as well. It only goes to show what a few short years can do.

The article also talks about Mike's books and his side job as host of Handyman Superstar Challenge, the Canadian forefather of All American Handyman, which is ironically hosted by two Canadians (Mike and Scott McGillivary).
Get your flux capacitors in gear and enjoy this Holmes Spot BLAST FROM THE PAST...

Canada's busiest contractor

Canada's most trusted contractor is also Canada's busiest contractor.

Canada's most trusted contractor is also Canada's busiest contractor.
As if being inundated with requests to fix shoddily built homes on this side of the border didn't occupy enough of his time, Mike Holmes is filming two different shows for HGTV Canada, writing a second book, and being called upon to help Americans make sure that their homes are also up to snuff.
Somewhere else in his 24-hour days, Holmes is moving forward with his plans to build Holmes-approved new houses across the country and attempting to get more young people into the homebuilding sector.
Like the Energizer bunny, he just keeps on going and going and going.
After a number of successful appearances on the Los Angeles-originated Ellen DeGeneres Show -- he is the talk show's resident contractor having already helped one Ellen viewer who was left with a contractor on the run, a huge new mortgage, and construction bills piling up -- Holmes will soon pop up on ABC's 20/20 news magazine.
"I just got back from New York and was on 20/20, which will air at the end of September. They came here and filmed me here, I went there and filmed in the studio and I went to a homeowner's home devastated by a contractor," says Holmes. "It's all about how do you get into this position and how do you get out of it."
And Holmes notes that builders on the other side of the border can be just as bad as the ones that he finds problems with here.
"Most definitely, the home construction is just as bad there. I think the show is what makes everyone aware of it -- Holmes on Homes is climbing very fast in the States," says Holmes.
On this side of the 49th parallel, Holmes is busy filming a new season of Handyman Superstar Challenge with Jim Caruk -- he notes that they started with 20 contenders and on the first day there were just 10 left -- and season seven of Holmes on Homes. New episodes will debut in the beginning of October, with six new shows from season six followed by the beginning of season seven.
One of the highlights this year was a plan to take the Holmes on Homes crew across Canada and try to fix at least one home in each province, but to Holmes' chagrin that didn't come about.
"The whole hope was to go right across Canada, but we needed an extra $3 million to do it -- so we ended up settling to do four outside of Toronto. It's not what I wanted, but at least I got to do some (work) outside of Toronto," says Holmes. "It's too bad it wasn't more."
Two of those four shows have been filmed, the first in Saint John, N.B., and the second in Calgary. After shooting on Handyman Superstar Challenge wraps up, the Holmes on Homes team will head to Northern Ontario and then Vancouver to finish the four non-Toronto shows.
"When we filmed in Saint John, the mayor came out, and we got the red-carpet treatment. They gave me a 'building inspector of Saint John' award -- I could not believe the number of people that came to the site. In Calgary, the mayor came out and I got the key to the city, which was a hat," says Holmes, referring to the traditional white cowboy hat given to honoured dignitaries.
In between all this, he's about three-quarters of the way through penning his second book, which is about selling your current house and buying your next one.
"The first book (Make It Right, Inside Home Renovation) is doing phenomenal. It's still as strong today as it first came out. I wish I could give everyone in the country a book -- it's all about the homeowner, it's not about me," says Holmes.
But even with all this on his plate, Holmes continues to fight to get more women into the business and is working with Canadian colleges to get more young people into the construction trades.
"I have two full-time female apprentices on the show. They're very eager, very hard workers. I'm impressed with the women I've met across the country: electricians, carpenters. I love it. It's really going to wake up the men (in the industry) and keep them honest," says Holmes.
And as far as his mantra of doing it right and the stunning amount of shoddy construction work he has had to repair, Holmes had one last thing to add.
"I can't say it enough: you steal a pack of gum, you get arrested. If you steal $100,000 from a homeowner -- and just because you've done a week's amount of work -- the legal system says you can't be charged with fraud, which means you won't get arrested and nothing is going to happen with you," says Holmes. "Let's fix this now.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Holmes Makes It Right - "Mike At His Hands-On Best"

Mike's new show, Holmes Makes It Right, is ready and set to premiere on HGTV Canada on October 16, 2012. As of now, there are 9 brand new one-hour episodes that will feature Mike Holmes working "hands-on," and "strapping on a tool belt, and helping desperate homeowners," according to a press release written about the HGTV Canada fall line-up. The reason the new show is being marketed this way is, in my observation, to distinguish Holmes Makes It Right from Mike's previous show, Holmes Inspection, where Mike took a more hands-off approach, leaving the bulk of the "grunt work" to his crew. I think we the fans are happy to see Mike swinging a hammer once again. I enjoyed Holmes Inspection and getting to see Mike's protege Damon Bennett taking more of a leadership role, but nothing and no one can replace Mike. Simple as that. Can't wait to see Mike "Make It Right" once again!

Thursday, 26 July 2012
Highly anticipated brand-new and returning series are filling the fall schedule on HGTV Canada, bringing big entertainment, dynamic stories and compelling characters to Canadians. Featuring its refreshed on-air look, this fall HGTV is jam-packed with favourite celebrity hosts, new versions of international hit formats and enticing original series, all beginning the week of August 27.
HGTV's most trusted celebrity contractors Mike Holmes and Bryan Baeumler are giving homeowners the hands-on help they need in new and returning series. The second season of HGTV's successful Leave It To Bryan begins Thursday August 30 at 10pm ET/PT. Bryan is once again asking Canadians to give him their keys and their trust as he decides which part of their home gets renovated. Homeowners quickly find out that what they want and what they need may not be the same reno. The all-new Holmes Makes It Right finds homeowners whose houses, lives and finances have been brutally disrupted by unimaginable disasters. Beginning Tuesday October 16 at 9pm ET/PT, Mike takes on larger-than-life catastrophes that would make other contractors run.
"HGTV Canada's robust fall schedule, stacked with the network's favourite personalities, a number of captivating new faces and compelling unique stories, reflects our ongoing efforts to bring Canadians more highly entertaining content than ever before," says Barb Williams, Senior Vice President of Content, Shaw Media.
The exciting new series and formats coming to HGTV Canada show off exotic locales, test household risks and exhibit some very eccentric characters. Live Here, Buy This is a brand-new series showcasing properties available anywhere in the world for the same price as one home in Canada, beginning August 27 at 10pm ET/PT. Whether the dream destination is Vancouver, San Francisco or Venice, this series shows Canadians what life could be like in paradise. Premiering on August 30 at 9pm ET/PT, Four Houses Canada is the first Canadian edition of ITV Studios' hit UK format May The Best House Win. Featuring four house-proud Canadians touring each other's homes with a critical eye, each home is given a grade and the house with the highest score wins not only the $1,000 prize - but also the pride. The all-new series House Hazards, premiering October 16 at 10pm ET/PT, is a completely new experience for HGTV viewers. A mind-boggling array of potential domestic disasters will be put to the test, whether it's determining the effects of a metal spoon in your microwave or watching what happens when you spill a whole bottle of dish detergent into a high power hot tub.
A brand-new site for HGTV.ca now features completely original image galleries, a sleek new full-screen video streaming experience of episodes after they air, the Find A Pro section which helps find real screened professionals in Canada, and more information on the shows and hosts fans love. To explore the new site and get more information on the fall schedule visit www.hgtv.ca.
Brand New Series Include:


Holmes Makes It Right (9x60min)
(World Broadcast Premiere)
Tuesdays at 9pm ET/PT, beginning October 16
In this brand-new series Canada's most trusted contractor helps unfortunate homeowners whose homes, lives and finances have been brutally disrupted by disastrous events and renovations. Mike Holmes takes on catastrophes that would make other contractors run. With the same commitment to high standards that is at the forefront in Holmes on Homes and Holmes Inspection, Holmes Makes It Right will feature Mike at his hands-on best - strapping on a tool belt, and helping desperate homeowners.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Granite Versus Quartz — The Debate Continues

Only Mike Holmes could write an article about counter tops and make it interesting. In this article, reposted from the Ottawa Citizen, Mike discusses the differences between granite and quartz, and the pros and cons of each. Me personally? If I had to choose, I'd definitely go with quartz, because, as Mike points out, Granite is very expensive, requires maintenance (no thanks), and inconsistent due to being a natural stone. Quartz is also expensive, but at least it doesn't have to be sealed because it is non-porous. Mike does a much better job at explaining than I do. Besides, right now the only thing in my kitchen is yucky laminate. Having to choose between quartz and granite is a dream that will have to wait.

Granite versus quartz — the debate continues

Mike Holmes examines a kitchen countertop to make sure it was properly installed and level. Despite having their drawbacks, both granite and quartz are popular materials for kitchen countertops.

I’ve been doing kitchen renovations for a long time. Everything the eye sees in a kitchen renovation is the eye candy. What’s behind it all? That’s my world. But to this day, the question I get asked most about kitchen renovations is which is better? Granite or quartz?
In just about every kitchen renovation I do the homeowner wants granite. As consumers, we’ve been taught that a good kitchen will have granite countertops. Some homeowners even feel like the entire renovation is a failure if it doesn’t come with a granite countertop.
Granite and quartz are the two heavyweights in kitchen countertops. But when we talk about kitchen countertops we have to think about practicality. Should it look good? Yes. Absolutely. But my top priority is that it’s safe and does its job.
What does it mean for a kitchen countertop to be safe? That it’s non-porous and has low VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
VOCs are bad for the environment and they’re bad for anyone breathing them in. Pores are bad because they’re tiny pockets for bacteria to collect. You can contaminate any food prepared on a porous surface that hasn’t been properly cleaned.
What does it take for a kitchen countertop to do its job? It needs to be durable, stain-resistant and scratch-resistant. Most people think granite is top of the line. But it depends.
Granite is natural rock. I love natural building materials — wood, stone, straw, whatever — and I love granite. But it has its drawbacks.
For one, it’s expensive. Why? Because it’s natural. This means it comes in one big slab of stone that needs to be extracted from the earth. Extracting and shipping granite takes a lot of energy. It can be harsh on the environment.
In nature, no two stones are equal. Every stone is different. And because granite is natural, it’s not going to look the same throughout the entire slab. It might even look different from the sample you originally saw. The good news is that it’s always beautiful. It just might not be exactly what you expected.
Also, because a granite countertop is a single slab, there’s going to be a seam if your kitchen counters bend or curve. And because it’s natural rock, the seam isn’t easy to hide. It’s hard to match up the natural colours and veins in granite.
On the other hand, quartz is manufactured and coloured. What you see is what you get. Your countertop will look exactly like the sample; there are no surprises. And because it’s all one colour any seams can be hidden. This let’s us be more creative with kitchen design.
Quartz countertops are actually about 90 per cent quartz and 10 per cent acrylic or epoxy binder, like resin. The resin means quartz countertops have higher VOCs than granite. And we know this is bad for the environment and indoor air quality.
But some granite contains radon. (Remember, granite is in the ground and so is radon.) It’s usually not a huge concern. But if radon levels in your home are already an issue, granite might not be the best choice.
You’ll also need to reseal granite once a year. Granite looks solid but it’s porous. Quartz is not; its non-porous. So you’ll need to seal a granite countertop but not a quartz countertop. It’s no big deal; it takes less than an hour once a year.
Usually, a water-based penetrating (or impregnating) sealer does the trick. The silicone in the sealer works its way into the tiny pores and coats them. But it doesn’t completely seal them. That means the surface will be stain-resistant but not stain-proof. You’ll still need to quickly clean up any spills, like coffee or wine.
Quartz isn’t sealed so you don’t have to worry about sealing or stains. A rag, soap and water are all you need. And if there are tough spots, usually a vinegar-water solution is enough.
If you’re going with granite, you can’t go cheap. Why not? Because when you do, you’re usually getting a thin slab of granite. The thinner the slab the weaker it is. So what are you really buying? Know where the granite is coming from and how much of it you’re getting.
In terms of strength, quartz performs. It’s one of the hardest materials on earth, harder than glass. The way it’s manufactured mimics the way granite is made naturally — through intense pressure and heat. So they’re comparable in strength. But this process takes a lot of energy, which isn’t ideal for the environment.
Granite or quartz — they’re both good options. That’s why they’re both expensive. In some cases, quartz can be more expensive than granite. But both get a thumbs-up as long as they’re properly installed by a professional who will make sure it’s level and sealed, especially around the sinks and faucets to prevent water damage.
Bottom line: It comes down to the homeowner’s budget, the kitchen’s design, and how much upkeep the homeowner is willing to commit to.

Catch Mike in his new series Best of Holmes on Homes, Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on HGTV. For more information, visit hgtv.ca. For more information on home renovations, visit makeitright.ca.
Postmedia News

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mike Holmes Birthday Surprise... SHHHHHHH (It's a Secret!)

Yeah, I know. It's a HUGE secret, posted on the internet for all to see.

We here at the Holmes Spot have a very special birthday gift for Mike, but we can't say what it is yet, because it's a surprise! Oooh, I'm so excited. No really, I am! Because after six months of work, it (whatever IT is) is complete! Done. Finished. Perfect. Nobody has seen it except me, and I can't wait to post it for all to see. But I can't!!! I think I might go bald pulling out all of my hair in between now and next week.

I figured I'd post another teaser to hopefully make you all as crazy as I am. Visit the Holmes Spot blog, August 3, 2012, Midnight PST to see my epic homage to Mike Holmes!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

TV Handyman Mike Holmes Sells Latest Series to HGTV Canada

So.... I guess this means all of us in the States have to wait a while to see Mike's new show? I hope they get the details worked out, and fast!

Total bummer :(

TV Handyman Mike Holmes Sells Latest Series to HGTV Canada

The channel's U.S. edition is also in talks to acquire "Holmes Makes It Right" for an October bow stateside.

TORONTO – HGTV handyman Mike Holmes has sold his latest reno series, Holmes Makes it Right, to HGTV Canada for a fall season debut.
Toronto-based The Holmes Group is also in talks to sell the reality series about homeowners whose lives are brutally disrupted by unimaginable home reno disasters to HGTV stateside.
HGTV Canada will start airing the first nine episodes of Holmes Makes It Right on October 16, with its sister American channel expected to debut the series at the same time as in Canada after a sales agreement is inked.
Two earlier Holmes-hosted series, Holmes on Homes and Holmes Inspection, are already rating winners for HGTV U.S.
Executives at HGTV in Knoxville, Tennessee were not available for comment at press time.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Cutting Edge Deck

This link was passed along to me by a friend. It's pictures of Mike's gorgeous deck build by Cutting Edge, a company that builds custom decks in Canada. All I can say is... wow. I'm green with envy, it's a wonder why Mike doesn't like to stray too far away from home when he works. I can only imagine what it would be like to build something for Mike Holmes. To have that guy standing over my shoulder every step of the way... I'd be shaking in my boots. But by the looks of it, they did a fantastic, Mike-approved job. Here are some photos. Visit the site for more details and to view this build in their portfolio.

Now that's how you do a deck, the Mike Holmes way. I'm just waiting for Mike to invite me over to his house to go swimming. ;-)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Mike Holmes... I Think?

Oh child, you have so much to learn. That dude... Mike Holmes, I think? Out of the mouth of babes :)

As you can tell, there's not much going on today, and I'm VERY busy working on my Mike Holmes birthday present surprise thingie. For more information on that, scroll down the page a little. Until something new happens, enjoy this cute little video of a child's perspective on the newly rebuilt Jamie Bell Playground and Castle Park.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Mike Holmes Birthday Surprise - Audio Preview

As I've previously posted, I'm creating a very unique birthday present for Mike Holmes this year, and I've been working furiously to complete it by the deadline. It's something I'm been putting together in my studio for the last six months now. Although I'm keeping the project hush hush until August 3, I'm putting out some teasers to pique the interest of all you readers. Here's some more to confuse and baffle you. You've seen the photos, now here's a short audio preview. Can you guess what it is? I'll give you a hint, it's going to be an epic homage to Holmes. The project will premiere right here on Mike's birthday, 8/3/12. SHHHHHHH... nobody tell Mike!!! It's a secret!!!!

Mike's Birthday Present (Audio Preview)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Blog Post Potpourri - A Mishmash Of Mike Updates

There's a lot of little miscellaneous updates floating around in the blogisphere of Mike Holmes that's been created right here at the Holmes Spot blog. Lots of little interesting tidbits that aren't really important enough to garner their own post, but deserve a place nonetheless. Here is mishmash of Mike Holmes updates from various stories posted around this blog.


1) Mike Holmes Birthday Surprise (SHHHHHH! It's a Secret!!!)

As I posted earlier this month, Mike's birthday is the 3rd of August, and I've got a pretty cool present for him. Can't fully reveal exactly what it is yet, but I'd like to post an update on my progress. The project is about 85 percent complete. Come Mike's birthday, I will have been working on this project for about six months. I'm confident I can finish it on time, but it's going to come down to the wire... call it a labor of love. Here are some updates from my top secret project. Confused? Good. You'll have to check back on August 3, 2012 for the reveal.

2) ABC'S The Revolution Bites The Dust

On July 4, Mike Holmes made a guest appearance on ABC's The Revolution. The segment was filmed in early June in New York. I made several derogatory comments about the show, stating that it was amongst other things, totally f---ing lame, and that Mike's segment was by far the only ray of sunshine to ever fall upon this abysmal excuse for a television show. Well... I'm indifferent to report that The Revolution is now officially CANCELLED! Apparently even Mike Holmes could not fix this crappy show. Sort of a tangential Mike update, but I thought it was interesting.

3) Jamie Bell Playground Update

I've probably posted no less than 10 blog posts on Mike's involvement in rebuilding the Jamie Bell Playground in Toronto. It's a really interesting story that's unfolded these last couple of months. As of late, I've found some more pictures from the grand re-opening on July 13, as well as the community build day on July 7. Here they are... I'm pretty sure all of these I haven't posted before, but if there are any repeats, just lay back and enjoy your bonus dose of Mike Holmes.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Not All Flooring Is Created Equal

In this article reposted from the National Post, Mike Holmes talks flooring. When it comes to choosing flooring, it's not just about what's in style. Homeowners must ask themselves several questions first, such as where am I installing it?  Am I putting it in an entry way or a mudroom? Will it get wet and slippery? This article comes to me at a time where my family and I are tossing around the idea of replacing the carpet in my 90-year-old great grandmother's home with something more durable and easier to clean. I objected to ripping the carpet out and laying down laminate because she's susceptible to falling, and I thought that having something hard and slippery on the floor would put her in greater danger. Cleaning up the occasional accident is far less inconveniencing than a trip to the emergency room. In our circumstance, choosing an anti-slip flooring is very important. Long story short, buying the right flooring the first time may (or may not) cost more upfront, but you'll pay less for it in the long run.

Not all flooring is created equal

Mike Holmes Jul 17, 2012 – 8:00 AM ET | Last Updated: Jul 17, 2012 8:56 AM ET

Alex Schuldt/The Holmes Group

Anti-slip tiles suit mud rooms.

People doing renovations think a lot about flooring. They think about what’s in fashion, about what’s in the magazines and on design shows. Sometimes they think about budget. They might even be practical and think about whether the flooring is the most durable and easy to maintain.

But have they ever asked about how slippery the floor will be? Most people never think of it, until they are injured. Do you really want polished marble in an entry foyer or a bathroom where the floor will get wet? Sure, it’s beautiful and stylish. But it won’t look so great up close, if you end up face down on it after getting out of the shower.

Homeowners want to redecorate their homes and they may fall in love with a particular type of hardwood flooring or tile. But, that choice might not be ideal for the application, such as a bathroom or mud room where it might get wet a lot of the time.

You need to educate yourself about what’s the best flooring for your situation. Do you have elderly people or people with limited mobility living in the house? What about young children running around? You need to be aware of their safety, and that of visitors to your home.

One of the leading causes of emergency room visits is falls in the home, especially among the elderly. But in the case of the elderly, a simple slip can lead to sad consequences. A fractured hip can ultimately be fatal, since it’s often the beginning of a rapid decline: slip, fall, injury, hospital, pneumonia, death or loss of independence and a forced move into assisted living or a nursing home.

Slips and falls also cost a lot of money, because of medical costs and insurance claims and even lawsuits. It makes a lot of sense that we should start paying attention to how slippery our new floors are — not just how good they look.

New national standards are being introduced in the U.S. and Canada around slippery flooring. All flooring sold will have to bear the label of the Traction Scale. It doesn’t mean you can’t have your marble tile, just that you will be made aware of how slippery it is. It’s time to create awareness of the issue and consider getting it into building code.

Educate yourself about the types of flooring you are considering in your renovation. If you are buying a polished marble floor, odds are you know it’s going to be slippery wet or dry. And you can take your chances. But what about wood laminate, vinyl floor covering or ceramic tile? What about hardwood flooring?

Laminate and vinyl flooring are popular because they’re inexpensive and low maintenance, easy to install and to clean. But most laminate flooring can also be slippery. Some manufacturers have been developing slip-resistant laminates, but you need to ask the right questions.

Hardwood can be slippery too, depending on its finish. Is it high-gloss and smooth? Or more textured, like a hand-scraped finish?

Stone, ceramic and porcelain tile can all be very slippery. But again, it depends on the tile size and its finish. Is it polished or textured? You know intuitively which is the better product for a floor — the textured one.

Have you been in a gym shower or around a public pool? The tiles are small, with lots of gaps between for grout. They are textured and less slippery that way. You aren’t going to see large polished slabs of marble — that’s like a skating rink without the ice.

Your supplier should recommend the flooring best suited to your needs, in terms of slipperiness. A good tile store will steer you in the right direction: bathroom or kitchen, shower or backsplash, they all need a different type of tile and finish.

But no matter what store, they won’t necessarily tell you if you aren’t asking. Ask the questions. See if there are any ratings on the product or information that tells you how slippery it is, wet or dry.

How you clean your floors —the polishes and waxes or other products you use on them — may make them more slippery.

You can apply some products to ceramic, porcelain and marble tile floors that increases the amount of friction created when you walk on them. That will probably lead to fewer falls, but the product will need to be reapplied. And, the products are not designed for wood floors.

Some of these products will actually etch the surface of the tile — not a good idea. By removing the glazing of a ceramic tile, you’ll expose its inner core, which is not the same colour as the surface. Not only will it look bad, the tile will collect dirt and deteriorate. A porcelain tile has the same colouring throughout so it might not look as bad, but it is still not a good solution.

Anti-skid products are on the market to help prevent slipping. Some are only appropriate for exterior use on concrete. They contain grit and aggregates that would ruin the appearance of your hardwood or fine tiles. Others are a clear liquid topcoat that is not that noticeable.

But, why not just buy the right flooring in the first place?

It’s not about cost. Higher traction floors don’t necessarily cost any more than low-traction floors. It’s about awareness. Think of your family’s safety. Choose flooring that works first, and looks good second. There are plenty of options for flooring that is both — you aren’t sacrificing anything.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

There's Plenty Of Room For Nice On Reality TV

It's not easy to create a segue from Snooki, star of MTV's Jersey Shore to a segment talking about Mike Holmes, but NPR managed to do it. In a segment about reality TV shows-- the good, the bad and the trashy (my description, not theirs)-- they list off several shows on TV where backstabbing, gossip, sex, and plain old misbehaving bring in massive audiences. They then juxtapose shows like Jersey Shore against Holmes Inspection, where "nice" rules, and rules quite nicely. I guess their main point was, Mike Holmes is "nice" and still manages to have a successful TV show (I take it they've never seen episodes of HOH and HI where Mike gets angry, huh?). LOL.

Here is a partial transcript from the NPR segment:

But there's a star who doesn't fit that mold: Mike Holmes.


MIKE HOLMES: As soon as I see the electrical, that issue is electrical.

DEGGANS: Holmes is a TV star imported from Canada. He's a building contractor who rescues unlucky homeowners, swooping in to redo bad renovations on his HGTV series "Holmes Inspection."


HOLMES: The home inspection appeared to go well, or so she thought. But now she's faced with a lot of problems. I'm going to make it right.

DEGGANS: Some critics have questioned his knowledge or his habit of tackling massive projects to correct problems. But it's refreshing to see a reality TV personality focused on helping other people in the most realistic setting around: their homes.

Like other reality TV stars, Holmes has used fame to forge his own media empire. It includes books, TV shows, celebrity endorsements, his own home inspection service and even his own charitable foundation. Sometimes it's possible to get ahead by helping people, even on reality TV.

INSKEEP: That's Eric Deggan, the helpful TV and media critic for the Tampa Bay Times. You hear him on MORNING EDITION which is brought to you by this local public radio station. Glad you're joining us this morning. You can continue following the program throughout the day on social media. We're on Facebook, we're on Twitter. We're at MORNING EDITION and at nprinskeep.


INSKEEP: This is NPR News.


Mike's segment begins around the 2:20 mark:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Working In Extreme Heat

Working in extreme heat... ah, now Mike is speaking my language. I live in the southwestern desert of the US, and the last couple of days have hit highs of 115 degrees F -- that's deadly under most conditions. Guess you can say I'm use to dealing with extreme heat, I've been doing so my entire life, but not everyone is used to living with temperatures like that. Heat exhaustion can and does kill - trust me, I see it every day all summer long on the news. In this article, reposted from the Ottawa Citizen, Mike Holmes talks about working safely under the sun. He's no doubt drawing upon his experiences over the last 30 years of working as a contractor, but also his experience over the last couple of weeks, working in Toronto to rebuild the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground in High Park. A record setting heat wave delayed his crew's progress, and caused them to miss their July 7 deadline. The playground was eventually finished a few days later on July 13, but for the safety of the workers involved, they were forced to slow down and take proper precautions. He talks about learning the signs of heat stroke, and responding to them appropriately before it's too late. Keep yourself hydrated, and of course, wear protective clothing to protect your skin and eyes from the sun and heat. Sunscreen may not help keep you cool, but it'll definitely prevent a sunburn that will cause you much discomfort long after your work is finished...

Mike Holmes: How to work in extreme heat

It’s important to drink eight ounces of water every 20 minutes when working in intense heat, says Mike Holmes.

It’s important to drink eight ounces of water every 20 minutes when working in intense heat, says Mike Holmes.

Photograph by: Robert Ray , AP

Over the past few weeks we’ve had a heat wave across the country. Many cities had heat alerts.
It’s tough working in the heat. I know. Recently my crew and I were pushing to finish a job in middle of it. In the end, we didn’t make our deadline. Crew members had to leave the job site. That always slows down the work, but, no matter what, it’s always better to be safe and delay the job or take longer to finish than to risk injury or heat exhaustion.
How hot is too hot?
Many homeowners don’t know the symptoms related to heat exhaustion. They’re not used to the heavy work or extreme conditions. They don’t know what’s normal and what’s not. They go into a job expecting to be tired and hot. So when symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke start to show up they’re usually brushed off — until it’s too late.
Professionals are used to working in the heat. But they can get into trouble too. That’s why guidelines, industry mandates and laws have been developed. Some include: Not scheduling outdoor work during extremely hot weather and times of day; increasing manpower while increasing the frequency and length of breaks; and starting a buddy system to watch for symptoms in others. These guidelines help protect pros from pushing themselves too far.

Many people don’t even realize they’re experiencing heat exhaustion. They think it’s “just the heat” so they keep working. Dizziness, confusion, blurred vision, nausea, muscle cramps and headaches — they’re all warning signs. Some people ignore them. They think they’re just tired, it’s part of the job. But it’s not.
Heat exhaustion can lead to a heat stroke. But sometimes a heat stroke will completely bypass the heat exhaustion phase.
If a person has stopped sweating and/or urinating, is acting strangely or is upset or weak, they need to stop what they’re doing and get out of the heat. This is the body’s way of saying “stop.” Other signs include a dry mouth, developing a red, bumpy rash, or if urine is dark yellow.
Don’t minimize the symptoms. Respect what your body is telling you. Consider putting the job off until later in the day when it’s cooler or even until the following week if it’s a long heat wave. It’s hard to pull yourself away when you have goals and deadlines, I know. But no job is worth risking your health.
Plus, some building materials, like paint, drywall mud and concrete, don’t react well in the heat. Don’t do the job if it’s too hot. You might save yourself from doing the same job twice.

What happens to your body?
When you’re hot, your body sweats to help cool you down. But too much heat puts stress on the body’s cooling system. If the humidity is high, the sweat won’t be able to evaporate and cool you off. And if you’re dehydrated, you can’t sweat.
Dehydration is bad. People don’t usually think it’s a big deal. But on top of straining your kidneys, dehydration reduces the volume of blood in your body. This means the heart has to pump harder and faster. The consequence? An increased risk of a heart attack.
Dehydration also causes the blood to thicken, increasing the chance of a blood clot, possibly leading to a stroke.
There’s also an increased risk of injury if you continue to push past exhaustion. You can get dizzy and fall. Salt in your eyes or fogged up safety glasses can prevent you from seeing. Or, if it’s really hot, you might not wear a hard hat or long-sleeved pants or shirts when you should be covered up.

How do you manage the heat?
One solution local firemen taught me was to use a cooling chair. These chairs help lower your body temperature.
A cooling chair is a basic outdoor chair, but the armrests have bags full of cool water — not ice water. Ice water would be too much of a shock to your system.
The blood vessels on your forearm are close to the surface of your skin. Fully submerging your forearms, from elbow to wrist, in the cool water helps cool your blood. Try it yourself: Lay your forearms in a sink or basin of cool water. You’ll notice how quickly your entire body starts to cool down.

What precautions should you take?
Put the job off. Take breaks. Work smart. And drink lots.
Take frequent breaks. Reduce your pace or work slower. Adjust your schedule so you work early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Avoid working in the sunlight. Wear a hat, safety sunglasses and sunscreen.
Make sure you hydrate. How much is enough? At least eight ounces every 20 minutes — but if you’re a larger person or working really hard you’re going to need more water more frequently. Carrying extra equipment like a safety harness, heavy tools and materials puts a bigger demand on your body. Don’t forget to factor that in.
Having had heat exhaustion before makes you more vulnerable to it in the future. So if you’re the kind of person who likes to work hard, take it easy in the heat.

Catch Mike in his new series Best of Holmes on Homes, Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on HGTV. For more information, visit hgtv.ca. For more information on home renovations, visit makeitright.ca.

Postmedia News

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Mike Holmes and Michael Quast, Holmes Group CEO, Part Ways

Very interesting news about some BIG changes in Mike's company, The Holmes Group's management structure. Michael Quast, the man who discovered Mike Holmes back in 2001 when Mike was working as a stagehand for HGTV, stepped down as CEO of Mike's company, it was announced yesterday, July 16, 2012. The split is "amicable" according to both Mikes. Here's the article:

HGTV Handyman Mike Holmes and Michael Quast Part Ways

The CEO of The Holmes Group was production exec on the original "Holmes on Homes" series that launched the Canadian-based TV home renovation brand.

TORONTO - HGTV home repair host Mike Holmes has parted ways with Michael Quast, head of his Canadian-based production shingle The Holmes Group.
Quast, who served as the broadcast production executive on the original Holmes on Homes series that launched the iconic Mike Holmes TV brand, is leaving as part of an amicable split, according to both parties.
The move also follows Holmes hiring Canadian TV exec Shanna Albert as VP of development at a second production shingle, Point Load Pictures.
"We blazed a new trail and I’m very proud of what we created together," Quast, who became CEO of The Holmes Group last year, said in a statement Monday.
"I wish Mike and The Holmes Group long and continued success," he added.
There’s no word from the celebrity TV renovator on Quast’s replacement.
The Holmes Group is best known for its top-rated HGTV series Holmes on Homes and Holmes Inspections.

As the above article states, this news follows other changes in the Holmes Group structure. Here's an article about Shanna Albert being hired on as VP of development for Point Load Pictures:

HGTV Handyman Mike Holmes Splits Co-CEOs at Production Shingle

The top management revamp leaves Michael Quast as the sole CEO of The Holmes Group, while Pete Kettlewell launches Point Load Pictures, a joint venture with the TV home repair pro.

TORONTO - How many CEOs does HGTV home repair host Mike Holmes need?
Turns out one’s enough, so Holmes has restructured his production shingle by splitting up its co-CEOs.
The Canadian TV handyman, who’s usually gutting suburban homes on HGTV Canada and HGTV to replace shoddy construction or renovations, has named Michael Quast as the sole CEO of The Holmes Group.
The new leadership structure also leaves former CEO Pete Kettlewell to launch Point Load Pictures, a joint venture with Holmes that will produce TV series outside of The Holmes Group brand.
Holmes and Kettlewell have been behind popular HGTV series like Holmes on Homes and Holmes Inspection that bowed in Canada before airing stateside.

One more article about Quast and Holmes parting ways, reposted from realscreen.com:

Michael Quast leaves The Holmes Group

Michael Quast
Michael Quast, CEO of The Holmes Group, is leaving the company.
According to a release from The Holmes Group issued Monday, “the amicable split comes on the heels of lengthy discussions on the company’s future direction.”
“We blazed a new trail and I’m very proud of what we created together. I always knew there was great potential and I think what we achieved in a short time was remarkable,” said Quast in a statement.
Quast and Mike Holmes, host of HGTV’s Holmes on Homes, first met in 2001, when the contractor presented Quast with the idea that spawned the TV show.
Quast became the series’ first production exec, and in 2005 joined The Holmes Group as VP development, before being named CEO recently.
“Michael has been an important part of The Holmes Group since 2005. Even before that, when he was a production executive at HGTV, Michael was the guy who ‘tricked’ me into doing a television series in the first place,” said Mike Holmes in his own statement.
“The Holmes Group continues to push forward and grow. You’re going to see big things,” he added.
Back in November, Holmes restructured his production shingle, naming Quast the sole CEO of The Holmes Group.
Former Holmes Group co-CEO Pete Kettlewell was tapped to head up Point Load Pictures, a new indie production company to operate as a joint venture with Holmes as chairman, to develop and produces new series outside of the Holmes Group brands.
As previously reported by realscreen sister publication Playback, Point Load Pictures has a development deal with HGTV Canada, the specialty channel that made Mike Holmes a recognizable face for Canadians, and now stateside with his shows that air on HGTV U.S.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Something Special In The Works...

For the past six months, I've been working in my studio, creating a very special birthday gift for Mike. What it is, I can't say just yet, but I can give everyone a little sneak peak...

I've been working diligently these past couple of weeks to get this project done on time. Log onto the Holmes Spot on Mike's birthday, August 3, for the unveiling of something very, very cool! It's going to be wild! The countdown to awesome begins.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

More videos from the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground Grand Re-Opening, July 13

More media content from the grand re-opening of the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground, which took place July 13, 2012:

And another video from the Community Build Day last week on July 7th:

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Jamie Bell Adventure Playground in High Park Grand Re-Opening

It's been several months since Mike and his crew got involved in the rebuilding of the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground in Toronto. All of the hard work they've invested over the last couple of days and weeks paid off with plenty of "hugs and love" yesterday, July 13, 2012, as it reopened to an endless stream of grateful children, parents, and community members. This article and video from the Toronto Sun goes into details:

High Park playground replaces one destroyed by arson

visit the Toronto Sun website to view the video

By Kevin Connor, Toronto Sun

First posted: | Updated:

TORONTO - High Park’s Jamie Bell Adventure Playground reopened Friday with a brand new castle after the old one was destroyed by arson.

After the park was torched in March plans to rebuild began immediately spearheaded by HGTV celebrity Mike Holmes with the help of Toronto fire and police and members of the community.

At the opening Holmes was being repaid with hugs from the dozens of kids in attendance.

“I’m just listening to the kids scream as they come down the slide. This is all about the kids. This was a little bit of work and a lot of sweat, but it was well worth it,” Holmes said.

Michael Ogle was one of the 40 Toronto firefighters who volunteered to rebuild the park.

“Our involvement was a perfect fit for us. We responded to this fire so we wanted to be involved in rebuilding the park,” Ogle said.

The Youth Policing Students program for at risk children put some of their kids to work rebuilding the park.

“It was good. It taught me more about what work is and how hard it can be to keep going,” said 15-year-old Remington Latanville.

Kiera Walsh-Lopez, 12, has been coming to the park all her life.

“It was devastating when it burnt down. I am so glad they built it again,” Walsh-Lopez said.

The inspiration for the playground came from the community who designed and built it, said Coun. Sarah Doucette.

“This rebuild is an amazing example of how the public and private sectors can collaborate with the community to create something of value and wonder for everyone in this city,” Doucette said.

The park was able to be rebuilt after $80,000 was raised by the community and corporations.

“That this playground has been rebuilt in less than four months, entirely from the work and donations of sponsors and the community, shows how important this space is,” said Coun. Norm Kelly, chairman of the city’s Parks and Environment Committee.

“Now, due to their efforts, this playground is bigger and better than ever and will continue to inspire people in the future.”

Here's another article from InsideToronto.com:

Children run screaming with delight into new Jaime Bell playground

Children run screaming with delight into new Jaime Bell playground. The childrens Adventure Playground in High Park finally officially opened on Friday after Mike Holmes and volunteers came together to build the new castle. Children await the opening. Staff photo/IAN KELSO
July 13, 2012
Held back behind yellow police tape, a crowd of children waited impatiently for a chance to climb the new castle and to go down the new slides.
They watched as HGTV contractor Mike Holmes and his crew put the finishing touches on the rejuvenated Jamie Bell Adventure Playground in High Park and listened as Parkdale-High Park Councillor Sarah Doucette thanked the long list of people who made its reconstruction possible. Even though Doucette promised to keep her speech much shorter at the second grand re-opening on Friday, July 13 than that of her speech on the community build day, July 7, the children's patience waned.
"When are we allowed in?" several kids were overheard asking.
And then, for the moment they had been waiting for - for the past four months, Holmes asked, "Are you ready?"
To which the crowd cheered and applauded: "Yeah!"
"We're going to have a countdown," he told them.
From five to one they counted - followed by absolute chaos. Children ran screaming in delight as they descended upon the new structure, climbing into the castle and onto the swings and down the two slides.
"I think it's fun when the light shines on the slide making it glow red on the inside," said seven-year-old Sofia moments after she came out of the new winding slide.
Tilden, 5, called the new castle "good".
Even Holmes and his team, wearing their trademark black T-shirts, got a chance to try out the playground they had worked tirelessly on for almost two weeks. Since Tuesday, July 3, they endured sweltering temperatures and 12-hour days to get the playground rebuilt as soon as possible.
Jamie Bell's son, Adam and his niece Margot were given the honours of trying out the slides first. Landscape architect Janet Rosenberg was gifted with her own City of Toronto park plaque in appreciation for her support and talents.
In four months, the City of Toronto, financial donors and the community rallied to get the playground rebuilt.
"I think that's a record," said Doucette.
Doucette thanked Toronto Fire Services for all its support from the firefighters who came to the rescue of several members of Holmes' crew, who collapsed because of the heat a week ago to those who kept the construction site lit so they could work after dark. Firefighters were also instrumental in cutting 500 shields, which were decorated by the community - they will be installed on the playground at a later date.
'Our spirit is fire proof,' reads one of them.
On March 17, around 3 a.m. a vandal set fire to the castle turret. The community rallied, raising money and joining efforts to help rebuild within four short months.
People arrived from across the city to see the new playground.

From Mike's Facebook yesterday:

Thanks to everyone who made the Jamie Bell Playground rebuild happen. My incredible crew, all of the volunteers, Janet Rosenburg, the sponsors, the city and many many more. A special thanks goes out to the community. This was such an inspiring community project. What a great place to live. I hope everyone enjoys a new chapter in Jamie Bell's Adventure Playground.

There's a wall of kids ready to rush the castle!

It's the kids castle now! What a reveal.

The countdown is on! Just a few minutes until the kids get to play!!

And finally, here's some photos and videos from around the web about today's re-opening: