Thursday, February 28, 2013

Mike Holmes At The Kalamazoo Home Expo

For all you Michigan/Upper Mid Western fans, Mike Holmes will be featured at the Kalamazoo Home Expo on March 9. Admission to see Mike will be $10.

Kalamazoo Home Expo To Feature Mike Holmes

PORTAGE, Mich — This year’s annual Kalamazoo Home Expo will feature DIY Network star Mike Holmes.
The show happens March 6-9 at the former Sam’s Club building behind Crossroads Mall, at 665 Mall Drive in Portage. You can find more than 200 exhibitors, and watch numerous seminars as well.
Mike Holmes, from the shows “Holmes on Homes” and “Holmes Inspection,” will appear at 11 a.m. and then at 2:30 p.m. on March 9. Additional admission to see Holmes is $10.
The show is open March 6 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., March 7 and March 8 from noon to 9 p.m. and then March 9 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is $8 in advance or $10 at the door.
Additionally, there is an adoption event with the SPCA of Southwest Michigan on March 7.
On March 8, there will be an appearance by Kalamazoo native Greg Jennings, a free agent who was a Green Bay Packer. That appearance costs an extra $2.
To learn more about the show, visit the website.

Kalamazoo Home Expo 2013 - Mike Holmes from Rhino Media

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Mike Holmes Speaks At Algonquin College In Ontario

Yesterday, February 26, 2013, Mike was busy enticing college students to join the skilled trades at the OILLMP Construction Career Fair & Employer Learning Event in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Embedded image permalink
Mike touring the ACCE building as part of the OILLMP Career Fair
Mike attending the construction fair, courtesy of Ottawa Public Health

From the OILLMP website:

February 26, 2013 - Free oillmp construction career fair & employer learning event (with special guest mike holmes)
On February 26th, 2013, OILLMP, in partnership with Ottawa Construction Association, City of Ottawa, Youth Services Bureau and the Greater Ottawa Homebuilders Association, is holding a Construction Career Fair & Employer Learning Event at the Algonquin Centre for Construction Excellence (ACCE).
The day will consist of a morning event geared towards employers in the construction industry while the afternoon, focused on job seekers and students, is highlighted by keynote speaker Mike Holmes, host of Holmes Makes It Right on HGTV (sponsored by OILLMP, Algonquin College and La Cité collégiale).
Mayor Jim Watson will open the morning's Employer Learning Event and workplace expert Dr. Linda Duxbury will give a keynote address, followed by a panel discussion on Best Practices in Building Your Workforce that features construction industry leaders. Jeff Westeinde, Chairman of Windmill Development Group, will serve as emcee.
The afternoon's Construction Career Fair, emceed by Councillor Mathieu Fleury, features a Construction Marketplace where job seekers and students can visit employers and gather information on educational and career options, as well employment resources. Industry leaders will present on Ottawa construction careers and the Light Rail Transit initiative throughout the afternoon.
Both sessions are free for participants. Employers are also invited to register for a free booth at the Career Fair. Please click on the pdf files on this page to find out more!
From the Algonquin Facebook page on Monday:
Photo: Mike Holmes is coming to AC tomorrow as part of OILLMP's Construction Event! 

If you're an AC Grad, student or job seeker, join OILLMP for this career fair from 12:00-4:00pm. Employers are welcome to attend the morning session, too. Details:
Mike Holmes is coming to AC tomorrow as part of OILLMP's Construction Event!

If you're an AC Grad, student or job seeker, join OILLMP for this career fair from 12:00-4:00pm. Employers are welcome to attend the morning session, too. Details:

Monday, February 25, 2013

Holmes Get It Right

Sometimes, neglecting your due diligence to fact check before writing a blog entry can produce hilarious results. I'm not talking about myself per se, at least this time.

I found this blog entry for an organization called Media Plus + who is affiliated with the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries and the PSA video they put out earlier this month featuring Mike Holmes:

When I originally posted this video, I noted that it was unique that Mike was doing a PSA like this for a non-Canadian government organization. Come to find out, the reason why Mike did it is because the organization simply asked him if he'd be interested, and he said yes. According to this Media Plus + blog entry, Mike did the PSA and allowed the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries to use his talent and likeness at no cost. Very awesome of Mike to do that!

Unfortunately, whoever wrote this blog entry forgot to do a simple Google search to look up the TV shows Mike has actually been apart of. They got Holmes on Holmes down pat, but I don't recall any show called Holmes Renovations or Holmes Get It Right anywhere on or off of the HGTV or DIY networks. (I got a good chuckle out of that last one!) However, they did accurately report that Mike had a "handsome mug," and I tend to agree with them on that point.

From the Media Plus + Website:

Protect My Home Video Ad Campaign with Mike Holmes 

Media Plus+ client, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, wanted to launch a new campaign designed to help homeowners avoid contractor fraud. They want consumers to visit their new website, and find out how they can avoid getting scammed by unscrupulous contractors. Believing that it “never hurts to ask”, Media Plus+ contacted Comcast cable and inquired about the possibility to getting Mike Holmes (of Holmes on Homes, Holmes Renovations and Holmes Get it Right on HGTV and DIY Networks) to be the spokesperson for this campaign. After all, if you have ever watched his show, that is all that he’s about. Well, it is true, it never hurts to ask because he said yes, and did voice for a :60 radio and a :30 TV spot as well as allow his handsome mug to be used in online ads– and he waived his talent costs.
Take a look at the finished product:

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Mike Holmes Answers His Critics - Commentary

Yesterday, I posted part two of the video interview from Due to time constraints, I delayed actually commenting on the video until today. I'll try to be as short and concise as possible.

First, the video:

With that, I think it's time to run ***THE HOLMES SPOT DISCLAIMER*** The Holmes Spot is an unofficial fan run blog. Any and all opinions expressed are my own.

First of all, I think it's great that a group of Mike's critics actually invited him to give his side of the story instead of just bashing him relentlessly on their website as so many often do. For that I give major props. It's obvious they are very critical of Mike, but at least they're trying to be fair.

The video starts off with the host asking Mike a rather slippery question. To summarize, he asks if for the purposes of TV he looks for the worst of the worst in contractors instead of focusing on the thousands of good contractors. This question is slippery because it isn't really a question, it's more of a critique of Mike's shows veiled in question form. The host asks with a flustered laugh "Can we see a couple of good stories?" I took a minute and actually thought to myself if it could be possible for Mike to do a show about good stories in contracting. How would that actually pan out? Would Mike tour a newly renovated home and point out how the the rooms are warm, the roof is properly sloped and shingled, and the soffits are properly vented? What would be the purpose of the show? Mike answers the host bluntly, "For a television show, who wants to see a good story?" He then explains the entertainment aspect of his shows, and how people enjoy watching the bad that happens to good people being made right. It's drama, it makes for good TV, and Mike gets to educate people as he goes which is important to him.

Mike also touches on the fact that he does feature good contractors on every show. He shows what happens if you hire the wrong guys, and then in stark contrast, he shows what can happen when you hire the right people for the job. And as Mike says a little awkwardly during the interview, his guys are not the only good guys out there. His go-to guys that he commissions are only a representation of the larger population of contractors worldwide. In other words, as someone who lives in the US, I can't hire Frank the Canadian electrician to come rewire my house. But, I can hire someone who lives in my area who has the same level of expertise, someone who isn't going to do a hack job and accidentally burn my house down. As a homeowner, is that unreasonable for me to ask from a professional? I don't think so.

Then, the heart of the issue, Mike talks about his "70 percent" remark he made in Reader's Digest. He tries to soften it a bit at first, but then comes right back around and defends the remark, stating that there's really no other way for him to put it. There's nothing that can be done about the small percentage of "ugly" contractors - they should be in jail as Mike states. But the 70 percent of contractors that Mike deems "bad" can be salvaged, according to Mike. When the "bad" contractors attach themselves to the good ones and learn to become better, then the industry will see the percentage of "good" contractors rise.

The interview then takes a turn in a different direction, talking about money and expenses. This was a little hard for me to follow, but what I pieced together is that the host is bring up the criticism that Mike can only do what he does because someone else is paying for it, be it the TV show, sponsors, or because the contractors are working for free and donating all of their supplies. The host states outright that Mike is purporting himself to be the right guy for the right price, but that in reality, the contractor with the lowest bid usually gets the job, and the lowest bid will usually never get the kinds of results that homeowners come to expect by watching Mike's shows. "A regular contractor can't do that. He would like to..." the host states before Mike interrupts, "But this is a TV show." Mike explains to the host that because it's a TV show, most of the time the homeowners pay little to none of the cost, mostly due to the fact that they can't because they have no money left. He also clears up the misconception that he's able to do whatever he wants for free, stating that he gets what he can donated or at a reduced cost, but a lot of times he's got to pay his guys and pay for his products, and sometimes the money comes out of his own pocket.

Part II of the interview ends abruptly at this point, leaving a bit of tension that gets the viewer excited for the next portion of the interview. The host makes some rather smug comments in the end cap portion of the video which I felt were a little disconcerting. It's apparent from the host's remarks that Mike did not sell him on the idea of his show. "Good contracting doesn't necessarily make good TV," he states sarcastically. There are plenty of shows on HGTV about "good" contractors coming in and helping homeowners remodel their bathroom or living room or backyard. Mike's show is unique, and fills a totally different niche than these other shows do. This idea seems to be completely lost on the host. He then makes what I feel is an outright absurd statement about Mike implying that he does not pay his contractors, totally speed bumping over the fact that moments before, Mike was talking about money coming out of his own pocket to pay for projects. First and foremost, I would direct the host of this interview to the recent CBC radio interview Mike did in January of this year where Mike talks explicitly about making sure his crew members are paid. As far Mike not paying his contractors like Frank the electrician, Steven Graves the roofer, the Bowen brothers, and Martin the plumber, I would direct the host of this interview to their respective websites where they rightfully boast that they are the contractors used by Mike Holmes. Let's for a moment assume that these guys receive absolutely NOTHING for their labor and they donate 100% of their materials, which is false according to Mike, they still receive the biggest endorsement one could possibly get by being featured on Mike's shows. There's not a dollar figure in the universe you could attach to that kind of advertisement and brand recognition. Being a preferred contractor of Mike Holmes is a coveted and very lucrative position, and for the host of the interview to purposely dismiss this fact is outright deceptive in my opinion.

Looking forward to part III of the interview.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Mike Holmes Answers His Critics - Part III

Here's part two of the interview that was started a couple of weeks ago by In the interview, Mike is asked to defend some comments he made in a Reader's Digest article. I'll post the video today, and tomorrow, I'll comment on it. There's a lot of content packed into a 3 minute interview, and I want to be fair to both sides.

For more information, refer to previous Holmes Spot blog entries:

Mike Holmes Answers His Critics - Part II
Mike Holmes Answers His Critics

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Why Mike Holmes Loves Coated Lumbers

For Mike Holmes, there's building, and then there's building better. Coated lumbers would definately fall into the "building better" category. In this article reposted from the Ottawa Citizen, Mike talks about why coated lumbers are the way to go when building. The two types I see Mike using on his shows are Pinkwood (a Canadian product out of western Canada) which is coated with a pink fire retardant coating designed to produce an endothermic (heat absorbing) reaction when exposed to flames. The other coated lumber Mike uses on his shows is Bluwood (an American product) which is coated with a distinctive blue coating that is mold, moisture, and insect resistant. Bluwood resists rot and termite damage, so in a damp climate or a basement, Bluwood is the way to go. Both Bluwood and Pinkwood are above minimum code, but necessary in Mike's eyes. The type of coated lumber you choose will be determined by the environment your house is in.

From the Ottawa Citizen:

Mike Holmes: Why I love coated lumbers

These green products offer a coat for all reasons

Coated lumbers provide many benefits that address environmental health and safety concerns. Some are even fire retardant.

Photograph by: Alex Schuldt , The Holmes Group

It’s no secret that I love coated lumbers. I use them whenever I can on any job. They deliver benefits that meet environmental and safety standards that are important to me, to homeowners, to builders and to industry pros. Is it above code? Yes. Is it unnecessary? Not in my world.
Building to minimum code is just that — minimum. It’s the least possible you need to do to construct a home that’s safe to live in. But that’s it. That’s where it ends.
And how safe is too safe? What’s minimum safety anyway? These things change all the time. It wasn’t until 2004 that it became code to have a GFCI outlet in the kitchen — and they’ve been in bathrooms since 1984. It took 20 years for the rules to come full circle and prevent people from getting shocked if they plugged in something in the kitchen after washing dishes.
Any good contractor knows that if you can build better, you do. That’s taking into consideration what the homeowners want, too. And the truth is the industry is always changing, developing new products, new materials and new technology. Some are good, some are bad. But at the end of the day these new products are being developed because there’s a need for them. They can be environmental needs, safety needs, health needs — you name it.
Some might say, “Mike, you’re going overboard” — they do all the time. But for me it’s about addressing these needs. I’m not making them up. The people I talk to and deal with every day care about fire resistance; protection against things like moisture and mould, insect damage, termites. Who wouldn’t care about these things when it comes to their home?
That’s where coated lumbers come in.
There are different types of coated lumbers. They each provide different forms of protection depending on their coating. Some resist uncontrolled moisture absorption, mould growth, rot and wood-ingesting insects, like termites. Another type might be resistant to mould and rot fungus and be a fire retardant, but not provide protection against termites. You need to know what you’re getting.
Coatings that have a fire retardant swell when exposed to fire, which insulates the wood from heat. This gives you and your family more time to get out of a burning house. Mould resistance means a healthier home. There are benefits across the board.

Get the right coverage
The most important thing to know when choosing coated lumber is the environment it will be in. For example, if the job is finishing a basement, then getting a coated lumber that protects against mould should be your top priority. Basements are damp — perfect environments for mould growth. All you need is the right organic food source — like drywall, wood, paper or carpet — the right temperature and moisture, and you’ve got mould.
You also have the option of getting whatever type of lumber you want and then getting it coated with a treatment that provides the protection your home needs. But if you go this route, know that any area of the lumber without the coating is unprotected. Getting the proper coverage is key. Manufacturers know how to do this right; they are trained pros. But if you want to give it a try, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Let’s say all the sides of a two-by-four have a protective coating that is supposed to stop termites from eating the lumber. If the ends of the two-by-four aren’t coated, termites will enter through this weak spot and start chewing up the lumber.
And just because wood is coated doesn’t mean it’s good. Cheap wood that’s coated is still cheap. Make sure you have the right quality of wood for the job first. Then make sure the coating provides the right protection for your home’s environment.
If there aren’t any termites where you live, then you don’t need a coated lumber that protects against them. In that case it might be worth swapping termite resistance for a fire retardant. And ask how long the coating lasts. Do they have a lifetime guarantee or a 25-year guarantee? This can give you an idea of the value you’re investing in your home.
Catch Mike Holmes in his series, Holmes Makes It Right, Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on HGTV. For more information, visit For more information on home renovations, visit

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Deck Maintenance with Mike Holmes Jr.

Found this very interesting video clip from the Canadian TV talk show The Marilyn Denis Show. In the clip, Marilyn talks with Mike's very handsome son Mike Jr. about deck maintenance.

View the video here.

Screen shots:

Monday, February 18, 2013

Mike Holmes talks about L&I's ProtectMyHome

Mike Holmes has been the star of many PSAs encouraging homeowners to check references and make sure their contractor has all the certifications he is required to have before they hire him. This PSA is just a little bit different though. The message is the same, but the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries is of course based out of Washington State, USA. I could be wrong, but I don't recall Mike ever doing something like this for an organization not on Canadian soil. Kinda interesting, or at least noteworthy enough to point out.

Check out this recent video staring Mike, which encourages homeowners to "protect their home" by  1) asking to see the contractor's registration, 2) Getting references, and 3) never paying in full until the job is done.


Friday, February 15, 2013

Holmes Spot Exclusive: Interview With Christy Bonstell

It was a couple of weeks ago that I was sitting in my living room drinking my morning coffee and watching DIY as I often do before heading off to life, when a young woman with a little baby and big guy in overalls popped up on my TV screen. Needless to say, it was a pretty exciting morning for me! The big guy was none other than Mike Holmes, ranked 3rd most trusted celebrity by Forbes in 2012, doing an advertisement for 3M, which is one of the worlds most innovative companies. The young woman in the commercial was Chicago actress Christy Bonstell, who was gracious and generous enough with her time to have a one-on-one sit down with the Holmes Spot.

THE HOLMES SPOT: How did you get selected for the role?

CHRISTY BONSTELL: I auditioned here in Chicago. I was told I was selected because I was able to improvise some dialogue that went well with the character. At the time I auditioned, I did not know that Mike was part of the project. I think I would have been more nervous if I had known!

THS: Did you know who Mike Holmes was before you did the commercial?

CB: I did. I love HGTV and all things home-related, so it was cool to meet him.

THS: Who did better with the baby, you or Mike?

CB: I have a little guy and Mike has babies in his family, so we both worked well with the baby. She really did love Mike. He was a real joy to watch with her.

THS: You mentioned something [on Mike's Facebook page] about Mike being a good improviser. How much of what we saw in the commercial was scripted and how much of it was improvised?

CB: Some of the dialogue was improvised, some was done as scripted. There are tons of out-takes that weren't chosen to air, that had me rolling. Mike has a very good natural sense of humor. Mostly, though, we used improv to loosen up and have fun. I think that's why the end result looks so natural and easy. Improv is a great tool for looking for the fun (and funny) in any situation.

THS: How would you describe your experience overall shooting this commercial with Mike Holmes?

CB: I wasn't sure how Mike would be, and he's a little intimidating. However, right off the bat he and I had an absolute blast working together. He's a very genuine and intelligent person who isn't afraid to have a little fun. We laughed a lot and he was a great help with our little co-star. He also got after me for not knowing some of the details of my 100-year-old house, so now I'm trying to be better about knowing the ins and outs of basic home-care. Which, I think, describes Mike in a nutshell. He's passionate about what he does and he's good at getting other to be passionate about it as well.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

"Heart To Heart" With Mike

It's Valentines Day... almost... and Mike is taking advantage of the holiday to share his heart... almost. Most of Mike's fans know exactly where his heart lies, and that's with helping homeowners and communities make things right. In this article, reposted from the Montreal Gazette, Mike talks about never getting tired of making a difference in people's lives. Can you feel the love? I do. Read on...

From the Montreal Gazette:

Holmes knows that home is where the heart is

 CD Out - All February 13, 2013 12:05 PM
Holmes knows that home is where the heart is

Alex Schuldt/The Holmes Group

After 10 years, this contractor’s not tired of ‘trying to make things right’ for people
People are always asking me: “Mike, aren’t you tired of dealing with the same problems over and over again?”
You know what I say? I might be tired of seeing the same problems. But I’m not tired of trying to make things right. That’s what pushes me every day. It’s what pushes all the good guys.
Why do I still care after 10 years on the job? Because I know that the work I do, my crew does and everyone else who pulls through for desperate families — job after job — makes a real difference to the people we help.
Home is where the heart is. That’s not just a saying. Your home is supposed to be the safest place in the world — for you and your family. And when I see homes that are anything but safe it’s hard for me to walk away. It’s a battle every single time.
How do I help everyone? I’m just one guy. So I try to focus on the bigger picture — the things that if I help change will make the biggest impact on the most people.
Look at First Nations housing. This is an area that can have huge implications for how we build sustainably and efficiently — in response to different environments and living conditions.
Researching new “green” products and energy-efficient technologies is another way we’re building a better future in housing. We’re seeing what works, getting rid of what doesn’t and bringing in the right people to do something that will change the industry for the better.
Let’s look at improving code and regulations, and also into changing the rules so a contractor can’t legally walk away from a job and screw a family over.
Good contractors don’t walk away from a job and leave homeowners helpless. We have a work ethic that doesn’t let us do that. We care.
Why? Because we don’t see what we do as a job. We see it as a skill, a duty. There’s honour in that. And every time a contractor doesn’t do what they say they’re going to do, they’re not just disrespecting the homeowner. They’re disrespecting their work and the industry.
What can you do as a homeowner? Care about your home and the people it affects, including the neighbours. Do your research. Ask the right questions.
If you have a leak, get a professional to come in, find the source and fix it. Don’t hire anyone that doesn’t have the right certifications and credentials to do the job you’re hiring them to do. Don’t accept cash jobs. Every time you do you’re putting yourself and your family in a vulnerable position. You need to be smart.
If there’s pooling on your property, it’s a grading issue. Get a landscaper to take a look at it. If you’re losing heaps of heat, find out why and address the problem. Invest in a proper roof; it’s your home’s first line of defence. And make sure the air your family breathes inside your home is safe and clean. That means looking into low-VOC products and materials and better air filters. Get a professional to do a mould test if you think mould might be an issue.
Remember: You get what you give every single time. If anyone told me I would still be doing this after 10 years, I wouldn’t have believed them. I figured after two years I’d be done and go back to being a regular contractor. But things didn’t turn out that way. Why not? Because I can’t step away from a job until it’s done — and this job is far from over. It seems to get bigger every day.
But when your heart’s in the right place it’s easy to do what’s right. And I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Catch Mike Holmes in his new series, Holmes Makes It Right, Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on HGTV. For more information, visit For more information on home renovations, visit

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sound Advice For Good Neighbors

I'm a very quiet person generally. I don't play loud music. I don't throw loud parties. I typically keep to myself. I'm every neighbor's dream come true. Unfortunately for me, I've had experience with neighbors who don't share those same sentiments. I think we've all had experiences with bad neighbors, and the problem is only getting worse, not because people are getting noisier, but because houses are being built closer and closer together. Luckily for me, I don't live in a home that's attached to another, but I know plenty of people who do, and many of those homes aren't sufficiently insulated in between their adjoining walls. The result? Well, as Mike so eloquently put it in a recent interview on a radio show in Ontario this past January, if you can hear your neighbor fart, your house probably isn't sufficiently insulated. In this article, reposted from the National Post, Mike talks about the challenges of living close together, and practical ways to deal with the noise issues that inevitably happen between neighbors.

From the National Post:
Mike Holmes: Sound advice for good neighbours

Mike Holmes | Feb 11, 2013 8:00 AM ET | Last Updated: Feb 8, 2013 4:18 PM ET
More from Mike Holmes

Alex Schuldt, The Holmes Group Proper insulation along common walls in condos or semis will help mitigate noise transfer between units.

It’s no secret that lots are getting smaller and homes are being built closer and closer together. You can tell just by looking at older subdivisions — and I’m not even talking that old, just 20 to 30 years — and comparing them to new ones.

Attached living spaces, like townhouses and condos, are more popular. Most major cities across the country are seeing this huge push for more multi-unit living spaces. This all spells out one thing: We’re living closer to our neighbours.

And the closer we get, the more likely noise is going to be an issue — and the more popular soundproof products and materials are going to be.

When noise becomes an issue between neighbours it can be a real nuisance. You can feel awkward bringing it up to a neighbour if their noise disturbs you. You’re probably going to be telling the kids to keep it down more often, which isn’t fun for anyone. You might feel like you have to whisper and limit noisemaking activities — such as vacuuming or playing music — to certain times so you don’t bother anyone. It can feel like being a prisoner in your own home.

It’s really no one’s fault — just less-than-optimal construction.

You could have the quietest neighbours. But if the walls between your homes aren’t properly constructed, you will hear the footsteps, the talking, the kids.

Sound is measured in decibels, so pros will use a decibel meter to measure how much noise travels through a surface, such as a wall or ceiling. We use STC or sound transmission class to measure how much sound moves between the exterior and interior of a home and between living units. The higher the STC rating, the better. A wall built to minimum code should be able to block 46 STCs.

The problem is that there are high and low frequencies. High frequencies are easier to eliminate. Homes built to minimum code can block out high-frequency sounds. It’s the low frequencies that are harder to deal with. Low frequencies are the bass or the boom you hear when people walk. To get rid of those, you have to spend money.

So what can you do to solve the problem?

A contractor interested in a quick fix might tell you to add another layer of drywall — right over the existing drywall, which will help. But I’d rather use a better drywall product that gives a lot of soundproofing for not a lot of material.

Soundboard is one option. But some drywall products are equivalent to eight sheets of drywall. One type has viscoelastic polymer on both sides of a thin layer of metal. The viscoelastic polymer eliminates sound by converting acoustic energy into heat. This product will stop sounds such as yelling and screaming, or the phone ringing — all high frequency sounds. It will also stop any low-decibel bass. But if you have a high-decibel bass where you crank the volume to the levels of a concert speaker, you’re going to need more than just better drywall to stop the sound.

If sounds and noise are getting into your home, the culprit usually is missing insulation. You want to use a proper, safe insulation on a shared wall. This serves two purposes: One, it stops sound. Two, it stops fire. You don’t want to hear your neighbours and you don’t want a fire on their side to spread to your side.

Many attached living spaces will have a double wall. That means there’s one wall on one side and another wall on the other side, and both walls are divided in the middle by drywall. Minimum code says that if you have a double wall, only one of them needs to be insulated. But as long as we build to minimum code, things aren’t going to work properly. If you want to make it soundproof, add more insulation.

After going through the trouble of taking down drywall and adding extra insulation, you might as well go the extra mile. I would use sound wrap on any electrical boxes and receptacles along a shared wall. These are weak points that allow smells and sounds to travel. But sound wrap is like a putty; it sticks to any surface. And when you wrap it around electrical boxes and receptacles it doesn’t let sound travel through.

You really get what you pay for. You could have a beautiful home, with major noise issues. But if you spend a little more money, you can stop the problem. The best solution is building it right the first time. I think most homeowners would be willing to pay for that extra silence if builders gave them that option. Because putting your money in the right place makes living at home sound a lot better.

Catch Mike Holmes in his new series, Holmes Makes It Right Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on HGTV. For more information, visit For more information on home renovations, visit

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Ice Dams And Your Roof

Even though I live in a warmer climate where it does not snow very often -- maybe a spattering that doesn't even stick to the ground once a year or once every other year -- I'm still fascinated by cold weather and the measures that people have to take to protect their homes from the perils of frigid temperatures. For people like me, who see frosty temperatures of around 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the dead of winter, the sight of icicles on a roof is a beautiful albeit foreign anomaly. However, as Mike has pointed out, icicles can be a sign of bigger problems. If it's snowy outside, and the snow on the roof melts, rolls down, and refreezes on lower parts of the roof, a dam of thick ice forms which blocks water from flowing down and off the roof. Roofs are sloped downward for a reason, and when moisture cannot run off a roof, it can get under shingles and into attics. When melted snow and ice goes rogue and then refreezes, it can cause some spectacular damage! In this article that I found on the Canadian website, Mike Holmes talks about ice dams, and why it's very important to keep them in check. And as far as people dying from falling icicles... yikes. I sliced my finger on a jagged piece of an ice cube once, and it was one of the most painful cuts I've ever experienced! Just a side note...


Ice Dams & Your Roof - By Mike Holmes

Many people think snow-covered roofs dripping with icicles look beautiful. But if it was my house I’d be worried. Icicles can be dangerous. They’re also a sign of an ice dam — which can lead to bigger problems.
An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow from draining away through your eavestroughs and downspouts.
For an ice dam to form there has to be snow on the roof. This snow starts to melt — either from the heat of the sun, or from heat escaping from the attic. This water flows down the roof under the snow and re-freezes when it reaches an unheated portion of the roof — usually at the eaves — where it starts to build into an ice dam. The ice dam grows through a cycle of freezing and thawing, and can get very thick. It can also spill over your eaves and form those ‘beautiful’ icicles.
Ice dams can also form on houses that have complicated roof designs — especially around skylights because they have less insulation around them allowing heat to escape.
Ice dams prevent water from flowing down. It will eventually back up, finding its way under the shingles and into the attic. A thick ice dam can damage roof flashing, fascia and soffits. It can even shift vent stacks and create gaps that allow water into your roof. That water can flow into your exterior wall cavities and end up in your basement. Or it can leak into your home and cause damage to walls, ceilings and insulation.
That’s why I’m a big fan of ice and water shield. It forms a barrier to water and helps prevent moisture from working its way into your home. Minimum code calls for roofing felt over the entire roof and ice and water shield just along the eaves. But I think it should be used all over the roof as a secondary membrane. If you have an ice dam you might be tempted to use heating cables on your roof and eavestroughs. But this doesn’t solve the problem. To get rid of them for good your attic must be properly insulated and ventilated.
Your attic is a cold zone — the attic temperature should be the same as the air outside. If there’s enough insulation in the attic it will stop heat from escaping and melting the snow on the roof. Proper ventilation keeps the exterior of your roof uniformly cold. If your roof stays cold the snow won’t melt. Also make sure you have enough roof vents — and that they aren’t covered by insulation on the inside or snow on the outside.
If you have an ice dam don’t try to remove it yourself. It’s dangerous — for you and for your shingles. You can slip, your ladder can slip, and removing ice from the edge of a sloped roof can release chunks of ice higher up that can slide down towards you, tearing shingles on the way. People have died from icicles falling from their roof. Get a professional with the proper equipment and training to remove it for you.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Mike Holmes Answers His Critics - Part II

It's kind of funny to think... Mike Holmes is a somewhat controversial figure, at least amongst the contracting world. In a Readers Digest interview, Mike stated that essentially 80 percent of contractors were bad. His exact quote was:

READERS DIGEST:]What percentage of contractors are doing good, honest work?
[MIKE HOLMES:] I call it the good, the bad and the ugly: 20, 70 and ten percent, respectively.

(For the full article, read

This of course drew the ire of many contractors across Canada. On the website, a website for the trades magazine Canadian Contractor, many tradesmen expressed their displeasure of Mike's comments with varying degrees of civility. To address their criticism and contextualize his remarks, Mike agreed to sit down with the magazine for a multi-part interview, which was posted to YouTube.

For more information about this, please refer to previous Holmes Spot blog entry Mike Holmes Answers His Critics.

Here is part one of the interview Canadian Contractor did with Mike Holmes:

Just a little disclaimer, I am a fan and big proponent of Mike Holmes, so pretty much anything I write will slant in favor of Mike, just as the interview above slanted in the opposite direction. That's my bias, I'm not trying to hide it, and I figured I'd just confirm it out in the open before I proceed any further.

For any person who has followed Mike Holmes' shows, what he said in this interview was nothing new. It's important to point out that Mike has remained consistent throughout the years in how he defines what a good contractor is. First, Mike stated that a good contractor loves and cares about his job, and will teach and educate his client every step of the way. Mike is such a big proponent of education, that he was recognized with an honorary degree in pedagogy (teaching) by Niagara University in May of 2012. He stated that a good contractor is someone who gets the insurance and certifications that are required to protect himself and his clients. Mike also stated that people just want honesty from their contractor, and being honest and upfront with people is pretty much the bedrock foundation for being a good contractor in Mike's eyes.

In the next portion of the interview, Mike was asked to contextualize his comments that the majority of contractors are bad. He stated, as he has in the past, that in addition to bad contractors, there are also bad clients to blame as well who only want the cheap. As far his good/bad/ugly comment, he stood his ground and defined what he meant by "bad" and "ugly." Again, the definitions he gave are not anything revelatory, as Mike has used these definitions in the past.

Mike defined an "ugly" contractor as an outright fraudster whose sole purpose is to con little old ladies and families out of their money. Both Mike and the host agreed that "ugly" contractors do exist, and they make up a small fraction of contractors. A "good" contractor according to Mike is someone who will go out of their way to do the job right, regardless of the circumstance. He possesses both a thorough knowledge of the products he uses and the skill to install them properly. A good contractor will lose sleep at night if the job is not done right, because a good contractor cares about what he's doing, and will always seek to do right by his or her client. A good contractor stands by his work, because there's no reason not to, and in the unlikely case that a mistake is made, a good contractor will always make it right. (Not everything that I just paraphrased above was said by Mike during the course of this interview, but everything I said has been said by Mike on one of his shows or in previous interviews.) The controversial part of the interview was when Mike defined what makes a "bad" contractor, which he feels make up the majority contractors. Again, Mike's definition of a "bad" contractor was not new - it is someone who doesn't know enough or care enough to do the job right. A "bad" contractor is not out to purposely defraud a homeowner, but his lack of knowledge, skill, and pride prevents him from delivering. A "bad" contractor is a contractor who needs to learn more about the products he uses and how to install them properly. Once again, Mike stated verbatim what he has said over and over again in the past.

Personally, I think Mike did an excellent job articulating his points and standing his ground. Whether or not people want him to, Mike is raising the bar for contractors. He's raising the expectations of what people think contractors should do, and instead of meeting those expectations, a lot of people are whining. Instead of upping their game, many (but certainly not all) contractors just want Mike to shut his mouth. It's true that not everybody has the funds to do what Mike Holmes does, but maybe it's possible to choose good materials and learn to install them correctly so that what you do now doesn't cause problems for your client down the road? Looking forward to part two of the interview.

Friday, February 8, 2013

My Letter To HGTV

Maybe we should start one of those online petitions? Common HGTV... Mike's US fans really want to see Holmes Makes It Right! It's suppose to air in the US some time this year, but we haven't been given a date, and I'm starting to feel a little Holmes withdrawal. In the mean time, I've written my long overdue letter to HGTV in hopes for some sort of answer. Will they give me the cold shoulder? Maybe. Probably. But it can't hurt to ask. If you'd like to write HGTV and tell them that you'd like to see Mike's new show, here's the link to the contact page:

Sample letter to HGTV (Copy, paste, add your own name):

Dear HGTV,

I live in the US and would like to see Mike Holmes' new show Holmes Makes It Right. I'm really looking forward to seeing the series. I'm hoping that you will premiere the new series in the US soon, or at very least announce a date for when the new series will  premiere.




Thursday, February 7, 2013

Make It Right February 2013 Newsletter

It's that time again... I love getting my Make It Right e-newsletter, delivered right to my inbox! This is the USA version, so if you're from Canada or elsewhere, sign up at Mike's website to get your own! It's free and it's full of great information!

Web version:

Here's the Canadian version:

Web version:

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Flipping Out!

 One of my friends from Facebook posted this picture of a print ad featuring Mike for Filtrete Brand filters that recently came out. Mike Holmes - America's most trusted contractor. I think that has a nice ring to it :)
Most of us noticed though that the picture in the ad is flipped! Mike's watch and bracelet are on opposite hands and he's pointing with his left hand. The original picture looked something like this...
Photographically speaking, people tend not to have symmetrical faces and symmetrical expressions, so when you flip a picture, it looks distorted. I think I like the original photo better! Besides, if big brands are going to use Mike in their ads, they need to know that Mike is super recognizable to his fans! We know he wears his watch on his left hand and his bracelet on his right. The precise placement of Mike's bling is almost as iconic as his overalls! Regardless, it's exciting to see Mike in a big ad campaign, in the US nonetheless! As someone who'd like to see Mike as big and widely known in the States as he is up North, this is awesome!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Happy Post Super Bowl Hangover Day

So... which team do you think Mike rooted for in the Super Bowl? Perhaps he didn't watch the big game and instead watched reruns of his show on Global TV. From Mike's Facebook yesterday:

Not watching the Super Bowl? Tune into Holmes Makes It Right - RIGHT NOW on Global TV.

Unfortunately, Global TV is Canadian, and everybody south of Canada has still not seen the new series! Oh well... hope everybody is recovering nicely from their Super Bowl induced hangover.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Mike Holmes Answers His Critics

It's true, Mike Holmes receives a lot of criticism. It doesn't take but a simple google search to find scathing videos and articles from Mike's critics. From day one, Mike Holmes sought to take on the industry, and has found out that sometimes the industry pushes back.

The current firestorm, if you want to call it that, started when Mike Holmes stated to Readers Digest that "80 percent of contractors are bad." His exact quote was:

[READERS DIGEST:]What percentage of contractors are doing good, honest work?
[MIKE HOLMES:] I call it the good, the bad and the ugly: 20, 70 and ten percent, respectively.

(For the full article, read

 I can understand the industry being a little off-put by this remark. It does sound flippant at best and overly harsh at worst. But it is just one man's opinion. That's how he feels, because that's what he's seen.

In the end, Mike's heart is not with the industry. His heart belongs to the people he helps, and the people who do get screwed by bad contractors.

A lot of critics will turn to the age-old "It's about the $$$" criticism. Last I checked, Mike doesn't live in a palace, and he doesn't go out clubbing with Paris Hilton every night with an entourage of women and bodyguards. I know he has a watch fetish, but most of the watches I've seen him wear are well under $400. Mike has enough money to retire at age 50 and live a comfortable existence for the rest of his life, and yet he continues to work and work and work. And if he doesn't check himself, he'll probably work himself to death. I don't buy it that he does it for the money. I honestly believe his heart is in the right place, but sometimes his mouth gets ahead of him. Sometimes. Other times, I think he's speaking his honest opinion and he just doesn't care who likes it. You'll have to decide for yourself which one of those scenarios fit this situation.

From Canadian

Mike Holmes responds

Well, you’ve had your say about what the show Holmes Makes It Right has done to our industry and your reputation. Now the host of the show, Mike Holmes, will get a chance to answer back. Last week, I did a 30 minute interview with Mike that we will be posting over the next few weeks on
I was impressed with Mike during the interview. He was very, very forthcoming while we talked, and didn’t shy away from any of the criticisms you leveled at him. I’ll confess, I didn’t directly quote some of the more personal attacks we received (like, “I wouldn’t let Mike build my doghouse!”) but I did zero in on the three objections that came up again and again; that he doesn’t have a ticket for any of the work he does, that he gets the benefit of sponsors supplying product for free and that he is destroying the reputation of the industry to fill his own pockets.
Now that we have begun a dialogue with Mike, I expect it to continue. At the end of the day, Mike considers himself one of us, and wants to make the relationship between him and the industry right. The only way that happens is if we talk, you you need to continue to send your comments. It would be very interesting if you could send comments that were specific to a particular episode of the show. Just comment on this post to continue the dialogue. In the mean time, stay tuned to this website for more from Mike.

Mike's segment starts here.

I think this is a good time to point out, as I often do, that this is a unofficial fan run blog. I don't represent Mike, in fact, I don't even know him! Please do not confuse my opinions as any kind of official representation! :-)

Friday, February 1, 2013

Mike Holmes Filtrete Brand Filter Campaign

From 3M News:

Filtrete Brand and Mike Holmes Launch National Healthy Home Contest
Enter for the chance to win a $30,000 healthy home remodel from 3M
"Making sure your family home is healthy goes beyond cleaning and dusting,"
ST. PAUL, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Families exposed to mold, irritants, toxins and other harmful elements in the home are at risk for developing health conditions like asthma, allergies and hypersensitivity pneumonitis1. In fact, a survey2 commissioned by Filtrete Brand from 3M revealed that about one in four homeowners (24 percent) currently or previously lived in a home that made them feel sick or unwell.
To help homeowners address indoor air concerns, Filtrete Brand, known for its air and water filtration products, has partnered with Mike Holmes, renowned HGTV contractor, on the Filtrete Healthy Home Remodel Contest. One grand-prize winner, selected by Holmes, will receive $30,000 worth of home inspections, repairs and renovations by a Holmes Group-approved contractor. Four first-prize winners will be awarded $5,000 cash to put towards home repairs.
“Making sure your family home is healthy goes beyond cleaning and dusting,” said Mike Holmes. “Homeowners can’t just focus on the problem areas they can see in the home. It’s what you can’t see, like indoor air quality, that can be harmful. That’s why I’m working with the best in air filtration—Filtrete Brand—to educate homeowners on health hazards lurking in the home.”
To enter from January 31, 2013, through June 30, 2013:
Twittercue: Enter to win $30k Healthy Home Remodel from @Filtrete + @Make_It_Right: #healthyhome
About 3M
3M captures the spark of new ideas and transforms them into thousands of ingenious products. Our culture of creative collaboration inspires a never-ending stream of powerful technologies that make life better. 3M is the innovation company that never stops inventing. With $30 billion in sales, 3M employs about 88,000 people worldwide and has operations in more than 70 countries. For more information, visit or follow @3MNews on Twitter.
About The Holmes Group
The Holmes Group is an international brand with operations in independent media production, new home building and inspection divisions and expansion into product development. It is entirely owned by Mike Holmes and it is responsible for developing and managing HOLMES branded entities, including HOLMES Homes, HOLMES Inspections, HOLMES Workwear, Make It Right Releasing Inc. and The Holmes Foundation.
3M and Filtrete are trademarks of 3M. © 3M 2013.
Related Links:
Filtrete Brand Website
Filtrete Brand Facebook Page
Filtrete Brand Twitter Page
Filtrete Brand YouTube Page
3M Website

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Indoor Environmental Air Quality.
2 Survey was conducted by an independent firm, Wakefield Research, among a sample of respondents who have forced heat and/or central air conditioning in their home. The study was conducted in May 2012. A total of 1,001 qualified surveys were received. The margin of error for total responses is +/- 3.1 percent.

From the 3M Contest Facebook page: