Mike Holmes on remodeling it right the first timeThe star of HGTV's 'Holmes Inspection' gives tips on how to make sure your bathroom or kitchen renovation goes off without a hitch
It is readily apparent that contracting runs in the blood of HGTV's Mike Holmes. "I didn't have video games, so from the time I was two, I was following my dad around," says Holmes while explaining his love affair with contracting. "He was the neighborhood handyman, people would call all the time and say, 'Jim, can you fix this?' I thought he was a god."
Holmes credits his dad for his passion for doing things right the first time. It is this work ethic, a desire to be in charge (he's a Leo after all) and natural inquisitiveness that led Holmes to begin running a construction company at age 19 and establish his own renovation company two years later.
These characteristics, plus his disarming straightforwardness, led to one fateful conversation with a friend in the employ of HGTV. The 30-minute rant included all of Holmes' ideas about what he thought was missing from the network. The friend offered Holmes the opportunity to host a show, and although he was resistant at first, he knew it was a chance to educate thousands of households at once. "I just couldn't resist," says Holmes.
Now, Holmes is the host of the award-winning television series "Holmes on Homes" and "Holmes Inspection" on HGTV. He also has written a book called "Make it Right: Expert Advice on Home Renovations" (Time Home Entertainment, 2011), an easy-to-understand guide to inside home renovations that effortlessly communicates with the novice without boring the more experienced. Holmes' professional philosophy shines through: "If you are going to do it, you might as well do it right the first time."
Holmes has over two decades' experience in home renovation and construction, and he relishes in sharing that knowledge. "I really enjoy educating people," says Holmes. "I've seen so many homes built badly." He attributes much of the subpar construction and renovation to lack of planning, not using the best materials and people making quick, uninformed decisions. Always eager to share information, Holmes provides some industry insights and tips on how to get the best result out of a kitchen or bath renovation:
Holmes on Green
Holmes believes sustainable design is design that will last. Mold is a common problem in most kitchens and baths, and widespread mold can result in thousands of dollars in repair costs. In order to prevent it, Holmes suggests using the best products like blue board or mold-resistant drywall on the walls vs. green drywall (which may be water resistant but not mold resistant) and concrete backer board for the tub or shower area.
Haste Makes Waste
When contemplating a renovation, Holmes urges homeowners to "slow down, plan (and plan some more), and educate yourself." He knows that people get excited about what they see in magazines, but Holmes wants them to pause and make a detailed wish list of exactly what they want, take a thorough inventory of their homes, determine how much money they can afford to spend, begin compiling a list of professionals, and decide when the renovation will best fit into your life.
The Contracting Mating Ritual
"Picking a contractor is like dating," says Holmes. "Do your research, ask for at least 20 references and take the time out to call all 20." Among the topics to cover when questioning prior clients: timeliness, cleanliness of the job site, budget adherence and a request to visit and see examples of their work. Holmes does not recommend people acting as their own general contractor. Instead, he says, "Be sure to pick someone you can trust."
When Gutting is Good
Holmes says that there are very few situations that a bathroom renovation does not need to start with a complete gut of the old fixtures, systems, floor, tiles and drywall - especially in an older home. The bathroom is the room most at risk for leaks, mold, moisture and poor ventilation. Unless the renovations are very minor (the bathroom is solidly built, fairly new and only the countertops and cabinets need to be replaced), Holmes believes a full renovation is in order.
By J. JEWELL BATES
(c) CTW Features
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