One enjoyable thing to do on Thursday evenings while blogging (what, do some of you have other things to do on Thursday evenings?) is to watch Holmes on Homes on HGTV out of one corner of your eye. Mike Holmes is my hero.
For those of you not blessed enough to be in Canada or within reach of the show, Mike is a contractor who always gets called in to deal with the mess left by a prior contractor… his tagline is “Make it Right.” The whole schtick is that they’ll feature a homeowner who has had some type of renovation project done, and done badly…. problems ensue, and Mike gets called in. What happens next is one of the best parts of the show: the demolition. This is the part where Mike looks at something and says, “That’s wrong…” then he grabs a chunk of drywall (or whatever) and rips it out, saying, “This shouldn’t come out this easily it’s all wrong.” This will continue… once he’s ripped out one thing he gets looking at what’s behind it, then rips that out as well. Now he’s got a protege who stands around doing and saying all the same stuff, a chip of the old Mike. An endless string of comments ensues, like “It’s always more expensive to do it twice. Do it right the first time. Take your time. Get permits! Hire the right contractor… if it doesn’t look right, stop work!” And of course, there’s Mike looking at something that was done, pointing out things and then looking at the camera and saying, “Un-be-lieveable.” The best parts are in the worst jobs where he either shakes his head and looks at the floor or walks through the room waving his arms saying, “It’s all coming down! Rip it all out!” Right now he’s saying, “This is not how you do electrical you do not want this guy working on your home! My time on this job just doubled. Oh, isn’t that cute, the whole basement’s on one circuit.” There’s also an interspersed diatribe on the electrician, how dangerous it is, how it breaks code, how it could burn down the house and he’d be responsible… and there was the line just now, “I’m pulling out everything.” I’ve seen him rip down an entire garage, completely gut a kitchen and then start jackhammering the floor to see what’s under it, and I’ve seen him replace an entire roof over a home addition, followed by redoing the interior. About three quarters of the way through the job, he decides that granite countertops would look good, then goes ahead and does that too. The homeowners are amazed, without fail… and of course, they’re thoroughly happy.
Mike does things the hard way. He also does them the right way. The reconstruction part of the show just started, with Mike walking through a homeowner’s basement with the electrician, saying, “Obviously that’s no longer a bedroom, we’ve gone with an open concept…” while the electrician is marking things left, right, and centre and Mike is spouting off instructions to the rest of his crew about how to handle particular points of the reconstruction process. One thing he does often is bring in other trades and specialists… in keeping with his mantras, “Get it done right” and “You get what you pay for.” Everyone he hires seems to abide by the same philosophy while we’re here anyway, we’re also adding a rubber membrane…. or whatever. This time out he got called in to look at a basement window well that didn’t look right. By the time he was done, the entire basement had been basically gutted and rebuilt… fixing of course the electrical, plumbing, and air conditioning unit in the process.
Okay, hang on we’re going to spiritually analogize this. Mike knows how to build, and takes his time to do it right. He plans, gets the right people, gets the blueprint, makes a plan, and executes it. If it was done wrong to start with, he’ll rip it out and do it over. Nothing is sacred in the deconstruction process, everything can be replaced…. and often, it is. People before attempted to build or renovate, and often didn’t know what they were doing or were incapable of doing the job correctly. They tend to cover up problems instead of getting to the bottom of them and resolving the underlying issues. Inevitably, this coverup eventually leads to other problems, and the demolition ends up being much worse than it had to be. Lesson learned, build it right, build it carefully, and do it right the first time. Too bad you usually only get one “first time” experience helps a lot in doing it right.
So, when we put our hands to building the church, we want to do it right the first time, to…. wait, it’s probably too late for that. Seems we’re already in the demolition process. Alright, we’ve lessons to learn from Mike there too: nothing is sacred, rip it all out, go looking for problems and deal with them while you’re at it. Do it over, and do it right. When we rebuild, we want to be sure we’re building well, doing the job properly. Approach it properly, intentionally, and build the best we know how even as we’re still learning in the process. Now is the time to remodel, but build carefully, because I guess it’s inevitable: someday, someone is going to come along and rip apart what we build… and I hope we can limit the amount of demolition that’s required. After all, with too much demolition and reconstruction it starts to get personal and when that happens I don’t much want a guy who looks like Mike saying nasty things about me. He might figure out where I live.
As a contractor, I at first found Holmes’ show to be somewhat entertaining and informative. However, after watching a multitude of episodes, I find his constant bashing of his own field as a little disconcerting. I did a little research on the show. He principally flits about here and there (in Canada) and comes across the exception more than what the contracting field actually provides its customers. Any of us has come across previously poor contracting work and poor homeowner effort. But, I gotta ask, his constant invictive attitude about his own trade?! There is no balance in this show. Too, if you watch enough, you will see Holmes either sell the homeowner, or use his show to purchase, items, processes, or techniques that are either unnecessary or overkill. He also subs out nearly 95 percent of his work. Anyone can sub out work. And, anyone can pick up a sledgehammer or use 230 pounds of his own weight to bring down a bulkhead. Frequently, his solution to a problem is to completely tear it out. And, the reasons? Because he doesn’t like it? Where is the contractor rationale in half of his tear outs?!
If you want balance and shows that might teach you more, I would recommend stalwart shows like Hometime and This Old House. At least they aren’t bashing their own profession. My DVR doesn’t have room for Holmes anymore. To me, he is just another contractor with an excuse to make more money. In this case, is for ratings and the income generated from this show, or is it truly from his trade as a contractor? You be the judge.
Your experience as a contractor is obviously severely lacking if you can honestly say you watched the show and say he tears everything apart for no reason.
I’ve seen episodes where there’s knob and tube connected to modern wiring, aluminum to copper, plumbing that’s not even glued together, drywall hung with straight nails, improper use of or complete lack of insulation, etc.
The reason he tears most stuff down entirely is because it’s simply not salvageable. Good luck with your beliefs, however – your clients are going to pay the price.
Nice Australian people – let me tell you, Mike Holmes is the best to be a deceiver, no construction skills but lousy deck builder, insulting innocent people for year’s, Home Depot cancelled this show very soon , after lot’s of complaint’s, he is an alcoholic who walk out of the bar on four many times.
Lousy man pretending as a super contractor, failed exams to be a home inspector – twice – .
Super dumb as a stick, failure, fake, fiction and all under HGTV network, Shame on HGTV and pervert Mike Holmes !!!!!
This may have been said but to the person who said “As for me I am ok with doing the job “good enough”. Getting it right smacks to much of legalism to me.”….remind me never to hire you to do a contracting job in my home.
I will pay a higher price for a legit and perfectly done contracting job (and for the peace of mind that my house won’t flood or burn down), no questions asked.
Holmes has raised awareness. That’s good. But he is also often completely full of crap. He spouts half truths and other pseudo science that laypeople would never question but those of us in the business know to be BS. Simple repairs turn into major demolition unnecessarily. The part I hate the most is the “extreme home makeover edition” aspect where HE is changing the scope of work.
BUT he does raise awareness. And that opens the door to conversation with our clients and that is a good thing
I am in the business. If you want it done right, you can only do it one way. There are no short cuts. If its covered in mold and asbestos, you have to remove it, or it will come back. Plumbing and electrical belong in the wall. Venting is necessary in plumbing. Grounding is necessary in electrical. Insulation is necessary in houses, or you will pay big heating bills. If you want a house that doesn’t cause excess maintenance bills, or heaven forbid, health problems, then do it the MIKE HOLMES way.
NY Design – Once again, I think you’re missing the point.
I do concur that Mike can overdo some things, and yes, he often modifies the scope of the work, but usually only at his expense. The homeowners lose nothing when he does this, and things are done right. Moreover, the change in scope is often because of a desperate need in the situation – doing structural underpinning, removing oil tanks (and any contractor that tells me you don’t need to remove it is lying), or, sometimes, simply putting in a quality finished bathroom so that someone can simply live decently.
To say he doesn’t know what he’s doing or talking about, however, is quite another thing and bordering on a character attack. If you don’t like what he does, fine, but just don’t look for my business.
Hey, I am dying to know if any of the contractors that made all the initial crappy changes/modifications are ever brought up on charges?? I just have to know if those shady and unqualified people get their arses handed to them!!
Mike Holmes makes me wish I had continued further with a second career as a home inspector. I found that the course I took was generally poor compaired to what I did
know about electrical wiring and plumbing and general
home construction. I felt that realitors considered me as a
“deal” killer. I was in a position for easy retirement. If I was in early twenties now, I would take at least a basic
inspection course and then take more advanced training
I was in construction in my college days. Heres a example of contruction. We were finishing a basement. We were all getting headaches, I noticed a drip from a exhaust pipe on the furnance. I inspected it and it was not glued. This was a brand new house! (Always check your furnance exhaust pipe yourself.) The inspectors never checked this. Everytime a city inspector came to check our work it was about 3 minutes. The ones that put more effort in were retarded saying things that were correct were not. We would convince them that they were wrong and they would be on there way. The best way to make sure the job is getting done right is to give your workers free pizza be nice, watch them, 1 or 2 free beers a day, ask questons but dont hover.