The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Mike Holmes shares expert home maintenance tips in 'The Holmes Manual'

  • Print

TORONTO - While many homeowners have big dreams of beautifying their spaces, handyman Mike Holmes wants them to also think of the less glamorous side of property upkeep: regular home inspections and maintenance.

"You will save a fortune in money if you do this, because if you go ahead and renovate that kitchen before you take a look at the roof and it leaks, that's going to cost you a big amount of dough," said the straight-talking contractor and home improvement host.

The "Holmes Makes It Right" star said he has fielded countless questions over the years on home maintenance, from queries about roofs to sweating windows. With his new book, "The Holmes Manual" (HarperCollins), due out on June 3, Holmes offers guidance on how to spot potential signs of property damage while also sharing tips in response to common repair questions.

"We look at our cars. We constantly check our tires, right? ... And we pay more attention to our vehicles than the single most expensive investment of our lives — your home," Holmes said in a recent phone interview.

"Yes, you need to pay attention. You need to check your filter on your furnace every single month because if your filter's dirty, then you're actually smothering your furnace. You can burn out your motor because it can't breathe properly anymore. It's not moving air the way it's supposed to."

While icicles dangling from the edge of a roof may seem picturesque, their appearance is typically the sign of several different problems, said Holmes. Among them: heat loss from the house heading into the attic space.

"When we have heat loss in the attic, we have hot meeting cold. That can actually mould the entire inside of your attic."

Holmes writes that shingles that are curling or buckling at the edges are also red flags. It may be a sign of natural wear and tear. But Holmes adds that exposed bare patches on asphalt shingles — which gradually lose granules over time — or large amounts of granules in gutters may be signs of poor ventilation in the attic where rising heat tends to accumulate.

"If that heat gets trapped because you don't have a well-ventilated attic, it can warm up the roof, causing asphalt shingles to stiffen up and age more quickly," he writes, noting that the ventilation issues can also cause ice dams to surface.

Holmes said while it's important for homeowners to be educated and knowledgeable about possible problems, that doesn't necessarily mean they should take the reins to repair them — particularly when they may be lacking key skills.

"You shouldn't do the roof unless you know what you're doing — and I mean really know what you're doing," he stressed. "You shouldn't play with electrical. You shouldn't play with your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and you shouldn't play with your plumbing.

"I think the majority of the people are trying to learn what they need to learn about their house (and) who they should be calling to fix it," he added.

For reno-minded homeowners, the book offers detailed comparative charts for items, including roofing vents, sidings and finishes for fences and decks, as well as step-by-step project instructions, like finishing a basement floor.

But preventive maintenance remains top of mind for the handyman. And with spring now in full swing, Holmes said the season is prime time for making inspections to ensure that water isn't seeping into the home.

"You've got to look at your eavestroughs — clean them out. Your downspouts — make sure they're not blocked. .... Look at all the caulking around your doors and windows," he said. "If you can't get up on your roof ... get a pair of binoculars and take a really good look around the chimney, make sure that none of the weather has ruined your roof system.

"The more you take a look now, the absolute better. Don't just concentrate on flowers and cleaning up the garden."

Follow @lauren_larose on Twitter.



Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


O'Shea says the team is going to stick to the plan after first loss

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 100527-Winnipeg Free Press THe Provencher Foot Bridge is lit up
  • Jia Ping Lu practices tai chi in Assiniboine Park at the duck pond Thursday morning under the eye of a Canada goose  - See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge Day 13- May 17, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


Which of Manitoba's new landlord-tenant rules are you looking forward to most?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google