5 Ways To Have a Safe and Durable Home

By Mike Holmes

Mike’s Advice / Home Safety & Maintenance

Friday, March 20th, 2020 @ 10:00am

I have narrowed down my top 5 most important areas of your home to focus on. If you notice, there is a common theme with them, and that is about thinking long term. My dad always used to say to me “Mike, you have to think 10 steps ahead”, and that’s why these are so important.

5) Work From The Outside In

If you protect your home from the outside, it will protect you on the inside. Let’s start from the top, your roof! It’s important that you don’t cut corners and cheap out in this area. If you watched Holmes+Holmes or Mike’s Ultimate Garage, you’ll know that I am a big fan of metal roofing.

There are some good asphalt roofs out there but when you compare the cost between metal and asphalt over a 50 year time period, the metal shingle starts to look a lot better in price over time. On top of that, the less you have to replace your roof, the more money you will save and the less unnecessary waste goes into the landfill.

Did You Know?

Most metal roofs have a 50 year warranty which really improves the longevity of your home. Also some things like chalking, fading and chipping might be covered on a metal roof warranty. 

4) Think Of Your Home Like A Cooler

One of the most important things in my eyes, and probably one of the most overlooked thing in a home is insulation. One thing we ALWAYS tell people is to insulate your home from the outside! Think of your home like a cooler. Coolers are thermally broken, and don’t allow hot to meet cold. Whereas a glass of cold water, is much like a thermal barrier, it creates a barrier but it doesn’t stop hot from meeting cold, and the glass can condensate (which could create mould and many other problems). To have an efficient and durable home, insulation is key.  In my opinion, the best system you can have is a 2 inch insulation on the outside of your home with either a batt insulation and vapour barrier (its a vapour barrier that can change its permeability rating based on the moisture content in your wall cavity).

Another Tip

Another way to control the temperature of your home is incorporating smart thermostats wherever we can on our projects.

3) Good Quality Windows & Doors Are Very Important

We always use Trimbo when it comes to installing windows and doors because those are the areas you can lose heat and cooling from your home. So having a quality window/door is key. On top of that your siding finishes the exterior package. Personally I like a pretreated wood siding with a brick or stone combination. Not only do they last longer but its also nice to break up all of the wood siding with some sort of stone/brick accent. The main thing you need to think about is keeping the weather outside!


Trimbo window installation

The guys at Trimbo installating a high quality window

2) Think About Solar Energy

One of the things I chose to do in my home was use solar energy.  Anyone in Ontario knows that our hydro bills are insanely high. Not only that but our population is constantly growing so it’s important to think about renewable energy when it comes to your home. In my garage, we installed 26 solar panels on my roof with a 10KW hour battery and inverter in the basement. I have the option to run certain things like my lighting, fridge, furnace and other high energy drawing loads in my home or I can save that energy in case of a power outage. You can monitor how much power you are using and how much power the solar is producing to try and obtain Net Zero (meaning that I am producing as much energy as I am consuming, in hopes to help save wasted energy and also save money on my hydro bill).

1) Don’t Cheap Out On Products And Materials


I don’t know anyone who likes a cold tile floor on their feet and that’s why the Schluter Ditra Heat is so great.

I could really go on and on about what to do and what products to use for your home, but I think the last area I will touch on is the bathrooms. Whenever we are doing a bathroom we always think long term. Waterproofing your bathroom is so important, think about it, here is an area in your home that you’re constantly putting water in, why would you cheap out? My son Mike Jr and my daughter Sherry have been using Schluter’s Kerdi Board for our bathroom jobs. It is much lighter than concrete board and much easier to work with.

Then when it comes to your floors, you can use Ditra Heat. This has two purposes, Ditra is a Decoupling membrane. (Let me break this down for you.  Everything in your home expands and contracts throughout the different season, and different materials expand and contract at separate rates. By putting a tile floor directly on top of plywood, you are putting two materials together that expand and contract differently which can cause tile and grout cracking. The beauty of Ditra Heat is that you can run an in floor heating cable and thermostat in between the studs of the Ditra and then lay your tile directly on top. Learn more about In-Floor Warming Systems.

Bonus Tip

If you plan on doing a basement renovation to make your home durable then, I highly recommend you install a backwater valve. Did you know that Some municipalities might even provide subsidies on installing a backwater valve? This is especially true if you live in an area where sewer back up is common. A backwater valve protects you from city sewer back up and you can install this device yourself.

Here’s Some Ideas For Building Safe Kids Rooms

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