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What Mike Holmes Doesn’t Know About Foundation Structural Problems.

Dec 23, 2016 • By Matthew Stock with Todd Bunge.


When smart people need foundation repair they know they should enlist an expert.  When they think of experts, one name that would be at the top of their list would be Mike Holmes.  He is internationally known, highly-experienced with residential building and remodeling and has been called “Canada’s most trusted contractor”.  When it comes to General Contractors you’d be hard pressed to find one more qualified to work on houses than him.

But even with all his knowledge and experience, he still knows little about foundation structural issues and here’s why.  When General Contactors build new construction, the foundations they build on are new.  And when they do remodeling projects, the changes they make are inside, outside and on top of existing foundations.  But rarely do they do work to an existing foundation.  So they never gain the experience and specialized knowledge necessary to diagnose and fix them correctly. 

Mike Holmes’ Lack Of Foundation Knowledge Is Downright Dangerous

Here’s a perfect example to illustrate this statement.

Mike Holmes has used his extensive hands-on building experience to educate homeowners about house problems for over three decades.  He has created multiple television series, syndicated newspaper columns, bestselling books, DVDs, and magazines about homes.  He has an unquestionable reputation in the construction industry for quality, integrity and honesty.  His “Make it Right” credo is integrated into every one of his TV shows – Holmes on Homes, Holmes Inspection, Holmes: Makes it Right and most recently, Holmes: Buy It Right, a show where he does presale inspections on homes and advises people on the best one to purchase.

In the introduction to this series, Holmes starts out each show with a sincere statement of his mission: 

I’m Mike Holmes. I’ve been a contractor for over 30 years… Buying a home can be the All American Dream… or an absolute nightmare… You’re going to need all the information about that home before you can buy… I’m making sure home buyers know all they can.  We’re going to look for signs of any issues whatsoever, so they can make the right choice… This is about buying smart.  This is Holmes – Buy it Right.

On one of his recent episodes, Mike Holmes was in Thornton, Colorado helping newlyweds Jennifer and Matt Morris to make a buying decision for their first home.  During the show he inspected three houses for the couple and found rotted window trim, a rotted door and a rotted deck.  He also discovered missing roof flashing, insulation and HVAC problems, a loose railing, as well as electrical and plumbing problems. 

One thing he missed at the third house was a serious foundation problem.  He saw the symptom - a wide, stair-step separation in the bricks - but without foundation repair experience, Holmes failed to recognize it as an indication of significant foundation movement.  Holmes wasn’t trying to gloss over the problem.  In fact, when he found out the house was being sold by a house flipper he told the couple he was going to scrutinize it even closer.  Unfortunately, even though he’d been fixing houses for over thirty years, he lacked the specific foundation knowledge to help him realize he was looking at a serious structural issue. 

Holmes told the couple fixing the crack was easy and only required a tube of cement caulk to fill the separation.  Essentially he was recommending a band-aid for a broken leg.  Once he inspected the rest of the house and made a list of necessary repairs, Holmes told them they’d need about $15,000 to repair all the items on his list.  They were excited because they liked it the best of the three houses even though it was $60,000 above their budget. The sad truth is, from our experience with foundation repair costs, those kinds of cracks in brickwork usually mean a $35,000 to $50,000 repair because they’d need engineering plans and a city permit, excavating outside, disassembling the remodeled basement inside, stabilizing the foundation walls, remodeling the basement again and restoring the landscaping.  Holmes’ extensive general construction knowledge fell short and caused him to unintentionally hurt the couple he was trying to help.

Now if a highly-experienced General Contractor like Mike Holmes can make this kind of oversight, how much more of a mistake is it for you to trust the repair of your home’s foundation to just a local General Contractor?  U.S. Waterproofing and Construction specializes in foundations, is very familiar with all their problems, and reliable methods to fix them.  Your home is your largest investment.  Why not trust us to properly diagnose and repair your foundation issues so your All-American Dream doesn’t end up turning into an absolute nightmare.

Tags: structural foundation damage, structural foundation repair, foundation damage, foundation cracks

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