Home renovation expert Mike Holmes talks about preventing mold and other common home renovation mistakes.
Of all the problems that can crop up in a house, mold can be the most dangerous—it’s been linked to many health problems. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the only way to control mold growth indoors is to control moisture through proper ventilation.
Legendary contractor, television host, and philanthropist Mike Holmes knows this all too well. “Mold needs three things to thrive,” he explains. “Air, a source of food, and moisture. Take away one of these sources and you’ll keep mold at bay.”
You can’t keep air out of your house, and most building materials are an excellent food source for mold. “So how do you prevent mold growth? By eliminating moisture,” Holmes notes. “Run the exhaust fans in your kitchens and bathrooms. Address any leaks in your home.”
These efforts can be complicated by modern building techniques. “We’re building homes to be more airtight these days,” Holmes says, “which is great for your home’s energy efficiency. But you’ll need a way to cycle in fresh, treated air, either through a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) or energy recovery ventilator (ERV).”
A healthy home is about more than mold prevention, of course. When buying an existing home, Holmes advises an ‛outside-in’ approach. “Your roof and the exterior are two critical elements in the protection of a major investment—your home—from the wind, rain, and snow,” Holmes says.
Once the exterior is sorted, look inside. “How healthy is your indoor air?” Holmes asks. “Indoor air quality needs to be on the top of your mind when thinking about your home. Homeowners should test their homes for mold, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and radon.”
Holmes’ other advice reflects the no-nonsense, consumer-centric brand he’s cultivated for years. “I always recommend homeowners do their own research on the products and materials,” he says. “And get a home inspection before you start your renovation—a qualified home inspector can check out all the main systems of your home. This will alert you to any red flags that need to be addressed.”
Finally, Holmes is blunt about the most important aspect of building or renovating a home. “The most common mistake is hiring the wrong contractor,” he says. “There are many reasons this process can go wrong, for example, if a friend of the family offers to do the renovation for you but does not have the proper skills or training.”