Make It Right: Inside Home Renovation with Canada's Most Trusted Contractor. Ost


212 pages
Contains Photos, Index
ISBN 978-0-00-200813-0
DDC 643'.7





Reviewed by Janet Arnett

Janet Arnett is the former campus manager of adult education at Ontario’s Georgian College. She is the author of Antiques and Collectibles: Starting Small, The Grange at Knock, and 673 Ways to Save Money.



You’ve seen Mike Holmes’s bulging biceps as he smashes drywall on the popular HGTV program Holmes on Homes. You’ve seen him rip out walls with his bare hands. Now you can see how to apply his insights, knowledge, and experience to your home reno. Don’t be misled: this is not a how-to-do-it-yourself book. Holmes is “not a fan” of DIY; it’s all about how to get it done right by using a contractor.


The process starts with planning and educating yourself about a home’s construction and mechanical systems so you can evaluate a contractor’s work and recognize problems in the making. It also means being knowledgeable about permits, quotes, contracts, building codes, liens, subcontractors, holdbacks, and what is needed if you must take a contractor to court.


The core of the book is a tour of the house inside and out, looking at the foundation, basement, joists, HVAC, ductwork, electrical, plumbing, exhaust fans, windows, insulation, weeping tile, roof trusses, vapour barriers, doors, roofing, siding, and more. For each, the work describes what to look for in the way of present or future problems, preferred methods, and materials. The objective is to look behind the finish where mould lurks, where structural elements may be compromised, where electrical and plumbing issues are waiting to cause problems. The overviews in this house-tour section are then applied in greater detail in chapters on renovating bathrooms, kitchens, and basements the three areas presenting the greatest challenges and also the greatest rewards for homeowners.


The work draws on Holmes’s fame as a TV personality, playing up his highly opinionated, down-to-earth bluntness. This makes for a very approachable style. Colour photos and sidebars with extra tips add visual interest. Comparison charts, a maintenance checklist, a glossary, and an index round out the information package.


The book will help homeowners better understand their home and how to get maximum value from renovations. It will also be valuable for would-be home purchasers, helping them evaluate houses they look at and communicate more effectively with home inspectors.


Holmes, Mike., “Make It Right: Inside Home Renovation with Canada's Most Trusted Contractor. Ost,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 12, 2024,