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The star of Holmes on Homes answers your questions in this blog Add to ...

"If you're going to do something, do it right the first time." These are the words that renovations expert and new Globe columnist Mike Holmes lives by, and have helped him develop his skills in his chosen craft during his 20-plus years of experience.

Fresh off writing his first column for the Globe and Mail's Real Estate section, Mr. Holmes answered reader questions on all sorts of renovation topics, with advice to help readers steer clear of some of the pitfalls the uninitiated are all too likely to fall foul of when moving into the unknown.

Now in this new blog, Mr. Holmes will provide answers to anyone with renovation or construction questions, concerns or worries. Just post your questions , and Mr. Holmes will answer them here.

Editor's Note: globeandmail.com editors will read and allow or reject each question/comment. Comments/questions may be edited for length or clarity. We will not publish questions/comments that include personal attacks on participants in these discussions, that make false or unsubstantiated allegations, that purport to quote people or reports where the purported quote or fact cannot be easily verified, or questions/comments that include vulgar language or libellous statements. Preference will be given to readers who submit questions/comments using their full name and home town, rather than a pseudonym.

Rick McGregor from Moncton, N.B. Canada writes: Hi Mike...my PVR's bursting with every one of your shows! I had windows replaced with new vinyl 4 years ago. This year, I decided to replace the trim, and upon removing the old trim noticed that the window installers had not insulated around the windows when replaced. Other than simply stuffing insulation or spray foam in the cavities, is there anything else I should be doing? I notice that around this time of year the bathroom window sweats quite a bit and water collects on the bottom sill. Any thoughts?

Mike Holmes: Hi Rick. I see a lot of this-laziness, bad workmanship. Those windows should have been insulated, and yes, that airflow is probably contributing to your condensation and moisture problems. It's better to use a low-expansion spray foam than to stuff insulation in, but if you aren't experienced with it you may want to call in a pro. If you use too much foam you could create pressure on the window frame-not good.

Posted December 7, 2006, 2:25 p.m. To submit a question to Mike Holmes click here.

tony giovinazzo from Waterloo Canada writes: Mike I am preparing to finish my basement and have read in this blog that you recommend rigid insulation with duct tape and NO vapour barrier. Can you please describe more specifically the details of the insulation you recommend and does this fasten to the foundation wall? As well, I thought that the insulation is placed betweent he studs with a vapour barrier (poly) over top - is this correct. I would really like the details on how the studs and insulation is used. Your show is great and my young daughters and try to catch it when we can. High praises to you for your support in education and ethics advocacy in skilled trades.

Mike Holmes: Hi Tony. NO, not 'duct tape'--TUCK tape. It's a totally different thing!! What I recommend to create a thermal break in basements is rigid foam insulation, with TUCK tape and no vapour barrier. The foam goes directly against the foundation walls and floor, and you stud in front of it, and lay your plywood on top of it on the floor. (1" thick foam on the floor and 2" thick foam on the walls.) Make SURE you use the correct type of adhesive-one designed for use on foam-since many adhesives will melt foam. And, use 'shiplap' foam insulation, so the edges overlap, and use adhesive on the overlap. Tuck tape all seams AND, be sure to use a spray foam in all the corners. You don't need vapour barrier, and you won't need to insulate between the studs.

Posted December 12, 2006, 3:53 p.m. To submit a question to Mike Holmes click here.

Michele Dodd from Sooke Canada writes: Hi Mike,I finally needed to replace a broken vanity light fixture in the main bath. I got everything ready to install, yes i turned off breaker. i only purchased my home in sept. 2004 and did have a property inspection done. much to my surprise today there is no electrical box behind the existing fixture to attach the new one to. the original is held on with drywall plugs and screws. the wiring just comes out of a hole in the wall. is this legally correct ??please advise if i should possibly contact the builder and have this corrected as it is still under new home warranty ?? michele

Mike Holmes: Hi Michelle. Am I hearing what you're saying correctly-there's no octagon-shaped box behind the drywall that your light fixture is attached to? None at all? That's totally against code and illegal and yes, you ABSOLUTELY need to get in touch with the builder and get it fixed asap. And, while you're at it, make sure the outlets around your vanity are GFCI-from the way your light is wired, I wouldn't be surprised if they were also wrong.

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