As the co-owner of Minnesota’s foremost reconstruction firm for 30 years, Amit Sela has repaired a lot of homes with mold damage. “Mold is unsightly and unhealthy,” Sela says, “and it’s usually a sign of water problems in your house. You need to detect and fix these problems and remove the mold, or you’ll suffer damage to your house and your health.”
Mold is usually caused by poor ventilation and a buildup of excessive moisture and humidity inside the house. Mold can grow anywhere, wherever excess moisture collects — on/behind walls, on/under carpet and floors, and on windows and countertops. Mold can cause headaches, cold or flu-like symptoms, and even poisoning.
To remove excess moisture and humidity and prevent mold, Sela suggests the following:
1. Use fans in your attic, bathrooms, kitchen and basement to increase airflow and remove moisture.
2. Fix leaky pipes, a leaky roof and faulty flashing.
3. Clean out gutters and clear heavy snow from roofs.
4. Deflect rainwater and snow away from the exterior walls and foundation with the proper insulation of pipes and the proper landscaping around the exterior walls and foundation.
5. Use dehumidifiers and install sump pumps in the basement to remove moisture.
Once mold appears, homeowners should remove it immediately using a homemade solution of bleach and water to wash and scrub the affected areas repeatedly till all mold disappears.
Amit Sela, co-owner of a preeminent Minnesota roofing and reconstruction company, offers some strategies to help homeowners avoid severe damage from cold, snowy winters.
“Your No. 1 priority after a heavy snowfall is to clear snow, sleet and ice buildup from your roof,” says Amit Sela. “Besides causing water leaks and serious water damage, if you don’t remove accumulating snow and ice on your roof, it can actually cause the entire roof to collapse,” he warns. “It may be best to hire professional roofing experts, who know how to safely clear heavy snow and ice from rooftops without damaging the roof and other areas of the house.”
Make sure there’s proper air ventilation in the attic, or the warm air inside can melt the snow on the roof and cause ice dams, which block water from draining, resulting in leaks, water damage and even mold. To remove an ice dam, Sela recommends hiring a roofing pro to avoid damaging vents, chimney, skylights and other protrusions on the roof.
Remove snow and ice from in front of doors and in window wells. If water and moisture seep into the house, reapply sealants immediately.
Clear snow from areas around exhaust pipes and air vents on your heaters and furnaces. If they’re blocked, it can be a serious safety hazard.
Keep water moving through pipes to prevent freezing. Let a tiny trickle of water drip from hot and cold faucets overnight.
An experienced remodeling contractor in the Twin Cities for 30 years, Amit Sela keeps up on the latest design trends in bath remodeling, commenting on the interesting new developments in the field.
For example, giant tubs, once wildly popular, have fallen out of favor. Instead, people are choosing bigger custom showers with a smaller bathtub that takes up a lot less space. Custom showers feature water streams and massaging from multiple directions: you can choose from overhead showerheads, wall-mounted showerheads, hand-held showerheads, shower tiles, rain bars, body sprays and steam showers.
“Most often what clients tell me they need is more counter and mirror space rather than dual sinks,” he says. “Besides, plumbing for a second sink can significantly raise the price.”
More homeowners are adding wider doorways, showers with no raised lip around the bottom, larger shower doors, grab bars and more room around fixtures to better accommodate people of all ages and abilities.
You can also add built-in warming drawers for towels or install a pass-through fireplace for ambience and warmth.
“Many want a master bath that’s a calm, relaxing, spa-like retreat,” Sela says. “The good news is luxury and convenience can be incorporated into any design standard and accommodate a wide range of budgets.”
The co-owner of a leading Minnesota roofing and reconstruction company, Amit Sela has worked with numerous homeowners for 30 years helping them solve problems with water leaks and water intrusion. Below, he cites some common signs and locations of water leaks and offers some simple tips to minimize the risks.
Sela advises, “Some of the first signs of a leak are often not obvious to a homeowner. For example, condensation and/or rusting around a pipe, discolored or damaged walls, musty odors originating from walls and floors, condensation on windows and mildew and excess moisture under carpets are warning signs.”
Insulating all accessible pipes prevents condensation and rusting. Tightly calking and insulating all cracks, holes and other openings in exterior walls with waterproofing sealant prevents moisture from penetrating the wall cavity.
Some primary causes of roof leaks are loose or faulty flashing, a cracked or damaged chimney, broken roof tiles and clogged gutters. Look for water stains on the inside ceilings and walls and on attic beams. Leaks on exposed beams can make the roof sag. Sela also suggests closely inspecting skylights and roof vents for damage.
“If it’s not repaired and corrected right away, water intrusion into the framing system and living spaces can lead to irreparable damage and a loss in home value,” warns Sela. ”Hire an experienced contractor who can diagnose and repair these problems and offer problem-prevention advice.”
With 30 years’ experience in roofing as the co-owner of the leading roofing company in the Minnesota Twin Cities’ area, Amit Sela is a knowledgeable expert on a wide range of roofing materials.
Laying out the pros of slate roofing, he points out that a slate roof is timeless, classic and beautiful—making it an attractive option for homeowners. Slate is considered one of the highest quality, longest-lasting roofing materials on the market. Made from natural stone, slate roofs can last a century or longer, plus they can resist fire damage and the severest of storms.
However, slate roofing typically costs a fair bit more than other types of roofing and is more difficult to install due to its heavy weight, requiring a solid support structure to prevent collapses and other damage to the home.
Since many roofing contractors and roofers don’t know much about slate roofing, choose your contractor carefully. Experts say that a well-installed slate roof will last a century or more, while a poorly installed one is a lot like having no roof at all.
In sum, although the market for slate roofing has declined with the introduction of newer, lighter materials and the need for faster, easier installation, it nevertheless remains a popular option for homeowners seeking a classic, enduring style for their homes.
As the co-owner of Minnesota’s premier roofing and reconstruction company, Amit Sela has significant experience with storm damage. “Lightning, hail, falling trees, high winds – nothing’s harder on a home than a nasty storm,” says Sela. Here, he offers a few tips on what you can do when your home has been damaged by bad weather.
1. Contact your insurance agent right away and make sure the damage is covered in your policy. You may qualify for temporary housing if the storm has caused significant damage, in addition to coverage for other related expenses.
2. Gather plenty of photographic and video evidence to document the damage. “Insurance companies will do an assessment of the damage,” notes Amit Sela, “but you’re better protected if you document all the damage for yourself to make sure you receive adequate compensation to cover all the damage.”
3. Be sure to minimize the damage to your property if at all possible. “A tarp over damaged roofs and boards over broken windows will help save the interior of your house,” says Amit Sela.
4. Finally, take the time to choose a reliable contractor. Repairs should be undertaken by qualified and experienced reconstruction experts, so do the research and find a reputable contractor, who is knowledgeable about working directly with insurance companies and experienced in performing a host of home repair and improvement projects.
An entrepreneur and business owner, Amit Sela operates multiple enterprises in the Minnesota Twin Cities’ area. Among his holdings is a real estate and property investment firm that maintains and manages upscale multifamily housing in desirable locations throughout the metropolitan area.
“Throughout the years, I’ve dealt with numerous tenants,” shares Amit Sela. “Choosing reliable tenants who not only pay on time but take pride in their home can make the critical difference between profit and loss, joy and frustration.”
“Although it’s time-consuming and tedious,” Sela maintains, “in the end, it’s worth it to invest the extra time and effort needed to properly screen your tenants because, in the end, it will help you avoid the frustration, pitfalls and expenses of having the wrong tenant.”
That includes verifying driver’s licenses to confirm identity, pulling credit reports, checking rental references, verifying employment and performing face-to-face interviews with each prospect.
Additionally, he says that a good landlord attracts and retains good renters by properly maintaining rental property and promptly attending to renters’ needs and concerns. “Mutual respect, courtesy and communication also help build a long, trusting relationship between a responsible landlord and a reliable tenant,” Sela says.