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Recently I’ve heard advice dispensed by folks, that, although true, isn’t really the best idea. So in this edition, I’m going to dispel some myths. Specifically related to ones that start like this,

“You can just…”

Remember everything in BLUE IS A BAD IDEA!!

One of my favorites on roofing, when a roof is nearing the end of its serviceable life “You can just put another layer on top, it’ll save money on removal”. According to RI Building code you are technically allowed to do so, but you certainly should not. Here is why its a bad idea:

  • It does save some money on removal, but the next time you need to replace it, you’ll pay to remove two bad layers and pay then.
  • Your roofing shingle warranty is completely voided! That’s right you but 25 year shingles and get no warranty. Shingles are made to lay on a flat surface and not designed to be put on top of other shingles. There will be no warranty and there will be a decrease in lifespan by as much as 50%. Yup, save some money but get half the life, bad idea!
  • You will not be able to replace bad roof sheeting that was damaged when the roof failed.

When your electric service panel is full, “You can just put another circuit on that breaker.”

  • Not according to code you can’t. In some cases a breaker is allowed to have two circuits tied in, but not most times. Also, without consulting a licensed electrician, you could overload the circuit (AKA creating a fire hazard).

When wood is soft from water penetration, allegedly “You can just caulk it”.

  • You can, but the decay process is not stopped, just hidden. So the wood will continue to decay and fail at an even greater level.

“You can just put duct tape over that live expose wire”

  • Look, I love duct tape as much as the next manly, man does, but duct tape is conductive. That is not a good idea.

“You can just leave that drain that way, you don’t need a trap in there”

  • You can, its your house. IF you enjoy sewer gas rising up into your living space. The plumbing code exists for a reason.
  • You can also drain leak too, but it doesn’t mean you should!

“You can just leave the basement like that, so what if water seeps in, its not finished”.

  • You are allowed to do so. But it will create an idea situation for mold growth. Mold can cause various breathing hazards for you and your family. It will get up the basement stairs.
  • It will also continue to degrade your foundation, better reconsider and fix it.

“I know it’s asbestos, but you can just wrap it yourself, with duct tape.”

  • Yes, I’ve heard someone say this.
  • Asbestos can be encapsulated and the hazard is abated. It MUST be done by a pro. This stuff causes cancer. They do not use duct tape, again I think duct tape is awesome, but not for this.
  • Its typically not much more to just remove it altogether.

My all time favorite…“You can just ignore the item Mike put in your report, he has to put it in there but its not important.”

  • OK, you interviewed me, and I presume called other home inspectors, you also chose to hire me. Why would you pay me for my expertise, then disregard it?
  • Yes, you can ignore what I say.
  • I do have to put it in there, you are paying me for exactly that, find material defects.

All in all, you paid me for my advice, I have no interest in weather or not you actually buy the house. I am a full time home inspector, I don’t write reports for my benefit, I write them for yours. So read them, and react accordingly. For more info on what and why I do what I do, visit


Your Home Inspector

Mike Auger


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