CHINESE DRYWALL TESTING AND INSPECTION IN BIRMINGHAM AL
Griffith Home Analysis is currently not inspecting for Chinese Drywall. The below is for informational purpose.
Chinese Drywall Concerns and Inspection:
Concerns over imported Chinese sheetrock are just beginning to unfold in the real estate industry. During the height of the building boom in 2005 and 2006, the demand for drywall outstripped the US manufacturing capacity. As a result, some distributers imported drywall from other countries to make up for the shortfall. The CPSC estimates over 6 million sheets of drywall were imported from China in 2006 alone. The importing of Chinese drywall is believed to have occurred to some extent from 2001 through 2009 with the most imported between 2004 though 2006 during the peak of the building period.
The problem is some of the imported drywall was manufactured with materials containing more sulfur compounds (and other chemicals) than domestic drywall. Naturally, this drywall with high concentrations of sulfur emits higher amounts of sulfur (and other gases). When humidity is high in the areas with this type of imported sheetrock, these gases can sometimes be identified by a sulfur odor or “rotten egg smell”. This “off gassing” by the contaminated drywall can cause corrosion to exposed bare metals in the mechanical systems of the home. This bare metal corrosion has been the primary damage compliant. With the most common complaint being the home’s is air-conditioner coil repeatedly replaced due to refrigerant leakage because the contaminated gases cause pitting and damage to the air-conditioning components thin piping. Other complaints include: repeated failure of appliances, corrosion on the metal light and plumbing fixtures, and corrosion of electrical wiring.
Testing recently by private labs indicates the presence of chemicals in some imported drywall that could possibly be a health concern. Presently, the EPA has not announced a health warning. Numerous private lab tests and opinions have been published and arguments exist for both sides on the possibility of heath issues involved. Many government agencies are in the midst of various investigations (HUD, EPA, CPSC, and State of Florida DOH). The CPSC recommends that if you have problem drywall in your home and you have suspected heath concerns, see your doctor.
Identification of the presence of imported drywall typically entails some invasive investigation. Removal of some insulation in the attic and the exposed wall areas to look for identification marks by Chinese manufacturers may be the easiest way to identify the presence. However, since a home might have drywall supplied from several different manufacturers, this is often inconclusive. Investigation of the air-conditioning coils, and water and gas piping as well as electrical systems for evidence of unusual corrosion is also a tool for determining the presence of the imported drywall. Once the presence of imported drywall has been identified, tests are available to confirm the containments in the drywall that can cause corrosion and damage to a home’s systems. Numerous different tests are available but no widely accepted standard testing protocol has yet evolved. Some of these tests are expensive. Additionally, some popular testing has proven unreliable in the field. Lab testing is trending toward testing the samples of the drywall instead of air samples.
Remediation is controversial. The CPSC recently released guidelines, but most homeowners are waiting for more information to be published. In general, the CPSC guidelines recommend removal of all problem drywall and affected mechanical and electrical systems. Interpretation of the guidelines varies and many home owners are waiting and watching. In some instances, the least invasive solution we've seen has been to replace easily-corroding metals with non-corroding metals. For example, in the case of a corroded air-conditioning coil, an easily corroded copper coil might be replaced with an aluminum coil. Finally, buyers and sellers must beware of quick fix scam artists. The State of Florida has issued a warning about scam artists offering short cut “solutions”. See our blog for more information on the latest remediation guidelines.
Experience at Griffith Home Analysis in Chinese drywall inspections have often been encouragingly positive. Of the drywall inspections performed on homes reportedly built with questionable drywall, fewer homes have had evidence of Chinese drywall than suspected by homeowners. Unfortunately Chinese drywall has been identified in some of the homes we have inspected. Corrosion damage has ranged from none to severe in homes we have identified containing problem drywall.
Home owners that have concerns should start with a visual inspection of the property in question for any evidence of Chinese drywall or possible damage from corrosive gasses typical of contaminated drywall before resorting to testing or invasive inspection.The CPSC guidelines recommend a number of different tests to identify Chinese drywall when the boards are not recognizable. Contact an inspection professional for a complete inspection.