Defective drywall is out there, it’s ugly and it could be in your home! But how do you know? What do you look out for when looking at a new home? What is it? How does it affect you?
What is it? Defective, or Chinese, drywall was used from 2001 to 2008 in new construction or remodeling jobs. As the demand for new construction increased there was a shortage of available drywall in the U.S. To alleviate this demand gypsum board was ordered from outside the country and shipped here. I’ve noticed a higher prevalence among homes built between 2006-2008.
After several years passed and people settled into their new homes problems with appliances, TV’s, jewelry and air conditioning systems failing were reported. A sulfur smell was noted. People complained of nose bleeds, breathing issues and headaches. Investigations were conducted and it was found that a noxious sulfur gas was being emitted by certain drywalls and causing items to disintegrate or tarnish. Government agencies looked into the matter and subsequently issued a statement that while defective drywall was harmful to things it was not harmful to people.
How does it affect you? Defective drywall affects people differently although it will affect the items in a property essentially the same way. For me personally, I get a headache when I’ve been in a property that has confirmed or suspected drywall issues. If you don’t have physical symptoms it will affect you financially as replacement of mechanical systems and appliances adds up.
What should I be looking for? Blackened wiring, pitting of metal trims/faucets/doorknobs, silvering of mirrors especially around the edges, severely corroded coils in the air handler (not consistent with normal wear and tear or aging), blackened copper pipe connections. Sometimes you will smell it and other times there won’t be any smell. I am not an inspector and highly recommend hiring a professional to test for defective drywall.
How do I know if it’s in the home I own/want to buy? There are several different types of tests: visual, air quality, x-ray, even K9! Contact a reputable company or home inspector to verify the existence of defective drywall. Check city or county permits for any remediation work that may have been completed or for permit history on remodeling in an older home. As a buyer most inspection companies provide a visual drywall inspection during the home inspection.
Do your homework and take advantage of inspections to avoid being stuck with a costly problem.