Life is full of surprises some are obvious others are hidden from view. These only show up when it is too late to do anything to prevent the impending danger. Chinese drywall is one of these problems lurking in homes across the Deep South. There have been numerous law suits, congressional investigations and misunderstandings concerning Chinese drywall.
Here is a short history of the product and the problem. Chinese drywall was imported from 2001 to 2009 and is believed to have been distributed in all 50 states. The areas affected most are in the Deep South; specifically the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, southern Texas and Virginia.
The building boom of 2000 to 2006 combined with 9 hurricanes that hit Florida in 2004 and 2005 and Hurricane Katrina that hit the gulf coast in 2005 caused a shortage of domestic drywall. The shortage lasted until 2009 when domestic supplies caught up with demand and problems surfaced with the imported product.
How do I know if I have Chinese drywall?
Unfortunately there is no reliable method for home owners to determine if they have affected drywall in their home. Even if the dry wall is stamped made in China or has Chinese markings it may not be bad. Even worse some homes may contain a mixture of domestic and imported drywall.
Although high humidity and high temperatures are the common link to the drywall failures. Home owners in northern states are not immune from this problem. All home owners should follow the following suggestions from the Consumer Product Safety Commission to determine if they might have a problem;
Step One: A visual inspection must show:
a. Blackening of copper electrical wiring and/or air conditioning evaporator coils and
b. Drywall installed between 2001 and 2009
If both of these are present, look for corroborating evidence.
Step Two: Corroborating Evidence: (if drywall was installed between 2005 and 2009, must have at least two of the below. For installations between 2001 and 2004, at least four of the following conditions must be met:)
a. Elemental sulfur in the drywall core (requires outside lab testing)
b. Copper sulfide on coupons, grounding wires, and/or air conditioning coils (requires outside lab testing)
c. Chinese markings on drywall (This does not imply that all Chinese drywall or that only Chinese drywall is associated with these problems. But that among homes with the characteristic corrosion, Chinese drywall is a corroborating marker for the characteristic problems.) Such markings may not be present or easily discerned in all problem drywall homes.
d. Elevated sulfide gas emissions from drywall (requires outside lab testing)
e. Corrosion induced by drywall in test chambers (requires outside lab testing)
Additional indicators would be a black ash type corrosion on copper air conditioner “A” coils and electrical wiring. Normal copper corrosion will be reddish or greenish in color. If you suspect you may have Chinese drywall you can contact the Consumer Product Safety commission or the Chinese Drywall Complaint Center for more information.
Some of the information for this article came from the following sources;
for more information for home owners go to www.hawleyhomeinspectionsllc.com