Lately I have been inundated with questions and concerns about the new invasion of Chinese Drywall in the building industry over the past few years. Chinese Drywall is a devastating new product that has been introduced into our homes since approximately 2001. There is so much new information being circulated in the community that it is difficult to determine what is fact and what is fiction.
The most important fact to be aware of is that Chinese Drywall is almost impossible to detect by performing a single test on a specific piece of drywall. It is very possible that you could test a piece of drywall in the Dining Room and get negative results but have it exist in another room or even another wall in the Dining Room.
One of the most obvious signs of Chinese Drywall that will hit you as soon as you enter the home is the odor. Chinese Drywall causes a bad smell similar to that of rotting eggs. I have found that it in some instances your eyes can begin to water. It is important that a qualified inspector knows the difference between the odor of Chinese Drywall and the normal sulfur odors caused by water and/or septic tanks. Another of the obvious symptoms are blackening copper pipes. Chinese Drywall effects copper piping which is commonly found around the evaporator coils in the air handlers of the air conditioning units, wiring in panel boxes and outlets and copper waterlines. These signs become more exaggerated in homes that have been kept closed up for a period of time. This is becoming more commonplace today with homes that are not owner occupied.
Sometimes the name of the manufacturer can be found on the back side of the ceiling sheet rock by accessing the attic.
My advice is to be aware of the companies that state that they are “Certified” drywall inspectors since there has been no certification issued in the State of Florida at this time. There has been no certification for detection of Chinese Drywall and/or remediation.
When using any services in any fields use common sense. Use the inspector with the best qualifications. Ask for sample reports, insurances and years of experience. Real Estate is the largest investment people purchase so don’t skimp when it comes to using a qualified home inspector.