Does a home inspector check for Chinese drywall?
Thursday, August 15, 2019
Testing for Chinese drywall is not part of the Home Inspection Standards of Practice for either of the national home inspector associations or the State of Florida. But many customers ask about it, and most inspectors are familiar with the warning signs that a home likely has this problematic drywall:
- A strong sulfur, “rotten egg” smell, especially during hot and humid months.
- Blackened and corroded metal components in thehome, especially copper wiring in electric panel and copper tubing in evaporator coils of air handler (indoor unit) of air conditioner, as shown. A green corrosion over copper is normal and not an indicator.
- Irritated and itchy eyes and skin, persistent cough, bloody noses, runny noses, difficulty breathing, recurrent headaches, sinus infection, and asthma attacks.
Although Chinese drywall was installed in the U.S. between 2001 and 2008, most of the affected homes were built during 2006 and 2007, during the peak of the building boom and after several hurricanes did major damage across the southeast in 2004 and 2005. Not all of the Chinese drywall has caused problems, but over half of the reported incidents of defective Chinese drywall were in Florida.
Most of the Chinese drywall has been remediated by now but, if a home has the three indictors noted above, the next step is corroboration, which is defined by the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) below:
Because it is possible that corrosion of metal in homes can occur for other reasons, it is important toobtain additional corroborating evidence of problem drywall. Homes with the characteristic metalcorrosion problems must also have at least 2 of these corroborating conditions if the new drywall wasinstalled between 2005 and 2008. For installations between 2001 and 2004, at least 4 of the followingconditions must be met. Collecting this corroborating evidence will in some cases require professional assessors and/or testing by analytical laboratories.
(a) Corrosive conditions in the home, demonstrated by the formation of copper sulfide on copper coupons (test strips of metal) placed in the home for a period of 2 weeks to 30 days or confirmation of the presence of sulfur in the blackening of the grounding wires and/or air conditioning coils;
(b) Confirmed markings of Chinese10 origin for drywall in the home;
(c) Strontium levels in samples of drywall core found in the home (i.e., excluding the exterior papersurfaces) exceeding 1200 parts per million (ppm);
(d) Elemental sulfur levels in samples of drywall core found in the home exceeding 10 ppm;
(e) Elevated levels of hydrogen sulfide, carbonyl sulfide and/or carbon disulfide emitted from samples of drywall from the home when placed in test chambers using ASTM Standard Test MethodD5504-08 or similar chamber or headspace testing11;
(f) Corrosion of copper metal to form copper sulfide when copper is placed in test chambers withdrywall samples taken from the home.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says homeowners should be on the alert for anyone trying to sell test kits, inspections, and quick fixes for tainted drywall. No federally-approved home testing kits currently exist, and no remediation methods other than the replacement of the drywall.
Click on any of the links below to read other articles about what is required to be included, or not, in a home inspection:
AFCI •• Air conditioner •• Ants •• Appliance recalls •• Appliance testing •• Attic •• Awnings •• Barns and ag blgs. •• Bathroom exhaust fan •• Bonding •• Carpet •• Ceiling fans •• Central vacuum •• Chimneys •• Chinese drywall •• Clothes dryer •• Dryer exhaust •• CO alarms •• Code violations •• Condemn a house •• Crawl space •• Detached carport •• Detached garage •• Dishwasher •• Docks •• Doors •• Electrical •• Electrical panel •• Electromagnetic radiation •• Fences •• Fireplaces Furnace •• Garbage disposal •• Generator •• GFCIs •• Gutters •• Ice maker •• Inspect in the rain •• Insulation •• Insurance •• Interior Finishes •• Grading & drainage •• Lead paint •• Level of thoroughness •• Lift carpet •• Low voltage wiring •• Microwave •• Mold •• Move things •• Help negotiate •• Not allowed •• Outbuildings •• Paint •• Permits •• Pilot lights •• Plumbing •• Plumbing under slab •• Pools •• Questions won't answer •• Radon •• Range/cooktop •• Receptacle outlet •• Refrigerator •• Reinspection •• Remove panel cover •• Repairs •• Repair estimates •• Retaining walls •• Roaches •• Rodents •• Roof •• Screens •• Seawalls •• Septic loading dye test •• Septic tank •• Sewer lines •• Shower pan leak test •• Shutters •• Sinkholes •• Smoke alarms •• Solar panels •• Specify repairs •• Sprinklers •• Termites •• Toilets •• Trees •• Troubleshooting •• Wall air conditioners •• Walk roof •• Washing machine •• Water heater •• Water pressure •• Water shut-offs •• Main water shut-off •• Water softener •• Water treatment systems •• Well •• Windows •• Window/wall air conditioners •• Window blinds •• Wiring
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
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