Monday, November 1, 2010

Issues with Potential Defective “Chinese” Drywall


By Curtis Carr, owner of HomeTeam Inspection Service in Beaumont, TX


A major problem with defective drywall was introduced about five years ago after the federal government had reason to believe that defective drywall was used in rebuilding homes destroyed or damaged by the hurricanes which swept through the state.  The government then tested homes in Florida and found that some of the drywall used to repair hurricane damage after storms in 2005 can emit hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide gases.  If concentrations of these gases are high enough corrosion of plumbing, electrical wiring, air conditioning, security and other components can occur.  Corrosion can lead to premature failure of these items; and, in the case of electrical components, arcing which presents a fire risk. 

After the defective drywall was discovered in the Florida homes it had to be ripped out and replaced.  In some instances the process of replacing the defective drywall displaced families for long periods and required contractors to gut newly rebuilt or repaired homes.

Many homes up and down the eastern seaboard and gulf coast were also damaged by hurricanes and some of these homes could have also been repaired or rebuilt using drywall either imported or made by the same domestic manufacturers as in Florida.

According to Tom Kiehnhoff, an attorney with the law firm of Reaud, Morgan & Quinn in Beaumont, Texas, literature produced by the drywall industry suggests that the processes used to make the defective drywall found in Florida may have been in use as early as 1990.  Kiehnhoff emphasized that the factors affecting how long it takes defective drywall to cause corrosion are not fully understood and the length of time can vary from one home to another.  He also stated that the federal government has approved inspection and testing methods to determine whether defective drywall has been installed in a home.

Because of the seriousness of this issue, the IRS issued guidance providing relief to homeowners who have suffered property losses due to the effects of certain imported drywall installed in homes between 2001 and 2009.  To read more, visit: www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=228402,00.html.

Homeowners, landlords, potential buyers, tenants and real estate professionals are just a few of the individuals and businesses who should be aware of this issue.   If anyone has a concern or questions whether defective drywall may be present, they should contact a qualified inspector to investigate the issue.  Inspections will require a visit to observe the components in the home and may involve laboratory testing of samples.

HomeTeam Inspection Service is currently doing “Defective Drywall” inspections.  HomeTeam provides two levels of service.  One is a visual only inspection which is designed to locate any corrosion that may be present.  The second level involves taking some drywall samples so that testing can be done in a lab. 
As a home inspection business owner in Beaumont, TX where hurricanes such as Katrina and Rita in 2005 and Ike in 2008 have devastated homes and homeowners have had to make repairs which could have been repaired or rebuilt using drywall either imported or made by the same domestic manufacturers as in Florida, I am holding presentations about defective drywall for real estate groups and anyone else who may be interested in learning more. 

For further questions about defective drywall issues in the Beaumont, TX area, you can call me at 409-838-5440. 

For questions related to this issue in other parts of the country, visit http://www.hometeaminspection.com/ to find a location near you.

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