Birmingham Home Inspectors Blog

Chinese Drywall Myths and Misconceptions
February 27th, 2011 11:07 AM

--Myth:Homes that don't have a bad odor cannot have Chinese drywall. FALSE--We have discovered numerous homes that contained Chinese drywall but no unusual odor was evident to the homeowner. Some Chinese drywall has low sulfur amounts and has little if any odor.

--Myth:The best way to identify Chinese drywall is random testing of the  wall areas. FALSE-- Often Chinese drywall is only one of many drywall brands installed in a home and random testing can be "hit or miss". While not perfect, a visual inspection of the electrical, plumbing, gas, HVAC and visible drywall under the attic insulation is at present the best method. Testing of identified suspect areas can then be accomplished.

--Myth:Most all homes in the Alabama area built during the building boom probably have some Chinese drywall. FALSE --Many of the newer homes that we have inspected have had no evidence of Chinese drywall.

--Myth:Only homes recently built can have Chinese drywall. FALSE--We have found remodeled homes with Chinese drywall that were as old as 1930.

--Myth:If one home in a subdivision has Chinese drywall then likely all the homes have it. FALSE--We have found many examples of two homes built next to each other where one home has no indication of Chinese drywall and the neighbor has evident Chinese drywall boards and corrosion damage.

--Myth:Chinese drywall was only installed in homes during 2006. FALSE --According to the CPSC, homes with drywall installed from 2001 through 2009 could contain Chinese drywall.

--MYTH:This 3 year old home does not have Chinese drywall because the effects and odors would be apparent by now. False-- We've had clients report that they did not have any indications in the first few years.

--MYTH:I can tell the difference on my walls because Chinese drywall feels different.--The painted surface of Chinese drywall does not necessarily have a noticeable difference in the surface. Some experts believe that the gypsum mineral inside the boards does has a different texture from American boards.

--MYTH:My drywall supplier states that they did not deliver "KNAUF" brand drywall so I could not possibly have Chinese drywall installed. --Chinese drywall was installed in homes from several different Chinese brands-not just Knauf.

--MYTH:The home inspector can tell if my new home has Chinese drywall during a home inspection. --Most often the Chinese drywall is not evident and it takes a different and specific inspection process to attempt to identify Chinese drywall. Most Chinese drywall inspections take about the same length of time as a home inspection. Chinese drywall identification is not included in the Alabama Home Inspection Standards.

--MYTH:All Chinese drywall inspections involve cutting holes into the drywall to test for contamination.--Most inspections are visual and do not involve cutting the drywall. Occasionally, testing may be needed of a specific area of corrosion or drywall board.


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Posted by Andrew Griffith on February 27th, 2011 11:07 AMPost a Comment

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