Is tainted Chinese drywall the monster it is being made out to be?

Tainted Chinese drywall has been quite a topic this past couple of years.  Lawsuits are springing up left and right, articles and news stories abound, and many are getting in on the Chinese drywall inspection and testing business.  But is tainted Chinese drywall as bad and prevalent as some would have you believe?

[tab: Introduction]

Last week I received a notice from an up and coming home inspection training center for a two day course on how to become a Chinese drywall Inspector for only $350.  Just like anyone else trying to sell something this ad was full of pomp, claims, and unfortunately much hyperbole.  The ad claims they are bringing in tainted Chinese drywall experts to provide extensive insight in what it is, how to inspect for it, and yes even how to make money on it.  According to this ad an Inspector can make an additional $80 – $250 per inspection by offering this service as part of the home inspection process.  They further claim that it can offer added value to our clients.  Really I thought?  How does adding more money onto the cost of an inspection, for something that might not be there, add any value to the consumer?

The ad goes on and on with the typical scare tactics including items such as:

  • How conservative estimates “suggest” that over 300,000 homes in Texas are affected.
  • An air conditioning contractor/dealer in DFW alone has found and replaced 15% of the air conditioning units on new homes constructed in a four year period during the use of Chinese drywall.
  • That residential subdivisions in Texas have been found with 30% – 100% of homes affected with the Chinese drywall.
  • That just outside of a large major Texas metropolitan area an 800+ home development was identified as having Chinese drywall and another large one nearby the same.

I can go on with the remainder of the hyperbole being thrown about in this ad.  This training center, licensed by The Texas Real Estate Commission, also offered another follow-on course and certification as a Chinese drywall expert Inspector but you have to take this course first.  Naturally the follow-on course and certification test will cost more money.

Hoo Boy, did that ever cause a flurry of emails, bulletin board postings, Blog entries, etc!  Even though the tainted Chinese drywall is a real problem in this country, there are way to many people and businesses trying to make money from the next greatest “scare” or “crisis”.  Don’t get me wrong we all need the money, especially in these economic times, but to use fear and skethcy/exxagerated advertising is just not the right thing to do.

So what is this all about and what should you do?  Read on for more on this issue!

[tab: The History and Solution To Chinese Drywall]

The history of this problem is not fully known still.  What is known is that during the big building boom of the 2000’s this toxic Chinese drywall was allowed to enter the country and be used in extremely large quantities for everything from new construction, rebuilding after storm damage, and remodeling.  The solutions are also varying and seem to be changing frequently enough as well.

I won’t repeat here what you can read and have provided some links under the links and references section for your use.  What I will do is offer the following guidelines on what to do if you think you have the Chinese drywall in your home.

  1. Most importantly DO NOT freak out and start wearing yourself down with worry.  It will do no good even if you have Chinese drywall in your home.
  2. Take a little time to read the references I provide and do a little searching on the internet of your own.  Become familiar with the problem and how to check for it.  Just use caution on what you read as you need to take any information source into consideration.  Just like anything else a group or persons own personal agendas have a tendency to skew or slant information provided.
  3. Take a look for yourself to see if you have any signs of Chinese drywall in your home.  Be very careful which one of the inspection areas you are trying as some are very dangerous if you do not know what you are doing.  One thing you can do is have your heating and cooling system serviced as it is near time anyhow for the heating season.  While the technician is there express your Chinese drywall concerns to the technician, be with them while they are servicing the unit, take digital pictures while the covers are off, and ask a lot of questions.
  4. If you are finding the signs of Chinese drywall then don’t start tearing the sheetrock off your walls just yet to see if it is the defective drywall.  Some homes have mixed Chinese drywall and non-problem drywall.  You might well be costing yourself a lot of money unnecessarily in repair bills.  Also hold off on the Chinese drywall testing and inspections as right now your family’s health is a more important priority and needed place for your funds!  Instead you should speak with your family Doctor and have them run simple blood tests on you and your family to see if you might be affected.

At this point in the guidelines I will have to stop.  The next step will most certainly depend on what you have found so far.  You might want to read your homeowners insurance policy to see if there are exclusions against defective products or speak with an Attorney versed in Chinese drywall and/or other defective building products and practices.

Whatever you do protect your family’s health and interests first.  Hold off on first going to your insurance company, builder, remodeler, etc., before you have mapped out your plan of action.  Don’t let emotions cloud your thinking as this can cause you more problems than you want.  For example approaching your homeowners insurance company will most likely result in an entry in your home’s CLUE report (see links page) even if you don’t immediately find Chinese drywall in your home.

Hopefully there will be a valid and workable solution soon for this problem.  Many people are affected and in these times we just don’t need another round of major issues in our lives!

[tab: Links and References]

Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Drywall Information Center

National Association of Home Builders Identification Strategies and Remediation Guidelines

The Chinese Drywall Blog – A very good listing of the legal issues arising from this problem

Privacy Rights . ORG – The homeowner insurance CLUE report

PS Inspection & Property Services LLC is a full service home inspection and light commercial inspection company servicing the entire Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex.  We strive to for the satisfaction of our customers in everything we do.  Our services offerings include:

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If you have an inspection need we can customize an inspection for it.  Please visit our main site at PS Inspection & Property Service LLC.


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