How to tell if you have Chinese Drywall in a home

Reblogger Sybil Campbell
Real Estate Agent with Long and Foster REALTORS® 5234 Monticello Ave Williamsburg, Virginia 0225218019

Do you know how to tell if you have Chinese Drywall in a home? I have posted a series of blogs about Chinese drywall over the last six months, so I thought it might be a good time to re-post some blogs written by other professionals. 

Oh and BTW Scott, if you get google juice from this re-blog just drink it up and enjoy!  LOL!


So here goes:

Original content by Scott Patterson, ACI TN #17

After seeing in person several homes with Chinese drywall and seeing the Red Flags in those homes of what to look for I have compiled a simple list that will give you a good start in the search to see if your home has this problematic drywall in it:

  1. Use you sense of smell.  If you detect a sulfur like odor, you might have it.
  2. Look at the soft reactive metals in your home.  Copper and Silver seem to be the first to show signs of reacting to the corrosive off gassing of the drywall.
  3. Copper wiring that is turning dark is a tell tail sign.  It turns almost black when it is exposed to the drywall off gassing.
  4. Most of us have pennies sitting in a jar, bowl or whatever.  Take a look at that pocket change that has been sitting on the desk for a while.  If the pennies on top are turning dark and the ones further down in the jar are not, then you might have it.
  5. Silver plated picture frames are another good test.  If they are turning dark, you might have a problem.
  6. Silver jewelry is another good prospect to see if you might be at risk. 
  7. Looking for the Made in China or Knauf/Tianjin marks on the back of the drywall in black ink.  This is a guarantee that you have it!  This can be done form the attic or even an air return chase.

Note:  If you find Made in China or Kanuf  on the back of the drywall in Blue ink, this drywall seems to be OK.

Any of the above situations or items along with the smell of sulfur in the home is about the best way to tell if your home is at risk of having Chinese drywall or drywall that has been mixed with fly ash.  After talking with individuals who's homes have had this drywall, they all said that it started after they had been in the home for more than a few months and some took as long as four years.  A common thread was that they all started to notice their silver jewelry was turning or tarnishing more than it ever did as soon as they moved into their new home.

At this time we have no sure method of testing an entire home to see if it has Chinese drywall in it.  The only way to test via a lab is to take a sample (1" round core) every 4 feet in every wall and on every ceiling that has drywall.  Why every 4'?  The drywall sheets are in 4'x8' sheets so you must test every sheet!  It is cost prohibited and very destructive to do this type of testing.  Visual is the best method we have at this time for identifying a home with Chinese drywall.  Be careful of the testing scams that have popped up over the past few months. 

This information is provided by Scott Patterson as a service.  It may be reproduced with permission as long as credit is given to the author and it is not changed.



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Paul Francis
Francis Group Real Estate - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Real Estate Agent - Summerlin Homes

Interesting... I wonder how much builders saved buying this drywall?

Feb 26, 2010 04:49 PM #1
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Sybil Campbell

REALTOR® ABR, SFR, SRES Williamsburg, Virginia
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