Ask Elaine....Chinese Drywall!

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Traditions

Dear Elaine,

My husband and I are looking to purchase a new home in the Williamsburg, VA area. We would like to avoid buying a home where Chinese drywall was used in construction. How can you tell a home was built with Chinese drywall? Any information you can provide is greatly appreciated.

Cindy 0'Hara, TN

Dear Cindy,

Chinese drywall was used in new home construction at the height of the building boom, between 2006-2007, when there was a drywall shortage, and there was an upsurge in post-hurricane construction. It was not used in ALL new home construction of that time period. Here are some of the indications a home was built with Chinese drywall:

  • Chinese drywall emits a putrid smell, like rotten eggs. It tends to smell like sulfur, one of the materials used in Chinese drywall. Hot, humid areas bring the smell out.
  • Electrical outlets and appliances in the home are corroded, especially copper wiring or components. Some consumers have reported air conditioning units, refrigerators, or other electrical appliances or wiring failing.
  • People living in homes with Chinese drywall report itchy eyes and skin, breathing problems, coughing, bloody or running noses, persistent and/or recurring headaches, sinus infections, and aggravation of asthma symptoms.
  • As of April 2010, 123 occurrences (4%) of Chinese drywall were reported in Virginia to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The majority of instances of Chinese drywall reports are in Florida (59%) and Louisiana (20%).

Here are some websites where photos of Chinese drywall and the damage to electrical wiring and copper components, can be viewed:

Thanks for Asking,


By: Elaine VonCannon ABR, SRES, REALTOR, Notary, Team Leader, Residential and Commercial Property Manager, Managing Partner VonCannon-Starke Commercial Division, Member of the National Association of Residential Property Managers, Award Winning Agent, RE/MAX Hall of Fame, Licensed in Virginia, Member of Commercial Council VAR

Visit my web sites to view other listings at You will also find articles and more information on homes, the Virginia real estate market and my team.


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Edward & Celia Maddox
The Celtic Connection Realty - Queen Creek, AZ

Thanks for the update on Chinese Drywall,  Haven't noticed any yet in Arizona area we work in.

Oct 11, 2010 04:50 AM #1
Bob Haywood
McGraw Realtors - Owasso, OK

Wow, scary stuff!  I think your response was excellent and professional!

Oct 11, 2010 04:52 AM #2
Elaine VonCannon
Coldwell Banker Traditions - Williamsburg, VA

Thank you Folks for taking the time to read my blog!  Elaine

Oct 11, 2010 05:01 AM #3
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Elaine VonCannon

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