As Shakespeare might say, “Something smells rotten in the state Of Georgia (and other states too).” I’m talking about Chinese drywall, the newest construction environmental issue.
Chinese drywall hit our shores in 2000 due to a shortage of American made drywall. We were going through a huge building boom and a few years later the shortage grew worse when Louisiana had the Katrina disaster.
The problem with the Chinese drywall is that it contains sulfide gases. The issues concerning Chinese drywall were first noticed in the Dade County area of Florida. Now it has spread to Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and Virginia. What federal investigators have surmised, to date, is that high heat and humidity are causing gas emissions from the drywall.
The most obvious sign of defective drywall is that homeowners notice a “rotten egg smell”, hence the reference to Shakespeare’s quote form Hamlet. Along with the odor, there is the appearance of corrosion of metals and wiring within the home. Electrical outlets, circuit breakers, mirrors and other metal items attached to the walls of affected homes turn black. An electrician should be called in to assess the extent of the damage.
The houses that are affected are those built or that have been renovated between 2000 and 2008. It includes condominiums as well. The cost to repair is expensive and not all insurance companies cover defective construction materials either.
If you’re a homebuyer, you’ll want to ask your home inspector questions if you suspect Chinese drywall. If you’re a Realtor, be sure to speak with the homeowner about this issue when listing a home. Ask about peculiar smells and metal discolorations. It’s better to know up front about property issues than to deal with an angry buyer after the fact.
There are numerous articles on the Internet regarding Chinese drywall. Now is a good time to learn the details about this relatively new issue. I wish I could say “all’s well that ends well”, but we’re not near the end of this story as yet.
Have you come across Chinese drywall in your home/listing? What’s been your experience?