What Is Chinese Drywall?

What the heck is “Chinese Drywall” though, and why is it special? Well, from about 2001 to 2009, the US imported ultra-cheap drywall from mainland China to be used in home throughout 20 different states. This drywall, in typical Chinese fashion, was manufactured with such significant defects that it “off-gassed” odorous and corrosive chemicals into the air of the home after it was installed, to include neat stuff like carbon disulfide, carbonyl sulfide, and hydrogen sulfide.

This off-gassing caused copper building components used throughout the home to corrode and deteriorate way faster than they normally would. These components are pretty important as well, like the copper wiring providing electricity to your home as well as the copper used to manufacture the coil for your air-conditioning system (a hefty repair). It would even corrode silver jewelry and silver-ware locked up in boxes!

Finally, this drywall was reported to cause respiratory problems for those suffering from asthma, including coughing and difficulty with breathing. Nasty stuff!

Despite all this, evidence of a serious issue with Chinese drywall will become apparent before any lab testing of drywall is performed. Evidence such as corrosion around electrical receptacles, corrosion of the evaporator coil of the air-conditioning system, and the smell of rotten eggs would all alert to the presence of Chinese drywall.

Furthermore, the problem of a home using Chinese drywall is relatively isolated; this drywall was only imported from 2001 to 2009, and only approximately 60,000-100,000 homes were affected. Chinese drywall may have been used in combination with domestic drywall lacking these negative properties. Finally, after at least 10 years since the last piece of Chinese drywall was installed in an American home, the off-gassing process has been mostly completed on any home built with Chinese drywall.


Home Inspectors don’t specifically test for Chinese Drywall

Home inspectors in Texas are not required to report Chinese Drywall, and I don’t think I’ve ever encountered the substance. I would expect to see significant deterioration of the wiring and copper plumbing if present. If I did observe evidence of Chinese drywall, I will document its presence and recommend further evaluation by a qualified remediation professional. We’d also recommend looking at a different house!


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