Drywall shortages in Punta Gorda during the building boom in 2004 and 2006 prompted many builders to buy drywall from China. Hundreds of millions of sheets of Chinese drywall were imported during this time. It's estimated that Florida received over 326,641,973 lbs of the contaminated drywall. This equates to approximately 3,630,000 sheets of wallboard, or enough drywall to build 36,000 single family homes.
It has been determined that compounds from this product may contain butanethial, carbonyl sulfide, hydrogen sulfide and strontium sulfide. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has declared many of these compounds to be toxic. The Florida DOH (Department of Health) states that the levels found in Chinese drywall are not high enough to present an imminent or chronic health hazard at this time. It has not yet been determined if long term exposure is harmful. Many homeowners have been reporting physical ailments such as irritated eyes, sneezing, sinus problems, sore throats, asthma related symptoms, bloody nose, fatigue, headaches and other unexplained symptoms as well as an unusual odor in their home similar to rotten eggs or ammonia.
This drywall has also been found to corrode electrical wiring, copper water lines, brass and silver hardware, and plumbing fixtures. Electrical failures, A/C failures, and tarnishing plumbing fixtures are all an indication that you have Chinese drywall.
Visual inspection and material testing is the best approach if you suspect your home to have the tainted drywall. Material testing requires a sample of the drywall to be taken and submitted to an accredited laboratory for analysis. This is the most accurate method to test for the drywall. Proper documentation is key in successful Chinese drywall investigations. This requires a thorough investigation to document exposed metal components and the extent of their exposure to the corrosive vapor. The subjective margin of error increases in homes with low vapor levels and/or just a few boards Chinese drywall installed in the home. It is most important to have a third party inspect your home or commercial property.
If you think you have Chinese drywall, perform your own visual test first. Click here for the Florida Department of Health Step-By-Step Self-Assessment Guide for signs that a home may be affected by drywall imported by China.
After you conduct your own test and think you may have the drywall, call your builder. Many builders are accepting responsibly and have action plans in place to remediate Chinese drywall. If they don’t respond appropriately, then it’s time to call an expert. Many inspection companies will argue that you should have your home inspected prior to contacting your builder. This is up to you. If your builder has a history of not taking responsibility for warranty issues, then it may be a good idea to gather evidence prior to contacting them. Either way, it is very important to get a third party involved to document the contamination. Proper documentation and confirmed laboratory results is your best defense against your builder.
Graphic demonstrates the ability to identify Chinese drywall using Fourier Transformed Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR)
There is a multitude of detection methods available to identify Chinese drywall, but beware, air sampling has been found to be ineffective in detecting these marker compounds. We recommend bulk testing in all cases.
The Fourier Transformed Infrared Technology (FTIR) test, which is a chemically-specific analysis technique that identifies chemicals and compounds within drywall. This test has been proven to be the most accurate, precise, and reliable data for Chinese drywall identification. The other test is a corrosion test. This involves taking copper tokens (slugs), a piece of the suspect drywall, and placing both in a sealed container in a controlled laboratory environmental chamber. The corrosion test has >98% correlation with the FT-IR test. Both tests are considered relevant in a ligation case and will require removing a 2” x 2” sample from several locations throughout the home.
Be leery of fly-by-night inspectors offering low cost inspections. Be sure to hire reputable inspection firms. Your inspection report and laboratory analysis results will be the basis of your claim in a litigation case. Building Diagnostics Group performs Chinese Drywall inspections throughout the Southeastern United States. We have the proven process and the experience in many types of construction litigation projects.
Our Naples/Fort Myers office services all of SW Florida including; Marco Island, Naples, Golden Gate, Bonita Springs, Estero, Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel, Lehigh Acres, Punta Gorda, Cape Coral, and Port Charlotte.
Contact our office today for more information at 239.567.2888.
Fort Myers Leak Detection | Fort Myers Roof Inspection | Fort Myers Mold Inspection | Fort Myers Infrared Inspection
Fort Myers Building Envelope Survey | Fort Myers Construction Defect | Fort Myers Energy Survey | Fort Myers Stucco Inspection