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Thread: CHINESE DRYWALL

  1. #1
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    Default CHINESE DRYWALL

    GUYS--first time i have seen this in colorado in my 12 years inspecting--house built in 2006--the main water and sprinkler pipes and the pipe leading into house was totally black. but a pipe in picture two nearby was perfect--there where two types of drywall in room--one had totally white plaster between paper and the other had a pinkish color--and the label paper was blue and yellow as descibed in the identity of china stuff. the house has a boiler and swamp cooler. most other pipes in house were ok, but going to take a closer look tomorrow when i pick up radon--also going to look inside outlet box in that room for copper blackened. put drywall sample to lab today so will know what they find tomorrow--you Florida guys are up on this--what do you think JP---THANKS CVF

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: CHINESE DRYWALL

    Charlie,

    I retired a few years before the Chinese drywall issue exploded into the issue it was - I was doing AHJ inspections then. By the time I retired from that and went back into my consulting and expert witness stuff, most of the Chinese drywall issues were in Federal court and other courts, so I never really go involved too much in the Chinese drywall issue.

    I'm not saying that the Chinese drywall issue is dead and gone - far from it as there are many, many houses out there with Chinese drywall in them, but which houses and when it will be found is not known - largely due to the suppliers not keeping good records on what products by which manufacturers went to which jobs ... '100 sheets 1/2" x 12 foot drywall delivered to 123 Main Street' does not tell us anything - was all of it ... none of it ... some of it ... how much of it ... was Chinese drywall? And was it on the ceilings, the walls, in the garage?

    There are others here who, I am sure, are much more knowledgeable about it than I am.

    And one of the tell tale places to look - you don't have: the air conditioner air handler unit. I'm not sure what would see in the swamp cooler with regards to Chinese drywall evidence, and the boiler with hot water heat will tell you nothing (that I know of).

    You could pull some plates at switches and receptacles and look at the copper wiring - I've heard you can frequently see which walls to suspect may have Chinese drywall on by looking at that wiring ... that just indicates more checking, not a 'sure sign of' Chinese drywall.

    Also, the contamination in the Chinese drywall was more noticeable and more problematic in areas with higher humidity (like down here in Florida) than areas with lower humidity - the humidity apparently would affect the reaction of the contaminates and chemicals in the gypsum and cause higher ratios and volumes of outgassing of the chemical and contaminates.

    If the copper wiring at the switches and receptacles look good, the issue may not be Chinese drywall (which should actually be referred to as 'contaminated drywall' as not all Chinese drywall was contaminated, and not all contaminated drywall was from China).

    Did you check those pipes for current flow with a clamp-on ammeter? I would check that when you go back to the house.

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 03-21-2016 at 03:36 PM. Reason: added the last part
    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: CHINESE DRYWALL

    You can look at the backside of the drywall it the attic. Usually the garage attic is uninsulated and much easier to see the back.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: CHINESE DRYWALL

    NOattic no acess behind any drywall


  5. #5
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    Default Re: CHINESE DRYWALL

    And sometimes the contaminated drywall was only used in parts of the house. Sometimes not even on all the walls or all the ceilings - the suppliers sent out what they had on hand at the time the order came in.

    There are some supply houses which only stocked on brand, so anything they shipped out would have been that one brand (there is one like that here), but the others will stock whatever saves them a penny a sheet over the next cheapest one, any given delivery may have included several different brands.

    I think they are keeping better track of things now, but before it became a well known problem they figured the only thing they needed to keep track of was how much $, where, and how many sheets.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: CHINESE DRYWALL

    No attic access behind drywall? What is the ceiling material?


  7. #7
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    Default Re: CHINESE DRYWALL

    JACK--CHALET--NO ATTIC


  8. #8
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    Default Re: CHINESE DRYWALL

    I agree with Jerry Peck. Check the outlets near where you think the Chinese Drywall is installed. You can check an outlet in one section of the wall and the wires can look fine but in another section of the wall they can be black. The section that is black has CDW near it and the other section does not. This is where you would need to test a piece of the drywall or get a camera that can look behind the wall for any markings that say Made in China. Chinese Drywall has been reported in 44 states http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Safety-Educat...been-reported/

    If you do find out that it is CDW then tell your clients to join the family groups on facebook by searching Chinese Drywall. They can get lots of information from other homeowners on these groups.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: CHINESE DRYWALL

    Do NOT depend on what you would see in the attic anyway, it typically is 5/8" drywall, records show very little 5/8 was imported.

    Did you notice the characteristic "burnt match" smell? Not rotten eggs or sulfur as others say.

    If you rub the blackened metal with your finger, does it easily transfer to your finger?

    What does the AC coil, and wiring inside the furnace look like? Thermostat wiring is also a good one where it enters the thermostat. Wiring inside the panel? Wiring behind several receptacles and switches?

    The bad stuff leaves a deposit on the copper, that very closely resembles carbon black or black copy toner. If the copper is discolored, but does not rub off, I'd be suspicious. Usually SOME of the black deposit will rub off and easily transfer to your finger, then your finger smells like a burnt match or used firework. I have had some where virtually all of it rubs off easily.

    Jerry is 100% correct, it could very well be just a percentage of the drywall is CD.

    I was involved in destructive analysis of dozens of homes, it was not at all uncommon to find as many as 6-8 different brands of drywall in a home, even MR board used in the living room. They were desperate for drywall, even using small scraps out of the next door dumpster. Sometimes you'd end up with 3 brands of US drywall and 4 brands of CD in the same home. One home we found one single sheet of CD.

    Prism makes a VOC kit that can help detect CD. It tests for carbon disulfide and carbonyl sulfide. These tend to serve as markers for CD.

    I have seen homes where others have called it CD, but when I went out I just found that their wells had large amounts of hydrogen sulfide in the water. It caused a similar, but different discoloration of the copper. It was more of a "patina" than an outright black coating.

    True CD tends to create a BLACK, BLACK, BLACK deposit on the copper (and other metals of course) Just like if you held something above a badly sooting candle.

    I know I probably caused more confusion than help, but maybe it helped a little.

    I've done so many that I almost always know if a home has CD by my second step inside the front door, then I just have to prove or disprove my own opinion.

    Oh - if the home has pocket doors, look at the back side of the drywall in there, you MIGHT get lucky. Also you can remove any medicine cabinets and maybe get lucky there.

    Good luck.


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